Monthly Archives: July 2015

IWSC Gold Outstanding for Columbia Crest H3 Merlot

Columbia Crest H3 Merlot IWSC Gold Outstanding WinnerThe International Wine & Spirit Competition (IWSC) 2015 results have awarded a ‘Gold Outstanding’ to Columbia Crest Winery for their 2012 Horse Heaven Hills (H3) Merlot.

The judging criteria at the IWSC award marks out of 100 and those wines which attain a score of 90-100 marks are awarded a Gold Medal and deemed to be a superior example of their type and setting the standard.

At the judges discretion a wine with the highest marks can then be awarded a Gold Outstanding Medal and re-tasted for a national or international trophy.

Discover more about the International Wine & Spirit Competition

Columbia Crest winery was established in 1983 in the heart of Washington state’s Horse Heaven Hills. Nestled alongside the Columbia River in eastern Washington, it is one of the world’s most highly acclaimed wineries.

Washington state and the Columbia Valley represent the perfect grape-growing climate, from the weather, to the soil, to the vineyard sites. These growing conditions, along with outstanding viticulture and winemaking practices, allow Columbia Crest to create a range of hand-crafted wines that are true to their varietal character and represent the unique terroir of the region.

The first release in 1984 started a tradition that established Columbia Crest as one of America’s most popular and fast-growing wineries. Year after year, the winery maintains its commitment to quality, heritage and innovation in grape growing and winemaking to craft exceptional wines of limited allocation.

Buy Columbia Crest H3 Merlot online at the Hic! Wine Shop

Tahbilk Wines wins Winery of the Year Award 2016

Tahbilk Winery of the Year BannerTahbilk Wines from the Goulburn Valley wine region of Victoria in Australia has been named by Winery of the Year 2016 in James Halliday’s Wine Companion.

Tahbilk is an iconic wine producer, the oldest winery in Victoria (established in 1860), and owns some of the oldest ungrafted, pre-phylloxera Shiraz vines in the world, as well as boasting the largest single acreage of Marsanne vines. The name Tahbilk is derived from the aboriginal word ‘Tabilk-tabilk’ – meaning ‘place of many wateringholes’ – as the vineyards are located in a unique sub-region of central Victoria called the Nagambie Lakes, which was given official regional status in 2000. Nagambie Lakes is one of only 6 regions in the world where the meso-climate of the vineyards is significantly influenced by inland water mass. The numerous lakes and lagoons linked by the Goulburn River create a moderate, cooler climate within Victoria. There are 235 hectares of vines planted in the unique red sandy loam soils with a high ferric-oxide content found in only one other location in Victoria.

Previously known as Chateau Tahbilk, Tahbilk as it is now referred to, has long been associated with the Purbrick family, having been passed down through five generations. Eric Stephens Purbrick, the former winemaker, is credited with having breathed new life into the Estate and revived the quality of the wines after he took over in 1931, and his legacy is celebrated in the ESP reds. Today the winemaking is in the extremely capable hands of Eric’s grandson, Alister Purbrick. Tahbilk is one of the twelve iconic, family-owned wineries that have come together as Australia’s First Families of Wine.

Discover more about this years winery of the year award online at the Wine Companion

Buy Tahbilk Wines Online at the Hic! Wine Shop

Wine By Region | Spain – The Meseta

The Meseta Wine Region of SpainThe Meseta (also known as the Central Plateau) wine region of Spain is an enormous wine producing region that produces nearly half of all the wine in Spain. Almost two-thirds of all Spain’s vineyards are planted upon this vast central plateau which encapsulates Madrid to the north, Cáceres to the west and Albacete to the east. It is home to the world’s most widely planted white grape variety, ‘Airén’, a grape that produces rather unspectacular table wine but does excel when distilled for the production of Brandy de Jerez.

For a long time it was considered that no wine of any real quality could be made on the ‘tabletop’ that represents the centre of the elevated plateau in Spain; however, huge European Union investment has attracted a number of foreign buyers into the region who recognise the potential to be had here, especially by planting vineyards in amongst the significant mountain spots dotted throughout the region.

A broad range of grape varieties including Tempranillo, Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah have been introduced into the region taking advantage of the strong differences between day-time and night-time temperatures which grapes appear to thrive upon and now resulting in the production of very good high-quality wines.

The work of Carlos Falcó (Marqués de Griñón, owner of Dominio de Valdepusa and other estates) in the region led to the creation of the highest tier of Spanish wine designations called Vino de Pago which is a single vineyard area designation. His Dominio de Valdepusa vineyard became the first to receive a Vino de Pago DO and there are now a total of eight DO Pago’s in the region.

