More than just Spa & Hotel – Cantina Altarocca

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wine-tour-experienceOrvieto is one of the beautiful locales in all of Italia, and Cantina Altarocca just may be the crown jewel of this historic hilltop. With one of Italia’s most beloved and picturesque hotels, Altarocca is an aesthete’s delight; set in a rich color palate of dark, asperous earth, deep-green vines, gentle sage, and blue sky, the villas are sprinkled about, connected by sunwarmed cobblestones.

First and foremost, however, Altarocca, or “high rock,” is a vineyard. Specializing in lush, international varietal wines, this estate delivers surprising–if not shocking–character from familiar grapes, with both authenticity and polish. Owner and winemaker Emiliano Sirchio, a young man with a zest for life, races motorcycles, bicycles (basically, anything on two wheels), and along with his family, manages the gorgeous hotel and even more impressive vineyard. Not to be confused with a tired, rustic Umbrian estate, or (if you’ll pardon the expression) a “ratings chaser” from Bolgheri, Altarocca is a confident, modern estate with deep roots in one of Central Italy’s most historic places. A “bucket list” place to visit, with wines worthy of savoring.

The dedication and passion of the Altarocca Winery in respect to this territory drove us to become organic, for which we obtained certification in 2016. Theirs was an ethical choice combined with the genuine wish to adopt an approach, by which human intervention follows the biological rhythm of nature and no systemic products or phytopharmaceuticals are used. Altarocca has also always been involved in the initiatives for the protection of typical regional wines and quality improvement programs for grapes and winemaking techniques. They are proud to offer a quality brand made with passion, dedication and care.

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Cantina Altarocca ‘Librato’ Organic Rosso Orvietano 2017

A blend of 60% Cabernet Franc and 40% Merlot. A ruby red color and violet hues. Intense and harmonious in the nose, rich with notes of red fruit and a vegetable scent. In the mouth is full and balanced, with elegant notes of fruit and smooth tannins.  Best coupling with first courses based on meat, roast and grilled meat, cold cuts and medium aged cheese. €19.95

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What is ‘Natural Wine’?

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Natural wine has a bit of a buzz going on at the minute. But what is it? And importantly how does it taste? Simply put natural wine is a very low intervention wine that is made by simply picking the grapes, crushing them and allowing the yeast present on the grapes and in the air ferment them. The result tastes more like a kombucha or  sour beer than what we traditionally expect wine to taste like.

Decanter Magazine sums up Natural wine as follows:

• Vineyards farmed organically or biodynamically – certification was strongly preferred, but uncertified wines were accepted
• Hand-harvested only
• Fermentation with indigenous (wild) yeasts
• No enzymes
• No additives added (such as acid, tannin, colouring) other than SO2
• SO2 levels no higher than 70mg/l total
• Unfined, and no (or light) filtration
• No other heavy manipulation (such as spinning cone, reverse osmosis, cryoextraction, rapid-finishing, Ultraviolet C irradiation)

http://www.decanter.com/learn/advice/what-is-natural-wine-ask-decanter-368773/

 

But here’s the thing there is no official or regulated definition of natural wine.  It is not defined and controlled like  So, if someone says you’re drinking a natural wine, it technically doesn’t mean anything!

Is Natural Wine Better For You?

Without the use of sulfites or any other manipulation, people believe that natural wines are better for you. The problem is as above with out regulation this can be true in some cases and not in others. Firstly there is no evidence that sulfites cause wine headaches, blame the alcohol! Secondly SO2 that is used in wine is used in small amounts and helps the wine last longer, sulfite free wines spoil quicker and are more unstable due to not

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having SO2 to sterilise the wine from impurities and may have funkier flavours as a result of these impurities.

We don’t currently stock any Natural wines but we do have Monte Zovo’s É Senza 2016, a wine made with out the addition of Sulfites. This wine is similar in style to a Valpolicella but has matured more rapidly, with more tertiary flavours developing in place of the bright cherry fruits. Very soft and enjoyable and worth trying if you wish to see what a low/no added sulfite wine tastes like.

