September 2015 Selection

The Andes, Sicily, Mallorca

September 2015 Selection

Alamos Cabernet Sauvignon 2013 (2 bottles)
Donnafugata Sedàra 2013 (2 bottles)
Ribas Negre 2013 (2 bottles)

Normal retail price: £53.00
Club Discount Price: £45.57
You save: £7.43 (14.01%)

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About this selection...

When we come to the end of our holidays, our happy state of mind seems to end with them, but life is full of little pleasures which turn the daily grind, the weekly hustle and bustle, the stresses and strains... into a pleasant state of calm. A glass of wine, for example, is one of them.

For the month of September we're suggesting you relive your holidays, sharing your experiences with friends, taking another look at your lovely photos, reading through your holiday itinerary, all the memorabilia you picked up..., with a glass of wine in your hand. These are three wines for uncorking and enjoying, from three corners of the world whose very names will make you feel like you're back on holiday, evoking colourful images and inspirational scenes: The Andes, Sicily and Mallorca.

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Alamos Cabernet Sauvignon 2013 (2 bottles)

Young red Crianza. Bodega Alamos Mendoza, Argentina Cabernet Sauvignon

Bottle: £6.63 club members / £7.71 non-members


Alamos Cabernet is a wine that has been nurtured on sunlight, cold nights and mineral-rich water from the snow-capped Andes Mountains. It's a fantastic little "high altitude" wine that has been well-regarded for years due to its quality and good price. It derives its name from the poplar trees which shield the vineyards from the high mountain winds and pays homage to those massive peaks and the mountain climate. It's specifically from the altitude at which the winery's vineyards are located, between 900 and 1,500 m, that its remarkable acidity emanates.

If you hadn't seen its label, Alamos would tempt you to take a trip round the wine-growing world before discovering what's written on it. On entry, you would probably deduce its South American roots but as likely as not presume the Malbec variety. You might not be surprised either to be told that it's a Catena Zapata wine, sensing the stamp of this magnificent winery. Yet could you be sure? Not at all, because Argentinian wines usually present us with very ripe fruit, a warm background, and a very fresh wine in our glass. So could it be a Spanish wine? The aromatic plant notes might remind us of certain Monastrell wines. Perhaps French, because of the grape's character? Even so, we'd rule out Bordeaux because of the dark nuances, of pepper and tar. Lost? We've been around the world and decided to go with our first impression. Sure enough, a junior member of the Catena wine family, one of the most highly-rated Argentinian wines in this price range... and definitely superior.

Alamos is not a grand wine, and we wouldn't expect it to be at this price, but it rightly deserves our appreciation for the enjoyment it gives. It's serious and intense, notably fruit-forward, particularly rich in black fruit (blackberries and black cherries), with plenty of refreshing notes (pepper, pine, thyme...), hints of leather, a subtly dry background (smoke), and some earthy touches and suggestions of gunpowder, although it couldn't be considered a mineral wine. It's mature, juicy, balanced and remarkable for its freshness, that good acidity which will ensure a favourable evolution, but don't wait: Alamos Cabernet is best enjoyed in its youth.

Stews / marinated meats / cooked pork products / roast chicken / pasta with bolognese sauce / braised vegetables

  • Wine Tasting Notes:
    • Colour
      Purplish red / deep / ruby-red glints
    • Bouquet
      Fruit aromas / ripe black fruit / pepper / tobacco / leather
    • Palate
      Fruit-forward / black fruit / cassis / fresh / well-integrated wood / juicy / smooth / well-integrated tannins / structured
  • Alcohol content: 13,5%
  • Optimum serving temperature: Between 15ºC and 18ºC
  • Drink now or keep until 2017.

Alamos Cabernet Sauvignon 2013
Front and back

Donnafugata Sedàra 2013 (2 bottles)

Red. Donnafugata Sicilia, Italy Nero d'Avola, Syrah, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon

Bottle: £7.26 club members / £8.44 non-members


What a pleasure it is to uncork a chilled bottle, especially in the summer, and experience an explosion of fruit aromas right from the start. Made principally from the Nero d'Avola variety, plus some small amounts of Cabernet, Merlot and Syrah, Sedàra glistens in the glass, radiates on the nose and is instantly enjoyable.

