Category Archives: Wine of the Month

WOTM: Ippolito 1845 ‘Mare Chiaro’, Cirò, Calabria 2021

Our May Wine of the Month is a new addition to our portfolio, located in the southern tip of Italy – Ippolito 1845 ‘Mare Chiaro’, Cirò, Calabria 2021. The Greco Bianco grapes for this wine come from the ‘Feudo’ and the ‘Difesa Piana’ vineyards, two renowned viticultural areas in the Cirò Marinatwo renowned viticultural areas in the Cirò Marina region.

In a nutshell

This crisp and refreshing Greco delivers intense aromas of tropical fruit, pear, peach and floral notes through to a vibrant palate with a delicious saline note on the finish.

The producer

With over 170 years of history, Ippolito is the oldest winery in Calabria. Located in the historic centre of Cirò Marina, the heart of Calabrian viticulture, the farm comprises a 100-hectare agricultural estate near the Ionian Sea. Winemakers for five generations, the Ippolito family values its heritage and follows a sustainable philosophy to protect the terroir, enhance the native vines and preserve the ecosystem. Balancing a traditional approach with investment in research in the vineyard and the cellar, they strive to create wines of elegance, exclusivity and identity. The Ippolito family are passionate about preserving the extraordinary heritage of the region, they only cultivate native vines such as Gaglioppo and Greco Bianco, and for the past 15 years have been engaged in a research project on native vines.

The wine

The wine is a blend of grapes harvested in two steps; the first enhanced the freshness and aromatics, while the second tranche of harvested grapes imparted structure. The grapes were hand-picked and carefully sorted, crushed, destemmed and cooled to 14°C before being gently pressed. The must was cool settled at 8°C, prior to fermentation with selected yeasts which lasted for three weeks in stainless steel tanks. Post fermentation the two wines were skilfully blended before being aged for four months in stainless steel tanks.

WOTM: Akriotou, ‘Erimitis’ White, Sterea Ellada 2020

Our April Wine of the Month is a new addition to our Greek portfolio from the team at Akriotou. The grapes for the ‘Erimitis’ White, Sterea Ellada 2020 are sourced from Plataea, a small village at the foot of the Kitheronas Mountain, in Central Greece. This wine is a blend of native varieties: Savatiano, Assyrtiko and Aidani, which are suited to the hot, dry climate as they have good drought resistant properties. 

In a nutshell

A rich and textured wine with delicate notes of peach, bergamot, lemon and pear complemented by buttery overtones through to a refreshing zesty finish.

The Producer

Vasiliki Akriotou is an oenologist with over 20 years’ experience in the wine industry. In 2015, she created her first range of wines from a micro-winery in the heart of Greece, which reflected her philosophy of winemaking. The vineyards are situated among the snow-capped mountains at altitudes of 280 to 380 metres above sea level. The range includes is Ορειβάτης, which translates as the ‘Mountaineer’ made from Savatiano, which recognises the steep, challenging terrain. This sublime, premium range of wines made from old vines of native grapes, is a true expression of this fresh mountainous terroir.

The wine

Vinification took place separately for each variety. The grapes were carefully selected, destemmed and crushed before the free run must underwent cold skin-contact maceration for six hours. Controlled fermentation took place at 14°C, with bâtonnage of the fine lees twice a week. The three wines were deftly blended and matured in stainless steel tanks for a total of 10 months, during which bâtonnage took place twice weekly for three months, reducing to once a fortnight for seven months, imbuing the wine with a lovely texture.

WOTM: Badia a Coltibuono ‘Cultus’ Chianti Classico Riserva 2017

We are taking a closer look at some of the new additions to our portfolio with our Wine of the Month for March; Badia a Coltibuono and its ‘Cultus’ Chianti Classico Riserva. An incredible location and region is the perfect backdrop to the rich history and legacy of such an estate. 

In a nutshell

Ripe red fruits and flora notes follow in the wake of a balsamic quality. Bursting with character with a lifting assortment of chocolate, liquorice and an elegant finish that lingers pleasantly on the palate.

