Wine region / Country
Heretat Navàs 2012 (2 bottles)
Maius Assemblage 2011 (2 bottles)
Negre de Negres 2012 (2 bottles)
Normal retail price: £69.29
Club Discount Price: £60.87
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Young red Crianza. Terrasses del Montsant Montsant, Spain Grenache, Carignan, Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah
Bottle: £6.54 club members / £7.49 non-members
Don't think of its simplicity as a defect, but quite the opposite, as signifying an authentic wine that is unpretentious, natural and complete. It is one of those wines too which tastes even better the following day, like a good stew does when left overnight.
Heretat Navàs displays fresh aromas, of ripe red fruit that gives a refreshing feel, Morello cherries and crunchy crystallised raspberries, along with pleasant scrubland balsamic notes, mild hints of both coffee and toasted bread, and a light floral background. Bright as a button, this wine has a very attractive sweetish touch, making it extremely moreish. Mediterranean warmth gets released from the glass too, with a show of earthy notes there in the wings, a clear reflection of this dry landscape.
On the palate, it offers a juicy, very silky entry, with considerable powerfulness but less expressive than on the nose; even so, it is definitely fruity, with well-integrated tannins, accessible and easy-drinking, not bitter or tart, and concludes with a very refined finish, slightly honeyed and suggestive of breadcrumbs. Balanced and perfectly smooth, one of those wines which, with all due discretion but fully aware and proud of its merits, capably fills glasses and empties bottles.
Roast suckling pig / roast chicken / cooked pork products / to enjoy on its own / barbecues
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Red Crianza. Maius Viticultors Priorat, Spain Grenache, Carignan, Cabernet Sauvignon
Bottle: £8.06 club members / £9.16 non-members
Maius Assemblage is a red and black fruit cocktail poured into a glass, sprinkled with the perfume of violet-hued flowers and droplets of sweetness, encased by that sensation, always so difficult to describe but unmistakeably apparent, which is the Priorat character. Is it the balsamic freshness of lavender and eucalyptus? Or perhaps the minerality of that dark rock which absorbs the summer sun's red-hot heat so as to convey warmth and freshness simultaneously? If in the Maius Classic, made solely from Garnacha and Cariñena, those two native varieties, the Priorat character reigns supreme, in the Assemblage, with 25% Cabernet Sauvignon, it is definitely evident; in view of such a powerful terroir, the character of a variety is bound to take second place.
Maius Assemblage is full of life and contrasts, like its environment. Its entry on the palate is pleasant, smooth, and although intense not at all aggressive, and it boasts a particular elegance; it is complex on the palate and offers juicy fruit (hints of very ripe pears)as well as oily notes of supple leather, earthiness, spices, balsamic touches and a citrus background. It is flavoursome, persistent and ends with a complete, fruit-charged, fresh and mineral finish. A profound wine, revealing a harmonious contrast of warmth and freshness, of dryness and moisture: the Priorat landscape served up in a glass. Extremely well done!
Roasts / barbecues / aperitifs / meat casseroles / sweet and sour chicken / duck with red fruits
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Red Crianza. Portal del Priorat Priorat, Spain Grenache, Carignan, Syrah, Cabernet Franc
Bottle: £15.83 club members / £17.99 non-members
In the making of Negre de Negres, the clusters chosen are those which ripen earliest, on the Clos del Portal estate, reserving for Somni, another of the bodega's wines, the grapes with most concentration. Vinification is carried out just as Alfredo likes, with a short maceration, little extraction and a respectful ageing. The result is to be found in the glass: a harmonious and rounded wine, with immense freshness, which makes for an extremely pleasant and easily-imbibed drink.
Aromatically, this is a complex, open and honest wine. Right at the start, it seduces with a concealed sweetness and some very juicy aromas of ripe, almost jammy, red and black fruits, but soon overall more citrusy notes take over (and more typical of the Garnacha), along with scents of plants like thyme, rosemary and lavender, and the distinctive Priorat minerality. On the palate it is silky and elegant, mature and meaty, balsamic (with those lavender, eucalyptus and rosemary notes ever more present on the palate), intense, powerful and with fruit so vivid you can almost chew it.
A juice made of fruits which, with your eyes closed, will make you feel like you are strolling through the vineyards, breathing in the freshness of that Mediterranean countryside and feeling the warmth of that dry, harsh land. A big thank you, Alfredo.
Cannelloni / stewed meats with mushrooms / mushroom pasta / rice with truffles / lasagne / veal steak / rabbit lamb with fine herbs / roast suckling pig
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