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Peculiar Mr Pat, Merlot, 2019£8.75
The story of a most particular wombat…Orphaned, beaten up by his wild wombat mates, taken in by Ballarat Wildlife Park, wheelbarrowed around (for weight reasons), adored the world over.
The Merlot grapes that make this wine were grown in the glorious Australian sunshine. Merlot thrives along the banks of Australia’s largest river, the Murray, near the bustling inland town of Mildura, in the middle of Australia’s food bowl. A Mediterranean climate, with plenty of sunshine, vines carefully tended to and enrich the ancient, sandy soils with recycled organic matter from other crops that also thrive locally, to make the most of every precious drop of water. Speckled light reaches through lush green vine canopies to ensure the berries ripen steadily throughout late summer in time for harvest in Autumn.
Bright, plush, deeply tasty Merlot from Riverland vineyards, this is abundant in freshly picked red fruit with a soft tannic profile and a long, moreish finish.
This wine can be enjoyed with a wide range of meat dishes, and minimal winemaking intervention means that this wine can also be enjoyed, guilt-free by Pescatarians, Vegetarians and Vegans.
Revenant Sauvignon Blanc Chenin Blanc, Stellenbosch 2018£8.95
The Sauvignon Blanc grapes are from neighbouring farms on The Schapenberg (the hill on which Waterkloof is located), along with Sauvignon grapes from Waterkloof itself. The Chenin Blanc is mainly from old bush-vines on the South facing slopes of the Helderberg, which is a Westerly extension of The Schapenberg overlooking the Atlantic Ocean. Grapes are whole bunch pressed, wild ferment takes place primarily in old barrels and concrete eggs. Aged for 10 months on lees. No additions other than a small amount of sulphur.
This white has an uplifting nose of unwaxed lemons, lime pith and a touch of pink grapefruit. With a bright, essential attack the palate ultimately has a lovely balance of fruit weight and acidity.
A really versatile wine that will go with a variety of dishes. The wine can cut through creamy chicken dishes, belly of pork or fried fish and squid. Equally, one can enjoy it with the clean flavours of ceviche, sashimi or simply grilled sea bass.
Strange Bru Ruby Cabernet, Swartland 2018£8.50
Ruby Cab is the child of industry, a blue-collar cultivar crossing from Carignan and Cab Sauv at California’s UC Davis to give a drought-resistant variety of colour for the dry Central Valleys. An immediate ping on South Africa’s co-operative radar, therefore, where for 30 years or more it has been farmed somewhat obsessively, if anonymously, for colour and structure. Well sometimes even the village idiot makes it to University and in 2018 this long-established block shone above all others and we chose to bottle a small volume on its own. Unoaked, untrammelled and unedited this is the backing singer of many a blend, but solo.
Ruby Cab’s parentage comes through in its leafy Cab Sauv nose, but the palate is driven by an earthier relative – Carignan. This is a mouthful of crushed rubies, at once dark and glittering with cassis and minerals. The finish is powerful, savoury and darkly rich.
Drink with beef carpaccio, sticky Chinese pork ribs, sweet pink lamb, chicken-heart hotpot and venison.
The Listening Station Malbec, Victoria 2018£8.95
All the Malbec fruit comes from an estate in the Swan Hill region where there are 5 hectares of Malbec (approximately 12.5 acres which produces 90 tonnes of fruit per vintage). The Malbec are on their own roots and were planted in 2000. With the age of the vines and the harsh growing conditions, the Malbec vines are less vigorous which leads to a more intense colour and flavour. The vines are trained on a two wire vertical trellis, drip irrigation and minimum fertilisation. All the vines are machine harvested at night between mid to late March and grown on red sandy loam soil with limestone clay base. Climate is Mediterranean with summer temperatures between 30 and 40°C. Total vineyard area is 1250 acres. Once the grapes have been crushed pressed and sent to the fermenter, the winery then pumps over 4 times a day. Vinification takes place in stainless steel tanks at 25°C for three weeks. Malolactic fermentation takes place over 4 weeks. 50% of the blend is aged in French and American oak barriques for 3 months.
Once again inspired by the Australian night, this is darkly appealing, chocolatey Malbec with an abundance of crisp, minerally fruit.
Great with rich and hearty food. Try me with a rich casserole or roasted Mediterranean vegetables.
Strange Bru Fernao Pires, Western Cape 2018£8.50
Of the last blocks of Fernao left in the Cape this is the oldest at 30-something years old. Originally grown for yield and brandy this Portuguese immigrant certainly found its feet but fell out of favour. Which is where we all come in.. Before we lose ‘em let’s use ‘em. Naturally abundant in gently aromatic, fleshy fruit 2018 in particular focussed the fruit in this Breede River Valley vineyard. All the rock-stars are sniffing around this block now which is good for its future but here is an accessibly-priced expression of the loveliness of the Found before it gets Lost. In Portugal the variety is also known as Maria Gomes, which is strangely sexy in itself. Best drunk in its youth this wine is not for later, it’s definitely Fernao.
