Monday, 24 April 2017

HV Wines: Maset Del lleo Tempranillo Penedes Reserva 2009, Spain

I bought this wine for a few reasons, 1. the presentation looked good, cared for even though it bended towards traditional way in its outfit, 2, Penedes is amongst Spain's better regions for wine making, 3. It was a reserva  and vintage 2009 plus the bottle indicated the amount of bottles produced and the number of production this bottle had.
The house Maset Del Lleo never heard off so had to delve into my library to find out more.

Let u first start with the region; Penedes is known amongst wine lovers but not so often that we come along wines (sparkling wines excluded) from this region. The majority of times you will come along Rioja and Ribera del Duero the two front runners in the image of Spanish wines around the world especially red wine.
Penedes is based in one of the most known regions of Spain, Catalonia. It sits between Barcelona and Tarragona, nested in the pre-coastal Catalonian mountain range and the Mediterranean coast. A wide range of wines are produced here, the most famous one is of course cava, 95% of it is produced in Penedes, then they produce also dry reds and dry whites and on a smaller scale dessert wines.
Wine making in this region as in the rest of Spain, dates back a very long time, the Romans have fully contributed to the production of wine, today in the little wine museum in vilafranca in Penedes can be many vestiges found of their time in the region.

Penedes is renowned for its modernista architecture from the likes of Gaudi, Cadalfach and Domenech I Montaner. It is also here that famous international brands are based, Miguel Torres and Jean Leon, as well as the top in the making of Cava, such as Gramona and Raventos with the two biggest cava producers Freixenet and Codorniu (you must have seen them somewhere along the line on a shelve in your supermarket, together combined about 170 million bottles in production).
The different grape varieties used here gives Penedes that extra edge over their competition, White: Chardonnay, Macabeu, Malvasia de Sitges, Moscatell d'Alexandria, Parellada, Riesling, Sauvignon blanc and Xarel-Lo, Red: Cabernet sauvignon, Garnatxa negra, Merlot, Monastrell, Pinot noir, Samao, Syrah, Tempranillo.

Penedes wine region is subdivided in several zones, Baix-Penedes, Mitja-Penedes, and Alt-Penedes, as you can probably guess, it means low/mid and high Penedes. The overall terroir structure is a mixture of limestone, sand and clay with the influence of the Mediterranean sea and an overall mild climate with an average temperature of 60 F/ 15.5 degrees Celsius. So you sits here in an zone that can and does produce a lot of grapes, vines go rarely to sleep so for many (cava especially) they are quickly replaced when they show signs of slowing down in production. For all things non sparkling, there is a bit more patience but for me to have a good and healthy grape balance, I would like to have some frost a period of sleep for the vine. As with much, rest is a good revitalisor.

Maset Del LLeo Selectum Reserva 2009

I had never heard of this house, and when this Selectum reserva 2009 was on offer in a wine shop that on itself was not so super interested, I decided to have a try. This house is over 200 years old, 240 to be exact (1777), they make still wines and cavas. This house produces quite a large family of wines, sparkling, white, red and rose, the most interesting things is that the one I bought is not to be found on their original website. Although on the bottle can you find all the information about the wine and its production (which is a plus point), there is very little information about this wine to be found on the web or in my wine guides and Spanish wine encyclopedia. The Massana family who started this venture are still holding firm today, they were down to earth merchants, delivering, wine, cava, fruits and vegetables directly to the customers in Barcelona, on the same time taking orders for the following week. They develop a telephony service to be able to serve their customers better, still today they work on that system. This house has become pretty big and out of a couple of wines, I am asking myself the questions of the reliability and quality of their wines. As most mass productions business they are rarely good, except for feeding the masses.

Price: €14.10 $15.30 £11.80

Alcohol: 13.5%

Grape: 100% Tempranillo

Visual: Although that this wines is now 8 years old the colour appearing when poured into the glass was of  medium ruby, the limpidity was perfect, the brilliance good, colour intensity 2.5 out of 5, legs were heavy but not thick, masculine expression and an animal rustic sense of behavior, aged adult but still fairly good looking not to many wrinkles.

Nose: Fruity at first black cherries, candy scent a certain sweetness, then undergrowth not to powerful, wet, oak impressions but faintly, tiny allure of complexity, later you get some herbs and spice (anise/estragon not in huge tones), thyme made a brief appearance and at the end currants could be noticed.

