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“Behind the Label” Case Offer – Wines with a story from South Africa & Spain


Tasting Notes

“Behind the Label” Case Offer brings you wines with great stories!

Discover “Behind the Label” Case Offer with accompanying notes, provides a journey in flavours that should delight most palates! Sip your way through – Two white wines from South Africa – both from family estates, one is an unusual and excellent blend (Bonfire Hill), the third white is from Spain, made from the Godello grape; a sophisticated, complex white with a great story.  The three red organic wines range from a “Field Blend” everyday Red, to Gatito Loco a new-wave young Rioja with some complexity and a stunning Bobal; from one of the highest vineyards in Spain in DO Manchuela.

This case comes complete with Tasting Notes.

Barton Estate Chenin Blanc 2020 Walker Bay, S Africa  (1 bottle)

“Behind the Label” of a Blue Crane, is an attractive crisp, full-flavoured Chenin Blanc with a fresh palate of pears, peaches and hints of cox’s apples. Dry, zingy and full of flavours with excellent length and some mineral complexity.

The Estate was bought by the Neil family in 2001 with just 6 hectares of Chenin Blanc vines; the vines are now around 40 years old, providing great depth of flavours. The label features the endangered Blue Crane featured which has made its home in the  Barton Estate. If you visit this wine farm, you may see them strutting about! Barton’s vineyards are in the Bot River area on the cooler south slopes of the Kogelberg hills, where the summer heat is reduced by Atlantic breezes from Walker Bay, just 11 miles away.

Extreme Vineyards Bonfire Hill White 2018/20  Western Cape, S Africa (1 bottle)

This white has lovely complex, ripe aromas of peach and citrus which are backed up by herbs and hints of oak. The flavours are also complex, with rich, more-ish stone fruit and apples mixed with a dash of citrus acidity and nicely balanced by a light oak touch. Bonfire Hill White is a great example of what excellent blends South Africa is now producing; in this case a blend of Chenin Blanc, Roussanne and Grenache Blanc. It is mouth-filling, succulent with great depth of flavour. The grapes are whole bunch pressed and a natural fermentation occurs. The wine spends around 8 months in 500 litre French oak barrels; 10% are new oak.

The grapes are harvested from the Leewenkuil Family Vineyards in Swartland and Voor Paardeberg. It is made by the highly respected winemaker Bruce Jack. The name of this wine (Bonfire Hill) is derived from a winter solstice celebration at Drift Farm, where this wine is made. “Behind the Label” is Bonfire Hill, where they celebrate the ancient festival of St John by building a big bonfire and burning any unwanted vegetation from the previous season. 2018 vintage is still drinking well.

Bodegas y Viñedos Merayo Godello 2020, DO Bierzo   Spain  (1 bottle)

This is one of the stars of this case offer, a grape that needs to be discovered. It has pronounced but subtle nectarine, greengage and apple aromas with citrus and fennel hints. The flavours are layered and complex, ranging from nectarine, white peach to hints of pears and there is definite minerality here. It has a lovely full palate with a sensation of freshness balancing an edge of glycerol. Overall a lightly rounded dry white with excellent mouthfeel, terrific length with harmonious balance. This white wine is made from grapes of 40+ year old bush vines and has been aged “sur lie” for four months before bottling.

“Behind the Label” – which is minimalist but emphasises the importance of the vineyards where the Merayo family have been growing grapes for generations – is Pedro Merayo who has 25 hectares of established, immaculate vineyards at 600 – 700 metres. Merayo is a small, family-producer in the hills of DO Bierzo in North West Spain. The vineyards are near Villafranca, close to the Camino de Santiago de Compostella (The Pilgrims Way) and during our visit to Pedro’s scenic vineyards, we could see walkers making their way along the Camino!

Such is the care and attention to his vineyards, Pedro Merayo has observed other vignerons taking photos of his vineyards to pass them off as theirs! Attention to detail in the vineyards, hand-picked grapes and careful winemaking by the dynamic Ferrian Uria is producing excellent results. Only 25,000 bottles of Merayo Godello are produced annualy.

Te Quiero Red Field Blend 2020 (Organic) VdlT Castilla, Spain  (1 bottle)

Te Quiero Red is a juicy everyday red which contains many grape varieties. The principal grapes are Tempranillo and Syrah, in addition there is Garnacha, Graciano, Monastrell and Tinto Velasco; the wine is made as a Field Blend. It has aromas of garrigue, brambly fruit and spice which are followed by ripe brambly, blackberry fruit flavours. The palate is dry, spicy and savoury with ripe tannins and a light oak finish. Te Quiero literally means “I love you” in Spanish.

So what is a Field Blend? Spain’s vineyards, especially in La Mancha, are devoted to the commercial grapes like Tempranillo, Garnacha and Syrah, but there are also small plots of older, native varieties such as Graciano, Monastrell and Tinto Velasco that have been preserved. The small amount of these grapes that remain in the vineyards of Jesus del Perdon Co-operative, means it is not possible to vinify them separately (as usual, when blending grape varieties to produce a wine) so the grapes have been harvested together as a “Field Blend”. We think that this is a great success. It will be excellent with a wide range of dishes. The label shows the emblematic crocuses from La Mancha. It is the stamens of the crocus flower which produce the lovely saffron.

Gatito Loco 2020 (Organic)  DOCa Rioja, Spain (1 bottle)

(Recommended in Decanter “Affordable Riojas £10 – £20: March 2020)

Gatito Loco Rioja is bursting with fruit. With it’s eye-catching label depicting a Gatito Loco (literally meaning a crazy kitten), it is a young, yet full flavoured Rioja and is strikingly different. This wine has fresh, bright aromas of red and black fruits with a wonderful fresh character. Blackberry and red fruit flavours with supporting nuances of balsam, liquorice and chocolate. This is a young, un-oaked Rioja but quite complex wine and it stands out for its combination of full flavours and freshness.

This is a wine that emphasises vineyard over bodega, which moves away from the more traditional image of oaked Rioja, everything about this wine is intentionally provocative to challenge your view on what Rioja is!

Mil Historias Bobal 2019 (Organic)  DO Manchuela (1 bottle)

A rich and deep red wine. Intense aromas of ripe, black fruit with rosemary herb hints and a touch of black pepper. The flavours are equally intense, there is cherry, blackcurrant fruit together with peppery liquorice and chocolate hints. This full-bodied red has a lovely full, savoury finish. Wines made from this widely planted grape, the Bobal, often display power and vibrant fruit, but not all achieve the freshness and juiceiness and a well rounded palate, that this wine does. The 2018 vintage will soon be followed by 2019 vintage of this wine which was Highly Recommended in Decanter Magazine in April 2021.

It is produced by Manolo Garrote (agronomist) and his wife Rosella Molina (winemaker) at Bodegas Altolandon, in the hills well inland from Valencia, near Cuenca. The vineyards are at 1100 metres, where the nights are cool which is helpful for retaining freshness in the grape flavours. This Bodega also restricts the yield to around 1.5 kilos per vine, which concentrates the aromas and flavours. This wine is aged for 4 months in French oak barrels with some in clay amphora to retain purity and build complexity. Finally they are bottled and have an eye-catching label which captures their organic, natural production.