Sunday, 25 June 2017

HV Wines: Costers Del Sio Petit Sios 2016 Spain

It is a firm proof that Spanish wines on many shelves in wine shops and supermarkets are a confirmation of their popularity which has dramatically increased compared to 15 years ago. I though recommend that you do the effort to look away from your usual supermarket shelve as they have in most cases not the greatest and more often the worst wines on offer. As they are forced to buy large they often and these days almost solely can only address themselves to large wine corporations or the 5 largest wine monsters on planet earth. Also their profit margins are dramatically higher than your local wine shop and you will find much better quality at your local wine shop then your supermarket.

I look every week in several supermarkets to see and find out if there are wines that are worthy of buying (in the popular price range €7 $8 £6.20- €11 $12 £9.70), even up to €17 $18 £14.95 I do peak so often even there the choice is really reduced to almost anorexic proportions and often not fantastic.

This white wine is just under €10 $11 £8.80 (that does not say that you will find it at that price in your country of living). This wine house is based in Lleida which is based in Catalonia. Catalonia who proudly like to seem them as an independent entity but that is another matter, stretches from the historic county of Montsia in the south to the borders with France in the north. the Mediterranean with the Costa Brava and a coastline of 360 kilometres and a top city like Barcelona gives this region many top marks for all to please. Here is the home of the famous Cava, produces top quality wines like Priorat and the more unknown Lleida area where this house Costers Del Sio is from.

The DO appellation that is Catalonia was Spain's first region-wide cover-all Denominacion de origin, created in 1999, it covers all of the scattered vineyards that were not covered by any of the regions 11 DO's. Viticulture in Catalonia thought to have been introduced by the Phoenicians and the Greeks around 400BC through trade. Later the Romans expanded the growing and cultivating of grapes until the arrival of the Moors. Christianity restored the balance and spearheaded viticulture by ways of their monasteries and convents. By the late 18th centuries wine and spirits was one of the most important exports of the region. These days the region is a front runner of bio-dynamic wines through the introduction of international grape varieties. There is a strong French influence and it can be noticed in their wines.

Costers Del Sio 

This house build its first brick in 1992, the family Porcioles-Buixo acquired the property. They visioned a wine project aiming at achieving high quality wines, with all the nuances and flavours offered by the bank (river bank of Riu Sio), it soil and its microclimate.  The winery is nestled within a farm of 700 hectares of which 71 ha are planted in vines. It is a land of great  natural beauty, a haven of peace and tranquility, with their cattle and sheep on the farm combined with the wine balanced the family a very ecological system. The winery was founded in 2006 equipped with high tech material to be able to produce a high quality wine. The Petit Sio I introduce today is the little sister of the big sis Sios Blanco itself. They produce three series of wines; the Sios series, Cellistia series and Boscana series. All three series are clearly marked differently and appeared to be targeted at a very wide audience.

Petit Sios 2016

A wine that plays on the balanced fruits, freshness and body, hand picked during the cooler hours of the morning in August and September, separating the different varieties and plots. Cold room storage for 24-48 hours, soft pressed, fermentation is stainless steel tanks at low temperatures (12-14 degrees) for approximately 20 days.

Price: €9.25 $10.50 £ 8.15

Grape: 60%Viognier, 30% Chardonnay 10% Muscat Petit Grain

Alcohol: 12.5%

D.O:  Costers del Segre

Visual: Fresh medium yellow colour, young, perfect limpidity, good brilliance, colour intensity 3/5, the wine shines an energetic inviting allure, vibrant and playful.

Nose:  The aroma attack is medium, good presence without being vulgar, melons jumps at you just before they are overripe, green apples follow, there is a little bit of pineapple and acacia flower at the end slight hints of citrus and bergamot in particular.

Palate: The attack is dry very direct, fruity is in full swing little roundness, melon and apples dominate the palate, acidity is a bit to weak, and the balance is uneven between aromas and acidity, a short lingering but a nice freshness overall.

