“ES LO QUE HAY - it is what it is. A common Spanish expression, but one I like to reserve for the few old high altitude Garnacha vineyards that survive in Aragon . What you taste in the bottle is a true expression of what there is in the vineyard. It´s as simple as that.”
High altitude ancient vineyards (75-100 years) at 1,000 to 1,100 meters above sea level with Pizarra slate and quartzite soils. Completely dry grown and unirrigated, this is an inhospitable continental climate with extreme changes of temperature where mountain herbs, almonds, cherry trees and Garnacha form a breathtaking patchwork. Low annual rainfall of 200-300mm and the remarkable soils produce fine and elegant Garnacha which is punctuated by intense black fruit flavors with complex mineral, smoke and garrigue notes.
"The red 2018 Es Lo Que Hay, comes from a vintage Norrel Robertson describes as "one of the standout years in our 17 years producing Garnacha." This is mostly Garnacha, with just 5% other grapes, as it comes exclusively from two old vineyards in the village of Villarroya de la Sierra, and such vineyards always have a small proportion of other grapes, mostly Moristel with a little Miguel de Arco and some Provechón (Bobal). All the varieties fermented together destemmed after a five-day cold soak with the natural yeasts and then matured in Flextank egg for 15 months. This is softer, with more clay and limestone influence rather than the slate soils from the vineyards used in the past for the cuvée. This has more depth and complexity, perhaps from the other grape varieties that complement the Garnacha, and probably has a little more acidity and tannin. It has tension, minerality and good acidity, probably from the Moristel, which tends to ripen a little later than the Garnacha. Tasty. Again, not a shy wine at 15% alcohol but nicely balanced. 3,966 bottles were filled in March 2020.- Luis Gutiérrez"
- Robert Parker's Wine Advocate (Issue #248, April 2020), 93 pts
Guillemot-Michel Vire Clesse is made from 100 percent Chardonnay.
Beautifully expressive, with yellow fruits, orange blossom, smoke & flint. Thick and saline on entry, then seriously deep in the mid-palate, with suggestions of exotic fruits perfectly countered by strong minerality. This wine strikes a perfect balance between sweet and salty elements, and it shows vibrant acidity. It boasts a thickness that few other northern Mâconnais can match.
Enjoy with fish (such as sole meuniere), seafood, roasted chicken, goat cheese.
"The 2018 Viré-Clessé Quintaine is showing beautifully, wafting from the glass with a lovely bouquet of honeyed citrus fruit, fresh pastry and orange blossom. Medium to full-bodied, satiny and supple, it's elegantly textural and refined, with a fragrant core of fruit and a long, penetrating finish. Even though it will reward a bit of bottle age, it's slightly finer-boned than the more concentrated, muscular 2017, so I would opt to drink this immensely charming wine before its older sibling. – William Kelley"
- The Wine Advocate (Issue 249, June 30th 2020), 93 pts
"The 2018 Viré-Clessé Quintaine continues to show very well, bursting with aromas of crisp green apple, honeycomb, orange oil, fresh bread and elderflowers. Medium to full-bodied, layered and succulent, it's bright and precise, with a charming core of fruit and a saline finish. – William Kelley"
- The Wine Advocate (August 2021), 93 pts
Johann Michel Cornas Cuvee Jana is 100% Syrah.
Black raspberry aromas, licorice, sizzled bacon and smoke. Elegant and pure with depth and well-integrated tannins.
Jana is the name of Johann and Emmanuelle's daughter.
Manual harvest, selection of the grapes from the "Chaillot" parcel, full clusters, fermentation in tanks for 3 weeks, daily remontage and pigeage. Malolactic fermentation in oak barrels and aging on the lees for 12-18 months in barrels (new old barrels) The average age of the vines is 11 years. Yield: 25 hl/ha
There are two special cuvées from this estate. Looking first at the 2018 Cornas Cuvée Jana, it tastes like the essence of Cornas with its meaty, bloody aromas and flavors of scorched earth, ground pepper, rare steak, iron, cedar, and dark, almost blue fruits. Tight, tannic, and concentrated on the palate, this full-bodied effort packs incredible intensity and power yet stays lively, elegant, and weightless. It's a brilliant, brilliant Cornas, yet certainly not for those seeking instant gratification. It actually reminds me slightly of the incredibly age-worthy wines from Domaine Clape, and I suspect it will have a similar evolution. Hide bottles for 7-8 years and enjoy over the following two decades."