The producer

In 1051, the abbey called “Badia” was inhabited by a community of Vallombrosan monks who dedicated their time and effort to study, aiding those in need and cultivation of vines and olive trees. The monks excelled in the practical elements of agricultural development and they chose the name ‘Badia a Coltusboni’, Latin for ‘good worship, good agriculture and good harvest’. Over a tumultuous period of history for Italy, the abbey was handed over to many, but in 1846 the 74 hectare estate was purchased and has been passed down through 6 generations of the Stucchi Prinetti family. Today, the family have leant themselves purely to the development of their estate, hospitality and their family’s heritage in terms of winemaking methods and customs.

The wine

The blend of the ‘Cultus’ (‘cultivation’ in Latin) is primarily Sangiovese, but with traditional varieties of Colorino, Canaiolo and Ciliegiolo added to bolster the flavour. These varieties were replanted recently to more traditional propagation methods in an effort to maintain the legacy and spirit of the estate’s history. The elevation of the vines at 250 – 330 metres help to keep the vines aerated and ventilated, keeping them healthy in the warmth of the region. Hand harvested fruit are met with wild yeasts in the winery as fermentation took place in stainless steel tanks. The skins were left to macerate for 20 to 35 days and afterwards the wine was aged in 225l French oak barriques for 14 to 16 months.

WOTM: Lomond Wines, ‘Phantom’ Pinot Noir 2018

February’s Wine of the Month is a new addition to our portfolio; Lomond Wines. Situated as far south in South Africa as vineyards can get, the vines themselves are in view of the sea – only a hop, skip and a boat ride away from Antarctica on the Agulhas Plain.

Please welcome, the ‘Phantom’ Pinot Noir

In a nutshell

Medium-bodied, fragrant, with lingering notes of spices, red berry fruits and a grounded earthiness that brings it all together. A charmingly balanced red wine with nuanced oak and bright acidity.

The producer

Lomond Wines, aptly named after the Ben Lomond Mountain where the vineyards are planted, was established in 1999 overlooking the sea where the Indian and Atlantic Oceans greet each other. The cool air that washes over the vineyards from the sea and the 18 different soil types found around the vineyards – along with great drainage – makes for late ripening and intense and complex wines of world-class calibre. Scattered and surrounding the vines are the endangered Elim Fynbos, flora that is indigenous to the region, making the vineyards ever more picturesque. Since 2005, Lomond are proudly part of the Walker Bay Fynbos Conservancy that strives to protect these beautiful, diverse plants. Not only do Lomond use sustainable practices, but they are pioneers in winemaking.

The wine

The 2018 was heralded by a cool, dry summer that slowed ripening down to concentrate the flavours. Hand-picked and hand-sorted grapes were fermented in open top barrels that underwent manual punch-downs. After this, the wine was transferred to a combination of 2nd, 3rd and 4th fill French oak, which it then spent 12 months in to mature.

WOTM: Larry Cherubino ‘Apostrophe Possessive Red’, Great Southern 2019

Australia Day 2022 is fast approaching, providing us with an ideal opportunity to reflect on one of the jewels in our portfolio: Larry Cherubino. A world-renowned winemaker, based in Western Australia, Larry produces incredible wines that showcase their origin.
Our January Wine of the Month is Larry Cherubino’s  ‘Apostrophe Possessive Red’, Great Southern 2019, hailing from a vineyard located in the Frankland River area of the Great Southern, which is considered to be one of the most distinctive viticulture areas in Australia.

In a nutshell

Medium-bodied, this delicious and fleshy wine has flavours of fresh and juicy cranberry and blackberry with a herbal and smoky bacon tang. Rhône with a silky Australian twist.

The producer

Former ‘Winery of the Year’ by James Halliday and Matt Skinner, Larry Cherubino wants his wines to be distinctive and to speak clearly of their variety and vineyard site. He believes in paying meticulous attention to the vineyard, canopy and water management, picking at the right time and minimal intervention in the winery. Larry also makes wine under the Laissez Faire label, an exquisite range of natural wines which are the ultimate expression of site, made in small batches from hand harvested grapes. From delicate whites to opulent reds, all his wines have pure class and finesse.

The wine

The fruit was hand-picked and sorted, followed by fermentation in small lot fermenters. A moderate extraction was aimed for, thus ensuring vineyard characters were fully expressed. The wine was then aged in new and one year old oak, for six to eight months.

WOTM: Champagne Duval-Leroy, Brut Réserve NV

A new sparkling addition to our portfolio, Champagne Duval-Leroy, Brut Réserve NV has landed just in time for the festive period. This cuvée is a blend of 15 crus with 40% of reserve wines, resulting in a complex and consistent style.

