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Bordeaux, Sicily

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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,
 



Sicily



A mere generation ago, there mightn't have been much to say here about Sicilian wine.  Apart from Marsala, the reds were mostly sold in bulk to fatten up pale wines from cooler European vintages, or lost in the production of vermouth somewhere. 

But with it's special place at the confluence of Mediterranean and North African cultures, there's been a modern day renaissance in wine and food here that is nothing short of a remarkable.  Australians have an affinity for this blend of warm Mediterranean climate, migrant culture and vibrant food.  Sicily just makes sense. 

Red or white?
Red production is dominated by Nero d'Avola, grown in most regions across the island. Ranging  from juicy medium bodied cherry fruited styles blended with the lighter Frappato, to sturdy dark, structured and plummy numbers that will appeal to Shiraz lovers.

Nerello Mascalese is exciting for its structured, fragrant and tannic wines, coming on high from the steep volcanic slopes of the still very active Mount Etna.  

Surprisingly, there's also plenty of white planted here, chief among them Carricante. Distinctively refreshing with notes of smoke, cut herbs and lemon tonic. 

Grapes
Carricante, Grillo, Nero d'Avola, Frappato, Nerello Mascalese

Favourite Producers
Occhipinti, COS, Terre Nere, Tenuta Aglaea, Feudo Montoni, Planeta, De Bartoli, Girolamo Russo, Passopisciaro


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  1. Sensale Grillo 2020
    Sensale Grillo 2020
    IF you don't know it Grillo is a native to the island of Sicily and the Sensale bottling from Cantine Europa has to be one of the best value options around. The wine comes from the western part of the island and is made without any use of oak and is deliberately styled for early and easy drinking.

    Notes of citrus, pear and stone fruits open with a bit of sea-spray action that lends a slightly salty twang to both the nose and pallet. There is definitely a bit of flesh and punchy fruit with citrus to the fore followed by a little stone fruit and minerally hit. We love the way the fruit and savoury clip play off each other in the mouth and just a little hint of bitterness make this the perfect pairing to Mediterranean seafood. Mwah!
    2020
    Grillo
    Italy
    482
  2. Poggio Anima Primitivo Salento Lilith 2018
    Poggio Anima Primitivo Salento Lilith 2018
    Poggio Anima is a joint venture between one of Tuscany's rising stars, Riccardo Campinoti of Le Ragnaie in Montalcino, and his U.S.A. importer Ronnie Sanders of Vine Street Imports. The Poggio Anima concept is straightforward: to source great vineyards from existing relationships and produce real wines which convey the ‘soul’ (anima) of each site and each grape variety.

    The wines are not ‘bulk’ wines or leftover juice, but rather they are the result of long-standing relationships with respected growers throughout Italy. In packaging the Poggio Anima wines, Ronnie and Riccardo wanted to focus on the omnipresent dichotomy in the world between good and evil, and the everyday quest for balance in all things, including wine! The Eastern ideology of Yin Yang is the core of this ‘balance’ in the Poggio Anima concept. Poggio Anima are real wines, from real places, made by real people.

    Deep dark red colour with black tinged edges and a dark red hue. Spicy red currant aromas intermix with earth, dried herbs and hints of tobacco. Medium bodied, savoury dark cherry and ripe red currant flavours meld into cedary tobacco and spicy dried herb characters with lovely, fresh acidity. PWS
    2018
    Red
    Italy
    482
  3. Chai Saint Etienne Tradition Rouge 2016
    Chai Saint Etienne Tradition Rouge 2016
    60% Cabernet Franc, 20% Merlot, 20% Côt
    The Coteaux du Quercy AOC is one of France smallest wine region with only 400 hectares and less than 20 growers. It lies between Cahors & Gaillac. After the Phylloxera, the Quercy, once 50 000 hectares was almost destroyed. Roger Gisbert and his brave mates started their appellation from scratch. With high draining slopes of white clay and limestone soils, Cabernet Franc was chosen to blend with the Merlot, and off course the Cot (aka. Malbec) replanted on the rocky soils. The grapes are harvested and sorted, then fallow slow and gentle traditional fermentation.
    2016
    Cabernet Franc, Merlot
    France
    356
  4. Tenuta Aglaea 'Aglaea' 2019
    Tenuta Aglaea 'Aglaea' 2019
    A blend of small pockets on the volcanic slopes of Etna, this is a lovely introduction to nerello mascalese. The 2019 shows darker depths of black fruits with some minerally ferrous tones. Its linear palate shows great tensity and carry, moving into  meaty  savoury flavours. A  crescendo of tannins on the finish reminds you of its cooler origins  - it comes from vines up to 800m in altitude. GABRIELLE POY, PWS 
    2019
    Nerello Mascalese
    Italy
    482
  5. Senejac 2018
    Senejac 2018
    36 Bottles available at time of offer