2017 Wine Harvest, a difficult year.

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Healthy chardonnay grapes, left, and sunburned ones. Photographer: Elin McCoy/Bloomberg

January is as good a time as ever to deliver bad news, and many European countries are taking time adding up the tallies of the previous year’s grape harvest and reporting yield’s down as much as 25%. Adverse climatic conditions in 2017, including heavy hailstorms and hard frosts in the spring as well as drought in the summer, caused considerable damage to vineyards all over Europe. The result, most of the wine-growing regions in Europe are had a very low harvest for 2017.

Italian wine body Assoenologi estimated that Italy would see one of its smallest wine harvests for 60 years in 2017, down by 25% on last year, that’s a reduction of roughly 5.5 billion bottles. Things are not much better in France where they have had the worst harvest since 1945, according to France AgriMer, an agency that works with both the industry and government. Wine production to fall by 18% on 2016 after spring frosts ravage vines, but hot summer could deliver top vintages – meaning price increases across the board for low yields but higher quality fruit.

The outlook in Europe’s other large producer is not much better with Spain’s output dropping down 20% from 2016, and in Germany the estimated vintage is down 12%. All in all 2017 proved to be a difficult year in Europe.

Despite wild fires in both California and Oregon the north American harvest is likely to be similar to last year. South Africa saw very small increases in yields, about 1.4%.  In South America, both sides of the Andes were affected to varying degrees by the shift from the wetter El Niño  weather system to the drier conditions associated with La Niña weather system. In Mendoza, Argentina yields were down about 30 percent compared to normal. And in Chile yields were down about 22% due to drought and forest fires. New Zealand also experienced a drop in yeilds by about 9%. Philip Gregan, CEO of New Zealand winegrowers, attributed the smaller harvest of 2017 to wet weather over the summer season. Australia was the only country to undergo modest yield increases at roughly 5% despite a tricky vintage.

The conclusion is that unfortunately the price of your favourite wines will probably increase this year a wineries increase excellar prices to try to cover lower quantities produced.

 

 

 

New Year, New Wines

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The new year is here and I am sure you are all compiling list of resolutions, attend the gym more, get fit, drink less, eat healthier the usual. We would suggest another addition which may even fall in with the drink less weirdly. We often hear phases such as drink less drink better and while there is sound reasoning behind this suggestion we would also advocate drinking less but drinking different. The new year offers up opportunities to break old habits and why not break that habit of New Zealand Sauvignon or Rioja and try something different, who knows you may even like it better.

There are so many styles and varieties available in wine that it is a shame not to sample more than the one or two that you love. This January we would propose you drink differently. We have selected a red and a white below neither of which is two wildly different but are a good way to dip your toes into the exciting world of other wines.

Rivera Negroamaro 2016 €14.95

Medium bodied red from the very tip of the heel of Italy,  Puglia. It pours a ruby colour; complex bouquet of bitter cherries and raspberry; medium bodied on the palate with a long complex aftertaste exhibiting the pleasant, bitterish note typical of the negroamaro (the name means bitter black one). Pair this with pork chops in a spicy sauce or a sunday roast.

Quinta do Chocapalha Arinto 2016 €14.95

Hailing from the Lisboa region in Portugal this is a crisp & refreshing white that has
aromas of fresh citrus, tangy lime and minerality lead to a wonderfully brisk and crisp palate. Pair with some spicy sausages.

 

 

Cossetti Wine Tasting Evening

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cantina-cossetti-125-anniWe’re delighted to welcome Gabriele Grizotti from Cossetti to Galway, tomorrow evening. Gabriele will be tasting a selection of Cossetti’s excellent wines in our shop. This is a great chance to sample their superb Barbera d’Asti, Gavi and some other more unique wines such as Albarossa and Grignolino.

