The rain today in London is crazy! What ever shall we do to brighten up the day? How about something white from sunny Portugal?

Altano is produced by the Symington family, known for their long and distinguished history of producing premium Vintage Ports in the Douro, under such labels as Grahams, Warres, Dows and Quinta do Vesuvio. As a natural extension of their interest in and dedication to making Port, the Symingtons began producing Douro DOC table wines seriously in 1999, applying their skill and expertise to ensure that the results reflect their tradition of making the worlds finest wines. Today seven members of the Symington family are involved in the business, personally managing all aspects of winemaking from the vineyard to the final bottling of the wines.



Symington Family, Altano Duoro Branco 2016 @ £9.95 - Buy it here!

From grapes sourced at high altitude, including Moscatel that adds aroma and an exotic twist, this delicious wine from the Symington stable has a limey zing, lovely mineral notes and a clean refreshing finish.

Don't let the rain get you down, this wine is here to lend a shoulder. Cheers!

It's time again for one of our shop favourites to come and say hello. And when some of the grapes come from the highest vineyard in the world you know this one is going to be special...

Bodega Colomé was established in 1831 by the Spanish Governor of Salta, Nicolás Severo de Isasmendi y Echalar. In 1854, his daughter Ascensión, who was married to José Benjamín Dávalos, brought the first French pre-phylloxera Malbec and Cabernet Sauvignon vines to Colomé. Grapes from three vineyards (of four hectares each) planted in that year are still used to make wines. Located in the Upper Calchaquí Valley in Salta in the far north of Argentina, not only is Colomé the oldest winery in Argentina, but it also claims to own the world's highest vineyard.

The high altitude of the Calchaqui Valley has a positive impact on the quality of the grapes as the more exposed the grapes are to the sun's ultraviolet rays, the better they are able to generate a thicker and darker skin to protect themselves. This leads to more colour and concentration of flavour building up in the grapes. The climate here is dry with very little rainfall, on average around 120mm per year. A large difference (20°C) between day and night aids the retention of natural acidity within the grapes. Soils are sandy with layers of gravel which aid drainage. The vineyards are all farmed biodynamically. Fruit for the Estate Malbec comes from vineyards at three different altitudes; La Brava Estate at 1,700 metres, Colomé Estate at 2,300 and El Arenal Estate at 2,600 metres.

Calchaquí Valley enjoyed excellent conditions in 2015. The growing season was good without any frost and no disease development. During maturation, rainfall was low with lots of sunshine but not too much heat. This resulted in very good yields as well as good maturity, without any over-ripe characters. A very well balanced vintage.

Upon arrival at the winery, the grapes were hand sorted twice to ensure no green material or imperfect fruit entered the must. Fermentation was slow due to the altitude (lower oxygen) and followed by an extended maceration period of 25-30 days to extract good levels of colour and tannin. Malolactic fermentation occurred half in barrel and half in stainless steel tank. The wine aged for 15 months in French oak barrels of which 20% was new, 80% second fill.


Colome Estate Malbec 2015 @ £18.95 - Buy it here!

Deep bright red with a magenta hue. Aromas of black and red fruits including blackberries, blackcurrants, raspberries and cherries, with touches of violet floral notes and hints of spices and minerals. Fresh and fruity on the palate with muscular structure and round, velvety tannins. A fine, delicate yet lengthy finish.

We cannot get away from this stuff. It's just too enticing! Come and grab a couple. Cheers!

A lovely sunny day needs something equally as lovely. Ever tried saké?

Sakes have been made by the family-owned Tosa brewery since 1877. It is currently run by Muneki Matusmoto (of the sixth generation) who still uses the original brewery 138 years later. It is situated in the beautiful mountainous region called Tosa Ryohoku in the Kochi prefecture. The name of their range, ‘Keigetsu’, is a Japanese term which describes the beautiful evening scene created when the moon hangs over Katsurahama shore.

Keigetsu Tokubetsu Junmai Sake @ £25.95 - Buy it here!
The ‘Aikawahomare’ Tokubetsu Junmai is made from Hinohikari rice from the Aikawa region polished to 60%. The nose leads with honeydew melon and sweet chestnut paste. The palate is round and silky with yellow peach on the finish, and is true to its ‘tokubetsu’ (‘special’) designation

Keigetsu Junmai Daiginjo Sake @ £30.95 - Buy it here!
The Junmai Daiginjo is made from Gin no Yume rice with a 45% polish. It has soft and delicate aromas of lychee and rose which continue onto the palate. It is dry but wonderfully balanced and has great purity on the finish.

Hand-picked and both absolutely amazing. Come and give them a go. Cheers!

Last few of this Portuguese dreamboat. Looking for something big and juicy with a bit of spice thrown in? Give this a go...

The Symington family have a long history of winemaking in the Douro valley, Northern Portugal. The family's association with the region dates back to 1652. Today, the Symington family own 1,006 hectares of vineyards in the region, the largest of any producer. The company remains 100% family owned with 5 family members actively working in the company.

The Douro valley enjoys a unique status as the world's oldest demarcated wine region and UNESCO world heritage site. Use of indigenous Douro varietals produces wines of unique and distinctive character.

Quinta do Ataide red wine is made from grapes grown on this fine 81-hectare vineyard in the remote Vilarica Valley of the Douro Superior. The vineyards at Quinta do Ataide played a key role in the recovery of the Touriga Nacional varietal in the early 1980's. Now, with some 30 years of age, these Ataide vineyards are producing wonderfully elegant wines.

