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Some recent arrivals...

Cascina Saria was recommended to us by a good friend who knows his way around Piemonte better than most. He warned us to expect some stunning values for both Barbera and Nebbiolo wines but we didn't expect anything like as much as we got. There are two Barberas, one fresh and fruity (Convento) and one more serious (San Lorenzo), having seen a light oak ageing although this is only evident in the texture of the wine which is lovely and rich. Both are extremely good and are, frankly, the best sub-£10 Barberas we have found. Of course, this being Piemonte, the Nebbiolo is all important and Saria's supposedly simple Langhe Nebbiolo has rapidly become a favourite with its sweet and sour fruit and excellent tannic grip. It is a mini-Barbaresco that sells for a song. The there is the Barbaresco itself, in this case, a 2006 magnum that sells for a considerably lower price than the equivalent of two bottles (but we are not arguing about that).

New in for 2014: new vintages of all wines - pick of the bunch: the fabulous 2010 Barbaresco.

Please click on the relevant link for more information about the wines:

Barbera "Convento" (£9) - click here to buy this wine
Barbera "San Lorenzo" (£9.96) - click here to buy this wine
Nebbiolo "Riddolina" (£9.96) - click here to buy this wine
Barbaresco 2006 Magnum (£28.80) - click here to buy this wine


A new batch of wines from some of our favourite wineries in South-West France. First of all, the budget-priced 'benjamin' from Château Lamartine in Cahors. 2012 was a small vintage so we were lucky to be counted among the privileged few "regulars" for this wine. It is extremely popular with our restaurant customers and it's easy to see why: it does everything a Cahors should do but at a price that keeps the smile on your face. More serious, the 2010 'Particuliere' and the luxurious 'Expression' from the stunningly good 2009 vintage. More fun too!

Also from South-West France, new vintages - and new wines - from Madiran's Domaine Berthoumieu. Leading the pack is the new cuvee, Vitis MCM, from vines planted in 1900. It needs a few years to integrate (or, perhaps, plenty of exposure to air!) but this is one Madiran you will never forget! Also new to us is Didier's Pacherenc Blanc Sec, am intriguingly different white!
Prosecco is very much in fashion at the moment but so much of it is dreadful. Not so this from Progettidivini, a newish enterprise focused on making some of the very best Prosecco wines and, in particular,Prosecco di Valdomaggione Superiore, the very best Prosecco, from an area of 20,000 hectares (6,000 of which are cultivated) in the province of Treviso around 30 miles from Venice. This stunning region has applied to become a UNESCO World Heritage Site and became a DOCG - the top tier in Italian wine rankings - in 2009. However, the region's proper name - Conegliano Valdobbiadene - is a bit of a mouthful so most are happy to refer to the wines simply as Prosecco Superiore.

Cantina Progettidivini is a fairly recent project in the heart of the zone: the ancient property was taken on by the Masiero family in 2008. Already they have achieved much with awards for their wines and, more important, a good following. Indeed, one of our restaurant customers was about to switch to a much cheaper option of draught Prosecco when they tasted the'Extra Dry' from Progettidivini and instantly agreed that the quality is too good to ignore. This is a truly lovely Prosecco balancing the fresh fruit and underplayed sweetness to perfection. £11/bottle - click here to buy this wine

It's been a while since we brought in any of the standard red from Domaine des Anges - the last vintage was 2007! However, Florent sent a sample of the 2011 and we were completely bowled over by it's vibrant fruitiness. What a lovely wine for such a modest price. The Wine Advocate agrees, it seems, as it has since awarded it 88 points (and 90 for each of the L'Archange and Seraphin wines).

Congratulations to Florent and the team for a job extremely well done.

Domaine des Anges, Ventoux 2011 is £8.40/bottle - click here to buy this wine

Filippo Broccardo is a new listing for us from Piedmont. As well as a stunning Barolo which was very highly praised in a recent Decanter review, the family's production includes a superb Freisa, a variety not often seen in the UK. It has lovely high-pitched fruit but with an immense backbone/ One to monitor over several years. Click to buy Broccardo's Barolo (£25.50) and Freisa (£9.90).

Shipped at the same time, a Gavi from Biné, a fairly new estate making an attractively crisp wine (click here to buy @ £9.90/bottle) and some top-ups of the extremely popular range from Cascina Saria as well as new vintages of Barbaresco (2009 and magnums of 2007 as well as some more of the 2006) and an Arneis. Fabulous wines, especially at these prices.

A welcome new batch from Monte Rosola, a quietly rising star in western Tuscany, just outside Volterra. The estate is planted to Sangiovese and international varieties and everything is overseen by Alberto Antonini, one of the great names in Italian wine. There are now four wines in this stunning range of wines that will age magnificently although some are quite approachable already.

Most popular is the 'Corpo Notte', a blend of Syrah with Sangiovese and other varietals - click here to buy (£19.96).

However, purists may prefer the pure Sangiovese 'Crescendo' - click here to buy (£12.96)


From Grandi e Gabana in Friuli-Latisana, Refosco dal Peduncolo Rosso is an indiginous variety which, as the name implies (to Italian speakers) has red stems. I had barely heard of this grape until recently but I found it intriguing when I opened a bottle. It has something in common with the wines of South-West France, particularly the better wines of Gaillac. My first outing with this wine suggested cool climate Aussie Shiraz but, on reflection, there is more depth here and more tannic grip, even a little welcome rusticity. Frankly, the obscurity of this grape is never going to make it a big seller but I recommend that you try it once, at least.

Click here for more information and to buy this wine (£12/bottle).

The first officially organic wine produced by the Mas de Daumas Gassac team, Tèrra was first produced in 2010, a vintage which proved extremely popular. The 2011 is a wine that offers even greater enjoyment from the outset. Over 50% Syrah so expect some black fruit character countered by Grenache and Carignan which make up around 40% of the blend. It's a different style to the Cabernet-dominated Grand Vin  but that's all the more reason to try what could soon become a highly sought-after second label. Click here for more information and to buy this wine (£11/bottle).

Also new in: Mas de Daumas Gassac 2011 Rouge and 2012 Blanc


We were excited when Stéphane (winemaker at Raymond Usseglio) told us he had purchased a small plot of mature Grenache Blanc, Roussanne and Clairette vines in the Les Claux lieu dit on the river's right bank near Roquemaure. It became one of my favourite white wines of the year, especially since it started developing so well after bottling. The Grenache gives the wine good mouthfeel and depth but the Roussanne is understandably (inevitably) the star. A lovely wine that will continue to grow over the next three or four years at least.

Click here for more information and to buy this wine (£13.20/bottle).

A welcome return for Michel Rocourt's superb Champagne. This is from the Côte des Blancs which, as the name suggests, is a sub-region where only white grapes (Chardonnay) are grown. In our experience this makes for the best Champagnes but what sets Michel Rocourt's wine apart from all others is his willingness to give the wine an appropriate amount of age so it comes to the market already complex and softened - none of those harsh bubbles here, just a delicious Champagne that's all too easy to enjoy.

Click here for more information and to buy this wine (£21/bottle).

You must be aged 18 or over to purchase wine.
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