Conclusion: I did not expect this style nor attitude of this wine, as viognier, chardonnay and Muscat  are three strong grape characters. but I guess the percentage division of the three grapes works pretty well, so well done This house does have a lot of wines to choose from and I will certainly look into the rest of the family. I find this wine good quality for the money I paid and certainly not disappointed. It is a wine that is easy to drink on its own and works well with salads and shell fish grilled on the barbie. Nice discovery.

Score:  I rate this wine 17.1/20 71/100 (rated as a good wine)

Until next time please do drink responsible.

Tuesday, 20 June 2017

HV Wines: The renewed Beaujolais a remarkable come-back.

Beaujolais had this stigma of not a great wine to hold, because most of the time people confuse it with Beaujolais Nouveau, something totally different and of which for most of the time wasn't that appealing, besides for the Japanese maybe. So since some time now Beaujolais has been working on a revival and let me tell you it is one not to be shy off. Today thanks to some very dedicated winemakers always believing in the terroir and the Gamay grape have brought Beaujolais back to its valor and  great quality. Beaujolais has a Cru classification and here below are some of the best there is and for those who are not aware of Beaujolais is also a vins de garde (great ageing potential). But first a bit more about Beaujolais.


Appellation: AOC Beaujolais.

Colours: Red

Size: 9 400 hectares

Production: 458 200hl

Creation of the AOC: 1937

As an extension of Burgundy to the south of Macon and stretch for 50 km just to the level of the hills of Lyon, Beaujolais is officially attached to the wine region of Burgundy. The region, already with a meridional character, owns its name to the Lords of Beaujeu who were the holders until 1400 AD.
The appellation Beaujolais produces essentially red wines made from the Gamay grape, vinified out of whole bunches of grapes, so no mechanical harvest are permitted. This method brings the typical Beaujolais character, flower en fruity wines.The ancient terrains of the north-west are geographically the best terrains and so destine to the 10 Crus known to Beaujolais and Beaujolais-Villages. The vines of the AOC Beaujolais are planted on sedimentary soils. Here the vines cover the hills en the borders of the Massif Central ( a mountain plateau in the south central part of France), and go up to 500 metres altitude.

The Eye
The ideal Beaujolais shows an intense vivid red colour, limpid and shiny, Its dress can be purple, carmin, cherry, vermilion or many ruby nuances. It can also be garnet but never to dark, It often pairs with violet colours a sign of youth. A Beaujolais is never really aimed to stay laying down for maturing, Beaujolais is meant to drink young.

The Nose
The charm of the Beaujolais sits in it intense fruity composition, which imposes from the first sniff. You will recognize alone or combined, Raspberry, Blackcurrant, Redcurrant, or Strawberry. In the most subtle of wines some light touches of flowers and vegetal nuances, will blend with the fruits, composing a nose of great freshness. Beaujolais nouveaux distinguish itself by the amylic notes, ripe banana, English candy.

The Mouth
The fruity aromas are to be found back on the palate, with a great persistence in the best of the bottles. Beaujolais is generally vivid and tender, however when the vinification is successful the wine appears fleshy and give you almost the feeling of biting a fruit. The other side of the coin is, that it has a very short life, 1 to 2 years for the normal Beaujolais, up to 5 years for the crus. The Beaujolias nouveau in the three months of release until spring next year.

Red and Rose: Gamay
White:  Chardonnay

Nature of the soils:
Limestones, clay and limestone's predominantly, crystalline rocks in the upper valley of Azergues.

Ageing potential:
1 to 2 years

Serving temperature:
Red: 11-12 degrees
Rose and White: 10 degrees

Beaujolais Nouveau
Wine en Primeur, le Beaujolais nouveau takes in about 50 to 60 % of the harvest of Beaujolais, it is always released some weeks after the harvest around mid-November. It is a wine tender and gouleyant, a result of short steel tank cycle, and a semi-carbonic maceration, which permit to develop the fruity aromas.


AppellationAOC Beaujolais villages or Beaujolais followed with the name of the town where it is made.


