Liath Select Collection
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Judith Beck Blaufrankish 2019
Judith Beck makes only 500 cases of this cuvée and it is superb. It has a chewy, plush texture with generous dark cherry, cassis and plum fruit nuanced by herbs and a touch of minerality. It is a highly versatile wine, complementing virtually all types of food and cuisines.
Blaufränkisch is a grape mostly planted in Hungary and Austria, where it has been cultivated since the 18th century. For her first Blaufränkisch, Judith Beck selects from different vineyard sites in Halbturn and Gols; the vines average 15 years old. The soils are known as Seewinkelschotter, sandy-limestone-gravel.Beck and her team pick all of the fruit by hand and sort the grapes in the vineyard and at the winery before de-stemming. Fermentation occurs spontaneously, in stainless steel tanks. The young wine is then racked off its skins and moved into 1000-2000 l, neutral acacia wood casks for two months where it completes its malolactic fermentations. It is then transferred to 4-6 year old barriques for 8-10 months of aging. Beck matures her Blaufrankisch in two phases in wood in order to attain the round, complex and vivid style she seeks. Judith Beck’s winery is run as a family business. Since 1976 the area under vine increased from 5 to 15 ha. Most of the vineyards are situated at the Wagram of the Parndorfer Plate, the most important site of the region. And from 2007 Judith has produced wines in accordance with biodynamic principles.
This versatile wine compliments a great number of dishes and cuisines but really stands out when paired with hearty stews, pot roasts or duck dishes.
Andreas Bender Pinot Noir, Pfalz Germany 2019
Growing up in the Mosel, it is only natural that one of Andreas’ loves is Pinot Noir (or Spätburgunder as the Germans call Pinot Noir). This wine is an excellent example of Spätburgunder with charming aromas of red fruits and blackberry, spice and cedarwood on the palate, ending in a spicy clove finish complemented by some rich vanilla and caramel from time on oak. It is elegant and softly tannic.
Grown organically in Pfalz, the fruit is transported to the winery in Bender’s home village of Leiwen. It undergoes spontaneous fermentation and is aged in a mixture of stainless steel tanks and oak barrels. The Bender Pinot has become a staple at Liath and is a firm favourite among many customers. I love the fact that it will seamlessly pair with a huge number of dishes. It is a modern style of pinot with a wonderful spice. This will be a Liath staple for many a year!
Gioia Del Colle DOC Primitivo Riserva, Pasquale Petrera 2020
This Riserva comes from the estate’s very best Primitivo grapes. It is full-bodied and full-on flavoured with intense ruby red colour. The nose shows ripe black fruit, toasted almond and spices. The palate shows very ripe fruit, balanced with minerals and great freshness. Smooth and velvety black cherry, plum, blackberry and mulberry with balsamic, clove and cacao notes. It ends with toasted almonds flavours, very typical of the Gioia del Colle region.
The wine spent 12 months in stainless steel tanks, followed by another 12 months in Slavonic oak 750-liter-casks with the application of music therapy to optimize the spontaneous microxigenation process and improve the fining of the wine, it then spends 6 months in bottle before release.
This estate was founded in its current guise in 1987, but has been in the family for generations. Tom Maresca in the ‘Italy 2013’ supplement to Decanter Magazine (February 2013) highlights Fatalone as being one of the very top Puglian producers with their Primitivos from the hilly enclave of Gioia del Colle combining power, freshness and longevity in very fine wines.
Such longevity and drinkability are the result of exacting attention to detail from vineyard, through cellar and aging. The vineyards are situated in the Murgian hills on clay-limestone soils which contain fossilised marine creatures. In the cellar, only the naturally present yeasts are used and malolactic fermentation also starts naturally. Minimal sulphur is also used.
This red will pair beautifully with hearty winter dishes such as slow cooked red meats.