Palate: The attack was fruity, black fruits, soft impressions, round tannins, with a medium body, then mid palate red fruits made entrance but short, the aromas and acidity was fair with a slight heating up of the palate, the lingering was medium.

Conclusion: The wine did not repulse me, if I may express me that way, as the package in the way it was presented, you would expect a bit more, it was certainly pleasant to drink but also pleasantly quick to forget. This looks like another house that produces wines to please all palate and to come and go without leaving any trace. I had this wine over a week ago and I can't really remember the emotions I had tasting it. Not disliking at all but stands amongst many in its category, value for money again 50/50 I would say.

Score:  I rate this wine 16.9/20 69/100

Until next time please do drink responsibly.

Thursday, 20 April 2017

HV Wines: Domaine Les Aurelles another treasure from the Languedoc

I remember still so well the day I ended up amongst the vines in Montpellier in 2004, where I officially started my quest into wine. I sat at a table on a warm summer night in the old town of Montpellier, when the wine cart was handed over and I casually had a peak at it. By my great surprise I was taken aback with the choice of wines coming just from this region. I, before that did not really had good vibes from the Languedoc-Roussillon (I think back then many did), but how I got this wrong. Like little kid I got all excited and ordered a selection of red and white wines, as we were with about 12 at the table and all wine enthusiasts, the opportunity to not stick to one single wine was totally out of the question. One thing let to another and before I knew I was enrolled in a government programme Viticulture/Oenology.

It is then along this degree that I started to discover the talent hidden behind the vines and the future finally this region has in front of him, even though some on the west side of France still mock in secret (before it was just right out loud), they know damn well that great potential is embedded in the terroir of the Languedoc-Roussillon.
The wine I want you to know about comes from the Languedoc.

The Languedoc-Roussillon is the biggest wine field in the world, that has not always been a good thing in the past, but since the late 80's a massive transformation has been happening that starts to reap its fruits for about 10 years now.
But how it all came along we need to step back in time and a couple thousand of years to say the least. The greeks brought vines from minor Asia, they planted them on the land they occupy, the Romans did the same, they started from the town of Narbonne, the first Roman capital of Gaul. The early history of the Languedoc was a period where vast amounts of wine was produced (at that that time wine was pretty sweet), it was consumed by the legions but also by the bucket load by the frenchman for their breakfast, lunch and dinner. The major grape varieties back then were Carignan, Tempranillo (named cencibel), Mourvedre, Syrah and Grenache, (much the same these days). Not surprising to see such a Spanish influence as until the middle of the 13th century Languedoc was part of Aragon and ruled from Barcelona.

It is recorded 156 years before the famous Dom Perignon claimed to have invented Champagne, the wine growers from Limoux were already producing a sparkling wine named "Blanquette de Limoux" by what became known as methode champenoise. Passing through the devastating phylloxera period where pretty much all vines were infected, ripped out burned and replaced by american rootstock grafted with the original grape variety, Languedoc was one of the first regions to fight against this tiny monster, that when the rest of France was affected the Languedoc enjoyed a period of small fortune as they were supplying the entire country with wine. Not much happened in the Languedoc until in 1948 Fitou was awarded the first AOC in the South of France. Others followed soon behind but hoping of competing on quality with the likes of Bordeaux, Burgundy was frustrating as the region had a stigma of producing low quality wines, and the AOC regulations didn't help. Not a single variety was allowed, only  the old Spanish grapes (mentioned earlier) were allowed in regulated percentages. It moved in the 80's when far-seeing wine makers started to plant, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Chardonnay.....these wines could not been labelled AOC (NOW AOP), so they fell back on the old system named "Vins de Pays".

Today the face of the Languedoc has drastically changed and a system of Grand Crus classification is becoming to exist, so far Les Crus are; Corbières Boutenac, Minervois La Livinière, Saint Chinian-Berlou, Saint Chinian-Roquebrun, Faugères, La Clape, Terrasses du Larzac. Soon to become; Languedoc Grès de Montpellier, Languedoc Montpeyroux, Languedoc Pézenas, Languedoc Pic St-Loup, Languedoc Saint Drezery, Languedoc St Georges d'Orques and Limoux Blanc.