Size6 300 hectares

Production312 600 hl

Creation of the AOC: 1937

A selection of the best hills in Beaujolais, the appellation gathers 38 towns in the Northern part of the Beaujolais appellation. The demarcation marks the transition between the clay-limestones from the south of Beaujolais to the limestone soils of the 38 towns up North. From the Gamay the wine makers obtain red wines with good structure or very fruity. The rare white Beaujolais-Villages come from the Chardonnay grape and only from those towns.

The Eye
The wines coming from a sandy-limestone soil,are dressed with a lighter red colour. Those coming from old vines planted on schistose soils with some clay, benefit of a vinification longer than the others,and appears much sober in their appearance.

The Nose
All the perfumes of red fruits and field flowers appears according to the cuvees of origin. The fruity smells remind often blackcurrant, forest strawberries, raspberries. The amylic composition evokes exotic fruits like the banana.
The flowers scents (Broom and Violet) characterising in general the terroirs higher up.

The Mouth
The characters you want in a Beaujolais-villages are smoothness, refinement, and fruits. Little tannin these wines flourish all the elements smelt at the olfaction exercise. Little acid, they are very easy to drink.

Red and Rose: Gamay
White:  Chardonnay

Nature of the soil:
Sandy limestone, shale, Gneiss

Age potential:
2 to 4 years

Serving temperature:
Red: 13 degrees
Rose and White: 10 degrees

Beaujolais Superior
This confidentially appellation does not contain a designed, specific territory. Each year a selection of parcels is declared superior before the summer.The must must present a richness equivalent of 0.5degrees superior as that of the Beaujolais appellation. The AOC produces between 1500 and 5000 hl of red wine and some white.

Beaujolais holds des crus, something one would not necessarily associate with this appellation but here below are 10 Crus you surely should try. You will discover how gracious and structured these wines are and are capable to age very well.

Château De La Chaize

With three and a half centuries of history and a woman with a clear vision, this chateau classed as a historic monument has given to Brouilly a true nobility. Construct by the brother of the confessor to Louis XIV, this is the most sumptuous Chateau in the Beaujolais. Nicole de Roussy de Sales, little niece and heritiere of the last descendant of François D'aix de la Chaize took in charge of the Chateau in the winter of 1967. Her daughter direct the operations of the chateau sinds 2004, these ladies have restored the sensibility of the grandeur La Chaize holds as a big name. Here you balade in centuries of history and tradition, in the winery as on the land. Here is each cuvee worked in manicure detail, some with old vinges 100% destalked and hold in maceration for eight days then prolonged in Burgundy wooden vats for another 12 months. The reserve de la Marquise excellent wine for laying down, benefits from new oak to nourish its personality and longevity. The chateau holds 99 hectares of the Brouilly appellation. The Brouilly vieilles vignes is one of the cuvées definitely to hold on to.

Chateau de la Chaize Brouilly vieilles vignes 2013 €22 $23 £19.30

Domaine Marc Delienne

ex ceo has changed his suit for boots and vines in 2012, with a burst of energy and passion for the land of Fleurie, has he invested his entire soul into this passion of his laying dormant for so long.
In 2010 he sold his firm who was selling software editions to banks. His business has been able to fill his wine cellar with the most wonders of wonders in wine, but it was this nostalgie for this business that he engaged himself into wine business in 2012. He worked first as a worker with is friend Eloi Durrbach, in Travaillon (Provence) during that time trimming and working the vines he realised that he didn't just like to drink the stuff but also like to produce it and his second mentor Alain Graillot guided him towards Beaujolais, one of the region he wasn't so familiar with. Soon the domain will hold 14 hectares of vines due to cleverly and precisely buying of land. He is a new breed in Fleurie but one they love to see come as more then ever need Beaujolais men like him.