Willunga 100 Grenache, McLaren Vale, South Australia 2020
Bright lifted red raspberry aroma with a hint of violet. Warm cinnamon spice on the palate supported by juicy cherry and satsuma plum. The wine finishes with a fine dusty tannin and fresh acid line.Sourced from Willunga 100’s own estate vineyard ‘Blindspot’ in the sub-region of Blewitt Springs (McLaren Vale). 100% dry grown bush vine Grenache from three different sections of the vineyard, each with a slightly different aspect/elevation. Vine age is approximately 50 years old. The soils of the vineyard are deep Maslin sand over a base of ironstone and clay. Vegan friendly.
Full bright red with purple hue, intense dark red fruit and well integrated cedar and toasty oak. Plum and black cherry notes full of luscious ripe fruit.
The term “hundred” originates from late Saxon and Norman England and refers to an administrative unit of government, meaning that 100+ households had to live in the area to qualify for its place on the map. Willunga 100 select their fruit from small parcels just as the district was divided up into ‘100s’, or small lots.
After only its first vintage in 2005, wine journalist and judge James Halliday gave the winery a Five Star rating. He also named it as one of his ‘Top Ten newcomers’. This vindicated the original aim of Willunga 100, which was particularly to inject some quality and excitement into Australian wine.
What most impressed me upon first tasting this wine was the elegance. It has a certain weight and wonderful spice which makes it an excellent food wine. A definite favourite of ours.
Filippi’s estate and vineyards are located in Castelcerino, in the highest part of the Soave DOC. Filippi began bottling his own wine in 2003, he began farming organically and was certified organic in 2007. Over the years, he’s incorporated some of the principles of biodynamic farming as well. The soil in the vineyards is mostly rocky, volcanic clay with parts that are rich in limestone. The property and vineyards are unique in that there is a rich biodiversity including wooded areas surrounding the vineyards. This is a critical aspect to the estate’s practices, as it allows for the vineyards to exist in harmony with the surrounding nature.
This natural approach in the vineyards is carried forth in the cellar as well. The grapes are all hand harvested and sorted. Fermentations occur with indigenous yeasts, in stainless steel tanks. The wines are held on their lees for an extended time, especially their top single vineyard wines. All of the Soaves are 100% Garganega, of course, even though the appellation allows up to 30% of other varietals such as Trebbiano in the blends. As for the Soaves, while most top examples are often rich and honeyed, Filippi’s wines are some of the most structured and mineral-driven. The high elevation and volcanic and limestone soils certainly come through in the brightness and focus of the wines. They often require time to open up, and can last for days with just a cork in the bottle. All of the wines certainly over-deliver for their price in terms of complexity and pedigree.
Flavourful and inviting, this Veneto white shows notes of almonds, anise, and white grapefruit with a smooth texture and lingering finish. Filippo recommends this wine mainly with fish and shellfish dishes although it has enough character and spice to stand up to various ethnic cuisines.
Unlike like many other examples of Soave, Castelcerino is based on only the native Garganega varietal from two southeast exposed parcels at 320 meters of volcanic soils. Fermented and elevated in 100HL stainless steel vats, this wine remains on its lees for a varying number of months depending on the vintage. During this period the wine decants naturally and undergoes no filtration before bottling.
Txomin Etxaniz Txakoli 2020
This is extremely good Getariako Txakoli and faithfully reflects this premium region of Txakoli (pronounced: chak -o -lee) production (Spain). Attractive brilliant straw hues, with a mid-to-low fizz spritz on palate. The nose is alluring and delicate with apple, cucumber and some light pear perfume. The palate shows more fullness and structure; gentle fruit sweetness gives a bright fruit spread on entry, and it gains nice gentle tartness, facilitating a poised and impeccably balanced finish. Clean, well composed spring fruits, beautifully spiced; great drinking. This is classic Txakoli – exactly what you should expect: correct, clear, delicious.
This wine is made from the local grapes Hondarabbi Zuri 90% and Hondarrabi Beltza 10% and is aged in stainless steel.
Best paired with Basque gastronomy, good to drink with starters, fish and seafood. Particularly recommended with salted anchovies and tuna in oil. I always find a use for this wine in Spring time, it is a fantastic wine to enjoy as an aperitif as the crisp acidity really awaken the palate