Hugh Hamilton, ‘Jekyll & Hyde’, Shiraz Viognier 2017£25.50
If you are a wine geek, you know of ‘co-fermentation’; a process in which two varieties (in this case, red Shiraz and white Viognier) are picked on the same day and blended at the crusher. This produces a result quite different to blending ‘finished’ red and white wines. The tannin and fragrance of the small amount of Viognier are amplified by the process, and the resultant wine is more fragrant and shows greater depth and even-ness of tannin structure than we’d otherwise see. (Hugh won’t mind admitting he swiped the idea from the French).
There aren’t many times I can think of when adding a lighter
colour leads to a darker one but the Jekyll is just that kind of
paradox. By co-fermenting the varieties the Viognier skins help
the colour molecules to form more stable complexes, and thereby
create a darker colour.
NOSE AND PALATE
Fragrant orange blossom, jasmine, and violets. Pulpy dark fruits,
plums, dark cherries, and cedar. The palate rolls with toasty oak,
peach notes, more plums, and firm French oak. The resonant,
lingering palate manages to be both structured and soft textured
– like a favourite pair of jeans.
Claymore ‘Nirvana’ Reserve Shiraz, 2017£29.95
This is the icon of legendary Claymore wines portfolio. You will never view a Shiraz in the same way.
This is a wine of elegance, finely structured and delicately balanced. Big juicy fruits are balanced by savoury, spicy elements in the mouth. Lusciously rich plums, blackberries and liquorice are wrapped in gently charry oak brought into line with crisp acidity.
Claymore, Black Magic Woman, Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve, 2016£29.95
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.
Black Magic Woman is only made when Claymore 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.
Hugh Hamilton, ‘The Ratbag’ Merlot, 2018£17.95
Hugh Hamilton is the 5th generation of a large wine dynasty and is regarded as the black sheep of the family. His daughter and 6th generation of the family, Mary, continues the legacy, making Hugh Hamilton winery Australia’s oldest wine family.
McLaren Vale is red wine heaven, with an ideal climate for bigger-bodied reds, but, with careful site selection, the region can grow pretty much anything. Merlot can be more difficult than some, with erratic yield and ripening habits; its unpredictability is sufficient reason for calling it ‘The Ratbag’. It certainly has a
character all its own.
The Ratbag is always a reminder to Hugh that Merlot is so much more than just a soft red wine. Each year the fruit that grows in their Church Vineyard tenaciously produces the most varietal Merlot I have ever tasted – not only soft, but full of character and class.
Suitable for vegans!
Fox Creek ‘Red Baron’ Shiraz, 2016£14.50
Fox Creek’s eye-catching Red Baron’ Shiraz is a very easy drinking and made in a young, fresh and fruity style so it is approachable and ready to crack open.
Plum and black cherry aromas jump out of the glass supported by blueberry muffin characters with a hint of cinnamon spice.
Rich front palate of plums and black cherries lead into the coffee and cream mid palate which is complemented by hints of roasted nuts and dark chocolate (you’ll know this wine is from McLaren Vale). The youthful tannins complete the vibrant experience with an injection of subtle structural oak on the finish.
Suitable for vegans!
Scuola Grande Amarone della Valpolicella£28.95
Amarone is one of the great Italian wines, and there’s plenty to choose from in that category. Made traditionally by partially drying the grapes for a fixed period of time to reduce the water content and thus concentrate the flavours, what you’re left with is probably the most intensely flavoured wine in the world.
Rich, luxurious, powerful – this is not a wine for the faint-hearted!
Pair it well with big, bold stews and casseroles, or even as an alternative to Port with cheese at Christmas or anytime!
Scuola Grande Valpolicella Ripasso£13.95
Aged in large oak casks, this fresh Ripasso makes good use of minimal wood intervention that comes forth as light spice and cinnamon. The core of this wine, however, consists of pulsing black fruit and mature cherry.
47 Anno Domini Sottovoce Merlot, 2016£10.95
Red berries and vanilla and toasted wood on the nose and just a hint of green pepper. Good entry into the mouth, the feeling of pleasant diffused light tannins on the tongue and the perception of warmth and sweetness given by alcohol. Good length and persistence that leave a pleasant dry mouth that calls for another taste.
Marsecco, Frizzante Marzemino (sparkling red), IGT£12.95
This wine tells an exceptional story. Marzemino grew for the first time in Asia, but Venetian and Lombard connoisseurs were already enjoying its sweetness in the 16th century.
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart therefore paid tribute to this legendary wine, mentioning “the excellent Marzemino” in his opera Don Giovanni.
The wine itself is crimson with shiny purple highlights.
NOSE & PALATE
The nose forest fruits and the tongue tingles from the gentle bubbles and the noticeable residual sugar makes it very soft. The black cherry dominates the palate.
A definite candidate for a fun party wine and also tastes very well chilled on a mild summer’s evening. Guaranteed to convert any non-believer!
out of stock
Piantaferro Primitivo di Manduria, 2016£11.95
An oaked primitivo It is a single varietal Primitivo, from a small vineyard parcel in the heart of the superior Manduria DOC in the heel of Italy. This is a fine example of primitivo: full-bodied, jammy with tones of chocolate and raisins. Really meant to be drunk young, those that love fruity wines will not be disappointed.
out of stock
Piantaferro Intrigo Negroamaro IGT£9.95
Intense deep ruby red in colour (almost black which is not surprising since its name, negroamaro, is ‘the black bitter one).
The nose is mature black berry fruits and spices in particular coffee and cinnamon.
The palate is full bodied and rounded with an earthy richness with abundant plum, prune and dark chocolate backed with slight tannin to give texture.
Piantaferro Nero d’Avola IGT, 2017£9.95
The wine is full on the palate, soft, warm and harmonious. The velvety tannins are barely noticeable and disappear quickly, followed by some spice, balsamic notes and pleasant liquorice that creep on through providing a long welcome finish.
out of stock
An elegant wine with spicy notes of green pepper blended mingled with blackberries and cherries followed by tobacco and vanilla from the oak. Upfront start with good depth of flavour and integrated tannin balanced with the inherent softness really make this an elegant syrah (Shiraz).
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.
out of stock
Rusty Mutt Shiraz, 2013£16.50
This is a tiny production hand-crafted wine, literally only a few thousand bottles. It really is rather special.
Vivid purple-crimson, it has a juicy, supple palate with red and black fruits coated by McLaren Vale chocolate, the silky texture, the structure well balanced. Very attractive wine.
Suitable for vegans!
Maxwell, Eocene Ancient Earth, Shiraz 2011
The Maxwell winery is located on a solid limestone hill in the heart of McLaren Vale. The limestone was created during the Eocene Epoch, 56-34 million years ago creating the foundation for the low yield/high quality fruit born on our vines.
This is a very limited release Shiraz which begins with a heady mix of aromas including maraschino cherries, aniseed and a rich compote of ripe dark berries. The complex, detailed and multi-faceted palate continues with dark cherries and forest fruits, while introducing layers of dark chocolate and light, savoury earth.
Interwoven by long fine tannins and a backbone of well-integrated cedary oak;
the wine finishes with an abundance of fruit length and intensity – this could easily age up to 15 years.
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.
Suitable for vegans!