    The 2018 Sénéjac has an attractive bouquet of blackberry and raspberry fruits, touches of graphite and pressed flowers. I admire the precision of this Haut-Médoc. The palate is medium-bodied with fine-grained tannins, well-judged new oak (25%) and a touch of dark chocolate toward the finish. This has real panache and class and comes highly recommended. NEAL MARTIN
    2018
    Cabernet Blends
    France
    356
  6. Chateau La Vieille Cure 2017- 375ml
    Chateau La Vieille Cure 2017- 375ml

    Fronsac

     74% Merlot, 22% Cabernet Franc, and 4% Cabernet Sauvignon.

    An utterly delicious red with crushed berries, cappuccino and hints of black olives. Medium-bodied, compact and very soft. Really creamy texture. A blend of 75% merlot, 22% cabernet franc and 3% cabernet sauvignon. Hard not to drink now. So do it! JAMES SUCKLING

    The 2017 La Vieille Cure is deep, fleshy and delicious. In 2017, La Vieille Cure is a bit less dense than it often is, but it still packs a pretty serious punch. Dark red cherry, plum, cinnamon, chocolate and floral notes shape this racy, inviting Fronsac. ANTONIO GALLONI

    The 2017 Vieille Cure has a tightly-packed black cherry and cassis scented bouquet that feels as if it could be more intense once in bottle. The palate is medium-bodied with a candied, pastille-like opening: blackcurrant, crème de cassis and vanilla, lower in acidity than its Fronsac peers but smooth as silk towards the finish. NEAL MARTIN

     

    2017
    Cabernet Blends
    France
    356
  7. Mazeris Canon-Fronsac 2016
    Mazeris Canon-Fronsac 2016
    Shows ripeness and power on the nose with ripe dark berries and volcanic salt. Full body, soft and rich tannins and a long, flavorful finish. Drink in 2022. (91) JAMES SUCKLING

    One of the best things agbout the Bordeaux 2016 vintage was the stregth of the satellite appelations - this Canon Fronsac is a freat example - situated on the right bank but with a lot of Cabernet Franc and Cabernet Sauvignon you could easly see this as more left bak in style - it is everything a good claret should be dense dark with chewy tannis and cool clean fruit - absoultly delicous and a great price. ALEX WILCOX


    2016
    Cabernet Blends
    France
    356
  8. Aldo Viola Terre Siciliane Syrah "Guarini" 2013
    Aldo Viola Terre Siciliane Syrah "Guarini" 2013
    Yes, of course, I know: starting with a syrah from North-West Sicily could sound a bit provoking after all, with all those South-East Australian shirazes you guys have down under there… but I do like challenges, and Aldo Viola is by far the Rhôniest  of all Italian attempts at this beautiful grape - zero sulphites added, freshness, crispiness, graphite, and a touch of madness. The entry level wine (label with ladybird and green leaf) is matured in stainless steel vats only, whereas the "Plus" version is aged in French oak tonneaux (Aldo's training as both winedrinker and winemaker was heavily inspired by Southern France style, he actually got his vine cuttings in Tain l'Hermitage…). TABARRO
    2013
    shiraz
    Italy
    482
  9. Tenuta Aglaea Etna Rosso Thalia 2017
    Tenuta Aglaea Etna Rosso Thalia 2017
    Tenuta Aglaea is a tiny estate on the North side of Etna covering only 1.8 hectares across three vineyard sites; the miniscule and excellent vineyard Bocca d’Orzo (.3 ha) in the zone of Randazzo combined with Passo Cannone (1 ha) and Santo Spirito (.5 ha) in the zone of Passopisciaro. A new vineyard has also been replanted (Passo Cannone) and will be in full production in 2019. Owned by longtime wine professional Anne-Louise Mikkelssen the estate is all about meticulaous attetion to detail and her philosophy of having the wines be a faithful expression of the terroir.

    What makes this wine 'Thalia' great is that this representation of place is undeniable. High up on the slopes of Mount Enta on the Italian Island of Sicily, Nerello Mascalese is grown in mineral rich volcanic soils. The soil made up eruptive materials such of lava, sand and ash along with the altitude restrict the vigour of the vine producing a concentrated yet vibrant refreshing red. 