Symington Family Quinta do Ataíde Douro 2014 @ £13.95 - Buy it here!

Attractive aromas of ripe red fruits, scented with red plum and thyme. On the palate, this wine is spicy and savoury, with good weighty flavours balanced with peppery tannins and good acidity. Blend of traditional Douro grape varieties - Touriga Nacional, Touriga Franca, Tinta Barroca, Tinta Roriz, Tinta Cao.

 

Sound good? Thought so! Don't miss your chance, only 6 remaining! Cheers!

Wowee! Krug! One of the most famous champagne houses in the world. Everyone's heard of them. But not everyone knows about their story and where they came from. Let's have a good look into who they are...

The story of the House of Krug illustrates the amazing adventure of its founder, Joseph Krug, a visionary non-conformist with an uncompromising philosophy. Having understood that the true essence of Champagne is pleasure itself, his dream was to be able to offer the very best Champagne he could create every single year, regardless of the harvest and annual variations in climate. “Our unconventional practices, making choices that were not necessarily the easiest ones and going beyond established rules, have been part of our vision, ever since the House was founded” explains Olivier Krug, sixth generation of the Krug family.

Paying close attention to the vineyard’s character, respecting the individuality of each plot and its wine as well as building an extensive library of reserve wines from many different years, allowed Joseph Krug to fulfill his objective. He founded a House in which all Champagnes are different expressions of nature and have the same undisputed quality and distinction. Since 1843, six generations of the Krug family have maintained the dream, enriching Joseph’s vision and savoir-faire.

Individuality is at the core of Krug philosophy. Individuality means distinction, uniqueness, originality and singularity: everything that is expressed by Krug Champagnes. At the House of Krug, we prize the distinctive stamp of every vineyard, and the distinctive character of every wine… and every bottle. This is Krug ID’s “raison d’être”. Each consumer can discover the story of their bottle using the six digit number that appears on the back label. A rich and interactive Krug application, available on mobile and tablet, allows to scan directly the Krug ID and give an immediate access to its unique history: harvest challenges of the year revealed by Eric Lebel, Cellar Master of the House of Krug, last ratings from experts, food inspiration to pair with each cuvee, as well as recommendations to store Krug Champagne. The Krug ID also serves as a simple reference with which to build a collection of different bottles of Krug Champagne to age and enjoy in the future.

Krug Grand Cuvée Champagne 163rd Edition @ £139.95 - Buy it here!
“The NV Grand Cuvée 163 Edition is wonderfully open-knit and giving, qualities that make it a terrific choice for drinking now and over the next 30 or so years. Pastry, apricot, lemon confit, chamomile and white flowers, along with soft contours, give the wine its inviting, alluring personality. There is more than enough energy and overall freshness to support several decades of fine drinking. Even so, the 163 is virtually impossible to resist at this early stage.”

Antonio Galloni MW, 95/100pts

If we had enough of their wines available at one time I would show you one every single day. We think Chapel Down are one of the best producers in the world right now. Showing everyone what we are capable of. Let's find out a bit more about this one...

Chapel Down is one of England’s most successful wineries, whose first vineyard in Tenterden, Kent, was planted in 1977. It is now the largest UK wine producer, making a range of Champagne-style sparkling wine and aromatic white, red and rosé wines, and has won a plethora of accolades. The Tenterden vineyard is home to its state-of-the-art winery, headed by winemaker Josh Donaghay-Spire who gained experience in wineries in Alsace, Champagne and South Africa.

The south-east of England is blessed with a cool, maritime climate and a wide varieties of soils and slopes with which the Chapel Down team can match the appropriate grape varieties to their ideal conditions. As well as its Tenterden vineyard, it now also has a large vineyard in nearby Aylesford, but it also sources fruit from trusted growers on the South Downs of Sussex, the chalk downlands of Hampshire and other areas in Essex and Kent.

The 9 hectares at Tenterden are on clay loam over sand on south-facing slopes. Here, the team plants pinot noir (used for the red and rosé as well as sparkling wines), pinot blanc, chardonnay and bacchus, a relatively new grape variety perfectly suited to English viticulture, some of which has been planted here since 1987.

At Aylesford, the Kit’s Coty vineyard is planted exclusively with the chardonnay and pinot noir used for Chapel Down’s sparkling wine, thanks to its ideal, gentle, south-facing slopes of chalky, well-draining soil. So far 30 of the 45 hectares are planted, leaving room for inevitable expansion.

Among the various varieties sourced elsewhere is rondo, another popular grape used in English red wine production.

 

All grapes are harvested by hand before being transferred to the winery, where they undergo a gentle pressing before being fermented at low temperatures in stainless-steel tanks, with the exception of a small percentage of the chardonnay which ferments in barrels. The sparkling wine can spend up to five years ageing on its lees for added depth and texture. The team also produces a range of three popular beers called Curious Brew.


Chapel Down Tenterden Chardonnay 2013 @ £13.95 - Buy it here!

An elegant unoaked Chardonnay with aromas of apple, white peach and kiwi fruit with background aromas of fresh hay. The palate is fresh and linear with pineapple and citrus characters leading to a mineral finish.

 

Good bit of this hanging about! Come and give it a go!