COMMUNE EDITION 6
Commune is a regular digital newsletter produced by Neill Wine an independent importer of natural wines, craft beers and spirits from passionate, quality focused producers.
In Memoriam Neil Preshaw 4th July 1972 - 4th May 2022
RIOJA’S FINEST LOPEZ DE HEREDIA VIÑA TONDONIA AN IN-DEPTH LOOK AT OUR NEW SUPPLIER
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Unfortunately, this edition of Commune starts with some very sad news. Many of you will be aware of the sudden and untimely passing of our friend and colleague, Neil Preshaw. Neil was a part of the fabric of Neill Wine and portrayed everything we stand for. I know it’s not just the team at Neill Wine that have lost such a dear friend and we are overwhelmed by your messages of support and kindness. We dedicate this issue in memory of Neil, he will never be forgotten and his legacy will live on. Neil shared with us our dedication to handpick the best producers and growers and played such an important role in developing Neill Wine from the start. We are proud to announce that we are the exclusive importers for the legendary Rioja bodega Lopez de Heredia Viña Tondonia in Haro, which was founded 145 years ago. Four generations of the Lopez de Heredia family have devoted themselves to producing exquisite and highly sought after labels, we know Neil would have greeted with excitement the arrival of such a prestigious range. As we head into the summer months, we will be visiting Italy to scope out new suppliers and growers to bring you the finest quality wines. Along with our existing wines that you know and love, we are excited to be able to expand the offerings to both our unique stores and plan more trips to new and existing suppliers.
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During the first half of this year, we have been continuing with the regeneration of our Victorian Groomsport shop and land as well as the addition of a new and exciting facility! The redevelopment has been challenging in the face of changes brought on by post pandemic circumstances but we have made immense progress and are very excited about the future. We are continuously blown away by the support that we receive from all of you, and we are honoured to be the place you choose when you are looking for something truly special. Our aim is to keep bringing you the best quality wines from our favourite producers, and expand our offerings even further.
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WHAT WE’RE DRINKING A selection of our current personal favourites representing great value and taste
ALESSANDRO RIVETTO, MATIRE LANGHE ARNEIS DOC 2021
Grape Variety: 100% Arneis
Grape Variety: Cabernet Sauvignon, Garnacha, Syrah
Tasting: A straw-yellow colour with green reflections. On the nose it is delicate, fruity, and slightly citrusy. It has a fresh, dry flavour and good aromatic persistence. Pairing: excellent for before dinner as an aperitif. During a meal, it pairs well with light appetisers and fish. ABV:12.5%
BODEGAS PANIZA ARTIGAZO 2016,
Tasting: Ripe cherry colour with tinted tones. Intense, complex aroma of wild berries, delicate herbs and nuts wrapped in subtle balsamic and ethereal tones. Full harmony of the wood, toasts, vanilla and chocolate Pairing: Red meats, roast lamb, duck, pheasant, white meats with strong sauces or stews. ABV:14.5%
DOMAINE L'AIGUELIERE LA COTE ROUSSE 2018, FRANCE £22.50
Grape Variety: Syrah, Grenache Tasting: Very expressive nose of ripe fruit (bigarreau, raspberry), spices, vanilla, toast and chocolate which evolve with air on blackcurrant, pepper, ginger and notes of garrigue. A good balance of tannins and good length. Pairing: red meats, chocolates ABV: 14%
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WHAT WE’RE DRINKING A selection of our current personal favourites representing great value and taste
NAVERAN BRUT NATURE 2018
Grape Variety: Macabeu, Xarel·lo, Chardonnay, Parellada Tasting: On the palate, medium intensity flavour characters of lemon, pear, grapefruit. Dry, high acid, medium alcohol,medium finish. On the nose medium intensity primary lemon, lime, green apple, pear and elderflower. Pairing: Shellfish, cured meats, appetisers and snacks
SIMONSIG KAAPSE VONKEL BRUT ROSE 2021,
TERRANOBLE GRAN RESERVA PINOT NOIR LAS DICHAS 2017,
Stellenbosch, S. Africa| £10.25
Casablanca Valley, Chile|£14.95
Grape Variety: Pinot noir, Pinotage and pinot meunier.