Domaines les Aurelles

Since 1995 Basile Saint Germain (cool name) and his wife, Caroline have worked with the utmost requirement almost religiously to work their land without, fertilizers, weed control and  pesticides. Low yields and an attention to every detail of the terroir and the handling of it. A very unique process of their wines as they only release them after a very long maturing time and fermenting in enamelled tanks, something not commonly seen in the region. The entire intention is to create wines that are civilized, subtle in fruit, digestive, elegantly polished, and hold well in time. Total hand selected harvest, and only grapes achieving the specific requirements needed are used for the cuvees. All their cuvees are then once again verified by lab to assure the best quality (according to the season) and purity possible. The long maturing is a conscience choice to permit the forces of the wine to develop a growth producing harmonious wines and by that creating a vitale energy rich in texture, pleasure and a harmony in aromas.
The domaine holds just over 8 hectares of vines, 1 hectare for the white and 7.5 for the reds. The grapes they use are 100% Roussanne for the white wine and Grenache noir 47%, Mourvèdre 26%, Carignan 20% and Syrah 7% for their red wines.
The total production is around 30,000 bottles.

Aurel Blanc 2011
The only female in the family but what a lady she is, made out of 100% Roussanne. The terroir is on ancienne hills Villafranchian, sandy gravel type of soil with the gravel depth of 10 to 15 meters and basaltic scree. This wine is an AOP Coteaux du Languedoc, a hand harvest exercised in 2 to 4 passages and with a yield of 20 hectolitres per hectare. Matured in oak barrels of 350 litres and steel tanks, bottled after 24 months. The sulphite content is inferior to the biodynamic norms and certified of any trace of pesticides and herbicides by the laboratory Excell. Production is around 1700 to 3500 bottles.

Price:  €54 $58 £45 average ex tax.

Grape: 100% Roussanne

Alcohol: 14.5%

Visual: A pale gold colour appeared when poured into the glass, revealing an allure and a certain sexiness of this elegant and oozing wine. The intensity of the wine is about 3 out of 5 and its brilliance is top, with a limpidity 5 out of 5, perfect. The wine shines with confidence and personality, a matured and intentful wine.

Nose: A lemon zest composition almost lemon tarte comes at first followed with elements of vanilla and truffle touches (will even be more pronounced with ageing), an attack that is well balanced with a constant resurgence of the zesty elements and the oak (subtle), joyfully balanced and somewhat masterfully composed.

Palate: The attack is full and a good notion of roundness (not heavy but noticeable subtle), the fruits are lively accompanied by a well packed doses of freshness, it invades your palate rich in aromas and holds itself very well together mid-palate. The terroir is noticeable and hints of minerality do appear amongst the elements with the tannins in a very healthy condition. The wine holds a very good concentration of the fruits and its lingering last for a long time and you still keep the wine feeling coming back. Although I taste this wine a couple of days ago I can still can remember clearly the taste now.

Conclusion: A not easy to find domain as their production is not huge, I got lucky as I found in a shop in France over easter holidays, but boy what an impact it gives you. More and more out of this region appears wines that challenge many big known names and more and more apparent now do we see the rise of the Languedoc wines. If you ever can find these wines as much for their reds as for their white, it is a bit pricey but it is worth the ride.

Score: I rate this wine 19.1/20 91/100

Until next please do drink responsibly.

Saturday, 15 April 2017

HV Wines: Descendientes de J. Palacios La Faraona Bierzo Spain something special

The other night I was in conversation with some friends from overseas talking about a wine I have heard of but never really paid enough attention to. I knew that holding my hands onto one of these bottles were to become a mission for the next coming years.
You could think "is it that hard?" well one bottle cost about €641 $673 £543 (and tiny production) and when it comes to that kind of prices I become to be placed in the category out of my reach in a way. Yes, one could go for it but then can it be justified?

For those for whom it's like buying a loaf of bread, justification doesn't even comes to matter, but for those for whom a bottle costing that price is a wild splash out then a reflection is certainly needed.
A. Do I buy it because I so want to try this wine, no occasion comes to date. B. My close mates will surely appreciate this,(are they worth the pleasure, would they return the pleasure?). C. A very special occasion is coming up and I want it to be super special, (hope that this occasion has a head count of 2 otherwise more bottles would be needed and so need to dig deeper and a trip that could become very costly).
It is true to say that some people on this planet of ours do not even come close weekly or even monthly in wages to the price of one bottle, but then in the world of wine sadly one cannot think like that, otherwise none of those wines would be sold. Then you can argue; "great more for others and  more affordable". Sadly it aint going to happen as the price reflects the demand and supply.

Anyway enough philosophy  have you ever heard of Bierzo?

