Franco Lourens spent some years working with the great Chris Alheit before settling to focus entirely on his own range of wines. This is a breathtakingly self-assured range and almost in the blink of an eye places Franco into the very top bracket of top-end New Wave SA producers. Franco is a leading light of South Africas New Wave and champion of old-vine Chenin, among others. He is inevitably set to join the likes of Chris Alheit, Eben Sadie, Adi Badenhorst, Duncan Savage et alia in the shimmering constellation of New Wave South African stars. BUT - and here's the rub - since Franco is still relatively unknown, the prices do not yet reflect how sensational the wines really are. Since mid-2020 Franco has shared cellar space with another great new vigneron Lukas van Loggerenberg in Paarl.
"35% Verdelho, 21% Chenin Blanc, 19% Colombar, 18% Grenache Blanc (five days skin contact) and 7% Palomino sourced variously from Stellenbosch, Swartland and Piekenierskloof. Expressive aromatics of pear, peach and citrus plus floral perfume and hay while the palate has good fruit definition, well integrated acidity and a gently savoury finish, some light phenolic grip adding interest. Subtle and intricate".
Francesco Giuntini created this single vineyard wine with Franco Bernabei in 1979. They wanted to produce a wine to best represent the character and quality of Rufina and Selvapiana Sangiovese. Only produced in the best vintages.
This wine shows tremendous depth of colour with great intensity on the nose. The palate is powerful and fruit packed with ripe raspberry and spicy cherry fruit, supported by a touch of herbs and violets, robust tannins and a long, fine finish which is the hallmark of the Selvapiana wines.
The idea of this ??wine came out during a curious meeting between wine experts: Valentino Sciotti, today CEO of the Farnese Group, Filippo Baccalaro, chief winemaker of the same group and third generation of Piedmontese winemakers, Hugh Johnson, the most famous wine journalist in the world, and Jean Marc Sauboua of the third generation of Bordeaux winemakers. During that particular meeting, 18 years ago, Hugh Johnson launched a challenge to the two young winemakers: that of creating a great wine with the character of Southern Italy, forged with the best varietals of that territory; a wine with the modest name of table wine, but with the soul of a great wine, that stands out for its ability to be unique and extraordinarily superior to what the market offers.
Montepulciano, Primitivo, Negroamaro, Sangiovese & Malvasia Nera.
Astonishing 3-time winner of 99/100 Luca Maroni "Best Italian Red 2018". Previous IWC Abruzzo Trophy. Grower voted best in Italy 3 times. Massive, Epic wine. 100% new oak (60% American 40% French)
Only produced in outstanding vintages. A blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Merlot and a touch of Petit Verdot. This is a serious wine, a really serious wine. Slightly sour black and fruits with dried violets, the nose is exceptional and has such smooth and sweet taninns. This is Aurelio Montes showing off and Im very glad he does.
James Suckling 94 Points
A top blend from Marcello here. His wines are all natural, and we are delighted to have them back after an absence of a couple of years. This blend (2015 vintage) is produced from handpicked grapes which underwent a micro fermentation with natural yeasts prior to being aged in oak for 20 months.
This is a seriously good wine, more savoury and elegant than fruit driven, with noticeable vanilla on the finish.
Deep purple, almost opaque in colour with an expressive nose of black fruits, pepper, cinnamon, spice and violets. A seductive palate of dark hedgerow fruits, very open and welcoming with an explosion of fruit and spice. Mineral undertones.
This is the magnum size.
96 points Tim Atkin
95 Points Best Cabernet Franc from Chile
Again, the cooler vintage seems to have favored the 2013 Franco, which came through as complex, compact, powerful and elegant. This time it's not a pure varietal, as it contains some 6% Cabernet Sauvignon in the final blend. This is a Cabernet Franc all about finesse but with enough power and character. It's very floral and exuberant,
Luis Gutierrez, Wine Advocate, 28th Apr 2017
Rolly-Gassmann is a domaine like no other and has a unique style. It is located at Rorschwihr, a sleepy village on the northern rim of Haut-Rhin. The vineyards are located in Rorschwihr and the neighbouring Rodern and Bergheim. The wines are small masterpieces with very good definition. They all carry the signature of Rolly-Gassmann, a certain shameless, velvety sweetness. The fruit is rich and manages to balance the fruit with a vibrant acidity to form wines that melt on the palate.