Grape Variety: 100% Pinot Noir
Tasting: Fresh red Berry and hints of candyfloss, refreshing flavours on the palate with a hint of quince on the end. Pairing: Veal, pork, rich fish and poultry. ABV: 12%
Tasting: Intense, fresh and mineral, this wine shows all the tipicity of a Pinot Noir. It is delicate and fruity on the palate with a vibrant acidity in perfect balance with its tannins. Pairing: Duck with an Oriental sauce. ABV: 12.5%
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GR APE EXPECTATIONS We take a look at the grape that’s the backbone of some of Spain’s best wines
Tempranillo is of the black grape variety and adds notes of Cherries, Spice and Leather to the fantastic red wines of Rioja, Ribera del Duero and is a key grape in making Port. Wines that use the Tempranillo grape age extremely well, and the leathery and oaky aromas develop beautifully over a few years. History The earliest mention of Tempranillo was in 1807, but there is a theory that it has been around much longer than this and was introduced by the Phoenicians to Spain and Portugal over 3000 years ago. The nameTempranillo comes from the Spanish word temprano meaning “early”, due to the grapes ripening several weeks earlier than other varieties in Spain. The region of Ribera del Duero in Spain was awarded the denominación de origen status in 1982, where it is more commonly known as Tinto Fino or Tinta Del País. The Tempranillo grape is the backbone of some of the best Spanish wines and it is often referred to as Spain’s Noble Grape. It is one of the four grapes of Rioja, along with the Garnacha, Mazuelo and Graciano. With notes of Cherries, Leather and Spice, it is one of the most significant grapes in the Rioja and perfectly compliments the robustness of the Garnacha.
WHERE IT’S GROWN
Tempranillo has a relatively neutral profile compared to some other red wines, such as Cabernet Sauvignon or Pinot Noir, so it is often blended with other grapes such as the Garnacha, or aged for long periods of time in oak barrels to develop the flavour. Whilst traditionally paired with red meat and ham, Tempranillo is a surprisingly versatile wine which pairs particularly well with pasta dishes, roasted vegetables and even Mexican Food. Tempranillo is the third most planted grape variety in the world and is the dominant variety in Spanish Vineyards, the grapes are instantly recognisable due to the jagged appearance of the leaves. Regions Tempranillo is mainly grown in Spain and Portugal, the thick-skinned grape grows well in hot climates, but can also withstand cooler temperatures compared to other varieties. It is an adaptable vine which thrives in chalky vineyard soil, but due to its adaptability to different soils and climates, growers have had success in Mexico, TASTES LIKE... California and Texas.
CHERRY, PLUM, DRIED FIG, CEDAR, LEATHER, VANILLA, CLOVE
In Rioja, Tempranillo is one of the main components of a Rioja blend, alongside Garnacha, Mazuelo and Graciano. Tempranillo is suited to the slightly cooler temperature of Rioja Alavesa and La Rioja Alta in Northern Spain. The climate varies in the North of Spain, where it
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OUR RECOMMENDATIONS OF SOME OF THE BEST EXPRESSIONS OF TEMPRANILLO
1. FINCA SOBREÑO TEMPRANILLO CRIANZA 2016 | £13.75 2. BODEGAS MONTEGAREDO PIRÀMIDE CRIANZA 2016 | £19.50 3. DOMINIO DE EGUREN PROTOCOLO ECOLÓGICO TINTO 2017 | £8.95
can enjoy warmer temperatures in certain regions and can withstand the large drop in temperature as night falls.
summer, the temperatures can soar to 40°C and can drop below freezing in the winter but the Tempranillo grows well despite the harsh vineyard conditions.