- Jeb Dunnuck (Northern Rhône: The 2018s and 2019s, November 19th 2020), 99 pts
Johann Michel Cornas Cuvee Mere Michel is made from 100 percent Syrah.
Cuvee Mère Michel was first introduced in 2016 and is not produced every year. This wine is a tribute to Johann Michel' wife, Emmanuelle, and a nod to the French song, La Mere Michel. This wines comes from Selection Massale (replanting new vineyards with cuttings from exceptional old vines from the same property) cuttings of Serine off the 1947 Yves Cuilleron vineyard at Chavanay. The vineyards are located in the lieu-dit "Les Cotes" at an altitude of 230 meters and benefiting from a southern sun exposure.
"Only made in top vintages, the 2018 Cornas Mère Michel is a tribute to Johann's wife and a play on the French song "La Mere Michelle." Brought up in a new demi-muid, it's a richer, broader wine compared to the Cuvée Jana yet still has incredible Cornas style in its red, black, and blue fruits as well as notes of toasted spice, roasted meat, chocolate, and wild herbs. Rich, full-bodied, and opulent, it has a touch more upfront appeal and should be drinkable in just 4-5 years yet also evolve for two decades." -
Jeb Dunnuck (Northern Rhône: The 2018s and 2019s, November 19th 2020), 98 pts
The Kasteelberg range of wines, celebrates the discovery of Riebeek and the Kasteelberg mountains in 1661. Kasteelberg stands sentinel over the fertile valley below. From the slopes of the mountains, hand-selected grapes are expertly crafted with care to produce rare and expressive wines. The Kasteelberg range truly is the pinnacle of our Winemaker's art.
Often referred to as Shiraz Country, the Riebeek Valley is renowned for exceptional Shiraz wines.
The Kasteelberg Shiraz is a lively rich wine, full bodied with a subdued smokiness on the nose and a pallet of ripe fruit and interesting spice.
Well-balanced and smooth, the aftertaste lingers with the exciting flavors of Christmas pudding.
Serve at room temperature. The perfect companion to barbequed lamb, fillet medallions and game. Lovely with Springbok stuffed with bacon, garlic and rosemary and a great match to a cheese and preserve platter.
"I'd expect to prefer the 2017 Shiraz to the 2018 bottling, but it's actually the reverse. Maybe Alecia Boshoff has just got more experience with the fruit from this Kasteelberg site. Sweet and spicy, with enticing incense and violet aromas, fine tannins, succulent red berry fruit and deftly integrated one-third new oak. 2021-26"
- Tim Atkin (South Africa 2020 Report), 92 pts
Ottella Lugana DOC Riserva Molceo is made from 100% Trebbiano di Lugana - 25-30 years old.
The wine is produced in the area of San Benedetto di Lugana in estate vineyards that are most suitable due to the high content of white clay.
COLOR • Golden, clear, intense.
NOSE • It immediately opens with fruity notes that are enchanting, penetrating and complex. Characterized by hints of citrus fruits, flowers and fine mineral and elegant notes.
PALATE • Complex and intense blend of mineral flavors; captivating, long, lively, both in the persistence and in the strength of the flavors, mingling with unmissable citrus sensation. A delicate evolution, fine flesh, perfect longevity.
Since 2009 it has won every year the TRE BICCHIERI GAMBERO ROSSO award.
The harvest and selection of the grapes are done strictly by hand, in small 17 kg crates.
PLANTING LAYOUT AND YIELD • Double bow Guyot, yield around 8,000 kg. of grapes per hectare, equivalent to 5,040 liters of wine or 63%.
