Something new to look at this year – and just in time for the festive period – a hand-picked array of limited parcels.
We have honed and trimmed this list from more than 30 possible options down to just the dozen you see here. Some are classic and mature others are maybe a bit ‘on the spectrum’ as it were but all are absolutely as interesting as hell.
We’ve bought them all as small parcels and for the most part that’s exactly what they are, very limited little treats, perfect for the coming November/December thrill ride. A bold purchase on a couple could even see you with a UK exclusive! Just a couple of them are potentially repeatable and a big fat positive response just might influence a proper listing next year but for the most part… this is it… one chance… have fun with them!
Cavit Zeveri Muller Thurgau, 2016
About a month ago we were tasting some potential new additions to the range and, asked what he thought, one of the newer team members commented how beautiful and fine this wine was and then added, “but then… people probably won’t rush to pick a £17 Muller Thurgau off the shelf”.
A fabulous, pure and lively exchange followed… Of course ‘people’ won’t rush to pluck it from the shelves but there isn’t a quality ‘indie’ in the country who survives on people simply picking things from the shelves is there? It’s pretty well the definition of an indie that customers are guided to the things that we know are really good and really interesting that they may well never have tried off their own bat!
We all had our two penneth and we all felt good about the wine and we all felt good about the trade we’re in… it counts for bugger all of course as the bottle probably won’t fit on your shelves anyway!
It is a bit special mind. Sensually textured, sleek, taut and long with intriguing flavours hovering somewhere between ripe zesty Sauvignon and something maybe Moscato Giallo-ish… Lovely presentation, unusual, not at all expensive for a wine of this sort of interest and quality either.
In stock now.
Uggiano Chianti Classico Riserva Prestige, 2011
Uggiano have been as close to an ‘instant success’ as we can remember, there’s a lovely accessible yet thoroughly authentic quality to their well-priced wines and if it doesn’t sound too cocky, it’s no real surprise to see some interesting numbers starting to come through after just one year in the portfolio.
Last time we were with them we tasted a slightly older Riserva from barrel; a 2011 and it really caught our eye. The ‘11’s are ripe, forward, and really attractive, probably not for long term ageing but right now they are delicious.
We ordered all the stock, had it bottled and we’ll ship it as soon as it’s had the three months bottle age required by law. No hesitation. Uggiano appreciated a decisive deal and we’ve made some effort at our end with the net result being that we can get a generous, ripe, classic Chianti Classico with just a touch of really attractive maturity onto shelves in time for Christmas at a tadge under a tenner. Sounds like a deal to us!
Fazzoletto Barbera Passito, 2016
It’s obvious this style of wine is most certainly ‘en vogue’ at the moment and we’ve done our version ‘properly’, we’ve used Barbera and haven’t just added sugar, we’ve genuinely used semi dried grapes in something of a ‘Ripasso’ style.
The result is a deep, intense and very commercial wine which I know it’s going to be a huge success.
In stock now
Villaia Verdicchio Classico, Tenute Pieralisi, 2016
Extra-ordinarily good single vineyard Verdicchio; this is a new release from Monte Schiavo and represents a collaboration between winemaker Simone Schiaffino and legendary consultant Carlo Ferrini.
2016 was just sensational for Verdicchio, honestly everything from Monte Schiavo is looking just brilliant and for the first release of this new flagship white they really couldn’t have gotten any luckier if they’d tried.
Simone was over in the UK a few weeks ago and we gave a sneak preview of the wine to a handful of customers as we took him around to see the UK trade. We’ve just 100 cases of this first vintage allocated to us and based on the reaction we had to these pre-release glimpses we’re quickly going to sell out. Definitely one to get your name down for good and early.
Flashy, immediately impressive, eye catching… all the things you’d hesitate about… and then just beautifully balanced and ‘all of a piece’ and genuinely crisp and lively at the same time. Really smart wine that will comfortably accept a good profit margin.
In stock now
Re di Ras Rosso Piceno, Tenute Pieralisi, 2013
The ‘partner’ to the Villaia above and much, much more limited we’re afraid. This is a proper glass of wine, all bloody and minerally from the Montepulciano influence while sappy, juicy and energised from the Sangiovese.
It’s a fantastically satisfying, savoury, serious bottle of wine, the sort of drink you slowly lose yourself in… philosophy juice! Who’s going to pay £20+ for Rosso Piceno? Not that many, but some really smart people we’d think… which is a good thing as we’ve a paltry 20 cases allocated to us at this stage!
