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  1. Le Cigare Volant Bonny Doon Vineyards

    Bonny Doon Vineyards Le Cigare Volant Blanc 2013

    £30.00

    £30.00

    It's one thing to have a knack for something, but Californian vintner Randall Grahm has a very peculiar knack for bringing traditional and more out-there techniques together to create a kind of beautiful third dimension. Whilst he studiously replicates the grape blends of France's Rhône Valley - earning himself the nickname 'The Rhône Ranger' - he also calls upon the astronomical calendar when attending to his beloved vines. Like a Zen master, he doesn't interfere with the process, preferring to let nature (wild yeasts) to do the work (fermentation). In the case of this white Rhône blend, this has resulted in transcendent finesse, with mystical aromas of lavender and quince, leading to a palate of mango and pear. Out of this world.
  2. Cannonball Chardonnay

    Cannonball Chardonnay 2014

    £20.00

    £20.00

    Cannonball - a winery of high repute, making delicious, finely crafted wines - write of this 2014 Chardonnay that it "offers a sophisticated nose of lemon custard", which paints a rather silly picture.

    If anyone would like to send us their depiction of what "a sophisticated nose of lemon custard" looks like, we'd be most interested.

    Anyhoo, back to the wine. It's gorgeous. It balances zesty Granny apple and peaches with a vanilla pod creaminess, with a hint of buttery short crust pastry. Yowzer.
  3. De Loach Heritage Reserve Chardonnay 2013

    De Loach Heritage Reserve Chardonnay 2013

    £14.00

    £14.00

    And it's nil-nil at half time here at the Britannia Stadium, where Stoke City are playing Biodynamo Moscow. And what's going on here - the Moscow keeper has dug a hole in his penalty area and taken out a cow's horn full of dried poo. Oh my goodness, he's now spreading it all over Biodynamo's half of the pitch, and while we wait for kick-off he's planting vicia to bring rejuvenating nitrogen to the soil.

    Well, Brian, after twenty years of football commentary I have never witnessed this kind of behaviour during an international friendly. The keeper's miles away from his goal, but that doesn't matter because Stoke City can't get past his luxurious crop of vines!

    And at the full-time whistle it's off to the changing rooms to enjoy a glass of the Stadium's delicious house white wine. It's a Chardonnay, with gorgeous tropical fruit flavours enriched with orange blossom and melon. Now that's what I call a result!
  4. Domaine Drouhin Pinot Noir American Wine Red

    Domaine Drouhin Pinot Noir 2013

    £30.00

    £30.00

    Oregon, "the beaver state", has 26 official emblems. These include a crab, a predatory sea snail called the Oregon Hairy Triton, a square dance, milk, a rock called thunderegg and the Oregon-grape. Common sense would say that this last one should be Pinot Noir, seeing as how Willamette Valley is on the same latitude as Burgundy and its wines have beaten French rivals in blind tastings. But it's not, it's a shrub used to make jam. Oregonians are clearly bonkers. This wine is so good it should run for Governor of this crazy state.
  5. Frog's Leap Cabernet Sauvignon American Wine

    Frog's Leap Cabernet Sauvignon 2012

    £38.00

    £38.00

    If you want a proper pork pie, you get it from Melton Mowbray. If you want a handmade alpaca-wool scarf, you get it from Peru. If you want a world-class Cabernet Sauvignon, you go the Médoc in Bordeaux, Coonawarra in Australia or Rutherford Bench in the Napa Valley. OK there are many other places too, but these names stand as benchmarks of quality. Frog's Leap's founder John Williams wanted a piece of the Rutherford pie and, following a decade-long pursuit, by Jove he got it. Now that he has it, he is seriously making the most out of it. Topped up with Cabernet Franc and Merlot, this Cabernet Sauvignon has the gorgeous 'Rutherford Rust' minerality, earthy warmth and intensity that make this region's wines so desirable.
  6. Frog's Leap Cabernet Sauvignon 2012 - Magnum

    Frog's Leap Cabernet Sauvignon 2012 - Magnum

    £74.00

    £74.00

    One small leap for a frog. One quantum leap for winekind!' uttered Veal Winestrong as he sipped red wine made from vineyards in Rutherford. This area is one of the best places in California's Napa valley for making Cabernet Sauvignon. As velvety and satisfying as Cabernets from Coonawarra. Rivaling the finesse and quality of the left bank reds of Bordeaux. All fastened into in a magnum ready for take off- no need to radio Ground Control for a second bottle.
  7. Frog's Leap Merlot 2013