In a nutshell

Refreshing and elegant, with biscuity flavours layered with dark chocolate, cinnamon and roasted yellow fig, beautifully balanced and refined.

The producer

Champagne Duval-Leroy was founded in 1859, with the alliance of the Duval and Leroy families and has subsequently been passed down for six generations. Today, it is one of the last remaining independent, family-owned Champagne Houses. In 1991, Carol Duval-Leroy took over and today successfully leads the house, together with her three sons, Julien, Charles and Louis. Carol Duval-Leroy is the first and only woman to date to be appointed president of the Association Viticole Champenoise.

Certified HVE3, the family is firmly committed to sustainable development in the vineyards and in the cellars under the watchful eye of chef du cave, Sandrine Logette-Jardin. Based in Vertus, in the heart of the Côte des Blancs, they create distinctive Champagnes of finesse and elegance, while capturing the essence of the terroir of their 200 hectare estate, which comprises 40% of Premier and Grand Cru villages in the Côte des Blancs and in the Montagne des Reims.

The wine

The blend is made up of approximately 15 crus, including: Chatillon sur Marne, Venteuil, Fleury la Rivière de la Rive droite de la Vallée de la Marne, Vallée de l’Ardre, Côte des Bars and Coteaux de Sézanne. The vineyards are situated on the renowned, chalky soils of the Champagne region. Champagne Duval-Leroy was one of the first
Champagne houses to be HVE3 certified and a multitude of sustainable practices are employed. Measures are taken to combat the run-off of rain water, to limit the pollution of both underground and superficial water; grass cover crops are grown and processes to combat soil erosion are employed.

Biodiversity is positively encouraged, sustainable fertilisers are used and sexual confusion of predators takes place instead of insecticides. The plots and weather conditions encountered are carefully monitored, with soil testing and cartographic, computerised methods in place for full traceability of products used in the plots. Above all, preventative measures are in place to minimise the use of products, which if necessary, are carefully chosen to have the least impact on the environment.

 

WOTM: Champagne Collet Brut 1er Cru Blanc de Blancs NV

Our October Wine of the Month – Champagne Collet Brut 1er Cru Blanc de Blancs NV – is an Art Deco inspired assemblage of six Chardonnay parcels from the best Premiers and Grands Crus of the Champagne region. The three pillars of this Blanc de Blancs Premier Cru come from the three famous Grands Crus of Champagne – Avize, Oger and Chouilly. Avize is a rich Cru which brings power; Oger offers tenderness and Chouilly imparts elegance and finesse to the blend.

In a nutshell

Vivacious and fresh, this 1er Cru delivers bright citrus notes with hints of white pepper, brioche and smoke, complex and elegant with a lovely long finish.

The producer

Champagne Collet with its elegant Art Deco packaging is evocative of the Belle Epoque era from when it was established. It is the oldest cooperative in Champagne, dating back to 1921. Since its inception, Collet has been creating Champagnes of character with authenticity, elegance and great finesse. Located in Aÿ, in the heart of the Champagne region, Collet represents some of the finest growers and mainly sources from vineyards which are based on Premier and Grand Cru sites. Each cuvée reflects the diversity of the region’s terroirs and has been masterfully blended to suit gastronomic cuisine.

The wine

The Blanc de Blancs 1er Cru was aged for a minimum of five years in Collet’s centuries old limestone cellars.

WOTM: Undurraga ‘TH’, Valle de Maule, Cabernet Sauvignon 2018

Our September Wine of the Month hails from Undurraga’s TH range. A range devised by head winemaker, Rafael Urrejola, who is renowned for his ability to to detect soil types and characteristics in Chile’s regions, using his intuition to find the best spots for planting vines.
Grapes for Undurraga ‘TH’ Cabernet Sauvignon are grown in the Cauquenes area is part of DO Valle de Maule, in a vineyard with deep soils and variable texture. The topsoil consists of clay with high silica content, with partially weathered granite and even quartz in the subsoil; these properties allow for good water retention, releasing it slowly as the vines need it.

In a nutshell

This is an expressive and full-flavoured wine revealing complex aromas of blackcurrant with hints of spice and warm earthy notes, juicy benchmark Cabernet.

