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Wine News For A Lockdown Winter’s Day

Fire’s roaring, the roast is in the oven but before I sit down with a winter warming glass of red here’s a quick update on what’s happening in the world of Songbird Wines. Like the rest of you, my week hasn’t been filled with exciting excursions to fine dining eateries but I am lucky enough to be able to get out and about whilst delivering to you wonderful wine lovers. I have also managed to make further inroads into the growing number of samples arriving and am sorting out the very finest on your behalf. The sacrifices I make for you all, eh?

If You’re Feeling Chile

Here’s something to warm your cockles. A sample of Talud Cabernet Sauvignon from the Talabi winery, who are based in the esteemed Maipo Valley, finally met my corkscrew on Thursday and wow, I was very impressed. The grapes are sourced from the DOM vineyard that is considered one of the top 5 Cabernet Sauvignon vineyards in the whole of Chile. It is aged for 15 months in French Oak barrels (only 1/3 are new) which gives a subtle toasting to the wine. The delicious dark fruit flavours (cherry and blackcurrant) are incredibly smooth and rich but what really impressed me was the understated intensity of the wine. There’s plenty of power and richness here but it’s so subtle it makes the wine very ‘un-New World’. However, when I expressed my enthusiasm to the importer they said something along the lines “you’re a bit late to the party aren’t you? I think we’ve sold out.” Luckily they had 12 bottles remaining which I have snapped up and will be available on a first come first served basis.

2015 Talud Cabernet Sauvignon, Tabali, Maipo Valley, Chile @ £16.25 a bottle

Two Classy Catalans

Here’s a pair of superb premium wines from Catalunya – a stunning Cava and (you guessed it) an outstanding Priorat. They have just arrived and are ready to order –

2015 Reserva de la Familia Cava Gran Reserva, Juve Y Camps @ £18

£18 for a bottle of Cava? Well yes and it’s a bargain at this price. This is a blend of 55% Xarello, 35% Macabeo and 10% Parellada that are sourced from the winery’s estate that is mainly organic. It is aged for 36 months on its lees before release which gives the wine extra richness and complexity. This has a lovely toasty nose with complex aromas of peach, honey and citrus. It has an amazingly creamy mousse and gives many pricier Champagnes a serious run for their money. Not only does it taste super classy but it looks just like a bottle of Dom Perignon! It also comes in smart gift box so makes an excellent present – but make sure you keep one for yourself.

2016 Clos les Fites, Estriacus, Priorat @ £22.75

Yes, it’s back and fans of the 2012 will not be disappointed with the new vintage of this stunning single vineyard offering. This is the premium red from the Estriacus winery (formerly La Perla del Priorat) that has the quality and class of many of its pricier neighbours. It’s a blend of 65% Garnacha, 30% Cariñena and 5% Cabernet Sauvignon and includes fruit sourced from vines of over 100 years old. Only produced in the best vintages it is aged for 12 months in French oak barrels then further ageing in bottle. It has all the wonderful characteristics you expect from great Priorat – black cherry, blackberry, liquorice, pepper and spice -however there is a superb elegance to this new release that just enhances the quality and complexity even further. Lovely now but you’ll be rewarded handsomely if you cellar it for a couple of years.

Bargain of the Week

An excellent organic Rioja from one of the regions greatest small producers –

2016 Carravalseca Organic Rioja Crianza, Bodegas Casa Primicia – Was £15.95, Offer Price £12.95

What a wonderful glass of red this is. Produced from fruit grown in one of Rioja Alavesa’s most esteemed and beautiful vineyards it just gets better with every vintage. 97% Tempranillo and 3% Graciano is the blend and the grapes are hand-picked then go through vigorous selection at the winery. The wine is aged in both American and French oak (50/50) for 18 months and then in bottle until release. The 2016 is beautifully balanced with fruit intensity and freshness and has excellent structure. The high quality oak gives a subtle spiciness that enhances, rather than overpowers, the rich dark fruit. This is really starting to harmonise and will make superb drinking over the festive period. A bargain indeed.

The Story Mo Far

So we are halfway through Movember and sales and donations so far have provided a total of £250 – that’s about £1 per bristle. But more importantly the moustache itself is heading down the ‘Sweeney villain circa 1975’ look. You can take a look at the progress so far at my Movember page and any small donations will be appreciated or keep buying a wine as a percentage of this month’s sales are being donated to the charity.


Please feel free to get in touch any time with any wine requirements to jonny@songbirdwine.co.uk

Jonny Wren, Songbird in Chief


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