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Italian, Lebanese and New Zealand red

SAN MARZANO PRIMITIVO DI MANDURIA RISERVA ‘ANNIVERSARIO 62’ Puglia, Italy 2015 Serial Top 100 winner Cantine San Marzano has had another good year in the 2019 competition with two of its Puglian wines making the final cut.



Italy NV

Bekaa Valley Lebanon 2017

Another wine from Cantine San Marzano in the Top 100 – and another celebrating the Puglian co-operative’s 50-plus vintages of existence.

The first is a wine named for the company’s founding year, 1962, when the original 19 growers came together to form a cooperative dedicated to quality Puglian wine with respect for tradition.

It’s a blend of Puglian speciality grape varieties Negroamaro and Primitivo, from bush vines that are more than 50 years old, which is fermented in stainless steel tanks with native yeasts before being aged in French oak barrels for 12 months.

Today there are more than 1,200 vine-grower members, and the quality is as high as ever. “A big sweetie of a red with wide appeal, with loads of black cherry, nutmeg and new leather, chocolate and a finish of garrigue herbiness,” the judges said.

“It has a seductive nose of tar, violet, black cherry and freshly sharpened lead pencil,” the judges said. “On the palate there’s artisan black sweet liquorice, blackberries (slightly stewed) and beautiful harmony and integration.”

Hallgarten & Novum Wines

Hallgarten & Novum Wines

RRP £26.99 ABV 14.5%

RRP £21.99 ABV 14.5%


The Wine Merchant Top 100

One of Lebanon’s oldest and most respected producers, Domaine des Tourelles has a history dating back to its foundation by Frenchman François-Eugène Brun in 1868, and is now run by the Issa and Issa elKhoury families. Boutique production and expression of the Bekaa Valley terroir are the watchwords that inform this rare 100% Cinsault from 60-year-old vines. “A little bit of grip in the tannin department, and a very food-friendly structure overall; this is a quality homage to the Cinsault variety,” the judges said. “On the shelf it would be a worthy alternative to a certain big name, without the brett and variability!”



Marlborough New Zealand 2016

Central Otago New Zealand 2017

Jane Hunter has been one of the leaders of New Zealand wine for more than three decades now, spearheading the country’s Sauvignon Blanc-led emergence on international markets, and her small but perfectly formed familyrun operation in Blenheim continues to impress. Hunter’s nephew, James MacDonald, leads the winemaking operation now, and for this Pinot Noir he has come up with a now-classic Marlborough style that is, in the words of the judges, “bursting with easy soft red fruit. “Floral, aromatic and gentle, it has a lovely supple feel and really great balance and length. It’s a wine with wide appeal that shows that Marlborough isn’t all Sauvignon Blanc.”

Described by importer Alliance Wine as a “maverick”, Mount Edward winemaker Duncan Forsyth is one of the New Zealand wine industry’s most creative winemakers. In the wild marginal climate of Central Otago, Forsyth uses biodynamic practices and minimal intervention in the winery, with vinification in open-top fermenters, plunging by hand and a maturation of 11 months in French oak barriques, of which 20% are new. “Very impressive, really serious Pinot Noir from what would seem to be a very skilled winemaker,” the judges said. “It has dark plum, savouryearthy spice, and gorgeous balance and length. It would age well too, if you can keep your hands off it!”



Alliance Wine

RRP £17.99 ABV 14%

RRP £15.99 ABV 13.5%

RRP £22.99 ABV 13.5%

Profile for The Wine Merchant magazine

The Wine Merchant Top 100 Winners Supplement 2019  

The Wine Merchant Top 100 Winners Supplement 2019

The Wine Merchant Top 100 Winners Supplement 2019  

The Wine Merchant Top 100 Winners Supplement 2019