The producer

Undurraga is one of Chile’s most prestigious wineries, consistently receiving high scores from top wine critics. Founded in 1885, Undurraga owns 1,350 hectares of estate vineyard in Chile’s premium wine producing areas such as Leyda, Cauquenes and Itata. Head winemaker Rafael Urrejola has spent a great deal of time researching and understanding the diversity of Chile’s vineyard sites; the result is the emblematic ‘Terroir Hunter’ range. Undurraga cultivates their vineyards with respect for the environment and follow a philosophy of minimal intervention in the cellar in order to showcase the terroir.

The wine

The grapes were carefully selected to remove any green or dehydrated berries. The healthy grapes were crushed and cold macerated for five days at 4 to 6°C to obtain good intensity of colour and aroma concentration. Fermentation took place with natural yeast at 26 to 28°C, lasting for 18 days with three daily pump overs. Post-fermentation maceration took place on the lees lasting for 14 days, enhancing the structure. The wine was racked into French oak barrels, of which 30% were new, where malolactic conversion took place before being aged for 14 months.

WOTM: Kershaw Wines, ‘Clonal Selection’, Elgin, Chardonnay 2018

A new addition to our portfolio, made by one of the few MWs making his own wine in the world – Kershaw Wines, ‘Clonal Selection’, Elgin, Chardonnay 2018. Awarded 92 points by Tim Atkin, the grapes for this wine come from eight to 10 small parcels of vineyards in several locations in the Elgin Valley. Elgin is the coolest wine region in South Africa and is situated on an inland, hexagonal-shaped plateau, at an altitude of 300 metres.

In a nutshell

A restrained, mineral style focussed on elegance with a white fruit character, a touch of oatmeal and delicate oak spice notes.

The producer

Made in tiny quantities, Richard Kershaw MW’s wines are always in high demand. Born in Sheffield, Richard trained and worked as a chef before discovering wine. After extensive travelling he settled in South Africa in 1999, and by 2009 he was Group Winemaker at Mulderbosch and Kanu. He established Richard Kershaw Wines in 2012, specialising in the cool-climate wines of Elgin. Being one of the few MW’s to make his own wine, he uses his vast knowledge to craft stunning wines that are easily a match for some of the world’s very best wines.

The wine

The grapes were hand-picked in the early autumnal mornings and were gently whole bunch pressed up to a maximum of 0.6 bar or until a low juice recovery of 615 litres per tonne was obtained. The juice was transferred via gravity directly to barrel, without the use of pumps. The unclarified juice underwent spontaneous fermentation with wild yeasts. Malolactic conversion was discouraged, retaining a crisp style. The wine matured in Burgundian French oak for 11 months in total, of which 39.4% was new oak; and of that 82.2% was aged in 228 litre barriques and 17.8% in 500 litre casks, before racking, blending and bottling.

 

WOTM: Brezza, Vigna Santa Rosalia, Nebbiolo d’Alba 2018

A new addition to the Hallgarten portfolio, our July Wine of the Month is Vigna Santa Rosalia, Nebbiolo d’Alba 2018, from Brezza was made organically, with minimal addition of sulphur. Recently awarding it 16.5 points, Jancis Robinson describes the wine as having “freshness and texture in spades.” We are very excited to have this, and the full range from Brezza, in our portfolio!

In a nutshell

A pale, perfumed wine with notes of berried fruit with characteristic hints of roses, violets and subtle earthy, savoury and leather notes.

The producer

The Brezza family own 12.5 hectares of vines split between the commune of Barolo (in Cannubi, Castellero and Sarmassa), the two hectare Santa Rosalia estate just outside the Barolo DOCG zone between Diano d’Alba and the town of Alba itself, and two further plots in Monforte d’Alba and Novello. Throughout the vineyards, the family practices an environmentally friendly approach to viticulture and the estate has been certified organic since the 2015 vintage. In the cellar, winemaker Enzo Brezza follows a traditional approach with minimal intervention. In order to maintain freshness and purity, many of the wines are bottled with glass Vinolok closures.

