Grand Cru is back again after a nice relaxing weekend. Hope you all enjoyed yours just as much. Now that we're back why not come and grab one of these? The producers from Marche really don't mess around...

The Cantine Belisario co-operative was founded in 1971. Today, it is the biggest producer of Verdicchio in the Matelica DOC, a smaller zone than Castello di Jesi. The climate here is more continental than in Castelli di Jesi and the combination of warm days and cool nights gives a longer growing season, and lovely aromatic qualities to the wines.

The vineyard is located in the Le Marche region, in the Conero Riviera and Natural Park. Surrounded by hills and sea, this is one of the most evocatively beautiful areas on the Adriatic coast. The soil here is rich in limestone and marl. The vineyard's distinctive geographical and climactic features combine to produce grapes of exceptional quality.

A mild winter and spring saw vines developing around two weeks ahead of schedule in April. However, clouds and cool days slowed things down quickly and a wet summer made for a lot of work in the vineyards. Disease pressure meant that vineyard management and selection was necessary in order to harvest healthy grapes. Yields were lower than 2013’s bumper crop and slightly below average for the region. The weather in September and during harvest was good and as a result many producers are pleased with the vintage as a whole.

Cantine Belisario Rosso Conero 2015 @ £13.95 - Buy it here!

The wine opens with earthy aromas of tilled soil along with notes of cherries, black fruit and espresso. The palate delivers bright red cherries, notes of mocha and a good tannic structure, making the wine very pleasant and enjoyable to drink.

 

Easily one of the most popular wines in the shop right now. Can't argue with that. Come and grab a couple. Cheers!

 

Always a shop favourite with this one. Our wine of the day is the amazing Skinny Prosecco from Thomson and Scott. What else could you want than a nice cold, dry Prosecco? With a reduced dose of sugar added to the wine this one has a slightly lower calorie content than a normal bottle. Sounds good doesn't it?

Thomson & Scott Skinny Prosecco Brut NV @ £17.95 - Buy it here!

Light and refreshing with floral and apple aromas on the nose. The palate is fresh, lively and fruity with great acidity and continuing notes of green apple, golden apple, honeydew melon and pear.

Come and grab a few, they're perfect on a sunny day! Cheers!

With the sun finally making a strong appearance we thought that it's about time something representing the sun was featured... Spanish sounding good?

The Castaño family owns over 410 hectares of vineyards in the Yecla DO in south-eastern Spain. 80% of these vineyards are planted with the native Monastrell variety. For several generations, Bodegas Castaño has been a pioneer in this region and has come to symbolise the best of what southern Spain has to offer: rich, warm climate wines made from grapes grown at altitude, resulting in wines of great character and finesse.

The Monastrell grapes are grown on non-irrigated bush and trellis vines in the Las Gruesas and Pozuelo vineyards respectively. The altitude of both vineyards is 750m above sea level and the vines have a North-South orientation with an average age of over 30 years. Soils here are limestone and the planting densities are 1,600 vines per hectare in Las Gruesas and 2,700 vines per hectare in Pozuelo.

 

A very rainy winter and a mild wet spring made for an excellent budbreak and vegetation. Weather conditions eventually turned out less favourable than expected due to hail storms in small concentrated areas that affected part of the crop in some plots. Despite a reduction of yield, careful selectivity resulted in very good quality in the final wines.

 

 

The grapes were vinified traditionally and macerated for 10 days before fermentation at 28ºC. Malolactic fermentation took place in stainless steel tanks, after which the wine was aged for 10 months in a combination of oak barrels, of which 80% were French, 20% were American and a third were new.

Solanera Vinas Viejas 2015 @ £14.95 - Buy it here!
Complex and sophisticated, this wine exudes notes of acacia flowers, black raspberries, blueberries, and blackcurrants. Full-bodied and intense on the palate with silky sweet tannins and delicate minerality. Stunningly pure and textured.

