October 2017 Selection

Fresh vitality

October 2017 Selection

Laventura Tempranillo 2014 (2 bottles)
Bruma del Estrecho Paraje Las Chozas 2016 (2 bottles)
Vernatxa Blanc 2016 (2 bottles)

Normal retail price: £77.63
Club Discount Price: £68.26
You save: £9.37 (12.07%)

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About this selection...

The wine world is a wide-ranging and complex one, like few others. Nevertheless, it does tend towards a certain homogenisation, globalisation when required, and for small producers it's incredibly hard to abandon the mainstream. Some regions have a long tradition which unwittingly confines their creativity, whilst others, despite producing top quality wines, don't seem to attract the consumer's notice. However, when a brave and determined winemaker resolves to leave aside any preconceptions and let the vineyard do the talking, his wines move into another realm, providing a new and fresh vitality.

Bryan MacRobert's wines in La Rioja, Laventura Wines, are a good example of this vineyard resurgence. His artisanal products faithfully reflect the Rioja landscapes, and his huge expertise acquired all over the globe, from South Africa to the Priorat, endows them with their own personality. Every sip of Laventura Tempranillo 2014 will convey you to a new Rioja, will let you sense its lands and woods, and discern the clearly defined aromas of strawberries and pepper, typical of wines that are clean-cut, fresh and honest.

Bruma del Estrecho Paraje Las Chozas 2016 is the initial red from Bruma del Estrecho de Marín, an energising project based in the Jumilla DO which is taking the region's wines towards a hitherto unrevealed horizon. The strength of Elena and Isio's commitment to the Monastrell and to the terroir's influence shows the outside world that both the region and its star red grape are capable of offering fresh and complex reds which don't hide their Mediterranean soul but pass elegantly through the palate.

The golden tones in this selection are provided by the Garnacha Blanca which Francesc Ferré and his team bring us from the Terra Alta DO: the Vernatxa 2016. Francesc, a determined and hardworking young man if ever there was one, champions his land's history from the vineyard. In his hands, toughened from working out in the open, the Garnacha Blanca acquires a new dimension; intensely citrusy and saline in its youth, it turns into a sublime wine that becomes richer and attains enormous complexity over time. The fresh vitality of the Ferré team should relaunch an area that has everything needed for great success but, owing to ignorance, has remained hidden away in oblivion.

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Laventura Tempranillo 2014 (2 bottles)

Red Crianza. Laventura Rioja, Spain Tempranillo, Grenache

Bottle: £13.30 club members / £15.12 non-members

MacRobert & Canals has arisen from the intention to produce artisanal wines in La Rioja which reflect the landscape in every glass. Its founder, Bryan MacRobert, a South African by birth, was brought up among vineyards and studied viticulture and oenology. He spent many years travelling from Swartland in South Africa to the Priorat, learning how to understand vineyards and make unique wines. He gradually became won over by Rioja wines and began to look for vineyards in that vicinity. He found a very special spot in Logroño and decided to start up his own venture there: Laventura Wines.

He began, as usual, by concentrating his main efforts on the vineyard, cultivating the land according to organic principles and giving it his full attention. His intervention regarding the plants is limited to the strictly necessary and his respect for the environment is uncompromising. In the winery, he works with large-size barrels and materials that show due consideration to the grape, such as concrete, which enable him to preserve the fruit's aromatic purity. Thanks to his hard work, some very special wines have ensued, with a strong personality and sensational elegance.

The Laventura Tempranillo is basically made from Rioja Alavesa Tempranillo grapes, to which is added a small amount of Garnacha from the other two Rioja sub-zones. The 40 year-old bush vines produce exceptional fruit which, after fermenting in open tanks, is aged in 500-litre barrels. In the glass, it gives off an intoxicating aroma, a mixture of smoke, strawberries and pepper. You can smell the earth and woods; it has a juicy palate and vibrant acidity. It continues developing in the glass (perhaps it might be a good idea to decant it) and, after some subtle bitter touches, hints of liquorice and blue flowers emerge. Enveloping, extremely pleasant, and different from the more normal Rioja style. You can drink it now, but it will carry on evolving in the bottle.