A mineral nose of crushed granite, peach kernel and petrichor. On the palate the sandy seam underpins stonefruit skins. The wine finishes tight and bright.
Drink with coconut infused curry, fish with a mango salad, pan roasted chicken,
The Long Little Dog Rosé Vin de France 2018£8.99
Vines flourish in the Languedoc, a region where grapes delightfully ripen during the long sunny days. The result is fruity grapes of exceptional quality that our winemakers carefully select to produce the Little Long Dog wines, something we are proud to bark about! For this rosé, the gentle pressing of the grapes is done over a two hour period, resulting in a pale pink juice which doesn’t need further maceration for colour.
Pale pink with scents of fresh strawberries, raspberries and cream, the soft round palate fills out with a surprising weight and persistence as the flavours linger on the tongue. This is an easy-drinking wine with a slightly dry, tangy finish.
Take it easy, relax and enjoy a glass chilled with some shellfish and pretend you’re in the delightful vineyards of southern France. Maybe a dog’s life isn’t so bad after all.
El Ninot de Paper Tinto (Garnacha, Shiraz, Monastrell), Valencia 2018£8.25
Grapes are sourced from Murviedros’s 300 hectares of vineyard, and a further 1500 that they control in the surrounding area. The blend is an equal split of all 3 grape varieties, with the Monastrell component aged for 4 months in oak.
Aromas of of ripe black fruits with a hint of spice. The palate is bright and juicy – blackberries and plums are balanced by soft tannins, juicy acidity, and a touch of pepper.
Great with all manner of grilled meats and pasta dishes.
El Ninot de Paper Blanco 2018£7.95
Grapes are sourced from Murviedros’s 300 hectares of vineyard, and a further 1500 that they control in the surrounding area. Produced predominantly from Viura grapes, blended with Sauvignon Blanc. The wine undergoes temperature-controlled fermentation in stainless steel.
Aromas or apple and ripe pear, and lightly floral notes. The palate has peach and citrus fruit, with zesty acidity giving a fresh finish.
Perfect with paella!
Maxwell Sparkling Mead (500ml)£6.75
This Mead is made by fermenting pure Australian honey using a method as old as history; In ancient times mead was ‘nectar’ to the Greek Gods and to the Vikings it was the honeymoon drink, believed to have virtues of an aphrodisiac. The Sparkling Mead displays hints of cinnamon and clove, together with stone fruits, citrus and the delicate flavour of ginger.
Super for a festive sparkle or just as good in the summer served over crushed ice and garnished with fresh mint.
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Château de la Roulerie, Le P’tit Chenin, Anjou Blanc, Loire, France 2016
Chateau de la Roulerie estate is one of the jewels of the Loire.
A pleasure at any time, with its solid structure, fine balance and ripe apple fruit decorated by a hint of pear and a drip of honey.
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Piantaferro Grillo, 2016
Grillo is one of the most promising native Sicilian grapes, which is still grown with the ancient small-tree method at a density of 6000 vines per hectare. The grapes are harvested by hand and softly pressed. The wine is pleasurably structured and one does not even notice its strength and alcohol content thanks to a splendid balance for a full-bodied wine.
This brilliant golden yellow Grillo is pleasant to taste with as the fresh taste of the wine shows a harmonious combination of acidity, mild alcohol content and persistent fruitiness. Calm short finish fascinates with its purity. Intense notes of ripe exotic and citrus fruits in the aroma of wine are accompanied by charming hints of spices and Mediterranean herbs. We recommend to drink with poultry, white meat, sea fish, seafood, soft cheeses, as well as with fruit.
Piantaferro Primitivo, 2017£8.95
Primitivo, also known as Zinfandel, is a natural sponge-like grape, jam-packed with flavour after soaking up the Sicilian sunshine. The immediate aroma is sweet, with upfront fruit dark berries, raisins, black cherry and red liquorice. It is very round with aromas and flavours of chocolate and anise. Soft sweet tannins add to its lushness.
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Maxwell, Little Demon, Verdelho, 2017
In 1871 Scottish scientist James Clerk Maxwell (Mark Maxwell’s Great Grandfather) proposed a thought experiment, that involved a hypothetical creature acting as a gatekeeper between two compartments to sort gas molecules according to their speed. At first glance, such a system could potentially create energy from nothing… theoretically impossible given the laws of physics. This hypothetical gatekeeper became known to physicists as Maxwell’s Little Demon, and has stirred debate in the science community for more than a century.
The array of citrus notes flow on to the palate, with added tropical melon characters filling the mouth with flavour. Made as an unwooded dry style, the result is both refreshing and persistent, with almost crunchy natural acidity.