Domaine Marc Delienne Fleurie Abbaye Road €30 $31 £ 26.30

Domaines Louis-Claude Desvignes

They work the vignes since 8 generations, with their destined family named (desvignes= the vines), Claude-Emmanuelle and Louis-Benoit preserve well this heavy burden of the family's past but they are both ferment visionaries marking the future. Here the Gamay grape flows through their veins, and a father with huge love and admiration for his two children, but with a strong perseverance makes sure that here we encounter a house in Morgon that dates back to 1742 stands tall and be admired for its character and identity in their wines. 

Domaines Louis-Claude Desvignes Morgon Côte du Py Javernières 2015 €17 $18 £14.90

Domaine Labruyere

Edouard Labruyère is the 7th generation of  a family steeped in tradition, dating back to 1815, when one of his ancetres, Jean-Marie started to harvest under the wings of the famous windmill marrying the daughter of the winemaker. Beaujolais was extremely badly hit by the phylloxera, the couple opened a grocery store as the vines were none existent and survival was the instinct. With time they opened several grocery stores, till 1907 when Jean and his son Edmond launch themselves in big distribution where they made fortune. Wine making was never far from their hearts and with the wealth they created it all came suddenly so much easier. In 2008 Edouard takes total control of the vineyard, living back the childhood memories and determent to bring his wine to the top. 

Domaine Labruyère Moulin-A-Vent Le Clos 2011 €58 $60 £50.90

Domaine Thibault Liger-Belair

Big name in Nuits-Saint-George, Thibault Liger-Belair has come to make a wine Burgundy style with the terroir and character of Beaujolais. For about 2 years he has made his way through all the terroirs of Beaujolais before settling in Moulin-A-Vent. When the adventure started in 2008 many of his friends took him somewhat for a loony, but the man held his cards close to his chest. He knew that the Morgon's and Moulin-A-Vent have huge ageing potential. He holds now 14 hectares in biodynamic culture and a maximum yield of 35 hectolitres per hectare. This is top stuff in the making and quality assured.  

Domaine Thibault Liger-Belair Moulin-A-Vent Vieilles Vignes 2014. €26 $27 £25.40

Château du Moulin-A-Vent

Jean Jacques Parinet quit his industrial life without regrets to shine this Chateau back to its former iconic glory. Since he bought this chateau back he hasn't stopped to effort to renovate transform and inspire many who loved this house sinds its introduction to the Cru family in 1936. This Chateau roams a long history with first publications already in 1862. Here to organic farming is at hand and the pursuing of identity through the terroir. Iconic it is and it will for all those who love to drink a Beaujolais which bring wonders to your lips.

Chateau Du Moulin-A-Vent La Rochelle 2014 €30 $31 £26.30

Château Thivin

One of the most known Beaujolais and Brouilly there is and also amongst one of the best. The Geoffray family holds in line this house since 1878 in the town of Odenas, at the flanks of mount Brouilly with its 27 hectares of Gamay grape, it works towards an identity that reflects the region and the family. The new generation has brought in new ideas and ways, 10,000 vines per hectare planted in gobelet, which they intend to change to cordon royat (a different system to let the vine grow), and they work with an reasoned agriculture.

Chateau Thivin Cote-de-Brouilly Cuvée Zaccharie 2015 €30 $ 31 £26.30

There are of course a couple more fantastic Beaujolais, but I had to keep it to these 7. This appellation has really make a proper come back and with a good reason as these wines are very well crafted and have great ageing potential. Also you can drink these wines slightly chilled on a warm summer's day. These wines deserve a brighter window and fairer judgement, all who like their wine and hold a cellar should at least have a couple of the above stocked. 

Until next time please do drink responsibly. 

Saturday, 10 June 2017

HV Wines: Lindeman Gentleman's Collection Cabernet Sauvignon 2016 South Eastern Australia

I was doing the weekly groceries the other day when in the wine section a wine I had observed several times was sold at €6.99 $7.99 £6.20 coming from €9.99 $10.99 £8.80. I inspected the bottle a bit more in detail and even though I had the greatest of ideas and suspicion of this wine, I had to try it to really see how hard they try to make believe the consumer how good their wines really are. Lindemans is the brand and is a monster producers as they proudly mention over 100 countries drink their wine, made at a price and lack of quality plus part of a mega group "Treasury wine estates".