Manchego cheese / roast lamb

  • Alcohol content: 13,0%
  • Optimum serving temperature: Between 14ºC and 16ºC
  • Drink now or keep until 2020.

Laventura Tempranillo 2014
Front and back

Bruma del Estrecho Paraje Las Chozas 2016 (2 bottles)

Young red Crianza. Bruma del Estrecho de Marín Jumilla, Spain Mourvèdre

Bottle: £7.54 club members / £8.58 non-members

The Paraje Las Chozas wine is the initial red from Bruma del Estrecho de Marín, an energising project which is firmly committed to the Monastrell grape and taking the DO Jumilla's wines towards a hitherto unrevealed horizon: fresh and complex reds which don't hide their Mediterranean soul but pass elegantly through the palate.

The wines made by this winery are defined by the terroir's influence. In the case of the Paraje Las Chozas, the grapes (Monastrell) come from ungrafted vineyards aged between 35 and 50 years old, with old roots that penetrate the stony, chalky and sandy soils in order to extract all the ground's possible nuances; the climate provides a wide range of temperatures which enables the attainment of structured wines but with pleasant tannicity (Tobarra is located to the north of the denomination), and the vineyard's altitude (650 m) adds a certain continental feel to the Mediterranean climate; there's little rain and the yields are fairly limited.

The result: a wine in a modern style and very easy to appreciate, which benefits from the freshness and elegance conferred by the sandy soils. Its three months of ageing in 5,000-litre oak vats doesn't put any interference in the way of the fruit and allows the aromas of strawberry toffees and blue flowers to be detected openly on the nose. Noticed on the palate are its firm but pleasant tannins, and a complexity not often found in a young wine; liquorice, pepper, cherries, orange peel... simply irresistible and delightful.

Iberian sausages / rabbit lamb with fine herbs

  • Wine Tasting Notes:
    • Bouquet
      Strawberry and cream sweet / lactic notes / red fruit / liquorice
    • Palate
      Fruity tannins / pleasant / with personality
  • Alcohol content: 14,5%
  • Optimum serving temperature: 14ºC
  • For drinking this year.

Bruma del Estrecho Paraje Las Chozas 2016
Front and back

Vernatxa Blanc 2016 (2 bottles)

Barrel Aged white. Celler Frisach Terra Alta, Spain White Grenache

Bottle: £13.30 club members / £15.12 non-members

Bringing together one of Spain's denominations with the brightest future, like Terra Alta, and the expertise of one of Cataluña's most promising winemakers, the young Francesc Ferré, couldn't result in anything else but an extraordinary, individual and thrilling wine.

The Vernatxa Blanc is a wine which denotes the varietal's identity: the Garnacha Blanca (also called Vernatxa), the grape responsible for white wines capable of offering the greatest silkiness and Mediterranean expressiveness. The grapes come from one of the oldest vineyards owned by Celler Frisach in the village of Corbera d'Ebre, and begin their passage in the winery macerating with skins in tanks for two days. After fermentation, the wine rests for about half a year in 500-litre French oak barrels without any toasting, which confer light tannins and an extra touch of unctuosity. It's bottled without any filtering or clarifying, with the clear objective of transferring the landscape to the bottle.

On the nose it boasts aromas of white fruit, fennel, wild flowers and grapefruit. Its entry on the palate is citrusy and it has an enveloping mouthfeel; it reveals breadth and depth, becoming thrilling, almost magical. It conveys energy from start to finish, equally delicate and rustic. As it flows, it evokes hints of mandarin peel, green almonds and salt, only to end by finishing elegantly, evoking candied fruits. A jewel emanating from a more artisanal form of winemaking. An absolute must.

Soft cheeses / oily fish

  • Alcohol content: 13,5%
  • Optimum serving temperature: Between 8ºC and 10ºC
  • Drink now or keep until 2021.

Vernatxa Blanc 2016
Front and back

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