In Ribera del Duero, Tempranillo is better known as Tinto Fino, and is often used as the sole grape variety or blended with Cabernet Sauvignon. The regions of Tierra del Vino de Zamora and Toro, where the grape is called Tinta de Toro, Tempranillo is used as either their main or only component in the local red or rosé wines. The warmer temperatures in these areas means that the wines are produced with full-bodied fruit and have low acidity and a higher alcohol content. Tempranillo is also grown in Catalonia, where it is known as Ull de Llebre and in Navarra.
In Portugal, Tempranillo is known as Aragonez/Aragonês in Alentejo and Tinta Roriz in the northern regions of Douro and Dão, and it is perfectly suited to the harsh conditions in these regions. It is the most planted grape in Portugal and, along with touriga franca and touriga nacional, it is one of the main grape varieties used in port.
In Central Spain, Tempranillo is known as Cencibel in regions close to Mardrid, such as the large winegrowing regions of La Mancha and Castilla. There is a strong continental climate in these regions, with the temperatures fluctuating vastly from day to night. In
The stunning region of Douro is hailed as one of the most beautiful wine regions in the world, and it is also the leading producer of fine table wines and port in which Tinta Moriz is the main or only component. Even in the drought-prone region of Alentejo, or the harsh conditions of the rocky terrains and steeply sloping vineyards, Tempranillo thrives in these areas showing just how adaptable this robust grape variety is.
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V I S I T A V I N E Y A R D | MEET OUR SUPPLIERS We visit the vineyard of Lopez de Heredia in Haro
LOPEZ DE HEREDIA VIÑA TONDONIA Founded 145 years ago and spanning across four generations, Lopez de Heredia in Haro is still a single-family winery continuing the traditions passed down throughout the years.
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The only bodega in Spain to still hand-craft their barrels, founder Don Rafael once said, “Wood in a wine must be like perfume on a woman - it must enhance, not mask the natural beauty”.
DESIGNED BY INTERNATIONALLY RENOWNED ARCHITECT ZAHA HADID, THE VISITOR’S PAVILION IS A MODULAR METALLIC CONSTRUCTION SITUATED IN FRONT OF THE OLD BODEGA BUILDINGS, AND IN THE FUTURE WILL BECOME THE VISITORS’ ACCESS TO THE BODEGA.
The incredible story of the bodega started in the middle of the nineteenth century, after the phylloxera epidemic destroyed vineyards in France, negociants visited the region of Rioja to find alternatives. The founder, Don Rafael López de Heredia y Landeta, followed closely behind and fell in love with the region. A highly knowledgeable and idealistic student in the art of wine making, he discovered that the combination of soil and climate in Haro would be perfect for producing wine.
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It was in 1877 that Don Rafael began construction of the complex that is now known as the López de Heredia bodega; it is the oldest bodega in Haro and the third oldest in the Rioja region. The bodega was purposely built close to the Haro railway station, which meant that there was a significant advantage to the transportation and access to the winery. Every generation has left a lasting mark on the complex, with each successor undertaking the task of completing another aspect of the founder's vision. Spanning across 145 years and four generations, the high quality and standards are still the same as they were more than a century ago, paying homage to their ancestors and respecting their heritage. One of the things that the Heredia family have always prided themselves on is the meticulous care of the vineyards. At López de 1.
Heredia, they believe that the quality starts in the vines and it is the consistency in the grapes produced that is essential to
creating their world-famous wines. In 1913 Don Rafael founded Viña Tondonia, which has since become both their most famous vineyard and wine, situated on the picturesque river Ebro and spans across more than 100 hectares. Also in the Rioja Alta region, the family own three more vineyards, Viña Cubillo, Viña Bosconia and Viña Zaconia, amounting to over 170 hectares in total. The process has been the same since the 1900’s and all of the grapes are harvested by hand with a 3.