The Denominación de Origen regions in the Meseta wine region are:

Almansa DO is a large wine producing region but home to only a few wine producers. The region produces mostly Monastrell and shows great potential not only with value but with their high quality oak-aged wines.

La Mancha DO is a large region that relies heavily on its plantings of the local Airén grape for brandy production. There are other grape varieties in production including Macabeo, Sauvignon Blanc and Chardonnay all of which prove a popular partner to the local Manchego cheese.

Manchuela DO has several wineries championing the indigenous Bobal grape for both red and rosado style wines.

Méntrida DO is separated from the beautiful city of Toledo by the Tajo River and is a vast, flat and sandy region planted primarily with the Garnacha grape, although other vines such as Tempranillo, Albillo, and Cabernet Sauvignon are also planted. Madrid is just to the northeast of this DO and provides a welcome local market for the reds and rosados.

Mondéjar DO is a small region with some vineyards planted at elevations approaching 3000 feet offering great potential in the future.

Ribera del Guadiana DO is a sprawling region that touches the border to Portugal and has a myriad of grape varieties planted that are a mixture of Spanish, Portuguese and French. Winemaking has flourished here since Roman times, and the city of Mérida includes an amphitheatre, an aqueduct, bridges, a circus, and a hippodrome from those long-gone imperialists.

Ribera del Júcar DO is located to the eastern side of the La Mancha DO. The extreme summer temperatures are mitigated by elevation (vineyards are planted at roughly 1800 feet) and the proximity of the river Júcar. The most popular varieties grown include Cencibel and Bobal.

Uclés DO is a small region that is prone to some of the most extreme temperatures in Spain. Even though large producers dominate, the region shows potential based on its higher elevation vineyards.

Valdepeñas DO is a wine region of nearly 70,000 acres planted to Garnacha, Cencibel, Airén, and Macabeo grapes. The wines produced here have a centuries–long legacy of international popularity.

Vinos de Madrid DO is a region rapidly diminishing because of the growth of the city, however, towards the south there is a focus on two local white grapes: Malvar and Albillo. The area of Vinos de Madrid that’s farthest from the city has many ancient Garnacha vineyards.

The Vino de Pago DO’s include: Pago Calzadilla, Pago Campo de la Guardia, Pago Casa del Blanco, Pago Dehesa del Carrizal, Pago Dominio de Valdepusa, Pago Finca Élez, Pago Florentino and Pago Guijoso.

Discover more about the Meseta Wine region of Spain online.

Torelló Cava is Decanters Expert’s Choice for Summer Drinking.

Torello Special Edition Cava ReservaThe Torelló ‘Special Edition’ Cava Reserva has recently received the thumbs up from the Decanter Panel Tasting Team. Highlighted as one of their Top 25 Summer Wines under £20 the Torello was award 17/20 points with the team having this to say about the Special Edition Brut NV:

“Tense, powerful, pure and bright. The green herb and lime aromas carry through to the mineral palate. A lovely drink.” 17/20

You can read the full article online at Decanter here: 25 Summer Wines under £20

The Torrelló family have been winegrowers for centuries, and the tradition shows no sign of stopping as they enter the 22nd generation! It wasn’t until 1951 that Francisco Torelló started the production of Cava, always from the Can Martí estate, which is made up of 135 hectares in the fertile region of Alt Penedès.

Halfway between the sea and Montserrat Mountain, the vineyards enjoy a Mediterranean climate, with annual temperatures of 16ºC, and with rainfall occurring predominantly in spring and autumn. The land is composed of a mixture of clay and chalk. Torrelló fosters traditional agriculture, prioritizing quality and respect for the environment.

If you would like to buy a bottle (or several!) of the Torelló Special Edition Cava Reserva you can do here by visiting our wine shop > Buy Torelló Special Edition Cava online 

Wine By Region | The USA – California

Discover Californian Wines Online

America’s golden state of California has winemaking traditions which date back to the late 1700’s, when Spanish missionaries introduced winemaking to California from Mexico. With almost 250 years of wine-making skills and experience together with the perfect year-round climate to grow grapes, California is arguably one of the best places on earth to make outstanding wine.

Discover California and Californian Wines Official Website

California’s 800 miles of rugged coastline expose nearby vineyards to natural ‘air conditioning’ in the form of fog and sea-breezes which provide ideal conditions for the production of exceptional Chardonnay and Pinot Noir wines. Further inland the warmer interior valleys receive the same cooling effect due to the rivers, lakes and deltas that run through them. Vines planted along the hillsides obtain the perfect mix of cooling air and bright sunshine allowing grape varieties such as Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot to thrive.

