Wine Filter: Episode Christmas

Rioja Reserva Bodegas Ondarre 2010

The Bodegas Ondarre was established in 1986. It’s named after an old, nearby mansion that belongs to the founding family and is situated in the historical village of Viana, just eight kilometres from Logroño, which is the capital city of the Rioja region. Bodegas Ondarre is a highly respected, award-winning winery that specialises in reservas wines and Cava – in fact, they only produce Reservas and Cava here so production is limited to a few bottles a year.

This wine is such a perfect example of Rioja Reserva, but is also such a balanced wine (although it sure is quite high in alcohol). The flavours are great and the length on the palate is superb. This is THE perfect wine for your Sunday roast, particularly with lamb; a bit of a classic, but an oh so perfect match. Honestly it’s no wonder this wine is constantly being rewarded by every competition it’s entered in to; it’s just perfect!

Carmenere, De Martino 2015

Maipo Valley is one of Chile’s most important wine-producing regions. Located just south of the capital, Santiago, Maipo Valley is home to some of the country’s most prestigious wines. It is often described as the ‘Bordeaux of South America’.

Carmenere is a dark-skinned grape variety originally from the vineyards of Bordeaux, which has found a particularly suitable home in Chile. A late-ripening variety, Carmenere needs high levels of sunshine and a warm summer to reach its full potential, but in the right environment it can produce fine, deeply coloured red wines, with the attractive meaty plumpness of Merlot and the gently herbaceous notes of Cabernet Sauvignon.

A warm wine with lots of fresh black fruit, it’s well balanced and contains hints of tobacco and vanilla flavours.

Benufet, Herencia Altés 2011

Situated South of Barcelona, near the city of Tarragona, Herencia Altes is a small family estate that produces just 5 wines. Everything is done in the vineyard and winery to enhance the quality of the finished wine, including early harvesting to preserve the acidity of particular parcels planned for blending, through very gentle vertical pressing and judicious oaking and lees ageing. The resultant wines are rich, aromatic and fruit-driven and show the best side of both white and red Garnacha.

The vineyards that produce the Garnacha Blanca grapes for this delicious wine come from vineyards that are 450 metres above sea level: here the grapes are cooled by mountain and sea breezes prolonging the ripening period. Gently pressed, the juice was fermented at low temperatures and the wine spends two months on fine lees to gain texture and complexity. Aromatic, the wine shows floral notes and white fruit such as melon; the finish is long and fresh.

We were lucky enough to get our hands on this great white, we just wish we could have got more. It’s really up there in the world of white wine!

Balbium, Terre di Balbia 2011

The wine is made entirely from Magliocco; an ancient red grape variety grown exclusively in the southern Italian region of Calabria. It is often confused with Gaglioppo – Calabria’s principal red grape – with which it has a great deal in common. The two varieties look similar in the vineyard and both produce high-alcohol wines with soft, red-fruit flavours. Magliocco’s grapes, however, have been lightly dried to give a concentrated, rich, luscious red wine that has wonderfully velvety tannins and a beautiful intensity.