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Chateau Brane Cantenac, AC Margaux, 2nd growth, 2004

Meritage – Cabernet Sauvignon & Merlot
Chateau Brane Cantenac, AC Margaux, 2nd growth, 2004
Bordeaux, France

Chateau Brane Cantenac was classified as one of the best wines of Bordeaux in 1855, ranked as a 2nd growth. In recent years the owner, Henri Lurton, has catapulted the quality to a new level, garnering significant attention from wine critics.

The beautiful chateau is tucked away in the Margaux appellation, a region known for wines of great elegance and finesse. The gravelly soils are well-drained and reflect heat back onto the vines, which is ideal for the late-ripening Cabernet Sauvignon. The grapes are harvested by hand and then sorted using a state-of-the-art optical selection machine which only allows the finest grapes to be fermented.

A gorgeous ruby and garnet color, the nose shows black cherry, cedar and earthy aromas. The palate is dry, medium to full bodied, and the tannins are softening nicely with almost 10 years of age. There are layers of cassis, coffee, leather and chocolate flavors that linger on the beautiful finish.

Food and wine pairing: Perfect with lamb, beef, and a variety of red meats. It will also pair well with a selection of cheese.

Mantlerhof, Mosburgerin, Reserve 1er Cru 2011

Gruner Veltliner
Mantlerhof, Mosburgerin, Reserve 1er Cru 2011
Niederosterreich, Austria

For over 200 years the family has farmed a small parcel of vineyards, making tiny quantities of exquisite Gruner Veltliner. This is a grape that performs best in Austria, creating long lived complex wines.

Although this producer has a certain fame, they prefer to remain low-key and focus their efforts more on production than marketing. This wine comes from the 1er Cru classified site Mosburgerin, a vineyard noted for the complexity of the wines it produces.

Pale and bright in color, the nose has a youthful freshness yet depth of aromatics. Apple, pear, citrus, minerals, pepper, and other nuances combine to create vibrancy and complexity. The palate is dry, light to medium bodied, crisp, and extremely long.

This is a small producer of fine wines in a little known region of Austria, using a grape that will become world famous in the years to come.

Food and wine pairing: The perfect match with spicy Asian dishes, fresh seafood, and soft cheeses.

Domaine Zind-Humbrecht, 2010

Gewurztraminer – Vendange Tardive
Domaine Zind-Humbrecht, 2010
Alsace, France

Olivier Zind-Humbrecht, one of the few French Masters of Wine, farms his vineyard on biodynamic principles. All vineyard work is done in accordance with the lunar calendar, with special focus on the positioning of the planets. Special natural preparations are infused into the soil to increase the microbial life, and create a healthy balance and environment for the vine to produce top quality fruit.

The berries are late harvested, allowing them to develop intense levels of sweetness and tropical fruit flavours. The berries are picked by hand on the slopes of the finest vineyards in Alsace, which bask in autumnal sunshine in this area, one of the driest regions of France.

A long slow natural fermentation ensues. When the alcohol degree balances the sweetness, acidity and flavours Olivier stops the ferment, leaving the perfect amount of residual sugar in this sweet wine.

Fragrant aromas of honeycomb, white flowers, brown sugar and sweet spices envelop the nose. The palate is sweet but with a delicacy, lightness, and elegance. There is a lift from the acidity that creates immense energy in the wine. The length lingers, the complex flavours unravel, and the palate is left with the memory of a truly great wine.

Food and wine pairing: Fruit based desserts or soft cheese is the perfect pairing.

Domaine Zind-Humbrecht, Herrenweg de Turkheim, Vieilles Vignes 2008

Gewurztraminer – Selection de Grains Nobles
Domaine Zind-Humbrecht, Herrenweg de Turkheim, Vieilles Vignes 2008
Alsace, France

This is unquestionably one of the greatest sweet wines in the world, and we’re delighted to be able to offer you this rarity.

