Chateau Charron, Cotes de Blaye, Rouge, 2013£11.95
Château Charron was rebuilt in 1731. This property is managed by Sébastien Cazaux and Valerie Germain from the start of 2011.
Located on the right bank of the Gironde, the 26-hectare castle Charron faces the Medoc.
This wine is soft and elegant by the majority Merlot blend and is friendly and approachable with or without food.
Claymore Mixed Case£150.00
Many of Claymore's wines are named after some of the world's legendary rock songs, albums and artists. To them, the labels are those that resonate beyond their time, across generations and have become something of modern classics; they holds similar aspirations for their wines. To silence any critics who may see the rock icons as a gimmick, Claymore Wines has grown into a serious boutique wine business.
The case price of £150 includes a 10% discount. The selection is as follows:
Claymore, ‘Bittersweet Symphony’, Cabernet Sauvignon 2016£14.95
Appearance – Bright ruby red
Nose- A distinctive varietal aroma of dark boysenberry and violets hits you at first but a little patience will reveal deeper characters of earthy forest floor leaves, cooked beetroot and hints of dried herbs.
Palate – Elegance and restraint are keys to this wine. A big mouthful of blackcurrant fruits is backed up by careful oak integration that delivers structure and depth. Savoury tannins are harmonious with the ever-present lashings of wild berries, liquorice and hints of leather and cedar.
General – Cabernet in the Clare Valley is distinct and powerful. It is one of the stronger varieties suited to the growing conditions and terroir of the region. The use of Merlot has a generous and appealing impact on the sometimes edgy and potent characters of Cabernet. They work hand in hand to give balance and richness to the drinker. Distinctly Cabernet with violets, leafy notes and red fruits, this wine is approachable and generous.
Serve With – Claymore’s winemaker Marnie Roberts suggests pancetta wrapped lamb cutlets with olive tapenade served with grilled field mushrooms in sage butter.
Claymore, “Flame” Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve, 2010£24.95
This is the first production of what is a very exclusive, limited release wine. The grapes were hand selected for the best parcel of Cabernet then indulged with maturation in French oak for 4 years. This is a generous amount of time and two years longer than Claymore’s Reserve Nirvana Shiraz.
The result is a deep, dark intense Cabernet with seamlessly integrated tannins and dense black fruits wound up in savoury oak spice.
Cellaring of this wine just adds to the reward.
Claymore, Black Magic Woman, Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve, 2015£27.50
The Black Magic Woman follows the footsteps of Claymore’s ‘Nirvana Reserve Shiraz’ in that they lavish both wines with extended oak maturation in 20% new French oak. The nose shows cassis, dark plum, leathery spice and cheeky hints of fennel.
This wine defines charisma! Juicy plum and dark cherry fruits combine with licks of mint and fennel that overlay a slatey-granite earthiness. It’s a deep, dark, dangerously intense cabernet with integrated tannins and dense dark fruits wound up in savoury spice. This vintage of Black Magic Woman is alluring with a lingering persistence – a wine that defines the robust and delicate varietal nature of Clare Valley Cabernet Sauvignon.
This is only our fourth release of a Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon – it is only made when we have a standout vintage from the old cabernet vines in the Churinga Vineyard, located just North of Watervale. These dry grown, gnarled old gentlemen produce grapes that epitomise Clare Valley Cab at its best. Claymore have allowed this parcel some extra ripening to further concentrate flavour on the vine and then treat it with kid gloves in the winery. Two years in oak and minimal filtration produces a wine of depth, concentration and structure…a red to bewitch you!
Cellar or Drink?
Definitely a cellaring proposition – 8-10 years, however, try now to enjoy the robust delights of this wine in its youth.
Claymore, London Calling, Cabernet Malbec 2017£15.95
This is Claymore’s first release of their Cabernet Malbec blend under the London Calling label. Some may remember its predecessor, when it was 100% Merlot, well make way for this bolder beauty.
