Red Wine Scarpa La Bogliona Barbera d’Asti 2011. This iconic single vineyard Barbera d’Asti is the wine that first established Antica Casa Vinicola Scarpa’s reputation for masterful, matured Barbera in the 1960s. The venerable estate has been making wine in the Monferrato hills since 1854, but since the arrival of Mario Pesce half a century ago Scarpa is now known all over the world for its elegant, characterful Piemontese wines. Barbera is one of Scarpa’s specialisms and the estate makes serious, age-worthy examples which remind of the region’s stunning Barolo and Barbaresco wines. La Bogliona is known as the daughter of sand” thanks to the composition of the vineyard which is 40% sand and offers excellent drainage for the vines. Following the harvest the Barbera grapes selected for this wine are fermented in traditional large conical wooden vats. The new wine is then transferred to 2000 to 10,000 litre casks for up to three years before being aged for another couple of years in the bottle. The result is a muscular, well-structured Barbera which displays intricate layers of dark fruit, sweet spices, and baked earth notes. The power of this wine makes it an ideal candidate for extended cellar ageing over the next decade or so.
Red Wine Scarpa La Bogliona Barbera d’Asti 2011
Red Wine Roxanich Cabernet Sauvignon 2011. Mladen Rožanić has a reputation in his native Istria for doing things differently and his elegant Cabernet Sauvignon is no exception. Sweet spices, tobacco, star anise and black tea leaves characterise the nose, while the palate offers seductive dark fruit with hints of cedar and carob. Thanks to this punchy flavour profile the Roxanich Cabernet Sauvignon is best enjoyed alongside hearty meat dishes like beef stew or a prime steak. Widely regarded as one of the best Cabernets being made in Croatia today, Mladen carefully selects the grapes from his vines in west Istria which grow on the region’s famed terre rosse” or red soil” which is given its distinctive colour by iron oxide. Following the fermentation process Mladen then matures the wine for three years in a mix of small barriques and 500 litre and 35 hectolitre barrels. Mladen’s dedication to winemaking is such that he spent years searching for the perfect spot to set up his winery and travelling the world to learn from top winemakers before he was ready to start his own journey. Today he is recognised as one of Croatia’s top producers of natural wines and his wines have quickly won an international following.
Red Wine La Rioja Alta Gran Reserva 904 2011. Decant 1 hour before serving. La Rioja Alta began life in 1890 as a collaboration between five local growers who wanted to export their wines beyond Spanish borders to new buyers in France. The new winery was established right next to the train station in Haro, enabling the rapid expansion of the estate which is now regarded as a leading producer of traditional-style Rioja reds. In 1904 the winery merged with Bodegas Ardanza, gaining some of Rioja Alta’s finest vineyards in the process. This milestone is commemorated with this Gran Reserva 904 which is predominantly made from 60 year old Tempranillo vines planted in Rodezno, Briñas, and Villalba. There’s also a small amount of Graciano from Montecillo to add grace and elegance to the finished wine. The grapes are carefully crushed once in the winery and allowed to ferment spontaneously over 75 days before being transferred to American oak barrels. After almost three years of ageing the wine is then racked eight times and the final blend is bottled the following year. It’s a graceful yet robust expression of Rioja, with ample red plum and cherry notes deepening into more savoury and earthy flavours on the palate. A great wine to cellar for a few more years or to pair with hearty fare like game, a prime steak, or beef cheeks served with creamy polenta.