HIGHLY COMMENDED French red Domaines Paul Mas Château Crès Ricards Oenothera, Terrasses du Larzac, Languedoc 2017 (£14.99, Domaines Paul Mas): Bags of wild character and power; slick tannins and dark fruit.
IL CASCINONE RIVE BARBERA D’ASTI SUPERIORE Piemonte, Italy 2016 The second of the two fine Barberas from Araldica’s Il Cascinone estate in the Monferrato Hills to make it into the 2019 Top 100 final selection uses fruit grown on the estate’s oldest vines. After fermentation in stainless steel tanks, the wine is racked to a mix of old and new French oak barriques, where it undergoes malolactic fermentation and matures for 18 months, with a further six months in bottle before release. “With its concentrated dark plum fruit it has all the hallmarks of quality Barbera,” said the judges. “There’s complexity here, and good integration of oak and fruit, with balanced acidity and great length.”
CASTELLI DEI RAMPOLLA CHIANTI CLASSICO
FATTORIA ORMANNI CHIANTI CLASSICO
Tuscany, Italy 2016
Tuscany, Italy 2016
The Rampolla family has owned the land around Castelli dei Rampolla for nearly 300 years. But it’s the activity on the estate in the past 50 years that is of most interest to wine lovers – a period in which the family, and specifically Alceo di Napoli Rampolla, conceived and planted the vineyards of what would go on to be one of the leading players in Chianti Classico’s modern renaissance. The estate wine is an expression of Sangiovese with just a seasoning of Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot. “It delivers 100% Chianti character at a great price,” the judges said. “Deep, savoury with dried herb and red and black fruit, long and with great acidity.”
An historic estate dating back to the 13th century between Poggibonsi and Castellina in Chianti, Ormanni has been owned for the past 200 years by the Brini Batacchi family, with Paolo Brini Batacchi and his daughter Paola looking after its 68ha of vineyard. Sangiovese is king here, naturally, with the Batacchis working to express the specific character of the the Barberino Val d’Elsa commune. “There’s lots of grip, tannin and power here, in this impressively deep and structured Chianti Classico,” said the judges. “Notes of fennel and white pepper bring added complexity to a wine that could hardly be more expressive and impressive for the money.”
RRP £15.99 ABV 14.5%
RRP £24.95 ABV 14.5%
RRP £18.50 ABV 14.5%
Fratelli Sette, Akluj, Maharastra 2015 (£20.99, Hallgarten & Novum Wines): India meets Tuscany: nice fruit, chunky, proper Sangiovese flavour.
Italian red Uggiano Sangiovese Syrah ‘Il Sanzio’, IGT Toscana 2017 (£8.99, Boutinot): Cherries and leather; touch of oak and spice; decent value. Tenute Orestiadi Nero d’Avola Molino a Vento, Terre Siciliane, Sicily 2018 (£9.50, Enotria&Coe): A bundle of ripe cherry and plum fun. Tenute Orestiadi Nerello Mascalese Molino a Vento, Terre Siciliane, Sicily 2018 (£9.50, Enotria&Coe): Bright and full of fresh red berry fruit. Tramin Lagrein, Alto-Adige 2017 (£16.49, Hallgarten & Novum Wines): Super-juicy, lots of keen black fruit and freshness too. San Silvestro Barolo ‘Patres’, Piedmont 2014 (£25.49, Hallgarten & Novum Wines): Classic Nebbiolo nose; nicely balanced; refined. La Bioca Barbaresco Ronchi, Piedmont 2015 (£25.95, Laytons): Intense, chewy, dark and brooding with aromatic finesse. Massolino Barolo Classico, Piedmont 2015 (£47.99, Liberty Wines): Seriously classy; effortless; still very young. Capezzana Barco Reale Di Carmignano, 2016 (£16.99 Liberty Wines): Ripe and juicy and youthful; vibrant tangy, plummy fruit. Tenuta Valdipiatta Vino Nobile Di Montepulciano, Tuscany 2016 (£25.99, Liberty Wines): Rich but balanced; nice suave texture.
The Wine Merchant Top 100
The Wine Merchant Top 100 Winners Supplement 2019