We begin this week with something at the cheaper end of the scale. Especially considering it has an extra 15% off at the moment. Let's find out more!

Alpha Zeta was started in 1999 when Liberty Wines set out to produce a range of modern, fruit driven wines from the hills outside Verona. Working with leading New Zealand winemaker, Matt Thomson, our aim was to work with growers (rather than buy bulk wine, which is standard among most wines from Verona at this price) to obtain ripe grapes (by reducing yields and picking later) and then, using Matt's expertise, preserve these flavours in the finished wines. The result is a realisation of the potential inherent in Veronese viniculture.

The vineyards are situated in the hills outside Verona in the Valpantena Valley. Cool currents blow down the valley from the foothills of the Dolomites, moderating the climate and enabling the grapes to ripen slowly. This helps the grapes to retain their aromatic compounds and acidity. The soil is poor and chalky so the vines are put under stress which helps to produce superior quality fruit.

 

 

Alpha Zeta 'R' Rosato 2017 @ £9.50 - Buy it here!
Pale pink in colour with a hint of red, this wine has attractive aromas of strawberries and cherries, which are complemented by subtle floral notes. This wine is dry on the palate, with a vibrant red fruit character and a fragrant finish.

We thought it was a brilliant choice for the price. Hopefully you do too! Cheers!

Hugel. Everyone knows these guys. The yellow label stands out a mile and draws you in with the knowledge that every bottle of theirs is absolutely fantastic. We're a step off the ground here with their Estate level today so read on to find out more.

Hugel & Fils, founded in 1639 in picturesque Riquewihr, Alsace, France, is still 100% family owned and managed by the 12th consecutive generation of the family. The family owns a 30 hectares estate of prime sites in Riquewihr, mostly classed Grand Cru, and buys grapes from a further 110 hectares farmed under contract. The Hugel estates are planted with only the noble Alsace grape varieties, with vines averaging 35 years of age. Hugel production averages 110,000 cases per year, of which around 90% is exported to more than 100 countries worldwide, where “Alsace” is often synonymous with “Hugel”.

Hugel wines, with their distinctive yellow labels, express the pure varietal character of Gewurztraminer, Riesling, Pinot Gris, Muscat and Pinot Blanc, all of which have no “make-up” from oaking or sweetening.

Familie Hugel Estate Riesling 2012 @ £23.95 - Buy it here!

Youthful, bright, graceful colour with springlike silvery pale green hints. Lively, fresh, open, nicely aromatic bouquet of fruit : white peach, lemongrass, grapefruit, ginger and flowers : almond blossom, primrose and fresh moss, with a touch of muscatel. On the palate this is a lively and refreshing Riesling, finely tuned, with a well balanced, slightly supple, soft aftertaste. Agreeably expressive fruit character, crisp and clean.

 

This is what Riesling should be. Do not miss out on this as there is only a couple remaining! Cheers!

How about a Sancerre for you? We now have three different ones to choose from and you can rest assured all of them are of the highest quality. This one is from Domaine Brosses and they really know what they're doing!

Domaine des Brosses was established in 1875 and lies 10 kilometres south of the town of Sancerre. The Girard family modernised the winery and vineyards when they bought the estate in 1973. Nicolas Girard has now taken over his father's 11 hectare estate and together with his brother Anthony, is making wines that are fresh, modern and aromatic. Both the brothers have travelled extensively throughout the wine world and have used the knowledge and experience acquired to underpin the style of their classic Sancerre.

 

The Girard family have six different parcels of Sancerre vineyards. Their hillside vineyards are located on classic clay and chalk soils, giving the grippy, mineral style expected of true Sancerre. Domaine des Brosses has used a machine harvester to collect the grapes since 1989. This is so that the Sauvignon Blanc is brought to the winery in the coolness of night-time, thus retaining the classic citrus and gooseberry aromas and flavours of Sancerre.

The beginning of the 2014 season showed promise, with good flowering. The weather was dry, sunny with constant temperatures. Despite good flowering in June, the summer months of July and August were mostly overcast and rainy, which increased the risk of rot in some areas and delayed maturity of grapes across the valley. While better September weather was a relief, the effects of the rainy, cool summer made harvest timing tricky and mandated meticulous work in the vineyards.

Domaine des Brosses Sancerre 2017 @ £18.95 - Buy it here!

The wine is bright and pale golden. A fresh, citrus palate with herbaceous notes of hay and nettle. Richly textured but with crisp acidity and textbook minerality. The finish is elegant with the typical purity and refreshment of excellent Sancerre.

