Côtes-du-Rhône
 

Côtes-du-Rhône 'Vieilles Vignes', Les Coteaux du Rhône Stockists

From the co-op of Serignan (a town famous as the home of entymologist Jean-Henri Fabre in whose memorial garden are preserved 500 different types of vegetables!) just to the east of Orange. This is the heart of the Rhône and the mix of Grenache Noir, Syrah, Mourvèdre and Carignan make for supple, heartwarming reds like this simple but characterful Côtes du Rhône.

Bargain Deal: £7.99

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Sirius (Magnum), Bordeaux Rouge

We normally avoid buying 'brands' but when when the excellent Bordeaux negociant firm of Sichel offered us some magnums of their well made Sirius, which had been reserved for a customer in the far east who failed to take up his order, we leapt at it. Our enthusiasm came from the wine's maturity. This is a 2004 wine, 12-years old, and as our tasting at Sichel's cellars in Bordeaux confirmed, just about perfect for drinking now. Made from the three classic grapes of Bordeaux -Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc - this is a mellow red, full of autumnal flavours and edged with a light oaky finish.

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Freisa, Adriano, Langhe

Piedmont's fourth grape variety and style. Freisa, meaning strawberry, is delightfully 'vicace' - in other words, slightly sparkling. Bone dry with red cherry flavours. Perfect with barbecues and salamis and rich food.

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Treintamil Maravedies, Bodega Maranones, Vinos de Madrid

The Marañones winery is in the D.O. Vinos de Madrid, in the sub-zone of San Martín de Valdeiglesias. Located 70 km to the west part of Madrid. Next to Toledo and Avila, in the confluence of Gredos and Guadarrama Mountains. Treintamil (30,000.00) is the price paid many years ago by Don Alvaro de Luna to the monastery of Santa Maria for the land on which this vineyard now sits. These rich soils are good for crops like olives, almonds, figs other horticultural products and, of course vines. The policy of polyculture is very important to the organic regime, where no one crops dominates. So carefully made that the Garnacha, although picked quite ripe, is not at all jammy. A spicy renache blend with a lingering blackcurrant finish. It’s all held together by a wonderful acidity that keeps the mouthfeel fresh.

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Château Trebiac, Graves, Bordeaux

Abandoning Paris and the world of finance, Arnaud de Butler made his home among the vineyards of Bordeaux. After learning the viticultural ropes, he took over from his father at Château Crabitey, where the wines of Château Trebiac come from. Situated 35km south of Bordeaux, the 70 acres of the château is one of the flagship estates of the Graves’ renaissance. In 1985, they called on Jean-Ralph de Butler, who began the task of bringing their work up to professional standards, getting the vineyard back to peak condition, modernising the production facilities, planting new plots of vines and building a new winery. Since 1999 the estate has been skilfully run by Arnaud. Building on the work that had already been achieved. He focuses a key part of his attention on vineyard practices: ploughing, shoot-thinning, green harvesting, leaf plucking etc. A new winery was built in 2001.

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Châteauneuf-du-Pape, 'Galets de la Berthaude', R Perrin

The grapes are harvested by hand and undergo a rigorous selection process. They are completely destemed and chilled to 17°C before there is a pre-fermentation maceration. The fermentation is carried out in stainless steel tanks and is temperature controlled. The vinification is carried out with two grape varieties at the same time “Double Cepages”. 80% to 100% of the harvest is trodden by 'auto treaders'. Luc Perrin says "My Châteauneuf can be served with different dishes, but you might try it with an exotic and spicy dish (chicken curry) or in a less traditional way, with a monkfish stew."

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Tempranillo, Mi Tractor Azul, Toro

The blue tractor is the Spanish equivalent of the UK 'old grey Fergie', a brand of agricultural equipment ubiquitous in its day and now an icon of endurance fondly remembered for its reliability and simplicity. Tinto de Toro is the dominant grape from this region of north western Spain but we all know it better under the more familiar title, Tempranillo. This vigorous young red was made by winemaker Alvaro Martin from 100% Tinta de Toro from 20 to 40-year-old vines. The wine was fermented in stainless steel tanks at 26-28 degrees C and spent 7 days skin contact to produce a softer style of Toro wine. Totally reliable, simple and delicious.

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Gigondas, Cuvée de laTour Sarrazine, Domaine le ClosdeCazaux

The vineyards in Gigondas are situated on the arid hills of the Dentelles de Montmirail. The Mistral blows regularly on these slopes which keeps the vines healthy. The vines grow in stony ground, which is rare, and produce wines that can be kept easily for 10 years. Aromas of pepper and red fruits are intense and persistent. Recommended with game dishes but particularly with fine cheeses like Reblochon or St Nectaire.

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Pinot Noir, Christopher Micheal, Oregon

Brothers Eric Christopher and Ryan Michael Harms have long held the spark of entrepreneurial spirit, always scheming their next collaborative business idea. Fast forward more than three decades of brotherly brainstorming, and the pair has created a true family business. The wine business is a somewhat unlikely landing point for the Harms brothers, who were born and raised in the Midwest, where well drilling or dairy farming might have been more obvious family ventures. But, for reasons that can only be deemed fate, both brothers landed on the west coast in the wine business – Ryan in Oregon and Eric in California. After more long-distance phone brainstorming sessions than either can remember, small inklings for how they might one day work together gave way to one big idea for what is now an expression of their collective experiences in one label – Christopher Michael Wines.Made from 100% Pinot Noir sourced from the 75% Umpqua and 25% Willamette Valleys.

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Les Tourelles de Longueville Magnum, Pauillac, Bordeaux

The history of the Pichon family goes back to the Middle Ages. In 1964, Jacques de Pichon, Baron of Longueville, married the daughter of Pierre de Rauzan, who created the estate. Their descendants were thereafter much involved with the Pauillac property. Raoul de Pichon-Longueville built the current Château in 1851. In 1987, AXA-Millésimes purchased the property and entirely restored it, under the management of Jean-Michel Cazes. It is an imposing Renaissance-style mansion with spikey corner turrets. The 14-hectare Sainte Anne terroir is used for the production of Les Tourelles de Longueville, the second wine of this leading estate.

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Garnacha 'Heroe' Vinas Viejas, Balthasar Gracian, Calatayud

Made from high altitude vines in the Calatayud denominación of northern Spain. 100%, 100 year old, Garnacha aged for ten months in French oak. Strong cherry red colour, with fruits of the forest and red fruit bouquets. Lots of aromatic intensity, with mineral and balsamic touches with hints of wood. Savoury in the mouth, with concentrated fruit and toasted tones adding good balance. Good attack, with toasted and fruit notes adding balance.

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