How's that to sit back with on a sunny day? Trust me, it's quite fantastic. Cheers!

The sun is trying to force it's way out through the clouds today. Something sunny is in order to go with it! This lovely Riesling from New Zealand should fit very nicely indeed.

"The French oak barrels may be new but the original concrete cellars are little changed since the 1930s.

Walk straight ahead and you’ll see another gate, behind which lies a treasure trove, a bottled inventory of all the wines produced at this Estate since its new era began in 1987.

And what a collection it is. Each bottle holds a memory of vineyards, of nature, of people, of ideas and innovation. Each with its own unique tale adds to the story of Esk Valley Estate as it lives and breathes today, a contradiction of past and present, of trial and error, of craft and technology.

Is it the people who make this place special, or is it the place that makes the people special? It’s hard to answer. What is known is that this little valley with its special microclimate and its panoramic views over the Pacific Ocean is a special place to make wine."

Esk Valley Marlborough Riesling 2015 @ £11.95 - Buy it here!

This is a dry style of Riesling which is versatile and suited to a wide variety of food matches or as an aperitif. It has classic Marlborough Riesling characters of peach, citrus and honey with a long refreshing finish. 

 

Sound good? Come and grab some! Cheers!

 

This one is a little bit out of the ordinary! Made from 100% cabernet franc, it doesn't fit the usual bill for the Loire valley. Let's have a bit of a read...

The impressive Château Coudray-Montpensier, located in Chinon, has a rich history that dates to the heart of the Middle Ages (1090 AD). The castle was built during the 14th century and was owned by a succession of nobility. In 1492, during the Hundred Years’ War, Joan of Arc stayed in the castle’s tower. She was waiting for an audience with King Charles VII of France to organise an attack against the English to relieve the French troops at the siege of Orléans. After various owners during the 19th and 20th centuries, the property was eventually acquired by Dr. Christian Feray in 2005, who undertook major restorations to transform it into a cultural and gastronomic landmark.


Chateau Coudray-Montpensier Chinon 2016 @ £12.95 - Buy it here!

With robust aromas of black fruit and vanilla, the wine is refreshing with bright acidity and subtle, round tannins, with blackcurrant and spice on the finish.

Absolutely gorgeous. And available to taste too! I'll be seeing you soon I think... cheers!

We thought a lovely simple picture would be the best way to show off this wine. Another one of our really special bottles. Cos d'Estournel is a Chateau that everyone should know about...

The name Cos (with the S pronounced) refers to a "hill of pebbles" in Gascon dialect and the name Cos d'Estournel was given in 1810 by Louis-Gaspard d'Estournel.

The estate has changed hands several times during its history, starting in 1852 when it was purchased by the English banker Charles Cecil Martyns. In 1869, it was sold to the Spanish Errazu family only to be sold again 20 years later in 1889 to the Bordeaux-based Hostein family. Through his marriage to Marie-Thérèse Hostein, Louis-Victor Charmolue, who also owned Château Montrose, gained control of Cos d'Estournel in 1894. In Finally in 1917, it was sold to Fernand Ginestet.

The château has remained in the Ginestet family since then, becoming in 1970 part of Domaines Prats, the combined holdings of the Ginestet and Prats families, and controlled by Bruno Prats.

Chateau Cos d'Estournel, Saint-Estèphe 1982 @ £425

This 1982 is still displaying a beautiful deep ruby/purple hue as well as a stunning set of aromatics consisting of blue and black fruits, loamy earth, flowers, licorice, and spice box. The wine is medium to full-bodied with sweet tannins, a medium to full-bodied mouthfeel, and a silky finish. It appears to have hit full maturity, but it can easily be held in a cold cellar for another 10+ years.

Score: 95 Robert Parker, Wine Advocate (183), June 2009

Even Robert Parker thinks it's the nuts! Obviously not much to go around so if you like the sound of this then come and grab one. Cheers!