Bierzo is situated northwest in the region of Castilla Y Leon, close to the border with Galicia. 
Bierzo is divided into two sections, Bierzo Alto (high Bierzo) a terrain mineral rich and mountainous landscape with terraced vineyards,
and Bierzo Bajo (low Bierzo) which is very wide and verdant plain. For a very long time nothing winewise came out of Bierzo, but has times changed, today it is one of the most prominent regions in Spain. The capital of Bierzo is Ponferrada, 52,000 inhabitants, all the rest of the region is designed with tiny picturesque villages. Many castles are to be found scattered over the region, Bierzo was given its DO status in 1989. Bierzo has a significant climate influence by the Atlantic Ocean, average it is quite mild and benign, with a certain degree of humidity due the Galician influence, and on the other hand somewhat dry like in Castilla. Thanks to the overall low altitude, late frost is avoided quite successfully and the grapes are usually harvest one month before the rest of Castilla. The average rainfall per year is about 721 mm. The soil in the mountains regions is made up of a mixture of fine elements, quartzite and slate. In general the soil of the DO Bierzo is humid, dun and slightly acidic. The greater quality indices are associated with the slightly sloped terraces close to the rivers, the half-terraced or steep slopes situated at an altitude of between 450m and 1,000m.
The main grape varieties used in Bierzo are  for red; Mencia or Negra and Garnacha Tintorera, for white; Godello, Palomino, Dona Blanca and Malvasia. 

  • Vineyard surface: 3,033 hectares
  • Wine-Growers: 2,555
  • Wineries: 70
  • 2015 harvesting rating: excellent
  • Production: 9,642.8000 hectolitres
  • Market percentage: 72% domestic 28% export
Vintage rating Bierzo 1987-2015 
1987: excellent 1988: very good 1990: Good 1991: Very good 1992:  Excellent 1993: Regular 1994: Very good 1995: Good 1996: Very good 1997: Good 1998: Good 1999: Good 2000: Very good 2001: Very good 2002: Very good 2003: Very good 2004: Very good 2005: Excellent 2006: Very good 2007: Excellent 2008: Very good 2009: Very good 2010: Very good 2011: Very good 2012: Excellent 2013: Very good 2014: Excellent 2015: Excellent 

Descendientes de J.Palacios
When Alvaro Palacios and his nephew Ricardo Perez arrived in Bierzo, there was an earthquake of curiosity and questions why these men on the top of their game came to Bierzo. But soon after many began to realise why. A terroir plenty of possibilities and a red grape variety, Mencia who thrives like no other here. The Palacios project was set apart from others for various reasons; it actively searched for old vines located on steep slopes at high altitude in the vicinity of Corullon and applied vinification techniques that were less on extraction and more on highlighting the terroir personality. Additionally Ricardo is one of the first producers in Spain to farm his own vineyards following biodynamic principles. 

They produce five wines, Villa de Corullon about €36 $37 £31 producing about 17,000 bottles. Their premium wine La Faraona about €641 $673 £543 producing about 600 bottles, Moncerbal about €90 $95 £76 producing about 2000 bottles and there is Las Lamas about €91 $96 £72 producing about 2000 bottles and then their is a bit their entry wine Petalos del Bierzo about €17 $19 £14 producing 350,000 bottles. 

I want to talk about the La Faraona. 

As you can read the production of this wine is so tiny that, a true hunt is launched to hopefully one day holding my hands on one. I have spoken with a couple of friends who had the opportunity to taste/drink this wine and even their wildest dreams can't keep up. They tasted the 2009.

La Faraona 2009.

Grape: 100% Mencia

Alcohol: 14.5%

Price: €694 $685 £548 

Visual:  When the wine reveals itself in the glass a dark rich medium purple colour appears, full of life and Spanish passion. Its limpidity is perfect and the brilliance set a benchmark of absolute top class. it reveals a character and personality with structure and much story telling, an elegance and intensity only found in the rarest of species inhabiting the spectrum of wine. Apparently just by observing and studying this wine it seduces you with little effort. 

Nose: It comes to you in style and persona, a nose filled with black dark fruits, wild forest fruits and spices with oak layers weaved and intertwined with pure directions and a constant movement amongst the elements, a sublime complexity. It touches the deepest of emotions and gives you that absolute perfect balance. 

Palate:  Rich, smooth, round, bull body, medium dry and greatly balanced between aromas and acidities. mid palate full of flavour and fruits, elegant, fresh and sensual, a lingering that seems to have no end. 