The Bellang family have been making wine in Burgundy for generations, but its only since son Christophe took over in the 90s that their reputation has soared, his Meursaults are excellent without the huge price tag that many have.
Very nicely balanced fresh chardonnay flavours, ranging from zingy citrus and apple, through peach, to a little sweet mango and fresh guava. Gentle, restrained oak, which adds a bit of vanilla and butterscotch to the creamy body without overpowering.
"The 2021 Syrah Colson Canyon Vineyard is one of the highlights among the 2021s I tasted from Joey Tensley. Vibrant and driving in feel, the Colson Syrah is endowed with tremendous character. Blue/purplish fruit, gravel, incense, menthol and lavender all take shape as the 2021 shows off its striking beauty. There is so much to look forward to." Antonio Galloni. 95pts
100% Carignan from 80 year old vines. Complex floral aromas. On the palate the fruits, such as raspberry and morello cherry, are crunchy and fresh. There is also a very strong stony/mineral feeling. The finish is long and pure. A vibrant wine.
Costamiòle is produced from the vineyards in the Agliano Terme area, a place where Barbera best expresses itself thanks to a favourable southern exposure, ideal for this grape variety. Aged in small oak barrels, this wine is able to maintain the grapes extraordinary freshness and aromatic qualities.
Costamiòle is deep ruby red in colour with dark purple hues. Its nose is rich with aromas of fruit, plums and cherries that merge with hints of violets, cinnamon, cacao and leather. Its mouth filling palate is rich in supple yet well-structured tannins.
A new cuvee debuting in 2019 form the Le Mollard leu-dit which is elegant, refined and with Burgundian in style. Very fine wine indeed. For those that love lifted Syrah with real class and elegance. Bravo Xavier!
A seductive combination of white nectarine, pink grapefruit and candied orange rind mingles with the more savoury aromas of roasted chestnuts and hot buttered brioche an elaborate concoction infused with linseed and woodsmoke. The savouriness carries through onto a wonderfully dry palate that has great texture and concentration, with distinct flintiness, tight structure and terrific ageing potential.
According to Robert Parkers Wine Advocate: "If I were awarding an Oscar for finest performance by a winery, Von Siebenthal would be my winner. All of their wines are amazing values with the under £20 wines being nothing short of mind-boggling."
A blend of Genache Blanc, Gris and Noir, from ancient 90 year old vines in the ancient and quite amazing 'C|os des Escounils' that the brothers are developing and working on re-establishing it's other potential vineyard areas. This is beautiful, racy, elegant wine that is softly textured and very ?modern? in its freshness and balance.
From its tempting aromas of ripe cherry and black raspberry to its sweet, dusty tannins and supple texture, this a lush and expansive expression of Napa Valley Merlot. Luxurious flavours of black plum, rhubarb crumble and chocolate-covered raspberry mingle with hints of graphite and clove on the long, vibrant finish.
Simply wonderful aged tawny port from the masters of the style, Graham's. Aromas of coffee, caramel and mulberry dominate the nose and there is a lovely ruby colour in the centre of the tawny, showing that it is young and fruity. Great dessert wine.
A rare Tokaji from the small Breitenbach estate. Rich, waxy, honied, buttery. Hugely compex, with layers of flavour that linger for minutes. Delicious on it's own, but also a beautiful match to balanced desserts or rich cheeses.
Founded in 2006 the Breitenbach winery is nestled in the heart of Hungary's Tokaji wine region. With just 6 hectares of 40-80 year old vines their focus is on the native grapes Furmint and Hárslevel?. Viticulture is done by hand and the mission is quality not quantity which is evident in their wines.
Something of a summer farmyard on the nose. Multi-layered, honest, 100% drinkable. Jancisrobinson.com "Big and bold. Pretty sweet and tarry. Nice dry finish. Arguably a good halfway house between new and old styles of Oz Shiraz"
Where to start... Glittering deep gold, smells like rice pudding with honey and ginger. Hints of musk, hot scented exotic wood, eucalyptus. Immensely seductive, you just want to take it home and curl up with it. A Beauty.
