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Sordo

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Sordo – Barolo, Italy

Sordo was founded in 1912 by Giuseppe Sordo, the present owner’s grandfather, and is now under the guidance of it’s third generation, Giorgio Sordo, with his daughter Paola by his side. Situated in the district of Castiglione Falleto and overlooking the slopes of La Morra, Sordo is unique in that it bottles 8 Barolo Cru wines, the only producer able to do this in the entire region.

As well as bottling traditional varieties such as Dolcetto and Barbera, they also produce the peppery Verduno Pelaverga, one of the smallest DOCs in Italy. The whites comprise the region’s historic Arneis, along with Chardonnay, Viognier and Sauvignon Blanc, which as well as being bottled separately go to make the captivating Rapujè Bianco. They also produce a Barbaresco from several plots in Barbaresco, Treiso and Neive.3 hectares, covering the areas of Castiglione Falletto, Serralunga d’Alba, Monforte d’Alba, Barolo, Novello, La Morra, Verduno, Grinzane Cavour and Vezza d’Alba. Tradition and terroir lay at the heart of Sordo. Giorgio makes wine in a very similar way to his grandfather; after a gentle pressing and fermentation at around 30C, the wines continue to macerate for around 40 to 50 days, after which they are matured in large Slovenian oak barrels, which range from 50hl to 120hl and are used to preserve the unique essence of each cru.

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Tenuta Santa Maria

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Tenuta Santa Maria – Veneto

Tenuta Santa Maria is a private estate of the Bertani family. Located in the Arbizzano frazione of Negrar, one of the most highly regarded terroirs of the Valpolicella Classica, the 16th century Villa Mosconi Bertani and its vineyards are intertwined with the history of the regions’ most famous wine – Amarone. The great grandfather of today’s proprietor, Gaetano Bertani, along with his brother Giovan Battista, founded the estate in 1857. The family was responsbile for the introduction of the term ‘Amarone’, coined in 1936 within the very cellars of the villa complex in reference to a wine the Bertani family had been producing since the early 1900s under the name ‘Recioto Secco’.

The estate, along with the Colognola ai Colli property in the Val d’illasi to the east, were retained post 2013 when the Gruppo Bertani was sold. Today Gaetano, along with his sons Giovanni & Guglielmo, work to express the quality of this land by combining traditional methods, selected technology, and experience passed down through generations of family tradition. The vineyards are in organic conversion.

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Quinta de la Rosa

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Quinta de la Rosa – Douro

Never one to rest on her laurels, Sophia Bergqvist has invested significantly over the last few years at La Rosa with the construction of a new winery. New granite lagares, fermentation tanks and an automatic basket press have been purchased, a carefully thought out tasting room overlooking the Douro River has been constructed, an extensive area for entertaining has been created, as well as a number of apartments and guest rooms built to develop the tourism side of the business. You can’t help but be impressed with the scale of this project and admire Sophia Bergqvist’s vision for this family Quinta, whilst she has maintained the integrity of the old building and the charm of a family estate in the Douro.

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Bonavita

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Bonavita – Sicily

The Faro DOC is located on Sicily’s northeastern tip overlooking the Strait of Messina. At only 34 hectares and with production of 4000 cases annually it is dwarfed even by Etna – 1100ha & 321,000 cases. Only 5 producers make wines here and the 3 plots of Bonavita that make up their 2.5 hectares are located on the vertiginous upper slopes of Faro Superiore. The steep terraces are between 250 and 300 masl surrounded by a wood of centuries-old oak and chestnut trees, forming a natural amphitheatre for their organic vines. Here, only the indigenous grapes are cultivated (Nerello Mascalese, Nerello Cappuccio, Nocera). One of the main priorities is to protect the environment, thus they avoid the use of chemical substances, using only natural organic fertilizers and biodynamic preparations. The oldest vines are 80 years old and planted in Alberello style, the younger are 10 years old, trained to the espalier system The work here is manual and tough and production is low. The sandy, calcareous soils ensure the wines are stylistically different from those made on the neighbouring volcanic slopes of Etna, leaning towards more grace and elegance.

After returning to the family land from his studies in Bologna, Giovanni Scarfone started vinifying grapes from a few vines belonging to his father in a tiny room next to the family home. Fermentations now take place in stainless steel with wild yeasts just a few hundred metres from the vines’ terraces. Aging takes place in one large conical oak barrel along with some concrete, wines then being bottled unfiltered. His efforts produce around 1,000 cases each year and recognition of their excellence has rightly followed in the few years since his first vintage.