Conclusion:  Yes this is a wine where I set my mission on to discover and enjoy it, Alvaro Palacios and Ricardo Perez are two men with immense talent and love for the making of wine, wine that doesn't pass unnoticed. Although that La Faraona  is scarce and not light in price, the other wines from this domaine are more affordable and accessible even for them it will be a bit of a search as the overall producing of their Bierzo winery doesn't pass the 375k bottles. At first it might look a lot but when a couple millions want to hold their hands on one of their bottles then you can see that production is small. Once again like to make my point, that quality comes in small packages, it always has and it always will. If you come one day across an Alvaro Palacio wine, not just from Bierzo, you will see what a really good wine really taste like.

Score: This wine gets an average score of 19.4/20 94/100 

Until next time please do drink responsibly. 

Tuesday, 11 April 2017

HV Wines: Boccantino Cannonau Reserva Di Sardegna 2012

The other day I came across a small wine shop and as ever I am always curious to see if there is something that might be interesting. Although that the shop proclaims to be first and foremost a wine shop, much choice wasn't on offer. My enthusiasm dropped a couple of levels and the weight in my shoes a bit heavier. The wine on offer was 90% French and not of the greatest, none New Zealand, one or two Aussies, idem for South Africa a bit more Spain and Italy and that was it.
The rest of the shop was spirits and sparkling and at the back of the shop bulk wine. After going through the collection I decided to grab this Sardinian wine, for a couple of reasons; the grape "Cannonau" and Sardinia, not often do we encounter a wine from this beautiful somewhat forgotten island in the Mediterranean.


As part of the Italian wines Sardinia is, interestingly Corsica who is situated just above Sardinia is then part of France, although for a very long time guerrilla fighting has marked the past between the French and the Corsicans. Today it seems much quieter as Sardinia, Corsica always felt more leaning towards Italy then France.
Sardinia is this sleeping rugged, rocky and very beautiful Island not everyone connects to with wine at first thought. But the Sardinian wine history is ancient and fascinating starting in the Bronze age something like 3500 years ago. Through the Roman era to today wine was always part of the Sardinian culture. The island holds a mild climate with plenty of sunshine, a predominantly limestone and granite terroir, do offer Sardinia the potential to make beautiful wines, question is, do they?
Not that often do we come across a Sardinian wine on the shelve in your wine shop or supermarket. The two master grapes on this island is Cannonau for the reds and Vermentino for the white. These two grapes seem to understand the terroir of the Island and offer a variety of styles. The island in the 16th Century was given the nickname "Insula Vini" which is; Island full of wine. In the 20th Century sadly cooperatives where the islands largest producers and started to buy shareholders grapes at a guaranteed prices regardless of the quality. Result the wines overall were uninteresting, shabby, very low cost and so the entire wine industry went from hill to hill pretty much down. From the 1970's a couple of winemakers have started to turn the clock and began to fight back, bringing the identity of the island back into the bottle. So Sardinia today has 1 DOCG, 19 DOC, 15 IGT, a sign that it is working its way back up the ladder and bring to the world wines with character, imagination and determination.

Boccantino Cannonau Reserva 2012

Boccantino is part of the Schenk group, based now in Tyrol but started in reggio Emilia in 1952. It has grown to become on national level now of the most significant wine producers in Italy. It started as a company bottling bulk wines, but quickly they wanted to be seen as a serious producer of quality wine and started to collaborate with small wine growers. Now they have their roots firmly planted in many Italian regions offering the consumer a wide variety of wines with also a fairly wide variety of prices, something for everyone. Schenk group with more than a Century of businesses founded by Arnold Schenk in 1893. The group is now holding wineries in Switzerland, France, Italy  and Spain, with a solid sales network in Belgium, Germany and the United Kingdom. In total owns the group 3500 hectares of vines, and that's is quite a bit of grape believe you me.

Much about Boccantino is there not to be found, as part of the group and their premium wines, Boccantino produces wines from not just Sardinia but also Puglia and Sicilia. Southern wines it seems is what they aiming at. They have 8 wines in the range 2 white wines and 6 red wines.

Cannonau the grape used in the wine here is what they call in France or Spain Grenache (Garnacha). Although that there have been founds that the Cannonau is originally from the island, it reflect many aspects and characters of the Grenache noir grape. Many grapes around the world hold different names and so it can be a bit confusing I must admit.

Grape: Cannonau 100%

Alcohol: 13.5%

Price: average price €7 $8 £5.50

Visual: A pale ruby red colour bursts at you when filling the glass, its limpidity is perfect and its brilliance is ok, the intensity of the colour is about 3on5, the legs are medium and rolling down uneven and fairly slow. The wine shines some freshness and a touch too polished, masculine and unpretentious.