Parker 95 "The Planeta 2019 Sicilia Menfi Chardonnay is a true beauty, and it's incredible to think that as many as 200,000 bottles were produced at this quality. The wine boasts a slightly old-school personality for oak-aged Chardonnay, but it is remarkably vibrant and quick-footed nonetheless. Instead of overt toast or butter, this wine shows all-Sicilian notes of toasted almond and candied fruit. It offers a medium gold color and a lifted, mid-weight texture. Fresh acidy adds sharpness and focus. The Planeta family is doing wonders with Chardonnay (you might also try the fabulous Didacus), and you can't beat this price point."
Patrick Javillier is a perfectionist. He vinifies parcel by parcel giving the wine its concentration and richness.
Raspberry and vanilla go hand-in-hand on the nose.
Supple, fresh, this wine is discreet and accessible in its youth.
Les Grands Liards is located at the foot of the hillside with a clay and limestone soil rich in pebbles.
Asian style beef will be enhanced by this Red Savigny-Lès-Beaune.
Owned by the Gerardin family since the beginning of the 20th Century this dessert wine comes from the Monbazillac region of South West France. Similar grapes varieties and conditions to Sauternes are experienced in Monbazillac, with the development of noble rot in late autumn.
Old vines of 50+ years are used to make this golden aromatic dessert wine which shows botrytis aromas of smoke, marmalade, honey. A good but not very high level of residual sugar and bright acidity make for a delicious and easy to drink wine to match with fruit desserts, pastries and blue cheeses.
Big heady scent of dark fruit, leather and tobacco. Much more medium bodied compared to some of the recent vintages with good acidity and balance. Length is good with dry tannins, many years of life over which this will be enjoyed
Meerlust's gorgeous iconic Bordeaux blend - Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc and Petite Verdot.
"The wine is a vibrant blend delineated from the regions cooling fog and warm afternoon sunshine to allow balanced ripening of lush varietal flavors and natural acidity that can be derived from our venerated vineyards." - Paul Hobbs Winery
100% Grenache Noir bred in clay Amphora from this exciting young grower, Francois Xavier AKA 'FX'. FX worked with Tom Lubbe at Domaine Matassa for five years. He spent a further year with Domaine Danjou-Banessy. After such time this local lad set up in Espira to make his own wholly exciting wines which we are introducing the UK for the first time.
Dom. des Lampyres Calentu Rouge 2021 13.5% alc
100% Grenache Noir grown in Espira-de-l'Agly. 100% hand harvested. maceration on skins for 8 days with whole bunches. Fermentation in stainless steel vats. Aging in clay amphora for 8 months.
Production 2300 bottles.
The only addition is 2 g/hl of sulfur at bottling.
Bottled "with the moon" May 2022
Au Bon Climats Hildegard is a recreation of the original varietal planting of the Corton Charlemagne vineyard in 800 A.D. Chardonnay was not part of the mix at the time, but rather Pinot Gris, Pinot Blanc and Aligoté.
The combination of this unique blend with long term barrel aging (2 years) made something special. It has a texture, complexity, and distinctiveness that cannot be found in a single white wine varietal.
Hand harvested, whole cluster pressed and put into barrel to ferment. The 3 varietals age separate for 2 years in 100% new François Frères French oak barrels.
Lovely aroma of vanilla and hazelnuts from the oak, and a mouth-coating richness, makes for a wine that seems like Chardonnay. But the fruit profile is more bruised apple and pear, and the aromas are more floral than Chardonnay. Minerally lavender and vanilla note from the fermentation/aging regime in top-notch barrels. Aromas of ripe stone fruit, contrast nicely with fresh herbal scent as the wine is initially evaluated.
This Amontillado Muy Viejo has more than 30 years of ageing in oak barrels giving it an intense concentration and complexity. Dry in taste with hints of cedar, leather, walnuts and a lingering, nutty finish. It is a great partner for roast beef, hearty casseroles, game or mature Cheddar cheese.
Aromatic and intoxicating, offering toasted almonds, caramel, dried figs and coffee bean. Dense and rich yet tight and precise. Extraordinary. IWC 2019 Gold
Mahogany colour with greenish hues, a sign that this is a very old wine. Intense on the nose, with remarkable complexity and breadth, with layered aromas of wood from its ageing in barrel and notes of dried figs, snuff, white prunes and walnuts. The palate reveals the fullness of a great old port wine, with never-ending flavours that reveal how long it has aged in wood, such as spice and dried fruit, wrapped in fresher notes that culminate in a unique and endless finish.