It hits the mark with plump dark fruits, violets, leafy notes and liquorice.
We just love this blend of Cabernet Sauvignon and Malbec. The Cabernet brings structure with big tannins and classic varietal aspects of blackcurrant, cassis, liquorice and herbal notes. While the Malbec provides juicy plump plum and a mid-palate richness that entwines and harnesses the structure given by Cabernet.
Down The Rabbit Hole, Sangiovese Cabernet 2015£16.95
In this bottle awaits a wonderful experience. Sangiovese brings lifted dark cherries, spice and powdery tannins, while the Cabernet adds succulent berry notes and provides a smooth finish. Matured in seasoned French oak, they come together in perfect harmony to create a rich and savoury wine that’s about to blow your mind.
Winemaker’s notes, Walter Clappis:
This Sangiovese Cabernet is a blend of two parcels from two small vineyards in the Willunga foothills area of McLaren Vale. Fermented in open top fermenters, the Cabernet was kept on skins for 10 days, while the Sangiovese remained on skins for 30 days. This allows the tannins to integrate and soften, while still providing length and structure.
The parcels were kept separate until final blending prior to bottling.
First Drop, Mother’s Ruin, Cabernet Sauvignon, 2015£16.50
Cassis and plum fruit flavours with hints of eucalypt and florals.
Black fruits with a round mid palate, an elegant core of tannins and a textured finish.
Beef, lamb, game, mushrooms and hard cheese.
The fruit is crushed/destemed and fermented at temperatures ranging from 20- 25°C for 10 days on skins. The ferment is managed by a variety of techniques, including ‘aerative pump overs’ and ‘drain and returns’ which assist in extracting colour, flavour and tannin from the grapes. At the end of fermentation, it is drained/pressed, and transferred to 10% new French oak hogsheads, and the balance to 3 and 4 year old French oak hogsheads to undergo MLF (malolactic fermentation). Post MLF, sulphur dioxide is added, and the wines mature sur lie (on the lees) for 18 months.
Five Geese Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon, 2009£58.45
The stunning beauty of Sue Trott’s Five Geese estate can be appreciated from this short video.
A deep, ruby red colour in the glass.
Ripe berry and mocha coffee oak aromas and a delicate whiff of mint.
Sweet red and black fruits enhanced by the gentle use of Vanillian French oak. Soft cocoa and fine velvety tannins deliver a lingering, moreish finish.
Plucked from the vine in a dry, but not excessively hot vintage, carefully tended by Mike Farmilo and his team, the wine was put through a complex barrelling with new French, and used American oak barriques for a period of 20 months. The result is a wine with excellent cellaring potential, rewarding the patient Cabernet enthusiast.
James Halliday extract, ““the impact of the distinctly cooler Blewitt Springs area is immediately obvious, with fine spicy notes running through the black cherry and chocolate fruit”.
Fox Creek Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon 2010£35.95
Has won a miscellany of gold awards from Asia, London, NZ, Japan and Adelaide.
Blackcurrant, red cherry and raspberry flavours lead into a crème caramel and
waffle cone mid palate. The long soft linear grape tannins integrated with elegant
oak tannins to give the wine fantastic finesse and balance.
Not made every year but 2010 was inevitable. Drink to 2030.
Fox Creek Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon 2011£35.95
Blackcurrant and blackberry flavours lead into a creamy dark chocolate mid palate. The long soft structural grape tannins integrate well with the firm but elegant oak tannins to give the wine fantastic finesse and balance. A vibrant and elegant wine which will drink well from mid 2013 onwards and will reward careful cellaring till at least 2024 and beyond.
Fox Creek Vixen Shiraz (sparkling red)£17.95
A powerful wine rich & soft in texture. The silky palate oozes sweet mixed berry conserve, ‘rum and raisin’, white chocolate & spicy vanillin oak finished with a balanced explosion of spice, crisp acid and soft elegant tannin length.
With regards to food matching, we’d drink this and only this with our turkey on Christmas Day.
