HIGHLY COMMENDED Italian red Cantina Valpolicella Negrar Ripasso Le Roselle, 2017 (£12.99, North South Wines): Cherry and chocolate; extra dried-fruit richness. Cà Dei Maghi Amarone Cànova, Amarone della Valpolicella Classico, Veneto 2012 (£54.99, Vindependents): Luxurious texture; amazing range and depth of flavour. Cà Dei Maghi, Amarone Camparsi, Amarone della Valpolicella Classico, Veneto 2015 (£43.99, Vindependents): Big and heavy with delicious chocolate-raisin and black cherry fruit. Avignonesi, Vino Nobile di Montepulciano, Tuscany 2015 (£25.99, Vindependents): Classic Sangiovese with oregano, cherry and leathery notes. Trastullo Primitivo, Puglia 2017 (£12, New Generation Wines): Dusky blackberry and dark plum; lots of bang-per-buck. Poggio Al Tesoro Il Seggio, Bolgheri, Tuscany 2015 (£25.99, Liberty Wines): Beautiful plump and plush fruit; silky and smooth and full. Vila Rosa Gran Selezione, Chianti Classico, Tuscany 2015 (£50, Casa Vinicola Luigi Cecchi e Figli): Top-of-the-range Chianti with big ageing potential. Cantine Colomba Bianca Vitese Nero d’Avola, Sicily 2018 (£10, Hallgarten & Novum Wines): Plenty of juicy dark berry and plum. Pasta-a-go-go.
New Zealand red Saint Clair, Pioneer Block 26 ‘Tutu Block’ Pinot Noir, Waihopai, Marlborough 2017 (£21.49, Hallgarten & Novum Wines): Slick and supple with pure cranberry and raspberry fruit. Rockburn Pinot Noir, Central Otago 2016 (£30.99, Hallgarten & Novum Wines): Bright Pinot character with Asian spice intrigue; great length.
Portuguese red Casa Relvas Herdade Sao Miguel Tinto, Alentejo 2017 (£13.99, Raymond Reynolds): Appealing brambly sweet fruit and complexity.
The Wine Merchant Top 100
CASTELLO DI NIPOZZANO FRESCOBALDI, CHIANTI RÚFINA RISERVA VECCHIE VITI Tuscany, Italy 2015 There are few bigger names in Italian wine than Frescobaldi. The family has been involved in wine for a staggering 30 generations, and today has six estates in Tuscany with more than 1,000ha of vineyards. The Nipozzano estate is based around an 11thcentury castle in Chianti Rúfina, the highest and smallest of the Chianti sub-appellations. For the estate wine, a little Malvasia Nera, Colorino, Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon is blended with 90% Sangiovese to make a “hugely enjoyable authentic Chianti, with cherry drops, violets, depth and great balance”, the judges said.
CASTELGIOCONDO FRESCOBALDI BRUNELLO DI MONTALCINO
ROCCA DI FRASSINELLO SUGHERE DI FRASSINELLO
Tuscany, Italy 2012
Maremma, Tuscany Italy 2015
One of the jewels in the Frescobaldi family’s Tuscan crown, CastelGiocondo is an historic estate that was among the first to start making Brunello di Montalcino in the 19th century. The fruit for this wine comes from 25-year-old vines in an 8ha single vineyard at the highest point (350 to 450m above sea level) of the CastelGiocondo estate. The wine is matured for five years in barrel and bottle before release. “This is a stunningly complex wine, a true expression of Brunello,” the judges said. “There’s lots of depth and power, plus a meaty, savoury element. Superb.”
Hallgarten & Novum Wines
Hallgarten & Novum Wines
RRP £29.49 ABV 13.5%
RRP £52 ABV 14.5%
A joint venture between Chianti Classico’s Castallare di Castelina and Domaines Baron de Rothschild (of a little wine by the name of Lafite), Rocca di Frassinello brings together 500ha spread across five small estates in the risingstar Tuscan region of Maremma. In a winery built by Shard architect Renzo Piano, the project works with a 50/50 split of French and Tuscan varieties, with the blend for Sughere being 50% Sangiovese with 25% apiece of Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot. “This is a wine of real rustic charm and bags of character – you can smell Tuscany,” the judges said. “Proper intensity of fruit: this is a bit of a bargain.” Walker & Wodehouse RRP £12.82 ABV 14%
The Wine Merchant Top 100 Winners Supplement 2019