OUR LOPEZ DE HEREDIA RANGE 1. Viña Cubillo 2012/13 | £19.00 2. Viña Bosconia 2010 | £29.95 3. Viña Tondonia Reserva 2009/2010 | £38.95 Magnum | £82.00 4. Viña Tondonia Gran Reserva 2001 | £120.00 5. Viña Tondonia Rosé Gran Reserva 2011 | £46.50 6. Viña Gravonia Blanco 2013 | £37.50
curved knife called a corquete. Always cut by hand and never by machine, as to prevent the grape skins from breaking and fermenting prematurely. At López de Heredia, they have whole families of workers from Spain and Portugal, returning year upon year, to prepare for the October harvest. Trailers are laden with baskets of grapes, the same way it had been done by their ancestors. Once harvested, the grapes are placed into emblematic containers and transported to the bodega without delay to prevent any fermentation. Once the wines have been through two courses of fermentation, the real magic happens when the wine is ready to be aged in the 225 litre Bordeauxstyle barrels in the tranquil, underground cellars. During a period of slow oxidation that takes place through the pores of the wood, the wine is never rushed and spends a minimum of three years in the barrels that are made within the bodega’s very own coopery. The only bodega in Spain to still have its very own coopery, it is further proof that the process López de Heredia uses really is a labour of love to create some of the finest wines in the world. Since Don Rafael founded the bodega in 1877, all of the barrels have been hand-crafted to produce the best characteristics in the wine as possible. The wood used for the barrels is a naturallygrown oak from the Appalachian mountains in the United States. The wood for the barrels was specifically chosen due to American oak being less porous than French, and produces the characteristics that López de Heredia strive for in their wines. What is unique about López de Heredia, is that they solely use their own grapes for their wines, even in the Rioja. The bodega’s 170 hectares of vines produces all the grapes that they need across their four separate vineyards overlooking the river Ebro. The grapes that are mainly planted
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here are Tempranillo, Graciano, Garnacha and Mazuelo for the red wines and for their white wines, Viura and Malvasia.
ageing in the barrel and then finally, complemented by the crucial bottle ageing period.
The bodega has continuously used their own grapes for wine production since it was founded in 1877, and some vines are nearing 100 years old, adding to the quality and complexity of the wines. With the care and the attention that is paid to their vineyards, it is no surprise that only their own grapes have ever been used. The ability to adhere to and appreciate the traditional techniques passed down from their great-grandfather is worth celebrating. The characteristics and personality of the wines are influenced by the climate, soil, meticulous care of the vineyards and harvesting techniques. This continues further with the care and attention paid during the period of
one of the only family-run bodega’s that is regulated by the Denominación de Origen. The sisters pay respect to their great-grandfather, and the generations that came before them, by honouring tradition and continuing to uphold the high standards that were set over a century ago. ABOVE | THE VIEW OF THE WINERY WITH ITS TOWER "TXORI-TOKI" TOWER, A VERITABLE CATHEDRAL OF WINE. LEFT | MARIA JOSÉ LÓPEZ DE HEREDIA, WHO, WITH HER SISTER MERCEDES PROTECTS THE PROUD REPUTATION OF THE FAMILY FIRM.
Today the family-owned bodega is run by Don Rafael’s greatgranddaughters, Maria José and Mercedes López de Heredia and it is EDITION 6
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A FEW WORDS ABOUT
Get to know one of the most powerful, picturesque and prosperous regions in Italy
The region of Veneto is not only the home to the extraordinary and romantic city of Venice, but it also boasts breathtaking mountains, valleys, lakes and beaches. Located in the North-Eastern part of Italy, Veneto is a region of dramatic differences from the landscape to its cuisine, each province has its own distinct characteristics.
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Veneto is home to the University of Padua, founded in 1222, it is one of the oldest universities in the world and is still ranked as one of the best universities in Italy to this day.
Bassano del Grappa
Vicenze Verona Soave
A Cultural History Veneto has a rich history of art, culture and monumental architecture. In recent years, a wellpreserved Roman mosaic floor that dates back to the 3rd Century AD was found buried underneath a vineyard in Negrar di Valpolicella. The unique and beautiful Venice has been an inspiration for artists throughout history, partly for its picturesque locations but also for its location, bringing many different influences and trends from all over Europe and inspired artists in the city. During the Italian renaissance, Venice was an important part of the European art scene, and was led by the brothers Giovanni and Gentile Bellini.