In stock now
Bischofliche Wilhelm Schiefer Riesling, 2016
I’m going to over-do this description if I’m not careful. I’ve only tasted the wine once and it’s just possible it was in the context of the overall tasting or its position in that tasting but honestly, I’ve got this down as just about the prettiest and most delightful glass of wine at the price I’ve seen for a very long time.
It just feels effortless and light on its feet and charming and you go looking for the seriousness and apparently there isn’t any but curiously it’s holding your attention better than Natalie Portman whispering in your ear. It’s not earth shattering or profound or demonstrative, it’s just really, really nice which seems like a good enough reason to try to sell it to people!
In stock now
Bodegas Atalaya Alaya Tierra (Garnacha Tintorera), 2015
In stark contrast to the Riesling Schieffer this is anything but delicate, less Natalie Portman, more Brian Blessed ‘whispering’ in your ear! This would struggle making it into our regular list but as a parcel, it’s so insanely, ridiculously out there that it somehow makes perfect sense.
It’s blah, blah, blah alcohol and blah, blah, blah ripeness and it’s probably fissile in quantities of more than six bottles in any one room and you should almost certainly round up rather than round down… and as Rob said, ‘you could make a pallet of blush Zinfandel out of one bottle of this’, it’s darker than deep space… etc etc… It’s completely bonkers and curiously compelling! Small parcel only shipped because even with our customer base we weren’t sure of finding enough mad people.
Château Pineraie Cahors, Cuvée Authentique, 2011
Pineraie Cahors is one of the long-term heroes of our list. Their top cuvée, ‘L’Authentique’, 100% Malbec, 100% French and 100% ,magnificent is an absolutely unmissable bottle. It’s hugely coloured and on those looks alone threatens to be a reasonably formidable beast. The nose almost confirms your fears/excitement and yet the wild, floral, savoury, spicy notes are always just about tamed with some lovely, refined, sweet and subtle oak notes. In contrast to the visuals the palate is refinement all the way
It’s certainly no shrinking violet and there’s all the scale needed for plenty of exciting flourishes but this is a very slick and polished performance; from lovely playful fruit top notes all the way down to some really dark subterranean rumblings, everything is very neatly and perfectly in its place. It’s a genuinely really impressive bottle of wine and exciting value nipping in at just under the £20 mark.
It’s exactly the sort of thing your customers who think they like Barolo or Chateauneuf or even sometimes Claret… you know the ones… will actually love.
In stock now
Finca Millara Cuesta de los Olivos, 2016
A delightfully silky Mencia from this ancient, mysterious and spectacularly beautiful part of Galicia. Ribeira Sacra fell out of favour due to its inaccessibility, steep slopes and the difficult years of post-Civil War Spain, however, it’s now back on the map.
Finca Millara is the dream of Fernando de Santiago who has brought the tiny hamlet and vineyards of A Millara back to life. Old bush vine vineyards on precipitous slopes produce low yields of the highest quality from the decomposed red slate soils.
The vineyards are worked traditionally by plough and back-breakingly harvested by hand. Native yeasts kick off fermentation in foudre, where grapes stay with their stems, creating a wine with delicate velvet tannins, smooth violet, raspberry fruit, rosemary notes and a touch of balsamic from just three months in French barrels. Very, very pretty.
Due early October
Domaine la Bruyère Touraine Chenonceaux, 2016
With Sancerre and Pouilly Fumé in short supply at any price at the moment the prospect of a decent Loire Sauvignon alternative has to be of interest. This Domaine bottled Touraine from the new Chenonceaux AOP turned out to be quite an alternative!
In stock now
Château Lanessan, Haut Médoc, 2008
We looked at a couple of options to fill the ‘mature Claret’ option and frankly this knocked the socks off the 2005 we also tasted. It might not be the headline making vintage but you’ll have to trust us on this one, it’s by far the better wine.
Really well-balanced with just the right amount of leather and spice, this is perfect fare to impress at dinner parties and not hurt the wallet too much.
In stock now
Château Cardinal, Montagne Saint Émilion, 2015
We were braced to dismiss this pretty quickly then we tasted it. If you ever wanted to move your new-world stalwarts over to some classic French offerings this is the wine to do it with.
It might be something to do with the higher than average ABV but it’s deep and purple and just so moreish. Atypical, and that’s why it should tempt.
In stock now