Wine Filter: Episode Christmas

Nittardi Casanuova di Nittardi Chianti Classico 2012

Casanuova di Nittardi Chianti Classico is a pure Sangiovese from the single vineyard ‘Vigna Doghessa’ in the municipality of Castellina in Chianti. The vineyard lies on a south-facing hill at 450 meters above sea level and has a soil full of schist stones, which engenders the wine with a fine minerality and pleasant freshness.

Since 1981, Nittardi has paid annual tribute to Michelangelo by having an internationally recognised artists including Hundertwasser, Horst Janssen, Dario Fo, Giuliano Ghelli, Mimmo Paladino, Yoko Ono, Günter Grass, Karl Otto Götz, Alain Clément and Hsiao Chin create the label and wrapping paper.

This wine is vibrant ruby red, intensely redolent of cherries, violet and hints of aromatic herbs and spices. It is well-rounded and has a long-lasting finish on the palate.

Terrassen Gruner Veltliner, Huber 2015

Markus Huber was born in 1979, and received his education in viniculture and oenology in Klosterneuburg, Austria. After visits abroad in South Africa in the year 2000, he began to gradually expand his small, more than 250 year old family-owned winery into an internationally recognised, leading Austrian company. His goal is the production of white wines of the highest quality among many awards at home and abroad, Markus Huber was elected Austria’s “Falstaff Winemaker of the Year 2015”.

This wine is entirely made from the most important grape variety in Austria, Grüner Veltliner, which achieved worldwide awareness and popularity at the end of the last century. A complex and elegant wine with aromas of herbs and yellow fruit. A wine which is characterised by its precision and fine mineralogy, with a striking potential for ageing!

Vino Nobile di Montepulciano Riserva Carpineto 2011

Vino Nobile di Montepulciano is one Italy’s classic red wines, and has helped Tuscany retain its privileged place on the world wine map. It comes from the vineyards which surround Montepulciano, a picturesque hill town 25 miles southeast of Siena, southeastern Tuscany.

Dora Forsoni’s captivating personality shines through in her wine. It’s named after the soil that was stained by blood after an ancient battle. Today she does everything to let the character of that soil shine through the summer fruit and cool, fresh lift in this traditional, elegant wine.

Dry Tokaji, Chateau Dereszla 2014

The Chateau Dereszla is one of the wineries with the richest history in the Tokaj wine region. It has records of its winemaking dating back to the 1450’s. Today it is owned by the d’Aulan family, originally from Champagne. They arrived in 2000 and have truly revived this winery which had seen years of neglect. While this region might be world renown for its sweet wines, the dry version of Tokaji can also be fantastic as you can see with this wine.

A fantastic wine! We have a wine that has great freshness, zingyness but it is wonderfully balanced by a rich texture, and mouthfeel. No doubt a fine wine in our eyes; it really oozes class and elegance. Enjoy!

Valle Hermoso, Carmenere 2014

Situated in the Central Valle, just South of Santiago, Valle Hermoso is owned by Luis Felipe Edwards, one of the great names of the Chilean wine world. Vinas Luis Felipe Edwards dates back to 1976 and today is still family owned. They produce wines in most of the best terroirs in the country and have been awarded the Sommelier Awards New World Producer of the year in 2016.

We really loved this Carmenere! Clearly a more approachable Carmenere than some of the more European styles we tasted, we found this to be everything we wanted from Chile: warmth, intensity, richness and approachability. Rich dark fruit notes, chocolate and coffee aromas and a slight spiciness. Rich but balanced; we could be sipping on this wine till the early hours after a good barbecue party.

Bourgogne Aligoté, Domaine du Corps de Garde 2014

The Domaine is situated in the North of Burgundy, near the appellation of Chablis. Ghislaine and Jean-Hugues run the family estate that can trace its history back to the 14th Century. They produce pure wines biodynamically, with the upmost respect for the environment and of course, the wines.

Made entirely from Aligoté, the lesser known grape variety of Burgundy, this is a wine full of character and when you really look though, you will find a wine that has a fair bit of complexity.

Vina Almate, Alfredo Maestro, Ribera del Duero 2015

Alfredo Maestro Tejero’s vineyards are located within the Ribera del Duero. His wines are completely natural, with no sulphur added in the vineyard or the winery. All his vineyard treatments are natural, and many of them follow biodynamic practices.