Every bottle of Californian wine lists the geographical origin, or appellation, where the grapes were grown. Appellations in the state are defined either by political boundaries, such as the name of a county, or by federally recognised growing regions, called American Viticultural Areas (AVAs). For a wine to carry an AVA name on its label, at least 85% of the grapes must be grown in that AVA.

There are numerous wine regions spread throughout California and these are to be found in the main wine producing areas of: The North Coast, The Central Coast, The Sierra Foothills, The Inland Valleys, Southern California and Far North California. The wine regions of California are divided into AVA’s, of which there are presently over 100.

The North Coast is one of California’s coolest regions and is home to more than half of the states wineries and to some of the world’s most celebrated producers. The regions found on the North Coast include: Napa Valley, Lake County, Mendocino County, Sonoma County and Los Carneros.

Discover more about the wines of California’s North Coast wine region.

San Francisco’s ‘Golden Gate Bridge’ paves the way south into the state’s ‘Central Coast’ where you will find wine from regions including: Livermore Valley, San Francisco Bay, Santa Cruz Mountains, Monterey County, Paso Robles and Santa Barbara County.

Discover more about the wine styles of California’s Central Coast wine region

The Sierra Foothills was the epicentre for California’s Gold Rush and attracted thousand’s of immigrants who sought fortune in the mines and left their vines in the ground. Famous landmark attractions to the area include Lake Tahoe and the Yosemite National Park as well as numerous Ghost Towns that serve as a reminder of the old wild west. The Sierra Foothills is a quality wine producing area and home to some very good wine made only in very small quantities.

Discover more about the wine producers and their wines in the Sierra Foothills.

The Inland Valleys of California are home to some of the most fertile farmlands in the entire world and wine producers across regions such as Lodi, Sacramento and San Joaquin Valley are producing excellent quality wines from a range of grape varieties.

Discover more about the wine regions of California’s Inland Valleys.

The Southern California wine region is nestled in and around the valleys and foothills of famous locations such as Malibu, Los Angeles, Orange County and San Diego, where one vineyard is planted at 1,300 metre’s above sea-level, the highest vineyard elevation in California.

Discover more about wines produced in Southern and the Far North of California

Wine By Region | The USA – Pacific Northwest

Washington State WinesThe Pacific Northwest is the largest wine region in North America and encompasses a collection of varied wine making areas and more than 1,000 wineries. The region is relatively unknown to wine drinkers outside of the USA, however, wine production is on the increase and it is now fast becoming recognised as a source of truly world-class wines desirable across the globe.

The region broadly consists of America’s three northwestern states: Washington, Oregon and Idaho. The Pacific Ocean defines the western border of the region, from northern California in the south to the Canadian border in the north.

The Yakima Valley which runs through Washington is roughly the same latitude as northern Bordeaux and southern Burgundy and so it is no surprise to note that the state has become well known for its powerful Bordeaux and Rhône style wines.

The primary grape varieties grown in Washington State include Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Syrah for red wine production and Chardonnay and Riesling for white wine production.

The ‘American Viticultural Areas’ (AVAs) of Washington include: Ancient Lakes, Columbia Gorge, Columbia Valley, Horse Heaven Hills, Lake Chelan, Naches Heights, Puget Sound, Rattlesnake Hills, Red Mountain, Snipes Mountain, Wahluke Slope, Walla Walla Valley and Yakima Valley.

For more in depth reading on the wines of Washington State, the wineries and wine regions visit the official Washington State Wine Website.

Oregon is the coolest state in the Pacific Northwest with a wet, maritime climate and has long been noted for the production of outstanding Pinot Noir red wines as well as exceptional Pinot Gris and Chardonnay white wines.

The approved AVAs for Oregon state include: Applegate Valley, Chehalem Mountains, Columbia Gorge, Columbia Valley, Dundee Hills, Elton Oregon, Eola-Amity Hills, McMinnville, Red Hill Douglas County, Ribbon Ridge, The Rocks District, Rogue Valley, Snake River, Southern Oregon, Umpqua Valley, Walla Walla Valley, Willamette Valley and Yamhill-Carlton.

For further information on the wine regions of Oregon, the wineries and wine styles visit the official Oregon Wine Board Website.

To buy wine online from the Pacific Northwest wine region of America take a look at the range of wines from Oregon and Washington State for sale at the Hic! wine shop > Buy Wine from the Pacific Northwest of America Online