Olivier Zind-Humbrecht, one of the few French Masters of Wine, farms his vineyard on biodynamic principles. All vineyard work is done in accordance with the lunar calendar, with special focus on the positioning of the planets. Special natural preparations are infused into the soil to increase the microbial life, and create a healthy balance and environment for the vine to produce top quality fruit.

The berries that are harvested are affected by the special and elusive noble rot that results in the classification SGN, or Selection de Grains Nobles, the pinnacle of sweet wine quality in Alsace. The old vines in the village of Herrenweg de Turkheim produce a miniscule amount of wine, which is then fermented in small neutral wooden vats.

This sweet wine shows a classic golden sheen. The nose is perfumed, heady, sweet, and bursts with tropical fruits. There is tremendous depth and character. The palate is complex, with a myriad of flavors colliding to produce a fabulous expression of sweet Gewurztraminer at its best.

Food and wine pairing: Fruit based desserts or soft cheese is the perfect pairing.

Buchegger, Gebling, 2011

Gruner Veltliner
Buchegger, Gebling, 2011
Austria

Austria is quickly marking a mark on the international wine scene for her unique Gruner Veltliners. At a tasting of this varietal alongside top white Burgundies Jancis Robinson MW commented that the Gruner’s were superior.

The finest regions are in Lower Austria, in the Kamptal and Kremstal districts. Here, Walter Buchegger crafts his small production wines. He practices sustainable viticulture, ensuring that the qualities of the land are preserved for future generations.

Fermentation is primarily in stainless steel at cool temperatures. This creates a pale bright straw color, and heightens the aromatics of celery, nettle, citrus and white pepper. The palate is dry, medium bodied, with clean acidity racing through the vibrant fresh green fruit flavors, all complemented by a streak of minerality.

Gruner Veltliner can age well and the single vineyard wines, like this one from the Gebling site, express their origin beautifully.

Food and wine pairing: Fresh seafood like salmon or tuna pair well, as does sushi and spicy Asian dishes.

Cuvelier, Los Andes 2009

Malbec
Cuvelier, Los Andes 2009
Mendoza, Argentina

Cuvelier is one of the most prominent families in Bordeaux, owning several chateaux, including 2nd growth Ch. Leoville Poyferre, a fabulous estate in St Julien. The company was started as a merchant house in 1804, shipping wines to the wealthy towns of northern France.

As early as 1914 Paul Cuvelier traveled to Mendoza, in the foothills of the Andes. He discovered a thriving wine region, and upon his return informed his family to consider expansion plans to this remote, and unknown, part of the New World.

Many decades later, with the assistance of the world’s most prominent flying winemaker, Michel Rolland, the Cuvelier’s Argentine wine was unveiled to international acclaim. The wine consistently scores in the 90+ point range.

Malbec has proven to be well suited to the warm, sunny and arid vineyards that are flanked by the majestic Andes to the west. Many of the finest sites are at altitudes in excess of 3,000 feet, where the nights are cooler, and the acidity crisper.

Ripe, round, dense and plush, showing smooth textures, the power of the wine saturates the senses. The fresh blueberries mingled with espresso and vanilla entices the nose. The palate has a beautiful level of dryness, and a subtle backbone of tannin enabling it to age further. This is one of the finest Malbecs from Argentina.

Food and wine pairing: Grilled meats, such as beef or lamb, are the perfect match, and the wine drinks well by itself too.

Gustav Lorentz, Grand Cru Altenberg de Bergheim, 2010

Gewurztraminer
Gustav Lorentz, Grand Cru Altenberg de Bergheim, 2010
Alsace, France

Gewurztraminer reaches its pinnacle of quality in Alsace. And since 1836 Gustav Lorentz has been producing some of the finest examples.

When harvested from a top site, such as this Grand Cru vineyard, and the yields are kept low, you can produce one of the world’s most heady and exotic wines. The perfume is so intense, the fruits so tropical and spicy, and the palate so dense and layered. The trademark aromatics of Gewurz are amongst the most beautiful in wine.

What is especially interesting is that the wines drink perfectly when just a few years old, but the best can age for a decade of more. The density of the stone fruit, pineapple, and lychee flavors are counterbalanced by a subtle yet bright acidity, creating the perfect balance.

