Hello again! After an absolutely freezing weekend here in London it's nice to see some sun! I could go for a nice glass of something or other... a Riesling, perhaps?

One of the original McLaren Vale pioneers, Thomas Goss (1810-1890), his wife Mary Ann (1813-1891) and their children arrived in South Australia from Devonshire in 1849. After success in the Victorian gold fields he established an iconic farming property, Ingleburne, now home to some of the McLaren Vale region's leading vineyards.

In 2010, to celebrate the 200th anniversary of his birth, it was decided to release a range of affordable McLaren Vale red wines and Adelaide Hills white wines under the Thomas Goss label. These wines are a tribute to the persistence of Thomas Goss and his family's long contribution to our beloved region.

Thomas Goss Adelaide Hills Riesling 2013 @ £12.95 - Buy it here!

"Light yellow. Spicy pear and green apple scents show very good clarity and a zesty mineral topnote. Juicy and precise on the palate, offering lively citrus and orchard fruit flavors with a touch of honeysuckle. Closes dry and long, with excellent clarity and building spiciness."

-Josh Raynolds 90/100 Points

A few more cases arrived this morning for those of you who always grab a couple. For everyone else: you gotta come and try it!

Adding to our showcase of beautiful fine wines we have the Croix de Labrie 2000. From Saint-Emilion and granted Grand Cru status, you know there's a story to this one...

The plots are located on Badon (near Pavie), St. Sulpice (beside the first parcel of Valandraud) and Saint Christophe des Bardes (dating from 1687). The terroir of Badon is composed of sand and clay with a basement limestone which allows fantastic soil drainage and brings excellent finesse. The St. Sulpice compound is loaded with clays which add increased depth and density. And finally Saint Christophe des Bardes sits on clay-limestone soil bringing complexity and density. The vines are more than 98% Merlot which are backed up by a few rows of Cabernet Franc and Cabernet Sauvignon in St Sulpice.

Chateau Croix de Labrie 2000 Double Magnum @ £468
"A tiny production St.-Emilion, the 2000 Croix de Labrie offers a big, thick mouthful of wine, loads of flavor, and a distinctive, modern style emphasizing melted chocolate, graphite, coffee bean, creme de cassis, and jammy black currants. While not terribly subtle, it is loaded with flavor."

-- Robert Parker 93/100 points.

A few of these knocking about but they only made 9000 bottles in the first place so don't expect it to be here forever! Cheers!

It's that time again. This time I'm thinking California. Such a beautiful place that produces some unbelievable wines. The Kendall-Jackson family are our focus today...

When Jess Jackson produced his first Chardonnay in 1982, his goal was simply to create a wine that people of all levels of expertise could enjoy. Three decades later, the family owned and operated Kendall-Jackson is one of the most trusted and celebrated wineries in the world. For the last 21 consecutive years, the winery’s Vintner’s Reserve Chardonnay has been the #1 selling Chardonnay in America.

Kendall Jackson Vintners Reserve Chardonnay 2015 @ £14.95 - Buy it here!
Beautifully integrated tropical flavours such as pineapple, mango, and papaya with citrus notes that explode in your mouth. These flavours delicately intertwine with aromas of vanilla and honey to create depth and balance throughout. A hint of toasted oak rounds out the long, lingering finish.

Kendall-Jackson Vintners Reserve Pinot Noir 2014 @ £17.95 - Buy it here!
This dark garnet Vintner's Reserve Pinot Noir delivers bright cherry, strawberry and raspberry fruit with elegant earthy notes infused with cola and mild spice accents. Oak aging adds a hint of vanilla and a soft, toasty finish.

Both are available to taste before you buy so you have nothing to worry about! Cheers!

Another treat for you! Usually we feature our normal wines but sometimes we need something from the other end of the scale. Troplong Mondot is here, and it is a thing of true beauty.

Originally part of the De Sèze estate in the 18th century, the vineyard situated on the crest of Mondot included what is today Pavie. By the mid-19th century, the Mondot family had acquired a great portion of the land, and in 1936 it came into the ownership of Alexandre Valette. Historically not a widely known winery, it has had success in recent years, considered by many to some extent attributable to the château's collaboration with Michel Rolland. Between 1993 and 1994 the wines at Troplong-Mondot were made by 2012 Food and Wine Magazine Winemaker of the Year Aaron Pott.