    The tell-tale grilled cherry and smokey herb with a wild ferrous note. Lifted and pretty but wild at the same time. This wine is gentle and soft yet with great purity and length, the perfect summer drinking red. PWS

    2017
    Nerello Mascalese
    Italy
    482
  10. Terre Nere Etna Bianco 2020
    Terre Nere Etna Bianco 2020
    The moment I put my nose to the glass, I questioned if this was just the entry-level 2020 Etna Bianco. Crushed stone and sea shells give way to nectarine, mint and a hint of vanilla bean to create a wildly attractive and Burgundian bouquet. On the palate, this speaks more in whispers, soft and subtle yet pleasantly sweet, contrasting ripe orchard fruits against vibrant acidity, and with gobs of minerality that sneakily collect toward the close. The medium-long finish is clean and refreshing, as hints of raw almond and pretty inner florals slowly taper off. This blend of 60% Carricante, 25% Catarratto, 10% Grecanico and 5% Minnella shines bright in the 2020 vintage. ERIC GUIDO
    2020
    Italy
    482
  11. Terre Nere Etna Rosato 2020
    Terre Nere Etna Rosato 2020
    The 2020 Etna Rosato lifts up wonderfully fresh and perfumed, offering notes of sweet peach and white smoke backed by honeyed florals and wedges of candied lime. It's silky-smooth and round yet spry, washing nuances of ripe pear and nectarine across a core of saturating saline-minerality. There's simply so much going on here for a Rosato as the 2020 punches well above its class, finishing incredibly long yet juicy, and fizzling out to hints of sour citrus and cheek-puckering green apple. ERIC GUIDO
    2020
    Italy
    482
  12. Clos Floridene Blanc 2017
    Clos Floridene Blanc 2017

    1 BOTTLES remain at time of offer
    The 2017 Clos Floridène Blanc has a really classy bouquet, very well defined with citrus lemon, lime and light crushed pebble aromas. This is very pure and focused. The palate is well balanced with a twist of sour lemon on the entry, a fine bead of acidity with a very saline finish. This is a really interesting Clos Floridène thanks to the expressive Sémillon (91). NEAL MARTIN

    A wine of real distinction and class, the 2017 Clos Floridène Blanc also shows just how appealing the vintage is for Bordeaux's dry whites. Lemon confit, tangerine oil, pear, spice and a kiss of new French oak all grace this soft, wonderfully expressive white from the Dubourdieu family. The 2017 is pure class. That's all there is to it. Tasted two times. (91) ANTONIO GALLONI

    2017
    Sem/Sauv Blend
    France
    356
  13. Doisy Daene 2010 375ml
    Doisy Daene 2010 375ml

    Sauternes (1st Growth)

    Denis Dubourdieu's Barsac cru has an attractive bouquet with subtle notes of cooking apple, pear and lime-flower, all with very fine delineation. The palate displays good weight and a fine thread of acidity, lending tension and poise that leads to a taut finish, showing good botrytis levels for the vintage. With its trademark minerality in place, this Doisy-Daene comes highly recommended.  NEAL MARTIN

    Slightly less sweet than the 09, but still just as highly-strung with a healthy acidity and above all a very vibrant tone of fresh fruit running through the sweetness. A classic Doisy Daene, all natural and tensile, that will be lovely young and probably great old.  BILL BLATCH

    PLEASE NOTE THIS WINE IS OFFERED EN PRIMEUR AND YOU WILL BE CHARGED THE FINAL (NOW) PRICE LESS 20% WITH THE BALANCE DUE WHEN THE WINE ARRIVES IN 2013.

    2010
    Sem/Sauv Blend
    France
    356
  14. Chateau Montravel Blanc (Semillon) 2016
    Chateau Montravel Blanc (Semillon) 2016
    This is a 100% Sémillon form a 1 hectare vineyard located in Montravel, a sub-region of Bergerac.
    The grapes are hand harvested in small lug boxes, bunches are selected one by one. Pressed in an air tight press, the must is then barrel fermented and the wine aged on fine lees with regular batonnage. Aged for eleven months in 1/3 new, 1/3 one year old and 1/3 in two years old oak barrels.

    I love this wine - Semillion grown on chalk with a minerally intense core. It is opulent and dense yet has great freshness. A slight touch of stuck match reduction adds complexity to a lifted bright nose of citrus and minerally notes. Great power and mouth coating flavour and yet finishes crisp and clean. ALEX WILCOX


    2016
    Semillon
    France
    356
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