Nose: The attack on the nose is pleasant and not shy at all, this is a real fruity based wine with red and black fruits jumping out, blackcurrants, blackberries, herbs and spices. hints of violet flowers, fairly clear directions and no complexity, it doesn't feel and smell it wants to be. A little heat on the nose, alcohol in small fumes but not really bothering.

Palate: A fair attack of the wine with black fruits mid palate but dissipating fairly quickly, soft tannins and a dry touch, the wine feels tight and carries a medium body, its lingering is ok not to long but fair. Palate warms up a little and the wine feels somewhat soft. Do not drink this wine to warm it will be burning the hell out of your palate.I think that this wine will be pleasant chilled, but not cold.

Conclusion:  Would I buy it again? Maybe for a summer picnic, a wine I can drink slightly chilled, but not to store in my cellar. Will I remember it, not really but it has not disappointed me, I did enjoy it pleasantly in the spring sun. Price wise an excellent value for its money. It is a wine that is a bit to polished to my taste holds little identity, the grape would be the only element that pulls you towards Sardinia and that is if you know Sardinian wines. I know there are other houses much better but then also much more expensive then this one. Nice to drink a wine not coming from the usual places.

Score: I rate this wine 16/20 60/100

Until next time please do drink responsibly.

Friday, 7 April 2017

HV Wines: Prunotto Piedmont Italy

Once in awhile you fall onto a house that surprises you all the way. Prunotto has a range of wines that each and everyone of them has a defined character, personality and individuality marked by a base line all the wines are connected outstanding winemaker.

Prunotto has a pretty large family divided in Cru wines, Classics, Specialities, Mompertone and Vigna Colonnello. In total this house has 22 wines, in a wide variety of styles and intensities. First, Prunotto is based in the most divine of regions "Piedmont" north of Italy.
First of all Piedmont is classified by all in the wine world as one of the top class wine regions in the world. It is also the region in Italy that holds the most DOCG (Denominazione di Origine Controllata e Garantita). It is the home to the famous Barolo, Barbaresco, Barbera D'Asti and the Moscato D'Asti. This region sits at the foot of the Alps, so a variety of climate influences, which ultimately is beneficial for the vines, and the word "Piedmont" means at the foot of the mountain. It borders on the western part with the beautiful Provence in France. To the southeast lies the Apennine mountains, these low coastal hills divide Piedmont from its neighbour Liguria and the Mediterranean sea.  

Piedmont is often compared as the Burgundy of Italy, due to its small scaled family wineries and focus on quality that at times borders on obsession, like Burgundy with their pinot noir, piedmont does wit Nebbiolo. Interesting enough it is not the most widely planted grape but one that has contributed to the quality and the reputation of its wine. Monferrato and Langhe hills are two aces in the hands of this region which has its tradition and renewal of its winemaking technology and know-how as their combined defence to the world. 

Piedmont holds 43 DOC and 7 DOCG (Asti, Barbaresco, Barolo, Brachetto d'Acqui, Gattinara, Gavi or Cortese di Gavi and Ghemme) 
Red Grapes: Barbera, Nebbiolo, Dolcetto, Brachetto, Pelaverga, Ruche, Croatina, Bonarda Piedmontese

White Grapes: Cortese, Muscat blanc a petit grains, Timorasso, Arneis

  • Piedmont has 46,000 hectares of vineyard
  • Produces about 70 million litres 
  • Nebbiolo is derived from the word nebbio which means fog. 
  • Barolo is known as the King of wines
  • Top white wine is Gavi di Gavi

In 1904 in the presence of notary Giacomo Oddero and the young witness Alfred Prunotto, the cooperative winery "Ai Vini Delle Langhe" was founded. The first harvest took place in 1905, this was followed by several years of severe difficulty,  economic instability aggravated by the WW1. In 1922 when it was time to renew the cooperative, many members decided not to contribute their grapes anymore. Although it was a very exceptional year the vintage came out to a very small production. The winery started to have serious economic problems and was finally liquidated. During this crisis Alfred Prunotto met and then married Luigina, with whom he decided to take over the cooperative. Thanks to the passionate persistent of the young couple, the winery build up a reputation that quickly spread and they began to export throughout the world. First it was latin America, followed by the United states, Prunotto was one of the few Italian companies that believes into the market of the new world. In 1956 Alfred decided to stop and gave the company to his dear friend and wine expert Beppe Colla aided by Carlo Filiberti and a bit later by his brother TinoColla. 