Chateau Troplong Mondot, Saint Emilion Grand Cru Classe 1989 @ £219.95
If ever a wine should be garlanded with a tag that says "Don't Go Near For Ten Years" then this is it. The nose takes an hour to reluctantly open after decanting with black cherries, cassis, a touch of black coffee (none of the ginger elements of last time.) The palate is full-bodied, extremely tannic and surly, though smooth in texture. Black chrries, cassis and iodine: this is going to turn into one decadent wine but my God, just give it 5-6 hours decanting or leave it in your cellar for a few years. Drink 2015-2030+. (Tasted 2008)

There are very very limited numbers of these so if it sounds like a piece of you then you know who to see!

We've always had a liking for wines from Alpha Zeta. A very consistent winemaker to say the least! Over time we've had a good number of their wines and they're always fantastic! Our current selection hosts three of their bottles so we thought a little look into them might be nice!

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, the 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, helping to moderate 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 helping to produce superior quality fruit.

FROM LEFT

Alpha Zeta 'A' Amarone DOCG 2014 @ £26.95 - Buy it here!
Perfumes are of dried cherries and blueberries, with notes of spiced autumn fruit compote. A powerful but modern wine with a lovely balance of ripe tannins and spiced, savoury cherry fruit character. Grilled meat, especially venison or ‘tagliata’ of beef, will bring out the best in this wine. Also great with game dishes, or even a hunk of quality hard cheese like Parmigiano Reggiano.

Alpha Zeta 'R' Ripasso Superiore 2015 @ £13.95 - Buy it here!
Ruby red in colour, with a concentrated perfume of red and black cherries, with the ripasso adding a dried cherry intensity. Full-bodied on the palate, with a lovely balance between opulent cherry-pie character and supple structure. Good length with a mouthwatering bitter-cherry twist on the finish.

Alpha Zeta 'P' Pinot Grigio Terrapieno 2016 @ £11.95 - Buy it here!
A single vineyard Pinot Grigio with great intensity and balance. It has lifted aromas of pear and bread crust, classic for Pinot Grigio from this region. The nose gives way to lovely weight and a silky texture on the palate, with hints of delicate spice and biscuits. The wine finishes dry with zesty acidity to maintain freshness and an impressive length.

 

Maybe some more on the cards in the future... These guys are absolutely brilliant! Cheers!

We all hear of horror stories within the wine world, it’s something we all pray never happens to us or anyone we know.........

Imagine having your eyes set on a vintage, a loved one’s birth year or even just a beautiful classic Bordeaux from a momentous year. A phone call to your local wine merchants pays off and they say they can get you a case, so you settle up and think everything is well…

Then the weeks go by and no sign of your wine. Calls, emails, visits are made, as weeks, months and years go by, if you're lucky a bottle or two trickle in. Then you get the news you didn't want, they've gone bust. You face a battle for your losses, along with many others who have fallen into the same trap as you, hoping for some retribution at the end of the tunnel. You’d think it couldn’t get much worse wouldn’t you?

This case isn't exactly recent news, being reported in January 2016. However, word is now out, that shines a burning light on the shenanigans of US law. Whilst we don't pretend to be fluent with UK law (and forever hope we won’t have to be), this is a tale of an American wine merchant, a Ponzi scheme and  “ladies of the night”, so absurd, that you would think a double-edged sword of this nature is something only to be found in Hollywood.

Initially, we read with sadness about the 4000 or so clients of Premier Cru Wines, in California USA, who were left high and dry by the company, when it filed for bankruptcy in 2016. Some of these customers had spent upwards of $500,000 without ever receiving their wines. Then we read with intrigue, when the case went to court and the full scale of fraudulent activity was made public. We read with shock and, dare I say it, a little titillation, when stories of ‘paid for services’ racked up debts of $900,000 (yes you read that correctly, nearly $1m!). Finally we read, satisfied that justice was being done, when the person responsible was sentenced to a lengthy custodial term (albeit reduced on basis of making the authorities aware of being blackmailed for an additional $200,000 by one of the ladies that provided said ‘services’).

Yet now we read in horror, as some of those that suffered are now, themselves, being subjected to lawsuits, from the legal teams in charge of recouping missing funds. Many are being asked to pay back 80% of the money or wines they managed to claw back from Premier Cru Wines. 'Why?' I hear you all asking. Why would a person who bought wines in good faith, who had to fight like hell to get those wines delivered, in many cases not have all the wines delivered, who was already looking at big losses, then be the target of the US legal system?

Simply put, because they managed to take delivery of some of their missing wines within the 90-day period before the filing was made. According to US law, this makes these poor people liable to the creditors of the company!

We just hope that eventually common sense prevails but we fear it won’t. US laws are no different to any other laws around the world… a mine field. One thing is for certain, the only winners in this mess will be the lawyers themselves, who will be billing by the hour, as they call, email and write words on fancy letter headed paper.

As we say here in the UK..... it's so ridiculous, you couldn't make it up!