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Bordeaux, Piemonte

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Piemonte



Perched on the rolling foothills before stunning snow capped alps, Piedmont in Italy’s northwest is not just a serious wine capital.  From white truffles to hazelnuts, it’s got food cred as the birthplace of the Slow Food movement and is a UNESCO World heritage area for its culture of food and drink.

Red or white?
Whilst there’s some white here, the red grapes rule the roost.  Chief among them the trio of Nebbiolo, Barbera and Dolcetto. The thread uniting this gang are persistent tannins, savoury red fruit and their elegant perfume.

Grapes
White: Moscato, Cortese
Red: Nebbiolo, Barbera, Dolcetto

Style
Nebbiolo with its floral nose, layers of complex flavour, and fierce tannin and acid, is capable of ageing and evolving over decades. Whether from single vineyards or blends, it’s at its finest in both Barolo and Barbaresco. 

For both price and performance Dolcetto is the everyday star, whilst Barbera’s acid and dusty red fruit will appeal to Pinot drinkers.

And you might know Moscato? The village of Asti, its home base, gifted this joyful, floral fizz to the world.  Known as frizzante for its slightly sweet, slightly sparkling style. 

Favourite Producers
Rizzi, Marchesi Alfieri, Matteo Correggia, Francesco Rinaldi, Gianfranco Alessandria, GD Vajra, Vietti, Giacomo Conterno, Massolino, Produttori del Barbaresco, Bruno Giacosa, Forteto della Luja



Bordeaux



Maritime Bordeaux in the west of France is a large producer of quality wines. Although saying that there's a large gap between the top few who produce ultra-premium wines with hefty price tags (Lafite, Margaux, Y'Quem, Petrus….) and the rest of the field.

The Left Bank with its gravelly composition of soils is more suited to Cabernet Sauvignon while the Right Bank is made up more of clay and this is where Merlot and Cabernet Franc dominate (as they are earlier ripens and don't mind getting their feet wet). In the middle, the Entre Du Meurs provides a slew of whites and reds made for early drinking.

On the right bank outside of St Emilion and Pomerol, there are a lot of well-priced merlots made that are more for early consumption. These come from the satellite Bordeaux regions.
The English built up a thirst for the better Bordeaux reds which they have coined 'clarets'. These are often tucked away for a while in their cellars to age and drunk with a few years under their belts. But not all Bordeaux is built for aging, so choose wisely.

Styles
For whites, there are the crisp and easily quaffed whites from Entre De Meurs, or the more ambitious oak-aged Semillion Sauvignon blends from Pessac Legonan. The queen of dessert wines, Sauternes can also call Bordeaux home. French oak maturation is a common thread amongst the elite reds, whites and sweet wines.

Grapes

White:Semillon, Sauvignon Blanc, Muscadelle
Red: Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Malbec, Petit Verdot

Some of the most highly rated recent vintages are 2005, 2009, 2010, 2016 and 2018.

Favourite Producers
Montrose, Pichon Lalande, Poitevin, D'Yquem, Coutet,
 


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  1. Chateau Montlandrie 2016 1500ml
    Chateau Montlandrie 2016 1500ml

    CASTILLON-CÔTES DE BORDEAUX

    The 2016 Montlandrie is a blend of 75% Merlot, 20% Cabernet Franc and 5% Cabernet Sauvignon picked between 3-17 October. It was picked at 40 hectoliters per hectare and raised in 60% new oak (although my sample was from a one-year-old barrel). It is the first vintage to include more than 80% of the vines that were planted by Denis Durantou after 2008. This has a more broody bouquet than the two Lalande-de-Pomerols, just a touch of leafiness originating from the Cabernet Sauvignon that enhances the complexity. The palate is medium-bodied with fine structure, more saline than the Les Cruzelles, backward at the moment, but the Cabernets impart some lovely graphite notes on the saline finish. Superb. Expect this to land towards the top of my banded score once in bottle. (91-93) NEAL MARTIN

    The 2016 Montlandrie is powerful and bold to its core. Layers of dense, dark fruit, chocolate, lavender spice and sweet oak saturate the palate. Dense and voluptuous, this racy wine from Denis Durantou is packed and ready to deliver maximum pleasure upon release. Tasted two times. (88-91) ANTONIO GALLONI

    2016
    Cabernet Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot
    France
    356
    Special Price $108.00 Regular Price $135.00
  2. Sociando Mallet 2015 1500ml
    Sociando Mallet 2015 1500ml
    One of the standouts of the vintage, the 2015 Sociando Mallet is all finesse. Light on its feet, gracious and super-expressive, the 2015 speaks to class above all else. The flavors are bright and beautifully lifted in this polished, sophisticated Haut-Médoc. Although a touch light, the 2015 is very pretty. The blend is 50% Merlot, 45% Cabernet Sauvignon and 5% Cabernet Franc. 90  ANTONIO GALLONI
    2015
    Cabernet Merlot
    France
    356
    Special Price $195.00 Regular Price $230.00
  3. Haut Bages Liberal 2016 1500ml
    Haut Bages Liberal 2016 1500ml

    PAUILLAC - 5th Growth

    The 2016 Haut-Bages Libéral has turned out beautifully. Rose petals, lavender and sweet red cherry are some of the notes that grace this fine, translucent Pauillac. Medium in body and precise, with exquisite finesse and nuance, the 2016 is incredibly expressive today. This is a fabulous showing from proprietor Claire Villars Lurton. (95) ANTONIO GALLONI