Like all these big groups they do hold some exceptional brands in their portfolio, but they are not their biggest earners, it's the ones like Lindemans who roll the cash in. I always find it worrying to see those top wine domains being bought by these big beast if I may call it that way. As with all these big groups, they work with shareholders, the most important fact of it all is cash first, product second, it is like that with many big brands. I can understand that for a car, phone, pc (as an example), they are made by machine somewhat assembled by us. There is no emotion nor craft, I find that somewhat different with wine (even though the holders of these groups will argue differently, too much capitalism bred in them). I know I can see the critics already coming, arguing that there is a demand for these wines, so I could then respond back "no there is not, it is just fuelling the addiction of alcohol on the cheap and in direct competition with beer" nothing more nothing less. You can not argue that they are producing a qualitative product, after all is that not what people want "Quality"?

They do not really care about the product quality, truly are you going to tell me that a bottle at €6.99 supermarket not wine shop (originally at €9.99) and let us not forget they will not sell at a loss so a healthy profit they do make (supermarkets things in volume and it is there we as a customer are most ripped off), that at €6.99 you will find quality?

Let us sum it up shall we; yields are not less than 80 hectolitres per hectares (even if they let you believe otherwise) the more you extract the more you can produce, the more you extract the more diluted your wine will be. In these cases all is harvest by machine; quality drops dramatically even so they will try to make you believe otherwise; who are you to know! the cheapest yeast will be added to the wine (yeast help to start the fermentation process, often the headache do come from that not so much sulphites, sulphites is a very dangerous product so you can not really cheat with that, not to say that they can not cause headache but often I hear people talking about a headache after drinking cheap wine). Then there is the winery; electricity, water (a lot of water is used for making a wine), then there is the bottle, foil or crew cap and label, then there are taxes so at the end of the line if a supermarket still makes profit on €6.99 (not to say at 9.99) just think for how much this wine is made for and the wine maker to must make a profit (sadly he will be the one that makes the smallest profits) and do not forget their shareholders need to be happy so cheap making larger profit is the motto.

So back to our wine the Lindeman's Gentleman's Collection, to start the title, no shame here I must say but what baffles me the most is that on the bottle they mention that this wine (grape cabernet sauvignon) was helped with a dash of fortified wine.  I can not understand that element, the wine has 14% of alcohol, and a fortified wine after its fermentation ends up with about 17% and more in alcohol. So even with a dash added how can your wine be just 14%? Many Australian wines contains at least 14% alcohol (especially the reds). You see that seems to me once again to be a marketing element with a fancy label and a more classy bottle plus their selling quote to the world is "Dr. Lindeman's had his sight on civilising a colony of HARD DRINKING ruffians" that is regarding to this wine collection series and it states clearly selling to alcoholics. It all appears to be exclusive and classy as on their website, where you will have to look for it as they hold 16 different series of wines and it begs the question from where do all the grapes come from?

Lindeman's Gentleman's Collection

So it was 1843 that Henry Lindeman, planted his first vine in the Hunter valley region of Australia which is New South Wales. Today the original vineyard does not exist anymore, they have vineyards now in South Australia. Although that they have been awarded prizes on some of the ranges not sure which ones by Wine Spectator, begs the question how these professionals judge wines and on what criteria!

As with all big brands it's all in the image, and my hat off for that as they do bring an impressive marketing campaign to the consumer, as often with food; people eat with their eyes now people begin to drink with their eyes to.
About Lindeman's itself, it proudly screams at the world that their wines are ENJOYED over 80 million times a year over 100 countries in the world. With no shame will they sell to you, how wonderful their wines are, that in every bottle you will find the spirit of Mr Henry Lindeman. In short this is a factory making wines of low quality with healthy profits. If you produce over 80 million bottles a year, once again I have to ask myself if all their grapes do come from Australia, as many of those big producers for some of their wines buy grapes from all over the world. So to make it short on this brand, they will sell you a lot of words and make believes, after all ask yourself the question, who hasn't seen a Lindeman's wine on a shelve in the supermarket, then ask again if you  have seen Lindeman's in a decent wine shop?

