Company owner Jonny Wren talks you through some new wines added to the Songbird Wines portfolio
2018 Mastri Vernacoli Pinot Bianco/Chardonnay, Cavit, Trentino, Italy @ £9.00
I originally brought this in as a temporary replacement for the hugely popular Noisiola but after enjoying a glass after a long day delivering I realised it deserved a permanent listing. Pinot Bianco is such an underrated grape variety and is superb when used in a blend. High altitude older vines give this wine lovely complexity with citrus and white flower aromas with fresh stone fruit on the palate and a wonderful minerality.
2018 Cazal Tradition, Domaine de Cazal, Minervois, France @ £10.75
Excellent Minervois for early drinking. Classic Minervois blend of Carignan, Grenache and Syrah. Hand harvested then fermented and aged in concrete tanks this has lovely crunchy dark berry flavours but with a hint of spicy richness. Certainly one for the barbecued meats. An old favourite of mine and delighted to be working with this Domaine again.
2017 Le Pas de Zarat, Domaine de Cazal, Minervois, France @ £17.75
This is the winery’s ‘piece de resistance’. A similar blend to the Tradition but from older vines which gives the wine more complexity. Hand harvested, fermented in concrete but then aged in oak barriques the result is a rich, savoury wine with excellent concentration and length. Lovely now but will age for up to ten years.
2016 Morellino di Scansano Riserva, Fattoria Le Pupille, Tuscany @ £19.75
This was featured in an email offer but now has a permanent listing due to popular demand. The 2016 is now drinking beautifully and has all the Brunello characteristics that make this a must for lovers of great Tuscan reds. For more details on the wine and estate click here
2018 Sancerre Rouge ‘Non Filtre’, Domaine du Pré Semelé, Loire, France @ £22
One of the rising stars of Sancerre, Domaine du Pre Semelé is a small producer committed to producing the finest quality wines whilst practising sustainable viticulture and minimum intervention. They have just 2 ha of Pinot Noir wines that come from clay and limestone soils. Yields are just 50 ha/hl (like premier cru Burgundy) and no pesticides are used. The wine is aged in a mixture of new oak barriques and larger older oak barrels. It is then bottled unfiltered. The result is an outstanding Pinot Noir with aromas of red cherry, raspberry and cinnamon. Hugely textured on the palate with layers of pure red fruit and soft tannins. If this was from Burgundy it would be £30+ a bottle.
2017 Les Terrasses Velles Vinyes, Alvaro Palacios, Priorat, Catalunya @ £35
From the King of Priorat, Alvaro Palacios, this was the very wine that introduced me to this wonderful region. A blend of 55% Garnacha and 45% Cariñena from old vines from various villages in the Priorat region. Very clean black cherry flavours but with earthy wild herb undertones. Aged in concrete and new oak the latter is superbly masked by the wonderful ripe fruit. This is what Priorat is all about! Alvaro’s top wine, L’Ermita, is probably Spain’s most sought after wine but Les Terrasses is a superb introduction to the wines of the ‘main man’ of Spanish wine.
2018 ‘As Sortes’ Godello, Rafael Palacios, Valdeorras, Spain @ £49
Sibling rivalry eh? If big brother Alvaro was producer of arguably Spain’s greatest red wine then Rafa was determined to make the county’s greatest white – and he succeeded. His Sorte O Soro has received huge accolades but is as rare as hens teeth with a three figure price tag. However, his second wine As Sortes is magnificent but also very hard to come by. This year I have finally secured an allocation of 12 bottles and as tempted as I am to keep them for me I am offering them on a first come first served basis. It is produced from Godello grapes from vines between 35-92 years old from high altitude vineyards. The wine is fermented and aged in 500 litre French oak barrels and aged on its lees. It has elegance, finesse but an underlying power and intensity that puts it in the same league as white Burgundy that would cost twice the price. Starting to drink now but will benefit from further cellaring. Rafa also does an excellent Godello circa £20 which you can read about here. It is available at £20.50 a bottle.