No tickets or booking required simply call in between 5pm and 7pm on Wednesday 28th June.

We look forward to seeing you.

Azienda Rivera

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The de Corato family roots go deep into the agriculture of Puglia. Here, in the countryside of Andria, Sebastiano de Corato founded the Azienda Vinicola Rivera in the late 1940s, inspired by a vision of realising, and bringing to the world’s attention, the enormous viticultural potential of the Castel del Monte area.

Widespread recognition quickly followed and since then  Rivera, has become the benchmark of Puglia quality wine production and the force driving its rebirth, thanks also to innovations in both vineyards and winemaking introduced since the early 1980s by his son Carlo.
Today, with the involvement of the third generation of the family represented by Carlo’s sons Sebastiano and Marco, Rivera continues with pride and renewed commitment the production of wines that eloquently express the intense yet elegant character of this land and its native grape varieties.

The winery’s winemaking philosophy is rigorously applied to every step of the process: vineyard management, grape harvest, winemaking, maturation and bottling; the most up-to-date viticultural and oenological practices are married to the deepest respect for natural processes, with all activities focused on achieving environmental and economic sustainability and on continuous improvement in quality.

Check out their wines here. Rivera

Give Dad what he wants this Sunday

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We have a selection of Fine Wines on Offer this Friday & Saturday for Dad. So forget the novelty mug with ‘World’s best Dad’ that says you forgot it was Father’s Day, or the socks and ties which he most definitely has an abundance of and get him a great bottles of wine. We have put together the below selection and are offering 20% off this Weekend.

Logan ‘Ridge Of Tears’ Shiraz 2010, Mudgee, NSW, Australia          €32.95         €26.36

The darker of the two single vineyard Ridge of Tears wines. The alcohols may be identical yet the nose is sweeter too, sweeter fruited and almost more conventional in its dark berry form. It tastes less ready too, more hulking, a wine that seems to have been squeezed into the bottle, and will need some cellaring before it is at its peak. The tannins are broader, the alcohol more prominent, the flavours bigger and easier to get your head around, more berried and sweeter through the middle.

Logan ‘Ridge Of Tears’ Shiraz 2010, Orange, NSW, Australia          €32.95         €26.36

Sourced from a vineyard sitting at 870m (which is very high for Shiraz), both this and the Mudgee wine had similar handling in the winery, the fruit basket pressed and hand plunged. It has a spice and fragrance to it that marks this as a wine of prettiness whilst the Mudgee wine is one of brawn. This could well be a Syrah to the other wines Shiraz. Still, it is a close-run thing. Bright ruby-red in the glass, the nose here is built upon black pepper and redcurrant fruit, set lightly but not without concentration behind it. The oak is well integrated – that is, it’s not obvious in any way – and spice dominates everything. That spice runs through the palate too, a line of dark leafiness to the slightly less serious fruit flavours. Light and shade once again. Tannins are firm, proper firm and slightly bitter (yet not unripe) and the acid noticeably high. A very good modern Australian red in terms of style, yet also just a very good Orange Syrah. For some raised on a diet of sweet inky Shiraz this will seem almost wimpy in its leafy daintiness, yet I can’t help but be attracted by the Pinot-esque delicacy. Should be even better as it puts on more weight in the bottle too.

Yalumba ‘Habermann Vineyard’ Grenache 2005, Barossa, Australia  €39.95         €31.96

From the Habermann vineyard, located on the corner of Basedow Road and Thiele Road, Tanunda, this block of Grenache was planted in 1972, and is grown on heavy textured grey to brown clays. These soils are generally cracking clays and therefore tend to have visible ‘cracks’ in summer. They are characterised by high vigour as they have a high water holding capacity and high nutrient content. This wine has a medium depth of red in colour with an aroma of red berry fruits and floral aromatics, combined with chocolate, cherry ripe, pepper and spices. The palate is fuller and denser with sweet fruit-confection middle – a complex, textured wine with chalky tannins to finish.