Gentleman's Collection Cabernet-Sauvignon 2016

Grape: 100% Cabernet Sauvignon

Alcohol: 14%

Price: €9.99 $10.99 £8.85

Visual: A deep purple red colour appears almost liquorice, fairly vibrant and masculine. Legs are heavy and sticky, perfect limpidity and fair brilliance. The colour intensity is 5 out of 5.

Nose:  The nose is discreet and alcohol is not shy (alcohol should not overpowering the wine), then some dark fruits not clear enough to tell you what they are but due to the dash of fortified wine (still puzzled by that) you get cooked fruit but then some Australian wines are still brick heavy full of power. This has also a sweet smell to it, which I guess is the effect of the fortified dash.

Palate: Sweet is pretty much the first thing hitting you, no acidity really and the balance between aromas and acidity is uneven, no tannins and fruit is what you get for the little there is at the end plum comes in small appearances, mid palate feels the wine dull and lingers short.

Conclusion: It has been a long time ago since I encounter a wine I chose that really is more fancier on the outside then the inside. It illustrate the point I mentioned earlier that "drinking with the eyes" is a way of selling and make believe you are drinking something great. This falls really below standards but then I did not expect to be surprised as when you look into this company you realise quickly that out of mass production you do not produce quality. Supermarkets are really killing the small qualitative producers who struggle to get their wines across and in some cases have to give up all to the loss of the world of wine. There is really a problem with these cheap style of wines, damaging the palate of the future generation who will drink these wines thinking it is the norm and when they do drink a qualitative wine, their palate will reject it as not good. I know wine is a business but what I find always interesting is, the people making theses wines and selling would never drink them only when there is a camera fixed in the room.

Score: I rate this wine 14.5/20 45/100 (a drinkable wine)

Until next time please do drink responsibly and do drink wisely.   

Monday, 5 June 2017

HV Wines: Proyecto Garnachas de Espana, Priorat 2012

It is not often that you stand still in front of a wine of which the label on its own makes you almost drink the wine. A marketing strategy thought through and very well executed, this wine just has it all (at first sight). Not a single writing on the front label except its name,all is noted down the back. Spain has a few of these wines that just do that trick in most cases so far I was not disappointed once tasted the wine, this house seems to live up to these standards, and on top of that this wine was in promotion making it even more attractive to try it out.

Priorat is small but bursting with talent, sitting in the rocky hills in Catalonia a stone throw away from Barcelona, even though when you find yourself in Priorat you feel like miles away from any civilisation. Priorat is famously known for their intense full bodied red wines, which have shot to fame a few decades ago. The distinctive slate and quartzite soil  and the abundance of sunshine plus a group of very talented winemakers, have earned the region a reputation as one of Spain's most innovative places, while the appellations pristine natural beauty and long history make it a fascinating place to explore, live and enjoy. Here Garnacha (Grenache) rules with Carinena as close companion, producing concentrated aromas of licorice, tar and brandied cherry like wines. Of course these are typical characteristics of the wines from Priorat, much diversion can and is created in the wines from this appellation. Priorat is exceptional in three key regards; 1. One of the few world class style wines based on Grenache, a category which is joined by red Chateauneuf-du-pape and  top end wines from California, 2. It is only one of two styles to hold Spain's top tier DOC classification (Rioja is the other), 3. It has risen from being almost unheard-of on the international wine market to be one of the world's most expensive and sort after wines.