Sedàra is one of the historic labels from Donnafugata, a winery which is a real reference point on the island and produces over a dozen different wines including reds, whites, rosés, sweet wines, a sparkling one, Grappa and olive oils too. Sedàra is a young wine that's expressive and complex, and owes its richness to the fruit, the terroir and ageing in concrete tanks, with no use of oak. It gets rounded off in the winery for a sufficient length of time, and comes to us showing all of its vigour, yet with an elegance and finesse all of its own. Sedàra is seductive.

Its nose is really surprising for a young wine. Fresh vigorous fruit prepares our senses for picking up all the nuances that will come through. It's a mixture of black, red and yellow fruit, that juicy fruit so typically Sicilian, a fusion of blackberries, black cherries and melon. The character of Sicily's wines is quite exceptional and not surprising, with a volcanic land mass surrounded by sea! The contrast between sea and land, dark earth and sunlight, gives the wine a certain richness. We can smell in Sedàra not only the dry earth but also the dampness of a walk through the forest after rain, a variety of fruits and flowers, green peppers, aniseed and earthy notes. A very complex nose.

On the palate it's spirited, dry, sinewy, proud of its bravado, of its youth, but well-mannered, pleasant and rounded. One of those wines which we start off by saying that it's not bad, not bad at all... and we finish off by getting to the end of the bottle without realising it, nor having given ourselves enough time to put all those sensations into words. You'll want to come back to Sicily.

  • Alcohol content: 13,0%
  • Optimum serving temperature: Between 15ºC and 17ºC
  • Drink now or keep until 2017.

Donnafugata Sedàra 2013
Front and back

Ribas Negre 2013 (2 bottles)

Red Crianza. Bodegues Ribas Mallorca, Spain Mantonegro, Merlot, Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon

Bottle: £8.89 club members / £10.34 non-members


You will frequently have heard or read about various wines that the fruit is in the foreground and the ageing notes are in the background. In Ribas Negre, the fruit is certainly in the foreground but the ageing notes are... way off in the background! It's a primary fragrance as open, honest and fresh as you can ever find. Primary doesn't mean a lack of complexity, there should be no confusion about that, it just describes the first impact; the succession of aromas and sensations would take too long to describe, so we'll try to sum up with a visual image: this wine goes extremely well with a good book.

We usually associate wine with food, but some wines pair up better with reading or, to put it simply, are very good company. Ribas Negre, as well as that fruit intensity, has a homely, cosy feel. Among the fruit aromas (of red fruit, befitting the Mantonegro variety, cherries, redcurrants, fresh but nicely-ripe figs), the floral notes, the woodland hints and the minerality — this one is definitely a mineral wine too, and will remind you every now and again of wines from the Priorat — and nuances of oiliness and leather, there is a dry and pleasantly spicy background hidden away, which brings to mind ancient tomes, old library treasures. It's all a question of sensations and everyone will have their own perceptions, but do keep sniffing: leather, balsamic notes, bakery whiffs, chocolate, countryside plants...

Ribas Negre is very juicy on the palate, with an intense yet fluid entry, balanced, with sweet fruit, refreshing, some extremely pleasant tannins and an almost imperceptible touch of caramel on the finish when very young. Pair it up too with the island's typical cuisine: stuffed aubergines or lamb, mushrooms in the autumn, and if you have the chance to go to Mallorca, make sure you visit this winery: it's in a beautiful location, the family is charming and their wines are very good indeed. Three centuries of history, the oldest winery in Mallorca, what more is there to say.

Mediterranean cuisine / stuffed aubergines / lamb / mushrooms / T-bone steak / with a good book

  • Wine Tasting Notes:
    • Colour
      Picota cherry red / bright / violet glints
    • Bouquet
      Fruit aromas / fruits of the forest / red fruit / mineral notes / spicy notes / balsamic notes
    • Palate
      Powerful / balanced / warm / rounded tannins / smooth tannins
  • Alcohol content: 14,5%
  • Optimum serving temperature: Between 15ºC and 18ºC
  • Drink now or keep until 2020.

Ribas Negre 2013
Front and back

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