We invite you to discover this fine white wine from Alsace, one of the world’s underrated treasures.

Food and wine pairing: Ideally suited to spicy Asian dishes, and other powerfully flavored food.

McWilliams, Mount Pleasant, Elisabeth, 2006

Semillon
McWilliams, Mount Pleasant, Elisabeth, 2006
Hunter Valley, Australia

McWilliams Mount Pleasant Winery was rated 5 stars by the leading Australian wine critic, James Halliday.

In this small region, just a few hours north of Sydney, one of the world’s very best white wines is produced. It is a well-kept secret. And it’s called aged Hunter Semillon.

What is staggering is the longevity of the wines. A top Semillon, such as this, can age for 20-40 years, and some only hit their peak well into that period.

Semillon is a white grape that you mainly find here and in Bordeaux, for fine wine. It is picked early, fermented in stainless steel tanks, and then bottled in the Spring after the vintage. It is unoaked.

But then the magic begins. When the winery finally releases the wine at 4 years of age it starts to show its beauty. Notes of fresh lime, lemon zest and toast envelop the senses. The palate is broad, becoming increasingly full bodied with age. Flavors of nectarine and citrus unravel on a richly textured palate. And the hallmark thread of crisp vibrant acidity refreshes the senses.

This is a complex, elegant, classic white wine. Don’t tell anyone the secret.

Food and Wine Pairing: Perfect with poultry and richer fish dishes.

Tommasi, Amarone della Valpolicella Classico, 2009

Amarone
Tommasi, Amarone della Valpolicella Classico, 2009
Veneto, Italy

There are a handful of Amarone producers that command international respect for their truly fine wines. Tommasi is unquestionably on that list.

Established in 1902, the 4th generation now steers the ship. It’s a classic Italian family affair. The flagship wine of the company is this Amarone. It comes from the Classico district, which indicates that these were the first vineyards to be planted in the region, hundreds of years ago.

It is made from indigenous varieties that you don’t find elsewhere, named Corvina, Rondinella, Molinara and Corvinone. The best bunches are picked from the vine and then laid to dry on straw mats for 5 months before pressing. A tiny amount of juice comes out. It is deep, dark and concentrated.

The ferment and maceration are lengthy and can go for weeks. The wine is then aged for 3 years in Slavonian oak casks.

It has an inky dark color. The nose explodes with sweet dried fruit, with a note of raisin and dark chocolate. The palate is very full bodied, with luscious fruit sweetness, round tannins, and an aftertaste that lingers on and on. These wines can age for 30-50 years, but they taste beautiful now too.

Food and wine pairing: Grilled meats pair well. The wine is also perfect with hard cheeses as you finish your meal.

Masi, Amarone della Valpolicella, 2008

Amarone
Masi, Amarone della Valpolicella, 2008
Veneto, Italy

We were thrilled to find this outstanding Amarone from the famous producer Masi. It won in our blind tasting of dozens of wines.

Amarone is made in a very unusual way. First, the grape varieties that are used are generally unknown and only found in this region in north eastern Italy. Corvina, Rondinella and Molinara are the varieties.

Only the ripest and healthiest bunches are picked for the Amarone style. Instead of crushing them immediately, the berries are taken to a warehouse where they air-dry for 5 months. This process dehydrates the berries, causing them to shrivel, and increasing the ratio of sugar to juice in the berry.

In the Spring the berries are crushed, fermented over a long period, and then aged in barrel and bottle, usually for 3-4 years before release.

Amarone is always deep and dark, almost inky black. The aroma is so intense with raisin and sweet chocolate that it verges towards a Port style. The palate is dense, concentrated, full-bodied, and packed with sweet ripe fruit. The alcohol degree is over 15%, as it must be by law.

Masi is one of the most respected producers, and we are thrilled to bring you this discovery wine.

Food and wine pairing:
The perfect match with beef, pasta in a tomato sauce and hard cheeses.