HARVEST PERIOD • Harvest late in October.
FINING AND FERMENTATION • Delicate, soft pressing of the whole bunch for most of the production, the rest with gentle destemming by oscillation. Thereafter, a strict protocol of vinification: partial malolactic fermentation, fining for 16 months on the yeast and fine lees, which mostly takes place in stainless steel tanks (80%) and the rest in wooden tonneaux and barriques.
Stimulating with marine or freshwater fish, it also goes well with savory or fatty meat (goose or pork). Enjoyable with seasoned, herbal cheeses of various types and elaborate dishes.
"There’s a wild peppery and herbal freshness to the 2018 Lugana Riserva Molceo that keeps you coming back to the glass. A pretty bouquet of fresh peach, nectarine, kiwi and hints of vanilla bean develops over time. This is weighty and oily at first, yet it’s lifted by cooling acids and minerals, as white orchard fruits and hints of savory spice flesh out across the palate. A salty tension lingers on, along with notes of dried apricot and a twang of tart citrus. - Eric Guido"
- Antonio Galloni's Vinous (February 2021), 90 pts
El Cismatico Garnacha is made from 100% Garnacha.
The wine is produced from 3 single vineyards - El Mimbreral, Piedra Blanca, Cerro Merino - situated between 850 to 900 meters high. These parcels share the same geological characteristics of pebble stones, red clay, marl and limestone which impart a precise and floral profile to the Garnacha grape that has achieved a balanced acidity and a low pH.
El Cismatico offers an intense ruby red in color. The nose is still very youthful, deep and complex with aromas changing every minute. Its starts out with notes of roasted meat, beets, wild red fruit, cloves, pepper. Little by little, as the wine opens the nose displays touches of crushed violets, pencil lead, black cherry and a light touch of mountain herbs. Fine, elegant and bold, the ripe fruit is exquisitely balanced by fresh acidity achieved from growing Garnacha at altitude. The tannin is firm but polished with an extremely long finish. Drinking 2022 and onwards for many years.
El Cismático is only released when the correct raw material has been achieved to make an Old Vine Garnacha with the capacity to age gracefully for years in bottle, gaining complexity along the way. The objective is to produce a wine that has the capacity to age quite happily for up to 30 years.
EL ESCOCÉS VOLANTE is based in Aragón, Spain dedicated to the production of high quality wines with a particular focus on the native Garnacha grape variety. They also specialize in making very individual wines from native Spanish varieties from other exciting wine regions.
El Escocés Volante (The Flying Scot), Norrel Robertson MW, touched down with his family in Spain in 2003 and released his first wine in 2004.
Date Founded: 2003
Norrel has been making wine in Spain for over 10 years and is currently the only Master of Wine living in Spain. He was born and raised in Scotland and, after graduating from Aberdeen University with a MA Honours degree in Politics and International Relations, has worked in the wine industry for the last 20 years, starting in sales before moving on to buying and product development.
In the 1990´s Norrel decided to pursue a career in winemaking and decided the best way was to learn from the cellar up. Norrel went on to work vintages in Chianti in Italy, Portugal, Australia, France and Chile. In 1998, Norrel embarked on the Master of Wine Course and became a Master of Wine in November 2000, winning the Robert Mondavi Award for the best overall theory performance in the exam.
In 2002-2003 Norrel studied the Postgraduate Viticulture and Oenology course at Lincoln University in Christchurch, New Zealand, obtaining his postgraduate qualification with distinction.
In 2003, he moved to Spain to as Winemaker for International Wine Services and quickly fell in love with the old Garnacha vineyards in the area of Calatayud, Aragon and decided to start making his own wines.
His company - EL ESCOCÉS VOLANTE SL - took off and Norrel now produces many award winning wines made from very specially selected vineyards at high altitude in Aragon, Spain. He also has winemaking projects in Murcia, Andalucia and Galicia. His own wines are sold in over 15 markets. He consults for many high profile wineries in Spain and also to import businesses in the UK .