Fox Creek Wine Mixed Case£95.50
Fox Creek brings a little bit of the past into the future. It’s a fine balance of old and new. The nineteenth century stone cottage, home to their Cellar Door is just 400 metres away from the state-of-the-art winery complex.
Their wines are not mass-produced. It is more about a discovery of a wine that they honestly care about—deeply and unswervingly. Every one of their countless decisions is dedicated to a single-minded result and you can taste the passion in every bottle, every variety, from every vintage.
The 6-bottle case price of £95.50 includes a 10% discount. The selection is as follows:
Fox Creek, “Three Blocks Cabernet”, 2014£21.95
Deep cherry red.
Fresh leafy lifted cinnamon and cigarbox, overlaying red berry fruits, dark chocolate, roast chestnuts and black cardamon.
Fleshy blackcurrant, black cherry and mulberry flavours lead into a blueberry muffin and milk chocolate mid palate. The crunchy, savoury and linear grape tannins integrate with elegant oak tannins to give the wine fantastic length, finesse and balance.
As the name implies, ‘Three Blocks‘ is sourced from three very different premium McLaren Vale vineyards each featuring different soil types;
One vineyard has well drained sandy loam soils over silica sand and clay formation, the second, grey sand over North Maslin sandstone and the third featuring black Biscay clay over Pirramimma sandstone.
The grapes were harvested in the cool of the night between March 12 – 28 when fruit flavours, grape tannins and acids all reached maturity and balance. Fermentation on skins was for 8 – 10 days with all of the wine completing barrel fermentation. Considered maturation of each vineyard batch in oak specifically matched to these Cabernet vineyards from a range of French coopers. The batches were shifted between different oak types to impart layers of flavour and enhance the structure during the wine’s 18 month maturation in new to four year old oak barrels. The final blend used different percentages of each of the vineyard parcels to achieve the layers of flavour and tannin profile we desired when initially creating the blend.
This will reward the patient drinker who has the willpower to cellar this wine up until 2025.
Blue Gold Medal, Sydney International Wine Comp 2017
Gold Medal, AWC Vienna International Wine Challenge 2016
Silver Medal, International Wine + Spirit Competition 2016
96 points James Halliday (high!)
Fox Creek, Jim’s Script, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot, 2013£17.95
Jim Watts, an eminent professor of surgery, purchased the bare land that is now Fox Creek vineyards with his wife Helen in 1984. A lover of wine, Jim and his four children planted a selection of grape varieties and made their first wine under the Fox Creek label ten years later.
Three decades following Jim and Helen’s vision to plant grapes certainly stopped the critics who mooted the land was not suitable. It is deserving that Jim has a wine named after him. The Jim’s Script is a classic blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot. The wine is full of black fruit flavours and long elegant tannins. This wine has a vibrant and rich palate with seamless integration between the varietal flavours and tannins, finishing with crunchy acidity and an earthy texture.
Fox Creek, JSM, 2012£14.95
A fruit driven mid palate is laden with red cherry, plums and raspberries. The wine has a long, crisp and refreshing finish due to the Cabernets firm and youthful grape tannin framed with elegant and spicy oak. A great drinking wine of complexity and substance.
Hugh Hamilton ‘Stunt Double’ Cabernet Sauvignon, Sauvignon Blanc 2016£17.95
Elusive and fiercely independent Black Sheep wines from Hugh Hamilton will not be pinned down. The Dark Arts is a range of wines from varieties that are not meant to go together, but work! They refuse to be part of the status quo; they are wine as art. Made off the grid in an unconventional style that is all about varietals in quirky combos.
There is nothing quite like the thrill of seeing the unexpected triumph over the norm – no less spectacular than watching a man in a jumpsuit leap 19 cars on a Harley and stick the landing. What could easily be seen as no more than a publicity stunt is actually a true and death-defying leap into the unknown. It’s not as crazy as you may think, or maybe it is. Either way, it works.
Download the Tasting Note here.