The Cartoixa (Carthusians monastery) of Scala Dei represent the birth place of wine and winemaking in the DOC Priorat region. The Carthusian monks brought from provence in the 12th century the knowledge and techniques to develop a wine growing culture that established itself firmly and has evolved over the centuries. The Carthusians land made up the historic Priorat area which today forms the DOC Priorat wine region. The story goes as such that the king Alfons el Cast sent two knights to survey the country in order to find an ideal place for the Carthusians order from Provence to settle in Catalonia. When they arrived at the foothills of the Montsant mountain range they got stuck by the sheer beauty of the landscape and ask a shepherd all about it. He told them about a supernatural occurrence that happened a long time ago. From the highest pine tree, a staircase has appeared with angels ascended to heaven. The knights told the story to the king and he in return offered the region to the order, In 1194 they build an altar where the tree was and with time life developed, they planted vines and made wine in the monastery and by that given the wine from Priorat a certain spiritualism.

The capital of wine making center is Falset, a busy town huddled around a pretty square, its best known for the modernist-style cellar of its cooperative. Scala Dei the tiny hamlet just beyond the monastery of the same name, is another winemaking center and is home to several good wine shops and a few wine cellars. Gratallops is where the superb winery Coster de Siurana is located.

Proyecto Garnacha de España
Raúl Acha the mind behind this idea makes wines in several regions in Spain. He lives in Rioja where his family has been growing grapes for centuries. His father always a Garnacha grower inspired Raul to dig deeper into the possibilities of this grape as he saw great potential. So he went on the hunt to find the best terroirs where the Garnacha grape would excel above all expectations. He found spots in Calatayud, Moncayo, Rioja and Priorat. The house has six wines; La Garnacha Olvidada de Aragón, La Garnacha Salvaje del Moncayo, La Garnacha Perdida del Pirineo, El Garnacho Viejo de la Familia Acha, La Garnacha de Hielo and the one I tasted La Garnacha Fosca del Priorat. All extremely well packaged to a point that you would like to have them just for that, looking great in your cellar.  

La Garnacha Fosca del Priorat 2012
Grape: 100% Garnacha

Crianza: 10 months in French oak barrels

Harvest: manual harvest during the last days of September and the first days of October
Vineyard: Old vines of about 60 years old planted between 300 and 400 metres above sea level, on sloped hillsides and slate soiled terraces of the mountains of Molar.
Alcohol:  14%

Price: €11 $12 £9.60

Visual: A deep purple-ish red colour is presented, with a colour intensity of 3.5 out of 5, the limpidity is perfect, brilliance (acidity indication) is fair, the wine is certainly male, intense and somewhat poetic. The indications it seems to express is a wine that is capable of holding a lifespan of about 10 years (nose will hopefully confirm)

Nose: The attack on the nose is medium not overpowering, oak and heat seems to be the first elements that comes towards you, little alcohol hidden amongst the aromas, spices and cloves are popping out some peppers like sichuan pepper but not much, then black fruits such as blackberries and blackcurrants then swinging amongst it all some sage I would say. On the nose it feels with conserving the wine in ideal conditions that it could last up to 10 years.

Palate: The wine is medium body, dry and tannins turning soft, the attack feels a bit warm and sharp, mid palate the wine weakens and the balance between aromas and acidity are ok, the lingering is short and at the very end some cooked plum making a short appearance, the sharpness from the attack still sits there a bit at the end. On the palate I would not keep this wine longer than 7 years, but then I do not know how long it has been sitting in the shop, where conditions are rarely ideal.

Conclusion: Although its packaging is without a doubt just spot on and outstanding the wine itself was a bit less, not to say bad. This wine has a clear structure and terroir is present but it lacks for me a bit more volume (in the sense of fruit and spices) and intensity, not hugely but more clarity in the ingredients would make the composition of this wine a plus. I will certainly try and find the rest of the family, as I want to see where they go. So far Priorat has not disappoint me and I am happy for that.

Score:  I rate this wine 16.9/20 69/100 (fair to good wine)

Until next time please do drink responsibly.