In the city of Verona, the Roman amphitheatre named the “Arena” was built in the 16th century and is still hosting musical events today, arguably the most famous in the present day is the opera Aida by Giuseppe Verdi.
Region The size of the region and its differing conditions from border-to-border allows many varieties of grape to be grown with ease, and it is the reason why Veneto is able to produce such a wide variety of wines. The region forms part of the Triveneto Zone, along with TrentinoAlto Adige and Friuli-Venezia Giulia and also borders Austria and Lombardy. The region is unique as its combination of soil conditions and climates across the northern plains, coastal fields and rolling hills can produce a wide range of high quality wines. The stunning Bardolino, on the south-eastern shore of Lake Garda, has excellent conditions and production is mainly focused around select hills with morainic soil. The wines are fruity with aromas of cherries and fragrant spices made with Corvinone, Molinara and Rondinella, which overlap with the grapes used in Valpolicella. East of Lake Garda, the stunning Valpolicella is characterised by its mediaeval towns that are dotted across the hillside and precious vines. Many of the best vineyards are situated around the villages of Negrar,
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Marano and Fumane due to the volcanic and clay-rich soils that delivers Corvina with a fuller body and fruitier flavour. Soave, near the city of Verona, is known for its mediaeval castles and its popular dry white wine. The principal grape used in this variety is Garganega, grown on the hillside vineyards. The very popular Prosecco grape is grown on the hills between the towns of Conegliano, Vittorio Veneto and Valdobbiadene and a smaller variation is produced on the hills near the town of Asolo. Local Cuisine The food in Veneto is as varied as its geography with every town and province having its own variation on Venetian cuisine. With the bountiful Adriatic Sea and Lake Garda in the region, there is an abundance of fresh fish available. Clams, mussels, crab, prawns and anchovies all feature heavily in meals, particularly in coastal towns. Veneto is one of the only regions in Italy where pasta is not the main staple, but many meals instead feature rice or polenta. Thanks to the very rich and fertile soils of Treviso, the province is famous for the vegetables produced here. From wild mushrooms and artichokes to lettuces such as radicchio and chioggia, the city is said to produce the best vegetables in Northern Italy. Wine In addition to its rich history, Veneto is well known for being the largest producer of wine in Italy. Although smaller than the other wine-producing regions such as Tuscany and Piedmont, the popularity of wines from this region has continuously increased since the 1.
1990’s.Traditionally more wines were produced in the southern regions of Italy, mainly Sicily and Puglia, but due to the increasing popularity of wines such as Prosecco, Amarone, Soave and Valpolicella, Veneto now generates far more wine. Although the Veneto wine region does not hold the same fame that Tuscany or Piedmont has, it produces almost a quarter of Italy’s wine. Unlike other regions, due to the diversity of microclimates across Veneto, vineyards are able to produce many varieties of worldclass wines, from Amarone to Prosecco. Other regions may export large amounts of wine, but very few can compete with the wide variety that Veneto produces. Climate Due to the size of Veneto, the region contains all of the varying temperatures of Europe with differing climatic zones. The alpine region is characterised by cold winters and cool summers, whereas in areas like Padua where the landscape is made up of plains, the climate is moderately continental. There are warmer climates along the coastal areas of the Adriatic coast and Lake Garda. The sea keeps the winters warmer and summers milder than other areas, which makes it one of the most perfect climates for growing grapes, areas near the Adriatic sea are particularly known for Raboso and Veduzzo. There are many different climates within Veneto that makes it possible for the region to produce such a large variety of wines. In the North East of Veneto, the summers are to be as expected, but the winters are much harsher than other parts of the region. The climate in this area means that it is ideal for Merlot and Cabernet grapes to thrive.
1. Rosso Verona Venetica IGT | 2018 | £9.95 2. Rosso Verona Le Grotte | 2018 | £17.95 3. Valpolicella Superiore Ripasso Superiore DOC 2018 | £17.95 4. Amarone della Valpolicella Riserva DOCG 2015 | £51.00
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