The wine

The grapes come from a 1.2 hectare single vineyard called Vigna Santa Rosalia, which was planted in 2004. Located around the town of Alba, it has been organically farmed since 2010. Situated at 300 metres’ elevation, the vines are planted at a density of 4,000 vines per hectare and have a westerly orientation, capturing the afternoon sunshine. The Nebbiolo vines are the Lampia and Michet clones and are grown on rootstocks K5BB and 420A. Guyot pruned and espalier trained, the vines are carefully cultivated by hand, with green harvesting and thinning taking place to control yields and increase the concentration of flavour in the grapes. Green manure is employed to enhance the vitality of the soil and the cuttings from the grass cover crops are left on the soil, to help increase the nutrient value. In accordance with organic viticulture, copper and sulphur are used when necessary; herbicides and pesticides are not employed. Harvest takes place by hand.

WOTM: Domaine Foivos, ‘Robola of Kefalonia’, Robola 2020

Our June Wine of the Month is a new addition to our portfolio, and one that screams summer – Domaine Foivos, ‘Robola of Kefalonia’, Robola 2020! From Kefalonia, an island off the west coast of Greece, and made from the island’s most well-know indigenous variety, the grapes for this cuvée come from 20 year old vines that are ungrafted and grown on their own indigenous roots in a vineyard in Fragata, on the free-draining slopes of Mount Ainos.

In a nutshell

An incredibly fresh and pure wine that is full of tension. The herbal and citrus aromas create a harmonious fusion through to a palate with lime citrus intensity and mouth-watering freshness.

The producer

The Foivos winery evolved from the historic Mantzavino winery, one of the oldest in Greece. The winery was bought in 1996, and in 1999 Theodorous Orkopoulos produced his first vintages. The winery specialises in rare Greek varieties as well as the better known Robola.

The grapes are farmed organically and biodynamically, and Foivos also explores alternative winemaking practices such as fermentation in Amphora and ageing under water. This winery is making some excellent terroir-driven wines that rank among some of Greece’s finest. Many people believe Kefalonia to be the next Santorini: watch this space!

The wine

The grapes were carefully selected and sorted in the cellar, destemmed and gently pressed. The must was fermented with wild, indigenous yeasts at low temperatures in stainless steel tanks to retain the purity of fruit and aromatic integrity. The wine was gently filtered prior to bottling. Made in an unoaked style to fully express the character of the Robola variety and the mountainous terroir of Mount Ainos.

WOTM: Lake Chalice ‘The Raptor’, Marlborough, Sauvignon Blanc 2018

When you think of Sauvignon Blanc, which region springs to mind first? We, and we are sure a lot of consumers, automatically go to Marlborough. To celebrate this grape variety, we have picked a quintessential Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc – Lake Chalice ‘The Raptor’ 2018 – as our May Wine of the Month to coincide with 07th May or, International Sauvignon Blanc Day.

One of the world’s most popular grape varieties, and one of the most widely-planted, Sauvignon Blanc is recognised worldwide for its fresh and aromatic qualities.

The grapes for this wine were sourced from a single vineyard in the rich loamy soils of the Dillons Point area of Marlborough’s Lower Wairau Valley. Shaped by a slow convergence of tectonic plates, the Wairau Valley offers a veritable patchwork of contrasting soil types linking the Alps in the west with the Pacific Ocean in the east.

In a nutshell:

Ripe grapefruit and lime aromas are neatly framed by notes of blackcurrant leaf followed by a textured palate bursting with sweet passionfruit and ripe pear with a hint of white pepper on the finish.

The producer:

Lake Chalice was established in 1989 with a vision of producing internationally recognised wines from the heart of the Marlborough region. New Zealand’s native falcon, the ‘Kārearea’, is proudly displayed on every bottle of Lake Chalice wine. Kārearea favour the remote mountains and foothills of the upper Awatere and Wairau valleys and these valleys are home to Lake Chalice’s three unique vineyard sites. Each vineyard has a diverse microclimate, biodiversity and terroir which are seamlessly translated into multi award winning wines by talented winemaker Chloe Gabrielsen. Taking a boutique approach she handcrafts parcels of fruit from single vineyards into elegant, aromatic, fruit driven wines and has garnered a global reputation of outstanding quality. Certified ‘Sustainable Winegrower of New Zealand’

The wine:

The grapes were harvested in the cool of the evening to retain the freshness and quickly pressed off the skins to ensure minimal skin-contact time. The juice was settled and cool fermented in temperature controlled stainless steel tanks with carefully selected yeasts to encourage maximum thiol characters. Thiols are the compounds naturally found on the Sauvignon Blanc grapes which are responsible for Marlborough’s signature tropical notes.