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Polvanera

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Cantine Polvanera – Puglia

A long family tradition characterizes the history of Polvanera, founded in 2002 through the determination of its owner and oenologist Filippo Cassano. He has always been well aware of the potential of his territory and its typical grapes. Thanks to his father’s skills in viticulture and his own traning at “Basile Caramia” School of Agriculture in Locorotondo, Filippo decided to bet on pure vinification, a process that enhances the peculiar characteristics of both vines and terroir. Located between Acquaviva delle Fonti and Gioia del Colle, Polvanera is surrounded by a singular countryside, with typical dry stone walls, downy oaks and vineyards. The cellar itself is uncommon: excavated into 8 meters of limestone rock, this charming structure allows the ageing of wines at a constant temperature. The annexed building is a 1820 manor in which tourists and guests are welcomed to taste wines. Polvanera is placed next to a famous touristic area of Apulia, 30 minutes far from Itria Valley and Matera. The harvest of grapes takes place during the first ten days of September. Latest equipment for pressing and vinification contributes to the BIO selection offered by Polvanera. Thanks to his worthy co-workers and the fundamental backing of his family, Filippo Cassano holds on his ambitious project of promoting and enhancing the quality of Primitivo and other autochthonous vines.

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Lopez de Heredia

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Lopez de Heredia – Rioja

Founded in 1877 by Don Rafael López de Heredia y Landeta, Snr López established the legendary Tondonia vineyards on the alluvial slopes overlooking the River Ebro on the cusp of the Alta and Alavesa wine sub-regions. A visionary and a romantic, his aspirations were impressive – not just for his wines but architecturally as well. His family continue his legacy and spirit led by sisters Maria Jose & Mercedes and this is without question one of the great wineries not only of Spain but of the world.

The Lopez de Heredia portfolio extends over four autonomous vineyard areas, of which Tondonia is both the largest and the most famous. The other three are Cubillo, Bosconia and Gravonia; each with distinctive terroir and aspect and differing grape composition and styles of wine. The estate has 170 hectares of vineyards with 124 in production.

Wines are fermented in old wooden casks, often centenarian, and aged for a long period (as they always have been) including some years in one of the 14,000 + barrels in the labyrinth of cellars (over 6,000 square feet) under the winery that span out towards the banks of the Ebro River. Only American oak is used but as the winery has its own cooperage they purchase whole trees to split and age outside before making into barrels that are repaired and tended over their long lifespan. These neutral barrels impart minimal new oak flavours into their wines – essential when aging profiles much exceed the minimum span required. The most traditional of all wineries, their heritage and stability of process, people and supreme quality are a hallmark of each of their wines.

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Boffalora

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Boffalora – Valtellina, Lombardy

Boffalora started in 2009 when Giuseppe Guglielmo took over his father-in-law’s precipitous vineyards in Valtellina. Located between two alpine passes to the North East of Milan near the Swiss border, the Valtellina has 2,000 years of viticultural history. The wines are made from the local Chiavennasca Nebbiolo biotype – mountain fresh, pure and focussed. His winery is in a repurposed stable carved in the side of the slope. A believer in balance he is also a beekeeper and allows spontaneous crops to grow between the rows to ensure a good environment for both the vines and the bees. Giuseppe is a true artisan doing everything by himself and looks after 3ha of Chiavennasca (Nebbiolo) planted on steep terraced vineyards at altitudes varying between 350m and 700m. Vine ages range from over 70 years to more recent massal plantings and all are located in the Valtellina Superiore. Here plots are tiny, carved into the mountain side over generations. They are normally tended by part-time vine growers working on long-inherited plots and fewer than a dozen have amassed even a paltry 3ha. This is heroic viticulture where one person can struggle to farm 1ha rather than the Langhe’s 10. Giuseppe adds no sulphur to the fruit and fermentation is strictly with indigenous yeasts only.

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Osmote

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Osmote – Finger Lakes, New York State

Ben Riccardi founded osmote in 2014 and brings the sensibilities of a young gun who has worked in Sonoma, New Zealand and France along with Big Apple attitude from time honing his skills at Manhattan’s City Winery. Using fruit from both Seneca and Cayuga Lakes – there are 11 Lakes in total with four considered the best for winemaking and these two with their own AVAs – Ben makes low-intervention, wild-yeast wines that revel in freshness and lower alcohol. We love the lightness of touch he brings to his Chardonnays (both unoaked and with some large barrel influence) and Riesling. The hybrids that can often lead the region astray- along with being freezing in the winter there can be considerable pressure on vines during hot and humid summers – are focussed and original.