The Alfredo Maestro Vina Almate is darkly coloured, opaque and mouth filling with lavender and toffee notes that stay from nose to finish. These notes quickly disappear to allow a sweet nose of roses, mineral and red berry fruits.

Albente Falanghina 2015

Feudi di San Gregorio is one of the leading estates in Campania (the region of Naples) in the South of Italy. Wine makers here are renowned for their Greco di Tufo, Fiano di Avellino and of course Falanghina. The winery is only 30 years old but it is no doubt producing some of the most exciting wines in South of Italy.

Such a great little wine… wonderful fruitiness and roundness. It’s just a wine you want to go back to on a warm summer afternoon whether with some food or as an aperitif. It is a perfect example to show you how Southern Italian wines can also be of great quality.

Foradori, Teroldego Rotaliano 2013

The Foradori family have been linked with some of the most authentic wine production found in Trentino for more than two decades. The family own 80 hectares in an area north of Trento, known as Campo Rotaliano. The gravel soils of this flat valley bottom were formed by the Noce River, which has left deep limestone and granite deposits over the centuries. The Campo is cooled by winds from the surrounding mountains, creating a microclimate for a long ripening season and a late harvest.

This is a firm yet silky red wine, with ripe and delicious dried plum, berry and spice aromas and flavours.

Colome Torrontes 2015

Located in the far north of Argentina, Salta is home to some of the world’s most extreme vineyards, taht sit at both lower and higher altitudes than anywhere else in the world.

Torrontes is the signature white wine of Argentina. Torrontes grapes typically produce a light, refreshing white wine with jasmine and orange blossom tones.

Colome Torrontes is a very pale bright yellow. It’s pure and delicate with hints of rose petal and dusty brown spices. This is a great example of a serious yet seductive Torronte!

The Apple Doesn’t Fall Far, Bonarda, Matias Riccitelli 2014

The son of renowned winemaker Jorge Riccitelli, Matia Riccitelli has used his experience and passion passed down from his father to set up his own winery. His vineyard covers 20 hectares and is located in the premium growing region of Lujan deCuyo, Mendoza.

Deep purple in colour, with beautiful aromas of wild dark fruits, vanilla and chocolate in the nose. This is a complex and rich wine with smooth ripe tannins and a long finish. Best served with grilled meats, pastas and soft cheeses.

Groot Constantia, Pinotage 2014

Groot Constantia is a historic wine producer based in the South African region of Constantia, known as the historic wine-growing area based in the southern suburbs of Cape Town. This area is famous for its fabulous dessert wine, Vin de Constance.

The vineyards sit to the east of Table Mountain and enjoy a maritime climate thanks to the estate’s location near False Bay on the Cape Peninsula.

A rich cool climate Pinotage with a deep, dark red colour. Fresh fruits like juicy plums, cherries and black currant follow through on the palate to finish with a soft spicy aftertaste. A very sociable wine to have, especially with food.

Selezione Greco, Guardiense 2015

La Guardiense is a co-operative near Benevento in Campania. In 2006, they revolutionised their winemaking and cellarage with the arrival of celebrated oenologist Riccardo Cottarella and are now producing some of the best white wines in the region. They are clearly one to watch in the next few years!

Guardiene’s Greco is a stunning example of why Southern Italy is slowly making a name for itself among the world’s great whites. It’s everything you want from a Mediterranean white: wonderful expressive aromas with floral and white fruit notes. On the palate, good roundness but also brilliant freshness.. How could you say no to a glass of this on a hot summer day?

Chardonnay, Bogle Vineyards 2013

California is the largest and most important wine region in the United States. Occupying the southern two-thirds of the country’s west coast, it spans almost ten degrees of latitude and 850 miles of coastline. With mountains, valleys, plains and plateaux, the state’s topography is as complex as its climate, offering winegrowers a bewildering choice of terroir.

Hand crafting wine is something Bogle winemakers have done for nearly 40 years now. With passion for both the art and science of making wine, Bogle create delicious wines to grace your table. The Bogle family takes advantage of many unique growing regions across the state of California, Clarksburg and Lodi being the most famous. These fields are tended under Bogle’s watchful eye and the fruit harvested from them adds diverse and complex flavours to their wines.

Clarksburg is the AVA that Bogle calls home, farming there for over 100 years. The combination of the fertile clay and pea soil, coupled with warm days and cooling breezes from the San Francisco Bay, this is a wonderful growing region for many varietals including Merlot, Chardonnay, Chenin Blanc, Petite Sirah and Riesling.