In 1961 the Prunetto cellars began to identify specific plots of land to produce quality grapes for Prunotto Bussia and Barbera d'Alba Pian Romualdo. In 1972 new wine cellars were design near Alba where today their head offices are based. 
In 1989 the Marchesi Antinori family began its collaboration with the Prunotto company. firstly handling distribution and in 1994  when the Colla brothers retired getting directly involved in the production process, maintaining the excellent level of quality which the founder Alfred Prunotto always insisted upon and hope would keep on living. One is never sure of how his or her legacy will be kept to its origin. 

Prunotto Bussia Barolo DOCG 2005

Grape: 100% Nebbiolo

Alcohol: 14% 

Price: average ex tax €63 $68 £54 

Visual: It appears majestic and without any sign of shyness in the glass, it reveals a deep garnet colour, signalling its total readiness. the legs are medium heavy running down slowly and coordinated, a fair transparency little hazy, brilliance good and good reflection, a wine that acts like a king and behaves like one. masculine and elegant. 

Nose:  A nose well present nose with aromas of dark fruits cherries at first followed by plums nicely ripe, flowers appear out of nowhere and violet as prime, spices mixes in and the oak is well balanced. smells rich and inviting. 

Palate: a bom of fruits explode on the palate with tannins beautiful round and soft, mid palate holding very well together and the balance between aromas and acidities is nicely perfected, a lingering that last fro a long time, makes you dream. 

Conclusion: The last time I had the opportunity to taste the Bussia was in 2008, back then it was the 2005 as well and wasn't ready at all, I remember that we had to let it breath for a couple of hours for it to reveal itself but the age can not be fooled with Barolo, as the 2005 today was a world apart, wonderful and delightful, a great wine a definite space in my cellar. 

Score: I rate this wine 19/20 90/100 

Until next time please do drink responsibly


Monday, 3 April 2017

HV Wines: Bonneau du Martray Grand Cru 2009 Corton Charlemagne Côte de Beaune Burgundy.

I remember this wine very well the first time I tasted it, it was a 1998, enjoyed in 2008. Ten years of sleep and still then at the time yought sat firmly in every drop this wine offered me. The sensation was euphoric and mesmerizing, a firm statement that nobody does Chardonnay better than Burgundy.

When the following year a client for whom I buy wine for asked me to bring him some serious Burgundian white but let's not rob a bank, I thought straight away at Bonneau du Martray, as back then in 2011 I could get the 2009 for under £100 a bottle (bought it in the UK), I was able to get 36 bottles and knew and hoped that my client would be patient as these wines only really start to reveal themselves after a beauty sleep of about 8 years. He on the other hand, had little patience and wanted to dive into this big, powerful, jewel of a wine. We bought sat there in the wine cellar like two little kids longing to try the ultra of nectars of one of the most famous regions in the world of wine.
As I had a feeling, Bonneau wasn't that bonneau if I my say, as she wasn't awake and was still firmly in her deep trance, like sleeping beauty she needed to be awaken by a gentle kiss of time and that time wasn't there yet. So he was a bit upset and crossed, but I did warn him when I bought this wine that it will need to rest. Let us not forget that of these Corton Charlemagne general speaking, there aren't mountains in availability and when they are released on the market they do not intend to beg for customers.  

Cote D'Or Burgundy
Burgundy wine regions walks amongst the oldest and about 200 million years ago the region was part of a tropical sea out of which it created limestone soils, even today if you walk through the vineyards and study the soils you still can find fossilized rock dating back to that period. It is the Romans around 1 century AD that lay the somewhat foundations but it really were the Catholic monks that establish vineyards and winemaking in the middle ages. They were cultivating for the church and the aristocratic dukes of Burgundy. Then the French revolution gave the land back to the people, who till this day pride themselves on the land they lend from their children.

Burgundy has turned almost entirely organic as great lesson was learned during the 70's when over pesticide the terroir was really not the way forward and much progress on that level has been made to, so what is sprayed today has an enormous smaller impact on the land itself. Much thinking and reasoning has brought the wine culture into the 21 century as we all know too well now, what is destroyed takes decades and in some cases millennia to re-balance itself to its point of equilibrium. 