Don't forget that it's available to try before you buy so you're never going to take the wrong one home. Cheers!

Aha! A pinotage! Something we've been missing for quite a long time now. Finally we have something that should be of the best quality available. Let us have a wander into their domain...

Fairview is situated on the lower slopes of Mount Paarl, which is more sheltered from the moderating maritime influence than nearby Stellenbosch. Vines were planted here as early as 1699. The property was bought by the grandfather of current owner Charles Back in 1937. Fairview has a reputation for consistent quality across a range of innovative styles, using both classic and unusual varieties. Charles leads the field in South Africa in matching varieties to specific sites and in 2014, he received a lifetime achievement from the International Wine Challenge.



Fairview Estate Pinotage 2016 @ £12.95 - Buy it here!
Dark chocolate and blackberry aromas with a touch of caramel. On the palate this wine shows soft tannins supported by clean acidity. Ripe fruit follows through wit liquorice and cherry character all the way to the long finish.

It's no wonder these guys are so highly regarded in South Africa. They do absolutely amazing things with grapes which no one should miss out on. Cheers!

A magnum of Dom for the weekend? Not a problem at all! These guys really do produce some of the best champagne on offer so let's have a deeper look into them.

Dom Pérignon (1638–1715) was a monk and cellar master at the Benedictine abbey in Hautvillers. He pioneered a number of winemaking techniques around 1670—being the first to blend grapes in such a way as to improve the quality of wines, balance one element with another in order to make a better whole, and deal with a number of their imperfections; perfecting the art of producing clear white wines from black grapes by clever manipulation of the presses; enhancing the tendency of Champagne wines to retain their natural sugar in order to naturally induce secondary fermentation in the spring; being a master at deciding when to bottle these wines in order to capture the bubble. He also introduced corks (instead of wood), which were fastened to bottles with hemp string soaked in oil in order to keep the wines fresh and sparkling, and used thicker glass in order to strengthen the bottles (which were prone to explode at that time). The development of sparkling wines as the main style of production in Champagne occurred progressively in the 19th century, more than a century after Dom Pérignon's death.

Dom Perignon Brut Champagne 2006 Magnum @ £310 - Buy it here!
"Rich, voluptuous and creamy, the 2006 shows off fabulous intensity in a style that brings together the ripeness of 2002 with the greater sense of verve and overall freshness that is such a signature of the 2004. Bass notes and a feeling of phenolic grip on the finish recall the 2003, as the Pinot Noir is particularly expressive today. The 2006 falls into the family of riper, more voluptuous Dom Pérignons, but without veering into the level of opulence seen in vintages such as 2002."
Antonio Galloni 97/100 points

A masterpiece? Most definitely. Cheers!

Time for a special bottle. This double magnum comes from a true master of the craft in the heart of Margaux. Think you can handle it?

Rauzan-Ségla was once part of the vast Rausan estate owned by Pierre de Mesures de Rauzan in the mid-17th century. Over time, this estate was divided, and by the time of the 1855 Classification, had been separated into the estates of Château Rauzan-Gassies, Château Rauzan-Ségla, Château Desmirail, and Château Marquis de Terme.

After a long ownership by the Durand-Dasier family, the estate was acquired by Frédéric Cruse of the Cruse family in 1903 who held ownership until 1957, and until 1989 it belonged to Liverpool shipping magnate John Holt. By 1982 the estate had hired the consultant services of Émile Peynaud, and in 1989 the property was purchased by Brent Walker. Whatever plans he had, however, were not to bear fruit; in 1994 he sold the estate on to the Wertheimer family of Chanel, who installed a winemaking team led by David Orr and John Kolasa (both from Chateau Latour). Chanel remain the current owners, and they are credited with continuing to push the quality ever higher. In 2014, Nicolas Audebert, the former winemaker at Cheval des Andes, the LVMH property in Mendoza Argentina, was hired to succeed John Kolasa following his retirement.

Chateau Rauzan-Segla "Segla" Margaux 2010 @ £239.95 - Buy it here!
"Extremely attractive aromas of currants, raspberries and blueberries follow through to a full body with silky tannins, and a beautiful balance and fruit, tannin and acidity harmony. Wonderful second wine from Rauzan-Segla."
James Suckling 93/100

Another critically acclaimed beauty for you all. There's only two of these here so if this sounds like a bit of you then don't miss out!