     

    2016
    Cabernet Merlot
    France
    356
    Special Price $204.00 Regular Price $255.00
  4. Gianfranco Alessandria Barolo San En Piasi Magnum 2017
    Gianfranco Alessandria Barolo San En Piasi Magnum 2017
    The 2017 Barolo EnPiasì is such a pleasure to taste. A whole range of floral and savory nuances open first, suggesting the presence of whole clusters, even though the wine is made entirely from grapes that have been destemmed by hand. Silky, nuanced and beautifully persistent in the glass, the 2017 is a Barolo of pure and total finesse. I would prefer to drink it over the next 10-15 years, a bit of youthful Nebbiolo tannin notwithstanding, as it would be a shame to miss out on the extraordinary purity of fruit that is present at this stage. ANTONIO GALLONI
    2017
    Nebbiolo
    Italy
    457
    Special Price $272.00 Regular Price $340.00
  5. Gianfranco Alessandria Barolo San En Piasi Magnum 2016
    Gianfranco Alessandria Barolo San En Piasi Magnum 2016
    The 2016 Barolo San enPiAsi is quite possibly the most elegant and finessed wine I have ever tasted at Alessandria. It was done with hand-destemmed fruit and saw a longer period of time on the skins than the other Barolos, about 15-20 days. Aromatic, floral and beautifully lifted, this mid-weight, gracious Barolo is ethereal and so wonderfully inviting, with exceptional balance and tons of sheer class. ANTONIO GALLONI
    2016
    Nebbiolo
    Italy
    457
    Special Price $272.00 Regular Price $340.00
  6. E. Pira Barolo Chiara Boschis Mosconi 2017 Magnum
    E. Pira Barolo Chiara Boschis Mosconi 2017 Magnum
    The 2017 Barolo Mosconi is a powerful, brooding wine. Black cherry, gravel, dried herbs, scorched earth, spice and leather add to an impression of gravitas. This is an especially somber, potent Barolo that needs time to soften. Even so, it will always be a brute. The substantial finish is a thing of beauty. The Barolo Mosconi emerges from the estates oldest vines, which are 70-80 years old, and is aged in barrique. ANTONIO GALLONI
    2017
    Nebbiolo
    Italy
    457
    Special Price $388.00 Regular Price $485.00
  7. Montrose 2017 1500ml
    Montrose 2017 1500ml

    Saint-Estèphe 2ème Cru Classé 
    4 MAGNUMS remain at time of offer

    Extremely aromatic with currant, wild-herb and fresh-violet aromas. This is regal cabernet sauvignon at its finest. The palate has unwaveringly long and defined tannins that carry such fresh, piercingly pure, redcurrant and cassis flavors. A twin to the superb 2015? A blend of 76% cabernet sauvignon, 20% merlot, 3% cabernet franc and 1% petit verdot.(97) JAMES SUCKLING

    The 2017 Montrose is a very pretty, polished wine that speaks much more to finesse than power. Expressive floral and spices notes add an attractive inner sweetness to a Montrose that in 2017 leans more into the red fruit spectrum. Gracious yet deep, with terrific overall balance, the 2017 Montrose is a total winner. What impresses most about the 2017 is its freshness and sophistication. I won't be surprised if Montrose turns out to be even better than this note suggests further down the road. Graphite, licorice, menthol and sage lead to a finish with real grip and freshness. The 2017 is such a classy and promising wine. (95+) ANTONIO GALLONI

    The 2017 Montrose was so impressive from barrel and now, bottled since July, it continues to put in a strong case for being one of the best Left Bank wines. It has a very pure and intoxicating bouquet with intense blackberry, light cassis, juniper and violet aromas, almost Margaux-like in terms of personality. Although there is a patina of new oak after bottling, it is in sync with the fruit. The palate is medium-bodied with gentle grip on the entry. Tightly wound at the moment but supremely well focused, this is a classic Montrose, "cool" and reserved, demonstrating impressive tension and precision towards the finish. It will require less time in bottle than the 2016 for example, so broach this superb Saint-Estèphe after five or six years and then it will give 25 to 30 years of drinking pleasure, and knowing Montrose, probably longer. Tasted twice with consistent notes. (95) NEAL MARTIN

    2017
    Cabernet Merlot
    France
    356
    Special Price $632.00 Regular Price $790.00
  8. Roberto Voerzio Barolo Sarmassa 2013 1500mL
    Roberto Voerzio Barolo Sarmassa 2013 1500mL
    4 MAGNUMS AVAILABLE
    Voerzio's 2013 Barolo Sarmassa comes across as round, sensual and inviting. Even so, it is also less open and deep than some of the other wines in this range. Bright floral notes, chalk, mint and white pepper add nuance to the dark red stone fruit flavors. The French oak tannins need time to settle. Otherwise, this is a fine showing. ANTONIO GALLONI

    Imposing aromas of flowers, stems and berries. Full body, powerful tannins and plenty of ripe fruit and creamy acidity to back it up. Extremely structured and powerful. Try in 2022. (97) JAMES SUCKLING
    2013
    Nebbiolo
    Italy
    457
    Special Price $920.00 Regular Price $1,150.00
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