Argot Mosaic Syrah is made from 87% Syrah, 13% Grenache (10 years old)
An impressively rich, intensely flavored wine with significant body and structure. A Syrah that hearkens to the wild, spice-driven Syrahs of the Southern Rhone.
"Refined and stylish, featuring a complex core wrapped in multilayered blackberry and blueberry flavors, laced with bitter chocolate, black licorice and smoky meat notes. Drink now through 2030.- Tim FISH"
- Wine Spectator Insider (January 15th 2020), 93 PTS
Minius Godello is made from 100 percent Godello.
Minius is a wine with a very live yellow color with green reflections. Highlighted on the nose are the citrus and floral aromas, along with white fruits notes and herbs like fennel. It is soft and elegant in mouth that together with the acidity gives a fresh and persistent finish.
Strict and careful grape selection in the vineyard and winery before destemming. Cold maceration at 10ºC during 3-4 hours. Presing. Alcoholic fermentation begins at 16,5 ºC in stainless steel under an automatic temperature control. Stabilization of the wine in isotermic tanks, filtering and bottling. Resting in the bottle during 30 days prior distribution.
Pairs with apperitives, rices, grilled seafood, white fish in sauce, cheeses, poultries
Michael David Winery Gluttony Old Vine Zinfandel is made from 100 percent Zinfandel.
This region produces some of California’s biggest and burliest Zinfandels that pull no punches, all too fitting characteristics for this wine. The grapes for this wine come from a 5 acre, 90 year old dry farmed Zinfandel hilltop vineyard off Ridge Road in Amador County, near Sutter Creek. Farmer Jon Murrill oversees the vineyard and does much of the farming himself.
TASTING NOTES This burly Zin is worth the indulgence. Deep purple in color, our 2017 Gluttony Zinfandel opens with tempting notes of pomegranate, ripe berry and hickory on the nose. Bold and booming flavors of plum, boysenberry and spice stand out while the extended barrel aging and mild tannins lend to a lush, lingering finish.
Betz Family Besoleil is made from 55% Grenache, 23% Mourvèdre, 11% Syrah and the rest Cinsault,
Grenache is the star of Besoleil, but it's not the whole story. Additional southern Rhone varieties have found their way into the blend and today the wine includes Counoise, Cinsault, Syrah and Mourvèdre . Our cellar treatment has also evolved in several ways in order to promote additional nuance from these southern Rhone gems. Larger, neutral oak cooperage of 300 and 500 liters provides less surface-to-volume ratio, resulting in slower evolution and less oak influence in the final wine. Aging up to two-thirds of the blend in concrete vessels helps maintain a bright, fresh fruit character.
The story of Besoleil begins with our long-held belief that a precise marriage of soil and site can produce a profound expression of Grenache in Washington. We put that belief to the test with Besoleil's first vintage in 2003. While the Grenache in the earliest vintages of Besoleil was sourced from various vineyards throughout the Columbia Valley, two sites in particular (Olsen Vineyards in the Yakima Valley and Upland Vineyards on Snipes Mountain) have excelled as uniquely distinctive for Grenache. These two sites are the sources for the entirety of the Grenache in Besoleil today.
Besoleil is our Spanish/French whimsy for "kissed by the sun". It alludes to the warm, sunny days in the south of France that impart an intensity of character to the Grenache grape and its southern Rhone relatives. Imagine the windswept vineyards of Chhateauneuf-du-Pape, the inspiration for this wine, where Grenache thrives alongside a dozen or more other grape varieties.
The Southern Rhône blend from this estate, the 2018 Bésoleil checks in as 55% Grenache, 30% Mourvèdre, 12% Counoise, and 3% Syrah that was 60% destemmed and brought up in used barrels. It's always a lighter hued effort and offers a translucent ruby color as well as perfumed flowers, sandalwood, herbes de Provence, and assorted red fruit characteristics. Medium-bodied, nicely textured, and balanced, it's a charming, undeniably delicious blend to enjoy over the coming 5-7 years or so.
-Jeb Dunnuck 91 Points