Wine region / Country
Gran Albina Vendimia Seleccionada 2015 (2 bottles)
Acústic 2017 (2 bottles)
Raventós i Blanc De la Finca 2015 (2 bottles)
Normal retail price: £82.36
Club Discount Price: £72.24
You save: £10.13 (12.29%)
One of the oldest and most renowned appellations, DOCa Rioja is built on the solid foundations of a long winemaking history and a particular style of wine known and appreciated around the world. However, some large wineries such as Bodegas Riojanas have made a commitment to new styles too, producing elegant and fine red wines brimming with fruit to complement the classic Rioja style of wines and their intense tertiary aromas. This led to the Gran Albina wines; rounded Rioja reds blending tradition with a proud vision of the future.
The curious and enthusiastic winemaker Albert Jané, who has produced wines in his home region of Penedés as well as Priorat and Montsant, made a firm commitment to the latter area with his goal of showing just what the Montsant vines could do. At the antipode to commercial non-personal winemaking, he searched for old vines and the best locations with the aim of developing the essence of these marvellous lands. Wines such as the Acústic are the proof that he was successful.
Pepe Raventós embodies the concept of rebellion in winemaking. Ignoring conventionalities and preconceived ideas, he lets his feelings and the essence of the terroir of the River Anoia valley fly free. Some of the best Catalan sparkling wines of the last decade have come out of his revolutionary winery; wines which take the drinker back to the vineyard and remind us that behind every great wine, there is a wonderful grape variety.
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Red Reserva. Bodegas Riojanas Rioja, Spain Tempranillo, Mazuelo, Graciano
Bottle: £12.90 club members / £14.77 non-members
Over 125 years of history of Bodegas Riojanas can be felt in every sip; traditions which explain the complexity of its aromas. The classic aromas of damp forests, crispy fallen leaves, leather, cloves, incense, and tobacco leaves, alongside the vitality and agility of wild fruits, eucalyptus and black cherry skins. A Picota cherry colour with intense reddish glints tells us of a different production method, a wine full of life, but still retaining reassuring historic sensations.
Silky in the mouth with a fine liqueur feeling and hints of cocoa and spices coming to the front. Airy and fluid, it seduces the drinker with every sip, as soon as it comes into contact with your cheeks. It grows with time in the glass and becomes a true example of balance and complexity. Then hints of bay leaves and soil appear with the toasty feeling from the barrel staves and the delicate fruity character of the best Tempranillo grapes. With barely noticeable tannins and a discrete acidity, the wine fills every corner of your mouth with pleasure and smoothness. It is hard to describe its finish as it seems like it will never come to an end. Simply breathing in between sips is enough to feel the wine delighting your palate once more. Few wines have this gift of being able to thrill from a position of discretion and fineness, and even fewer have done it here in a land like Rioja with its firm traditional ideas about wines. The Gran Albina Vendimia Seleccionada is undoubtedly one such wine.
Stewed meats with mushrooms / lamb with fine herbs / vegetable casseroles
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Red Crianza. Acústic Celler Montsant, Spain Samsó, Grenache
Bottle: £8.94 club members / £10.17 non-members
It has a fresh and yet robust entry, and on its passage through the mouth nothing seems to impose, and that's not due to lacking a prominent feature but because of the perfect harmony among all the elements. It does, of course, have a certain strength and warmth as befits a Mediterranean red, but also clean-cut fruit, unpolluted oak and vibrant acidity. Plums and cherries hide behind roasted and balsamic notes, peppered with violets and coated with a juicy, creamy body of absolute purity.
After a vigorous decantation, we'll be transported to the heart of the Montsant, to Mediterranean woodland where the Cariñena works wonders alongside the pleasantness of a lovely sweet Garnacha.
If it is hard to turn away from the sight of its legs slowly running down the glass, it is even more difficult to take your nose and lips away from the glass. Its aromas are constantly changing (heather, liquorice, soil, tree bark...) as is to be expected from a wine produced with the fruit of wise old vines. On top of this, the mature tannins and extremely long lingering aftertaste make it a wine too wonderful to resist. But if that is still not enough to convince, its reasonable price, a definite sense of its terroir, a promising future, and the hand of Albert Jané ensure that wine fans will fall in love with this 'unplugged' acoustic wine, a pure wine with no frills.
Meats cooked on hot stone / roasted pork / hare
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Gran Reserva sparkling. Raventós i Blanc Wines without GI, Spain Xarel·lo, Parellada, Macabeo
Bottle: £14.28 club members / £16.24 non-members
The best Macabeo, Xarel·lo and Parellada grapes from the historic Vinya dels Fòssils vineyard are used to produce this De la Finca wine. It was Manuel Raventós himself, the visionary behind the trio of grapes used for Catalan sparkling wines, who started to use the Massal selection method of propagating their best local vines which eventually led to the excellent ones in use now. These old bush vines were planted in 1964 on high terraces overlooking the River Anoia. The soil is covered with ancient marine fossils, spectacular shapes of shells and sea-snails, which also give salinity to every sip of this wonderful sparkling wine.
Aromas of brioche and lemon, of yeast and limestone, float over an austere yet elegant background. Generous and mineral, fresh yet deep in the mouth with an ever-present Mediterranean character and the typicity of the best Penedés vines ready to be enjoyed with every drink. A splendid dry wine with fine bubbles and an abundant complexity, it exudes aromas of smoke, fennel and undergrowth. The freshness of its acidity and the maturity it shows thanks to the warm climate, blend together to create a well-balanced and harmonious wine. It has a creamy enveloping feeling, focused on the tongue when tasting it, though it also flows nimbly around the mouth.
Vineyards are mainly located facing northwards. Together with biodynamic agriculture methods and a ground-covering of vegetation, the conditions favour coolness and vitality, both of the vines and the resulting wine. Each variety and plot are fermented separately, to ensure the typicity and maximum expression of the grapes comes through in the final blend, a blend which leads to the magic waiting for you inside every bottle of De la Finca.
Fish in lemon sauce / meats with creamy sauces / quiche
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