This October, our wine editor Bruce Palling has chosen six wines from Liberty Wines.
Liberty Wines have maintained their original purpose – selling the finest Italian wines – while diversifying to discover the best wines elsewhere. They are now offering a number of exceptional Indian wines, which are rarely seen in this country (except for a couple of sparkling wines) and I’ve included a fascinating example in my selection this month.
David Gleave MW started Liberty Wines 20 years ago and his business is primarily aimed at premium restaurants including high-end places such as the River Café or The Ledbury. They don’t have any High Street presence but such is their reputation, their staff of more than 100 are kept fully occupied dealing with their behind the scenes customers. They have diversified into other fine Italian produce and offer a wide range of the very best extra virgin olive oils. As you might expect, they have almost lost count of the accolades and awards they have received from the wine trade, something that will be all too apparent once you have tried my selection for October.
Prices shown below are per bottle, based on purchasing a case of twelve and you can enjoy FREE delivery to mainland UK addresses.
Wine Editor, The Week Wines
Akluj Chardonnay/Sauvignon Blanc 2017, M/S, India (12.5%)
£11.50 per bottle / £138 per case (was £14.99 / £179.88)
This is a fascinating Chardonnay/Sauvignon Blanc blend from India. An unusual combination, though not unheard of, it’s a joint venture between doyen of the wine trade Steven Spurrier and winemaker Piero Masi, who worked at the famous Isole e Olena vineyard in Tuscany. The vines were planted 10 years ago south east of Bombay in Western India. The wine has the attributes of both grapes, so there’s a tropical fruit hit from the Chardonnay combined with a focussed floral intensity from the Sauvignon Blanc. The curious will not be disappointed.
Gimblett Gravels Chardonnay 2016, Trinity Hill, New Zealand (13%)
£19.50 per bottle / £234 per case (was £22.99 / £275.88)
Trinity Hill have been exporting their wines to the UK for more than two decades and tasting their superb Chardonnay shows why. Located in the renowned Gimblett Gravels sub region of Hawke’s Bay on the North Island, their Chardonnay has the structure of a Meursault with its unbeatable combination of balance and power. This is a far cry from the over-oaked clumsy New World Chardonnays of the past and has all the complexity and sophistication one would expect from a far more expensive wine.
'Terrapieno' Pinot Grigio 2017, Alpha Zeta, Italy (12.5%)
£10.50 per bottle / £126 per case (was £12.99 / £155.88)
Pinot Grigio has emerged as the most popular dry white wine, overtaking Chardonnay earlier this century. It has become known as a generic inoffensive wine for ordering in a bar by the glass, which is a travesty when it comes to the quality of this particular wine. Made from a single vineyard in the hills outside Verona, New Zealand winemaker Matt Thomson has added his expertise to create a refreshingly zingy wine that’s utterly addictive. Perfect as a standalone wine or with shellfish, it has a lovely blend of pear and citrus flavours.
RUA Central Otago Pinot Noir 2017, Akarua, New Zealand (14%)
£16.50 per bottle / £198 per case (was £19.99 / £239.88)
We all know how tricky it is to replicate the quality of the Pinot Noir grape away from its natural home in Burgundy, but New Zealand arguably does the best job of it. Located in Central Otago in the southern region of the South Island, the vines are nearly 20 years old, which shows in the earthiness and depth of flavours here. Aged for six months in French oak, this wine has the potential to improve for several years, though can be appreciated now with its subtle tannins and spicy elements.
Barbera d'Alba, G.D. Vajra, 2016, Italy (14.5%)
£19 per bottle / £228 per case (was £23.49 / £281.88)
Aldo Vajra is a no-nonsense traditional wine maker, renowned for his Barolos as well as this Barbera, which matures considerably earlier. Well known on the wine lists of Michelin-starred restaurants, it is made for early drinking. It has a lovely aromatic style with a touch of acidity to give it grip while still possessing dark fruit characteristics and a refreshing minerality. This is well focussed and delineated and a perfect accompaniment to red meats or game.
Chianti, Buontalenti, 2016, Italy (12.5%)
£11 per bottle / £132 per case (was £13.49 / £161.88)
Located less than an hour west of Florence, Alberto Antonini creates his Chianti from the grapes of a number of local winegrowers in the Cerreto Guidi district, which is 200 metres above sea level. This possesses all the charm you would expect from well-made wine from the Sangiovese grape. It is a well-rounded generous wine bursting with cherry and herbal flavours and completely ready to drink in the coming year. Exceptional value for money.