Clarksburg Chardonnay’s signature apple and pear notes flourish in the incredible aromas and first sips of this wine. The rich, round entry is full of fruit, including touches of tropical pineapple and guava. The elegant and creamy mouthfeel wraps around the fruit and leads to spicy notes of nutmeg and toasty vanilla, left behind by over 8 months of gaining in American oak. There is perfectly-balanced acidity, which makes sure that it finishes clean and fresh, making you ready for another sip. It’s a superb wine!

Hochar Pere et Fils, Chateau Musar 2011

In 2011, roughly six million bottles of Lebanese wine were produced from 5000 acres (2000ha) of vineyards concentrated mostly in the Bekaa Valley. The majority of the wine they produce is red, made from the classic wine grapes of southern France. The majority of Lebanese wine is exported to the UK, France and the USA, where the receptive consumer bases have encouraged healthy growth in Lebanon’s modern wine industry. Lebanon’s Bekaa Valley is the home of modern Lebanese wine and has evolved into a major wine-making region, with many wineries scattered along its wide, fertile expanses. It has been famous, over the centuries, for being the agricultural heart of the Middle East.

The wines of Chateau Musar are unique expressions from a country with an ancient wine-making culture. Chateau Musar was the first producer in Lebanon to achieve organic certification for its vineyards. Most of Chateau Musar’s vineyards are located in the Bekaa Valley, cradled between two mountain ranges running parallel to Lebanon’s Mediterranean coastline.

French in origin, the Hochar (pronounced ‘Hoshar’) family arrived in Lebanon in the 12th century, “Preux Chevaliers”, and have remained there ever since. The Hochar family’s philosophy of respect for the environment means that the 180 hectares of Musar vineyards are managed with minimal human interference and all the wines are made as naturally as possible. Thought of as the second wine of the famed Musar estate, Hochar comes from a separate vineyard site and is a lighter, more easy-going style. Partially aged in oak vats for 6-9 months, the wine undergoes a further 2 years of cellaring prior to bottling.

This wine is very much old world in style, with restrained flavours and a dignified dryness. It has an intense burgundy colour with a complex nose of black fruits backed up by figs, dates and spices. This Pere et Fils wine is a great example of the terroir from Musar, and fantastic value for money for those wishing to sample Musar before moving on to their premium red flagship wines. It’s really not too heavy, so it’s a perfect standalone wine or can be enjoyed with most meat dishes. We certainly love it!

Haute Vallée, Toques et Clochers, Limoux 2012

This Chardonnay comes from the Caves du Sieur d’Arques cooperative based in Limoux, just South of Carcassonne, in the Aude region of the Languedoc. The ‘Toques et Clochers’ Chardonnay was first produced in 1989 and takes its name from a dinner held every year. Each year, this charity dinner is cooked by a different celebrity chef (hence the chef’s hat – ‘toque’ in French) whilst the wine is auctioned and the proceeds used to restore the church bells of a different wine village (hence the ‘clochers’ which means church bell in French).

Limoux is a relatively new appellation (created in 2003), for red and white wines from the area around the town of Limoux, in the Pyrenean foothills of southern France. Historically this area has been better known for its sparkling wines, which are produced and sold under the Blanquette de Limouxand Cremant de Limoux appellation titles.

The Chardonnay “Toques et Clochers” is often called a baby Meursault.. And it’s no surprise: It’s a big, round Chardonnay with bright freshness that’s been aged in new oak barrels bearing many of the hallmarks of a lighter white Burgundy. Not really a wine to drink by itself.. this is a big, big wine to be enjoyed with food.

Cèdre Héritage, Château du Cèdre 2014

Heritage is a blend of two grape varieties native to Bordeaux, with only 20% of the wine being aged in oak barrels. The wine is round and mellow with a good concentration of dark fruit and violet aromas and a pleasant, refreshing acidity making it both a wonderful food wine and a wine to enjoy by itself. Both grape varieties have now both found homes in various New World wine regions. Malbec, the full-bodied, vibrant mainstay of Cahors and Mendoza, is often ameliorated with the rounded, plummy flavors of Merlot.

Chateau de Cedre is one of the leading lights of the Cahors region of Southwest France. The 25-hectare estate produces its wine organically since 2012 but they were early believers in a more natural approach to winemaking, having already stopped using herbicides and pesticides in the early 90’s.

