We brought in dozens of fab new wines through 2021 and before we jump into some exciting new listings for this year it’s the perfect opportunity to look back and highlight some of the stars of 2021!
Austria has seen some really good growth and we brought in several great wines from some top producers and rising stars. Brundlmayer simply put produce some of the best dry Rieslings and Gruner Veltliners going, while Zahel is based in Vienna (the only major city to have a wine region within the city boundaries) and makes unique, fresh and really easy-drinking whites. We also added pioneering winemaker Franz Weninger’s fresh and crunchy Blaufränkisch. All our wines from these producers are organic or biodynamic.
Jumping up to Germany and we added a couple of new fab Rieslings from tiny family winery AJ Adam. This small producer in the Mosel Valley has just 5 hectares of vines on steep sloes and produces really top-class wines, including the less common Feinherb style – definitely worth a try!
A focus on the Rhône led to a number of exciting new wines being brought in including two each from the Cru Villages of Vacqueyras and Rasteau. Domaine de la Garrigue Vacqueyras is unashamedly traditional in style while Montirius ‘Les Clos’ is a single vineyard smooth and silky wine from the great 2016 vintage. Rasteau saw a superb rich and concentrated biodynamic example from the excellent Domaine Richaud, and a ripe, smooth and fruity one from Domaine la Soumade made by star winemaker André Roméro.
Also new were Gigondas producer Domaine Burle’s second wine, their little Vin de Pays Burle Est-ce Que?, a fruity, crunchy and spicy Grenache-based blend that is fantastic value for money. And while Southern Rhône reds were at the forefront we didn’t forget the whites! Highly regarded Northern Rhône producer Yves Cuilleron’s single varietal Marsanne has wonderful aromatic, soft and rounded qualities.
Rosé is not just for summer! More and more people are making this their go-to drink come rain or shine. We added a diverse range of rosés in 2021 from fantastic value South African by False Bay Vineyards and Spanish from Bodegas Contreras Ruiz, to top quality dry and pale Provençal wines by Chateau la Verrerie and Chateau la Mascaronne.
A couple more less well-known rosés that we just had to have included one from the Rhône Cru village of Tavel, which is only allowed to produce rosé: Guillaume Gonnet’s La Nymphe has great depth and concentration of flavour. From Spain, a unique biodynamic offering made by Celler del Roure made with the extremely rare Mando grape, a very fresh and minerally wine.
Italy has more grape varieties than any other country and in many parts, almost every other village has their own wine! We added a broad range of new Italian wines from real top-class producers. In Piedmont and from Barolo producer Francesco Rinaldi we added a brilliant fresh, crunchy and slightly rustic Dolcetto d’Alba and a stunning example of Barbera, often seen as the workhorse grape of the region Rinaldi’s Barbera d’Alba shows you want great wine can be made from this variety.
Rising garagiste winemaker (and respected wine consultant) Gian Luca Colombo has a very small number of vineyards, makes wine literally in his garage, and the results are fantastic. His Nebbiolo d’Alba is perfumed, smooth, fresh and concentrated. The other side of Northern Italy brings us a soft, fruity and charming example of the native variety Refosco by fab winery Ronchi di Cialla in the Friuli region that borders Slovenia. Respected winery Cantina Terlano from high up in the Alto Adige/Southern Tyrol provided us with their flagship wine Terlaner Cuveé, a wonderful traditional blend of Pinot Blanc and Chardonnay, with a little Sav Blanc as well. Ripe, rounded, fresh and slightly aromatic this is a bit of an undiscovered gem.
Round to the Autumn and three great winery discoveries from Spain. Three new wines apiece from old producer J.Chivite up in Navarra, Bodegas CARE in Aragon and Bodegas Verum from the heart of La Mancha.
Chivite produces very refined and balanced wines including their fresh unoaked Chardonnay, super drinkable Garnacha, and rather unique white made from white and red grapes, Las Fincas Blanco 2 Garnachas!
With Bodegas CARE we simply found some of the best value wines in years. Their Blanco and Tinto Sobre Lias wines are properly good, interesting and well-made wines. At sub-£10, they are a real bargain. Sitting slightly above those is CARE’s Garnacha Blanco Nativa, a weighty, rounded and complex wine that works especially well with food.
Bodegas Verum’s new Ulterior project is all about sustainably growing vines that are future proof in this hot and arid part of the world, and some of the awards and scores that are coming their way show that they seem to have nailed it! Their red Graciano, and white Albillo Real and Airen de Pie Franco have slotted seamlessly into our Spanish range.
Some fizz now and we were pleased to start working with Exton Park of Hampshire. Producing great English Quality Sparkling Wine from estate only fruit we have their full range of Brut Rose, Brut Reserve and Blanc de Noirs now in store.
We continue to work hard to find small parcels and limited cases from the two classic regions of Bordeaux and Burgundy. Many of our wines from these regions are not that widely available and we only manage to get small quantities, so our selection is always changing! While Burgundy has suffered some really small harvests in recent years a little further south in Beaujolais and Dominique Morel’s Beaujolais Blanc Chardonnay offers a great alternative to Bourgogne Blanc and wines from the Mâcon. While we’re on Beaujolais son of legendary winemaker Jean Foillard’s son Alex Foillard has produced a real top class Beaujolais Villages that really ticks all the boxes!
And breathe! Actually, that is not the full list. We have added Sauternes, Champagne, Cava (that’s not actually Cava but better), South African, premium US, and others! Check out all our great 2021 additions here.