Burgundy has regarding grape varieties the easiest to get your head around. Predominantly and that is for about 98% of the wines will be made of Pinot Noir or Chardonnay, Gamay, Cesare and Bourgogne Aligote, Sauvignon and melon follow. It has 5 distinctive regions, Chablis, Cote de Nuits, Côte de Beaune, Côte Chalonnaise and Mâconnais

Before Cote Chalonnaise and Maconnais were regarded as the weaker siblings of the two stars above Nuit and Beaune, but today the rise of these two regions is tremendous and it is there you can find new bright stars with enormous potential at still very affordable prices one of them is ( )

Burgundy represents only about 3% of France production but is amongst the most prestigious wine regions in the world envy by millions. It is virtually impossible today to acquire vines in Burgundy it has 29,000 hectares of vines  with a production of about 1,5000.000 hectolitres. They make predominately dry white wine (60%), red wine (32%) rose (extremely rare), and sparkling wine (Crémant de Bourgogne, a very nice alternative to Champagne, they use the same grapes as in Champagne). Bourgogne has the Premier Crus and the Grand Crus, these two mentions on the label indicate that you are holding in your hand the summon of the Burgundian wines and most likely a serious price tags come with it, but you are also going to experience the nectar of nectars in the world of wine. 


Corton-Charlemagne is one of these nectar wines and sublime appellations. It sits in the Cote D'Or of Burgundy (Côte de Beaune and Côte de Nuits) Cote de Nuits will predominantly produce reds while Cote de Beaune will go for white. Corton-Charlemagne is a Grand Crus appellation in Côte de Beaune, producing communes of Corton-Charlemagne are; Aloxe-Corton, Ladoix-Serrigny and Pernand-Vergelesses. Corton-Charlemagne is 52 hectares big and produces about 300,000 bottles a year. Only white wine is produced in Corton-Charlemagne and it is 100% Grand Crus wine, should be mentioned on the label below the name of the domain, guaranteed. A young Corton-Charlemagne is pale gold in colour with green reflections, whilst an ageing one will give you warm golden yellow to amber colour reflections. Observing a wine is very important as it will give you many clues about the state of the wine. 

Bonneau du Martray
This domain has been family owned for almost two centuries. The vineyard lies in one single parcel on the famous hills of Corton at the heart of Corton-Charlemagne Grand Crus. This house here approach its vines with intense scrutiny and observation, meticulously selected plants and controlled yield practices. Their work on the field is intense and recognized by all major critics around the world. Here stands a house at the summon of the wine world and especially white wine as their prime product. This is a house that makes wines to go into your cellar to finish off their beauty sleep, and when ready will reveal its uniqueness that will swoop you of your feet and awaken you to realisation that no one makes white wine like Burgundy. On average for a bottle of Bonneau du Martray will cost you €142 $150 £120. 

Bonneau du Martray 2009
Price: €126 $134 £107

Alcohol: 13.5%

Grape:  100% Chardonnay

Production: about 50,000 bottles

Size vineyard: 9.5 hectares (single vineyard)

Visual: When young you will notice this young golden warm bright yellow colour, today it has evolved already to deeper warmer golden colour, legs running down in harmony with each other like a group of synchronized swimmers, its reflections is perfect and its brilliance is great. when swirling the wine dances in the your glass and reveals an immense attractive personality. Effortlessly it captures your attention and urges to come into her world, to discover what she's all about. Seductive and inspiring. 

Nose: The ouverture of this spectacle is ripe juicy white fruits, pear, apple, little peach followed by acacia flowers and minerals. The oak weaves itself gently and subtle through the elements, bringing with itself flint and gunpowder, it feels greatly mature and grand, with aromas pure and controlled, no messing around with confusion and guessing, a clear path is pulled all along the line with one intend....enjoy. A beautiful complexity perfectly balanced.

Palate:  The round buttery warm attack with tannins well set, get you the wow factor instantly. Rich and deep, volume and control, a perfect balance between aromas and acidities, a mid palate full rich and well harmonized with a lingering that seems to go on forever. Grabbing your heart with emotions and desires, a wine with the right intentions, with the just tonations, here surely comes to ask to sit and reflect that you have just entered the realm of kings and queens of a wine steeped in history.

Conclusion: Not often do I get the chance to hold my hands on a bottle of Corton Charlemagne and Bonneau du Martray, and as the first time it did not disappoint me for a bit. Here is a house, a dynasty that brings to the world this golden white nectar in a bottle, that I wish all that have love for wine could at least taste once in their life. An experience classed hors-category bliss and sublime. 

Score: I rate this wine 19.50/20 95/100 

Until next time please do drink responsibly.