Bafarela Grande Reserve 2009, Douro, Portugal                             €24.95         €19.96

The Bafarela Grande Reserva is produced by Casa Brites Aguiar only in exceptional vintages. The 2009 was aged for 12 months in 500 litre French oak casks after fermentation. Intense, deep dark ruby colour. The nose offers distinct and complex floral aromas. In the mouth, it is precise and well-rounded with seductive obvious fruit flavours compliment by floral and mocha notes. Extremely well structured with dense yet fine tannins. The wine stands out more for its freshness rather than its concentration, and its long seductive finish.  The wine is a blend of Touriga Nacional, Touriga Franca and Tinta Roriz (Tempranillo).Bafarela Grande Reserva is a wine that encapsulates the elegance of one of the specialities of Casa Brites Aguiar at its best, only 15,100 bottles were produced.

Muller ‘Lagenreserve’ Gruner Veltliner 2011, Krems, Austria                   €26.95         €21.56

The 2011 Lagenreserve is a blend of the best Gruner Veltliner grapes from the Eichbuhel and Gottschelle vineyards. Aged in oak barriques for nearly a year giving this Gruner Veltliner a very white Burgundy quality. Light green-yellow in the glass, yellow apples in the nose, the palate reveals elegance and flavour of fresh spices; quite substantial, a convincingly long finish with superb fruit flavours.

Monte Zovo Amarone della Valpolicella 2010, Veneto, Italy             €32.95         €26.36

The 2010 Amarone della Valpolicella boasts incredible richness and depth. Blackberry jam, graphite, smoke, licorice, tar and plums are beautifully integrated in this dark, seamless Amarone. Despite its considerable weight and density, the 2010 is accessible. Hints of truffle, tobacco and new leather wrap around the finish. A wine to enjoy rather than cellar.

Barale Barolo 2008, Piedmont, Italy                                              €32.95         €26.36

Sergio Barale delivers delicate and elegant wines with refined and complex aromas. Garnet-red in colour with ruby reflections. Intense perfume with clean scent of roses, vanilla, licorice, spices and toasted oak. Gentle notes of absinth and tobacco. The flavour is full and elegant, good-bodied and austere with recurring olfactory sensations. The spicy note and the hints of wood blend perfectly.

Domaine Giuliani Chateauneuf-du-Pape 2009, Rhone, France         €29.95         €23.96

The delicious 2009 Châteauneuf du Pape is made from 70% Grenache, 20% Syrah and 10% Mourvèdre – from vines averaging over fifty years of age and situated on their finest property. It is a deep ruby red and aromas of ripe raspberries, cherries, cassis, smoke, garrigue and spice positively leap from the glass. In the mouth it is certainly not a timid wine. The red and black fruit persist joined by raisins, liquorice and just a hint of pepper. It is full, round, supple, and elegant and long – everything a fine, young Châteauneuf du Pape should be.

Closerie Des Alisiers Vaucoupin 1er Cru Chablis 2010, Burgundy, France    €28.95         €23.16

Premier Cru Chablis from the famed Vaucoupin vineyard. This wine is from the outstanding 2010 vintage and displays floral notes on the nose, with fruit driven hints enhanced by intense mineral notes and lightly smoky touches. A note of honeyed citrus fruit has developed with bottle age. Very rounded on the palate, but also full-bodied yet elegant. This is a delightfully classic premier cru Chablis.

Gaudium Reserva Rioja Gran Vino 2004, Rioja, Spain                      €54.95         €43.96

Dark ruby red colour. Intense, fruity bouquet brings to mind aromas of red currants, raspberries and wild strawberries. On the nose it is lively, complex and aromatic, where subtle notes of pleasant fruit mingle with a delicate touch of oak. Fleshy and delicious in the mouth, its powerful structure and soft tannins reveal a pleasant fullness. A well-balanced wine showing splendid class, which is already drinking very well, while promising to age superbly.

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