The De Chaunac is a French-American hybrid grape popular for wine making in the US Northeast and Canada. Crimson red hue and limpid. Aromas are full of violets, dark bramble fruits, plums, and a woodsy undertone. The palate of the wine is electric and refreshing and follows with dark, blue-fruited flavors. Tannins are light and not at all aggressive, leaving just a gentle dryness at the finish. Natural winemaking and Ben’s skillfull hand add a Brooklyn street-wise, low alcohol, chill-me-if-you-wanna vibe. The Seneca Lake Riesling is a limpid clear wine with a green glint. Beguiling aromas of stone fruit with creamy lees character plus slate minerality. Attack is bright and focused then midpalate creates depth while peach flavors develop. Finish is clean and dry. Hand harvested fruit very carefully selected during a rainy harvest season. Perfect fruit was whole cluster pressed in a horizontal bladder press. Some juice went straight from press to barrel to start natural fermentation while rest of juice sat in tank until signs of natural fermentation. No juice racking. Juice in tank was moved to barrel after signs of ferment, so all wine fermented in neutral 400 and 500L French oak barrels. Wine stayed on gross lees until 1 month before bottling. The Cayuga lake Chardonnay is rich and full-bodied with ripe orchard fruit. Elements of honey and custard with a succulence and brightness. Hand harvested, sorted, and whole cluster pressed. Long, slow natural fermentation in a stainless steel tank. Extended lees contact then filtered prior to bottling. The Seneca Lake Chardonnay is a fully developed wine with light golden hue. Aromas are complex with ripe orchard fruits and crème brulee notes. There is a clean and bright acid attack indicative of cool climate wine making, but the palate is also delightfully rounded and rich. Finish is long and structured. Hand harvested, sorted, and whole cluster pressed. Wine is un-inoculated and instead undergoes natural fermentation in 400 and 500L barrels, with some lees stirring. Aged on lees until first racking at 1 month before bottling.

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Gedeelte Wines

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Gedeelte Wines – St. Helena Bay, South Africa

Gedeelte Wines is a unique wine farm situated in the St Helena Bay region on South Africa’s West Coast. The vineyards are planted in the flattened sea sands filled with limestone 4km’s from the cold Atlantic. The farm Brakkuil was established in the early 1800’s whilst the first grapes (Barbarossa and Palomino) were planted here in 1978. The original wine cellar is still in use today and was built in 1948 after the end of World War II. In 2002, farm owner Wimpie Bouwer (father to now winemaker John Bouwer) planted 6ha of the first Sauvignon Blanc vines which today is used to produce a unique Sauvignon Blanc matured under veil. Brakkuil farm’s soil/terroir is largely sea sand with limestone at the bottom which allows us to gain low PH levels in our wines. It is important for them to create something unique. A trend that dates back to when traditional winemaking began. Because of this ther craft wine by understanding the culture of the grape and follow a one-on-one interaction from the vineyard all the way through to the bottling process.

This Palomino is produced using the grapes from a traditional Spanish varietal planted on Brakkuil farm back in 1978. The vineyard at the foot of “Klein Tafelberg” (small Table Mountain) is comprised of limestone rich coastal soil – adding hugely to the Palomino’s subtle notes of natural sea salt minerality. During harvesting, the grapes are pressed and their juices inserted into tanks until primary fermentation has been successfully executed. The young wine moves over into French Oak barrels where the wine will be racked and left to mature under its own natural veil – a truly unique South African take on this classic Sherry grape.

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Ashling Park

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Ashling Park – West Sussex, England

After living in the village of West Ashling for more than 20 years the Gardner family decided that as it was such a great place to rest and play, why not work there, too? The hay meadow was promptly converted into a vineyard. Employing International Wine Challenge gold medal winner Dermot Sugre as wine-maker was the final piece of the jigsaw.

From a blend of 60% Pinot Noir, 30% Chardonnay and 10% Pinot Meunier grapes, the Classic Cuvée Brut NV shows great freshness on the nose, with aromas of white flowers and ripe stone fruit. These flavours are echoed on the palate, which displays fine intensity of fruit, offset by a great core of chalky acidity. The finish is crisp and precise with impressive persistence and balance. Delicious for drinking now, but with terrific ageing potential. This Estate Rosé is a delicious blend of Pinot Noir (80%), and Pinot Meunier (20%) grapes grown on the beautiful chalk slopes of the South Downs. It is an elegant, full-flavoured wine with great intensity of fruit, length and complexity. Delicious on its own but with the body and structure to partner many foods, this is an extremely elegant and versatile English Sparkling Rosé.

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