    Frog's Leap Merlot 2013

    £34.00

    £34.00

    Merlot is sometimes prone to sulking. John Williams of Frog's Leap vineyards knows the secret to bringing her back to the festivities. Keep Merlot content. If she dosesn't grow in the happy place- clay. You'll get her classic party pout- nasty green flavours in the resulting wine. This grape likes 'cold feet and a warm body' Or in plain terms- put it in the right soil in a prime spot in the sun. Williams also loves the subtlety and restraint of Bordeaux. This approach combined with his careful attention to Merlots cordial demeanour gives us this utterly superb wine. Elegant and velvety texture, in harmony with raspberry fruits and fine grain tannins. If you keep the grape gleeful and it will give you marvellous Merlot!
  8. McManis Zinfandel Red Wine America

    McManis Zinfandel 2015

    £12.75

    £12.75

    According to 2Pac and Dr Dre, California knows how to party. It's not surprising, if you're gonna have a party you're gonna need some wine and they produce a lot. If California were a country, it would be the world's fourth largest wine producer.

    Don't think that all Zinfandel is pink and sweet, real red Zinfandel is powerful and jammy with refreshing acidity, just like this one. Each mouthful is an elegant fruit bowl of raspberries, strawberries, cherries, watermelon and blackberries laced with vanilla, caramel and hazelnuts. A bottle of California love.
  9. Ridge Monte Bello Cabernet Sauvignon 2011

    Ridge Monte Bello Cabernet Sauvignon 2011

    £140.00

    £140.00

    Now we don't want to start a bar room brawl and we are massive fans of French wine, but the British do love an underdog and the story of Ridge's Monte Bello Cabernet Sauvignon appeals to our sensibilities.

    The 1971 vintage was one of the Californian wines that beat its French opponents in 1976's Judgement of Paris blind tasting, which upset the apple cart somewhat over the Channel and cemented California's reputation for being world-class winemakers. The cool 2011 season turned out a pristine vintage of Monte Bello, made from Cabernet Sauvignon.
  10. Sierra Creek Red NV American Wine

    Sierra Creek Red NV

    Now £6.08

    Was £6.75

    £6.08

    Sometimes you just want to turn the radio on and let somebody else make your mind up for you. You've made mind-bending decisions all day, you don't want to come home and choose between Stockhausen and Ornette Coleman. Just press a button and dig what comes out, you'll like it more than you expected.
    Like this wine, it's smooth, fruity and friendly, and it doesn't want you to beat yourself up looking for a greater profundity. There you go, 'don't let the sound of your own wheels drive you crazy...' Perfect. You didn't even know the Eagles were so good. Everything is splendid.
  11. Sierra Creek White Wine NV USA

    Sierra Creek White NV

    Now £6.08

    Was £6.75

    £6.08

    It's a happy little chappy is this wine. Like a gregarious mate, you can take it anywhere and it's guaranteed to quickly raise a smile with its easy charm and its bright, sunny character, full of the blissful Californian sun.
    Its ripe yellow plum and cantaloupe melon flavours would buddy up easily with a spicy vegetable stir-fry, ideally with a bunch of old friends, a comfy sofa and a Shirley Valentine DVD.
  12. Sierra Creek White Zinfandel Rose NV

    Sierra Creek White Zinfandel Rosé NV

    £7.00

    £7.00

    Everyone is guilty of a little white lie now and then. Zimilarly, how many of uz don't commit the odd zin? But maybe it all dependz on intention. It might juzt be mizchief, or joie de vivre; or perhapz you do it to make zomeone feel better. But iz there really any harm in it?

    Of courze, big zins are different. Dark and intenze, they can often leave a bitter tazte in the mouth. Rezt azzured, though, no one iz going to hold it againzt you if you zuccumb now and then to a little white zin. Or, zhould we zay a little pink zin, perhapz?
  13. World's End Against the Wind 2010

    World's End Against the Wind 2010

    £49.00

    £49.00

    Jonathan Maltus has his feet in two camps: one at Château Teyssier, where he found fame as an avant-garde, 'garragiste' winemaker, and one in the Napa Valley, where he makes the stonking World' End wines, which have a discernible French lilt, like Little Sister. This Cabernet Franc has gorgeously rounded corners, and has oceans of sweet raspberry, coffee and mocha flavours and a structure to put the Golden Gate Bridge to shame. Californian heaven.
  14. World's End Little Sister 2010

    World's End Little Sister 2010

    £49.00

    £49.00

    If Jonathan Maltus made Merlot, it would probably be the best Merlot in the world. Oh, wait, he does... and some people might think it is.

    Made in some of the best vineyards in California, by Mr Maltus, who is hailed as a 'visionary' by critic Robert Parker, it is a fleshy, luscious Merlot, with nuanced plum, damson and black cherry fruit and an interesting green olive twist.

    Put it this way: if you put us in a room with a bottle of this and a slab of decent mature cheddar, you wouldn't see us for a long, long time...

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