A smooth and refined Malbec with a fruity bouquet of ripe plum, violet and dried berries.
The Piattelli Vineyards lie in the foothills of the Andes Mountains, where the century old vines are irrigated by the pure waters melting from the snow crested peaks; a significant aspect in making their wines exquisite. At Piattelli Vineyards great pride is taken in crafting wines with a sense of place, as each region has distinct terroirs and microclimates. Mendoza and Cafayate are two of the best grape growing regions in Argentina and they wanted to showcase both. Led by head winemaker Valeria Antolin, the wines are produced through her passionate pursuit of perfection. Their gravity fed winery in Cafayate honours their commitment to sustainable practices. Piattelli Vineyards practises sustainable farming and their Mendoza vineyards are USDA certified organic. The grapes are cultivated with arid clean air, crystal clear water and nutrient rich soil and their award winning wines are produced with wisdom, precision and love.
The grapes were hand-picked and manually sorted to ensure no green material or imperfect fruit entered the must. The must underwent a three day cold maceration to extract the desired levels of flavour and aromatics. Alcoholic fermentation took place in 5,000 to 10,000 litre stainless steel tanks under controlled temperatures. The wine was aged for nine months in American oak barrels. The wine received a further six months bottle ageing
The tasting note:
A striking wine with a deep purple hue, the fruity aromatics of ripe plum and violet delight the senses. Full bodied, with bright fruit flavours of dried berries and pomegranate, the palate is marked by its structure. Intense and spicy on the finish.
In September, South Sales Director, Daniel O’Keefe, took a trip to Macedonia and Northern Greece to visit a selection of our exciting esoteric producers from the heart of the Mediterranean.
Joining Daniel on the trip was Roger and Sue Jones, owners of The Harrow at Little Bedwyn, a 1 Michelin Star Restaurant in the Wiltshire countryside. Roger and Sue have been loyal partners of Hallgarten’s for about 16 years and we have become a central part of their restaurant . Over the years Roger has been highly influential, not only as a chef but also as a prominent wine writer and judge for Decanter, The Buyer and The Caterer.
On the first day of our trip we met Thras at the Gerovassiliou restaurant which was house in the stunning winery. We started our tasting of the range mid-afternoon while as we had lunch due to Vangelis and Thras being tied up in the winery during the busy harvest period.
The Sauvignon Blanc was quite a hit and the new vintage of the Chardonnay showed amazing levels of complexity, especially when it opened up. The big hit here though was the freshness and viniousness of the Avaton and the Estate Red.
After the tasting we were taken to a fabulous and lively fish restaurant in a suburb of Thessaloniki, where the local seafood cuisine was almost as good as the wines we had previously tasted and later met with Vangelis’ wife, and the team from the restaurant.
The second day took us to Ktima Biblia Chora, established in 1998, the privately owned vineyard lies on the cool climate slopes of Mount Pangeon, at Kokkinochori near Kavala, Here we were guided around the estate by the excellent Annagret Stamos who works as a chemist in the area. She provided us with a fascinating tour and insight in to the unique climate that dominates the area.
Visiting the Alpha Estate was truly an eye-opener! Located in Amyndeon, North West Greece. It is the brainchild of two visionaries, second generation vine grower Makis Mavridis and Bordeaux trained wine maker Angelos Iatrides. An immaculate Estate that almost feels as if it is high up in the Andes.
To kick off the day, Kostas gave us a really comprehensive tour of the vineyards and an insight into the incredible investment they have made into infrastructure – underground irrigation in the vineyard and horizontal rotating vinifiers in the winery. Kostas gave a very clear explanation of the processes that were specific to Alpha and an exemplary rationale as to why Alpha are promoting Xinomavro as a key variety to watch.
The amount of energy put in to trials of different varieties and processes is very impressive. They have, in fact, donated a parcel of their land to the Thessaloniki Viticultural College. You get the feeling that the philosophy behind Alpha Estate is both long-sighted and very progressive.
The stand-out tasting of the trip (all of which were excellent) . We tasted the full range of wines and were even treated to to some of the older vintages. It was again the reds that really shone from this winery with the overarching theme of fresh, clean and beautifully structured vinious wines. Kostas was really able to make us understand the evolution of the winery and wines as they are now.
Later we went out to dinner at a traditional Taverna in the mountains near the Alpha Estate with 2 students who had recently been employed by Alpha, showing their commitment to supporting the local community.
With the Autumn almost upon us, Director of Regional Sales, Robin Knapp, has been looking back at the wines perfectly suited for late summer.
From the more esoteric side of the portfolio in Greece, to the Michelini brother’s concrete eggs in Tupungato, to some Old World Italian classics, below are a few of Robin’s top picks to help your customers cling on to the last of the summer wine.
Chateau Ksara, Le Prieure 2014 What a little cracker this is! 13% alcohol with good acidity, which makes it certainly cool European in style, rather that baking hot. The blend is made up of primarily the on trend Cinsault and Carignan with a bit of Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah thrown in to add complexity.
Juicy, fruity and a good level of chunky, with plenty of flavour but not an overpowering wine. Just perfect for meats or some garlic inspired casserole!
The Olifantsberg, Chenin Blanc 2014 is full of ripe tropical fruits combined with honey and spicy apple notes, beautifully textured.
Olifantsberg is passionate about producing authentic wines with a true sense of place, which reflect the unique location of their vineyard. The focus is on sustainable farming and winemaking practices, resulting in limited intervention in the both the vineyard and cellar. The team are fully committed to understanding their terroir and managing their natural resources through conservation, which adds to the singularity of their wines. The unique terroir with its combination of schist soils, constant winds and elevation, produce concentrated fruit that results in elegant, fresh and age-worthy wines.
The wine was wild yeast fermented in one third 2000L foudres, one third seasoned barrels and one third stainless steel tanks. The wine was kept on the lees for 10 months before stabilization and bottling.
The tasting note:
The color a very light yellow. The nose is complex with ripe pineapple, passion fruit and mango. The palate is very elegant and fresh but complex with a lovely texture. This wine already drinks well but definitely has ageing capacity.
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