Thursday, 1 June 2017

HV Wines: Quinta da Fonte Quinta do Ouro Encruzado 2014 Dao Portugal

I found a sweet tiny shop where Portuguese and Spanish wines rule. The choice is quite extensive and interesting, now if the wines are great that is to be seen, even so I know some of the wines amongst them are truly great but as with all known brands they are always an easy sell and they pull in the crowds. I start with a Portuguese white from Dao, I have not heard from this wine before and the grape variety was another plus point why I chose this wine "Encruzado grape". Only in Portugal will you see them using this grape and as for the majority of winemakers in Portugal, they still like to hold with pride onto their indigenous grapes. As I mention many times before, finding a good white wine and at a reasonable price is not as easy as one might think. 

Right in the center of Portugal but more to the northern part and amongst mountains sits Dao, one of the most prominent regions of Portugal. Located just south of the famous Douro valley, which is the number one region of Portugal, but Dao should not feel short of quality and excellence. The region is centered around the city of Viseu, its reputation stands as a qualitative and upcoming producer of red wines. Its climate is quite special to as it benefits from the continental climate and the chill and rain from the Atlantic Ocean. 
The altitude in Dao varies from 200 metres above sea level to up to 1000 metres. The higher the cooler, especially during the night, and so grape ripening happens here at a slower pace, of course at a lower level the game does not play to the same rules. The slower ripening of the grape gives good acidity and aroma, potentially great elegance in the wines, as much for the reds are for the whites, the majority of the vineyards in Dao are between 200 metres and 450 metres (500ft-1500ft). Dao takes its name from the Dao river,  which along the majority of  vineyards are based. The main red grapes are, Tinta Roriz and Touriga Nacional,Alfrocheiro, Jaen, Aragonez, Rufete and the better whites are made of Encruzado, Bical, Cercial and Malvasia.

Quinta da Fonte do Ouro

Here is a winery that belongs to a bigger group, not that unusual these days. Sociedade Agricola  Boas Quintas was born in 1991. Nuno Cancela de Abreu was the 4th generation of a family with farming and winemaking tradition for over 130 years, he decided to devote all his experience and all of his knowledge in viticulture and oenology to create wines of high quality and standard. So after many years of building up in 2010 the company extended its portfolio with the adding of three new wineries: Quinta da Fonte do Ouro,  Quinta da Giesta both in Dao and Herdade de Gambia in the region of Peninsula de Setubal. Today the company covers areas such as: Dao, Bucelas, Península de Setúbal, Alentejo, Porto and Douro. Quinta da Fonte do Ouro produces 9 wines, 4 whites, 4 reds and 1 rose. 

Quinta da Fonte do Ouro Encruzado 2014
This wines is classified as a DOC Dao, climate is a Mediterranean style, with a granite base loam, slightly acidic and poor in nutrients soil(perfect for vine growing).

Grape: 100% Encruzado

Alcohol:  13% 

Aging:  4 months in new barrels

Price: €10.50 $11.50 £9.50 

Visual: A deep straw colour appears when pouring in the glass, the intensity of the colour is 3 out of 5, the brilliance is fair to good (expected a bit more), the limpidity is perfect. the legs are medium heavy, a wine that looks reserved, with a certain flair without being boring or blend. It carries some panache, but lacks a sprinkle of sparkle, 

Nose: At first you get some citrus not over powering the nose seems to be slightly discreet. Fresh green apples jump at you, a little green as a wine, some un-ripeness, airs of mineral are present but somewhat a bit faint overall. 

Palate: A feel of round and buttery but very little not powerful, some ripeness and white fruits but not distinctive, mid palate holds a little but falls apart at the end, mot holding to well, lingering is good and the body is medium, acidity a bit weak and balance with aromas not even. 

Conclusion:  I have so far not been able to find something a bit more exciting in white from Portugal, although that the wine is well made and carries charm and professionalism, for some reason it still lack that extra to make it more in line with the white wines that marks. You will not be disappointed by this wine, can be enjoyed with white meets and poultry or even seafood salad ish... This was a nice discovery maybe a level up in the range might be talking a different language.   

Score: I rate this wine 17/20 70/100 (rated as a good wine)

Until next time please do drink responsibly.