Valentine, Riesling and Rioja – The Beauty of Age

Fellow Wine Lovers,

Well, what a disaster last weekend that was at Twickenham! 

I’m sure I can’t have been the only person who was on the phone to their parents at half past six, just double checking  there was definitely no Scottish blood in our ancestry, so bereft did we feel.  A few of us could take solace in the fact that the Wales-Ireland game wasn’t until the next day and, with their Emerald Green Passport in hand (ok, I know it’s a normal red EU passport but do allow me some poetic licence), could look forward to perhaps a more favourable result on Sunday.  However, losing Peter O’Mahony in the 14th minute did not make Irish eyes smile… nonetheless it was one hell of a game after that and as pointed out by almost everyone on Twitter, Billy Burns is English, so it was always to end this way…

And then we heard of a chap who, along with joint Irish/English nationality, also spent a decent period of time living in Italy and as a consequence has a certain soft spot for gli Azzurri – well, we can guess how well his weekend went!

But we stride forward, with the second visit of the Six Nations this weekend starting with the wooden spoon match at Twickenham vs Italy on Saturday.  This is followed by the championship decider between Scotland and Wales at Murrayfield, with the Ireland-France game taking place at 3pm on Valentine’s Day.

Yep, there you go, you’re welcome, that’s a reminder… 

Of course you knew that it’s Valentine’s Day on Sunday, how could I ever doubt you?  You have, of course, managed to order a card and gift online because you realised a while back that none of the card shops are open and you really shouldn’t buy a bunch of red roses and a box of Ferrero Rocher from the florist that also sells petrol for the third year on the trot!  Nevertheless, should you feel that perhaps you want put icing on the cake and push the boat out with a bottle of Champagne or such like, we are open until 7pm tonight and also from midday until 7pm tomorrow, Saturday, you know, the day before Valentine’s Day, just in case like….

Whilst we are all making the most of the glorious weather here right now, we really should consider our poor friends over in New Zealand where they are suffering their late summer sunshine whilst also celebrating New Zealand Wine Week – an event that in normal times would be promoted here with tastings galore and social events but sadly not so much this year.  In place of any such tastings we would like however like to tell you about one wine that we have just got back in stock, from the Mountford Estate in North Canterbury (Waipara).

So often, when you think of New Zealand, Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Noir are the grapes that spring to mind.  However, without denying the quality of these two, there are more players on the scene producing fabulously delicious drops and the Mountford Liaison Riesling 2013 – £ 17.49, is one of those wines.  Now, we must confess, we have a huge soft spot for aged Riesling, the depth and richness they develop over time turns them into something really quite special.  This one is lovely, with layers of citrus fruit, some honeyed character and a lovely precise acidity keeping it all nice and fresh.  It’s not dry, but you wouldn’t want it to be in all honesty, and it is simply gorgeous with something like a Prawn Laksa, should you feel like some escapism!

Now, enough from me, over to him, who wants to tell you about a small parcel of Rioja that he’s very pleased to have in stock – over to you, Huw…

Thank you, Huw.  I’d like to talk to you about a rather special wine from our chums at Valenciso.  Undoubtedly one of our favourite Rioja producers, the winery was founded in 1998 as a collaboration between Luis Valentin and Carmen Enciso.  With more than 30 years’ experience in Rioja wine production, they decided to focus on just one style of wine – a classically structured, subtle and elegantly fine Reserva.  One of the few wines that was on the shelf the day we opened and that we’re still buying. 

Their vineyards are in north-west Rioja Alta, at altitudes of 400-600m, and only produce wine when it meets their exacting quality standards.  There was no 2003 or 2013 for example; all the grapes were sold to other less discerning producers.  Alex was lucky enough to visit them in 2007 whilst they were still finishing the winery – you too can visit once we’re all released on parole!

The wine I want to talk to you about was released 10 years after the vintage.  Park Vintners left the drawing board and became a reality in 2010 but more importantly this coincided with just about the best vintage in Rioja this century.  The Atlantic influence was significant throughout, producing highly aromatic wines with impressive balance, which suits these guys and their vineyard situation down to the ground.

Aged for five years in concrete and then 54 months in Russian Oak before bottling and a bit of a rest in the bottle, this is the real deal.  Dark fruits, balsamic notes from the ageing and a beautiful silky palate with an impressively long finish…

Ladies and Gentlemen I give you the rather exceptional 2010 Valenciso Reserva ’10 Años Después’ (£35 or £100 for a wooden box of 3).  We have a finite amount of stock, so do please form an orderly queue.


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