Cahors is a small town in southwestern France, located 100 miles east of Bordeaux. In wine terms it is known for its deeply coloured reds made predominantly from Malbec, with small quantities of Tannatand Merlot. Interestingly, Cahors is the only red-wine appellation in the French south-west to use neither Cabernet Sauvignon nor Cabernet Franc. The typical Cahors wine is darkly coloured and has a meaty, herb-tinged aroma, with hints of spiced black cherries and a whiff of cedar. Cahors is invariably tighter and leaner than the rich, opulent style of Malbec being made in the variety’s new-found home in Mendoza, Argentina.

With it’s inky colour and dark purple highlights, this wine has aromas of prune, spice, cinnamon and freshly-cut hay. It’s a very pure style of wine that anyone with an acquitted taste will enjoy!

Soave Classico, Pieropan 2015

The Pieropan family has been producing wines in Soave since the 1860s. Indeed, they were the first to bottle a wine with the name Soave on the label, in the early 1930s.

The Soave Blend is arguably one of Italy’s most famous white wines. This crisp and fruity white wine, made mostly in the Venetian hills near Verona, is now enjoyed around the world, offering a simple and refreshing wine experience.

Calvarino takes its name, ‘little Calvary’, from the steepness of the slope and the difficulty this presents in working the vineyard. It has the basalt soil that is classic in this part of Soave and is planted with Garganega and Trebbiano di Soave. The Garganega gives structure and acidity to the wines, the Trebbiano di Soave perfume and richness of flavour. There are usually at least two harvests to ensure the grapes are picked at the best possible stage of ripeness. The vineyards are farmed organically. The vines are between 30 and 60 years old and are planted 200 to 300m above sea level, at a density of 3000 vines per hectare.

A pale straw yellow and restrained wine that surprises you with its almond blossom scents, and persistent fruit. The palate is dry, well balance and elegant, with tremendous length and finesse.

Paper Road Pinot Noir, Borthwick Vineyards 2014

Borthwick Estate lies in the heart of peaceful Wairarapa just northeast of Martinborough. Their philosophy is to leave nature untouched in the vineyard and winery. The 27 hectares of vineyards sit on an old stony river terrace with free draining alluvial soils and a unique micro climate, all surrounded by stunning views. The warm daily temperatures, cool nights and low rainfall provide ideal growing conditions.

Wairarapa – of which Martinborough is a sub-region – is found at the southern tip of the North Island. Unlike some of the better known regions there is a definite emphasis on quality here and small boutique wineries are the norm. Not far from its neighbour on the South Island, Marlborough, the region has a similar climate and topography, but tends to produce more top quality red wines, usually from Pinot or Cabernet Sauvignon.

This is a delicious, easy drinking Pinot Noir from the hands of a master. The delicate, pale red colour opposes the power of the luscious strawberry fruits beneath. It contains a touch of spicy zestiness, too, which we love as a lingering aftertaste!

Bacchus, Kenton Vineyards 2014

On the west side of Devon’s beautiful Exe Estuary, nestling in the foothills of the Haldon Hills, lies Kenton Vineyard. Planted in 2003 on an old farm, the south-facing slopes and sandy soil, together with the mild and sunny climate are ideal for growing vines and ripening grapes for wine production. This small, family-owned, boutique winery produces wines that sell out fast with every vintage release.

Bacchus is a German white grape variety that is perhaps most notable for the production of crisp white wines in England. It is a crossing of Müller-Thurgau and Silvaner, though some experts suggest that the cross included Riesling. Bacchus wines are fresh and aromatic, showing grapey, citrus characters. The cross was obtained in Pfalz, Germany in the 1930s, although was not sanctioned for use in commercial wines until the 1970s. Although it is most famous for its use in England, Bacchus is still planted in volume in Rheinhessen and Franken, where it occupies vineyards in locations which are too cold for the ubiquitous Riesling.

England produces some of the best expressions of Bacchus with the better results coming from cooler vineyards where yields are tightly controlled. Most growers aim for medium-sized yields, as Bacchus can overwhelm the palate if the grape’s flavour is too concentrated. Due to its herbaceous nature, the variety has been touted as England’s Sauvignon Blanc.

This is a highly aromatic, slightly off dry wine with classic Bacchus elderflower notes. Who knew England could produce such a fantastic white wine!