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We’ve just been refreshing our Chardonnays. We got in two new, top notch Burgundies – the Rully in the picture (left) and a cracking Chassagne Montrachet.

But at the same time we also just imported 30 cases of the ridiculously good value Extrait de Romarion. It’s a Chardonnay that’s been matured with oak too. For £12, you may not get the finesse, complexity and length of the Burgundies, but you do get a great load of Burgundy-like characteristics for your money: A crisp, refreshing start, opening up to rounder stone and stone fruit flavours and finishing with a long, creamy toffee finish.

The Burgundies do all of that and more. Again each will give you that clean, crisp opening, the Chasssgne-Montrachet particularly including touches of blossom in the nose. The deeper, riper fruits follow, balanced by clean mineral elements. Each ends with a creamier, dreamier finish that lingers for an eternity. The difference between the two would be that the Rully is a little lighter, the Chassagne-Montrachet has more caramel in its finish. Both are an investment. Both will pay back dividends!

Priorat is simultaneously one of Spain’s premium wine regions and one of its best kept secrets. We need to change the latter!

It’s an arid, rocky region just inland from Tarragona in eastern Catalonia, not many miles from Penedes, the home of Cava.

Grenache fans, this is one for you. Garnacha as it’s known in Spain, is the principle grape of Priorat and in this blend it’s just over half – 55%, with Carinena (Carignan as the French-dominated wine world knows it) and Cabernet Sauvignon adding another 15% each and a little Merlot and Syrah to complete the mix. As you might expect, this is a complex wine.

That arid, rocky landscape plays a part too, with the low rainfall and water retention nurturing low yielding vines to produce a hugely concentrated wine. You’ll be met by rich and intense aromas of black cherry, liquorice and toasty oak and then deep ripe plummy flavours come through on the palate, with herbal, rosemary and vanilla notes, and leather, spice and smooth yet powerful tannins at the finish.

This is a great wine for everything from goat and sheep cheeses, to Boquerones (soused anchovies), to summer grills, to slow cooked winter roasts,

We love the classics at Rise & Vine – Bordeaux, Burgundy, Rioja, Chianti and the like. But equally, as an independent shop of independent spirit, we love the left field stuff too – the minor grape varieties, the lesser-known regions, the smaller producers and the like. So we’ve put together 2 cases to introduce you to some of our unsung heroes. (If you’ve arrived here from The Times Food and Drink List, then type in your promotion code in at the checkout stage.)

The first is a 6 bottle case of 2 reds, 2 whites and 2 rosés and the second just adds 6 bottles to the first case to broaden your options to include another couple of reds and whites plus 2 bottles of sparkling. Here they are:

A Case of Independence – 6 bottles

Showing 6 wines, 2 reds, 2 whites and 2 rosés, from smaller producers, interesting grape varieties or unusual places.

Domaine de Valdition, Alpilles Rouge – biodynamic red from a super-chic winery just outside the super-chic village of Eygalieres in Western Provence – one of my go-to wines when I lived down that way. Imported directly by Rise & Vine.

Bergdolt-Reif & Nett, Pinot Noir – amazing quality/value Pinot Noir from Pfalz, Germany (the world’s third largest producer of Pinot Noir!). You’d double the price for a Pinot Noir as good as this from Burgundy. Imported directly by Rise & Vine and exclusively available by retail from us in the UK.

Pietradolce Etna Bianco – Sicilian wines are ever-so fashionable right now and this one, made from Carricanti grapes grown in the volcanic soils of the northern slopes of Mount Etna shows exactly why.

Origine Chardonnay – we import this one from a great co-operative just the other side of the Rhône Valley from Chateauneuf-du-Pape (another from my time down there). Think Meursault on a budget rather than ’90s new world butter-bomb!

Le Pique Poul – a Rise & Vine direct import and a rare grape variety – Picpoul Noir. Pale and clean with refreshing acidity, bright rose petal aromas and citrus notes. When the sun’s hot, we just can’t keep this one in the shop.

Le Bréton Rosé – (Bréton because of its stripy label – it’s from Provence, not Brittany!) this one’s imported directly by the guy who lives round the corner from the shop – we like to keep things local. Mike imports this classic rosé, bursting with pink grapefruit, directly from Grimaud, just next door to St Tropez.

A Case of Independence – 12 bottles

The original six wines from the 6 bottle Case of Independence, plus 6 more bottles from the more unusual end of our range.

Rathfinny Classic Cuvée Sparkling – newly released classic combination of the three Champagne grape varieties; Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier; that prove that Sussex is now producing fizz as good as the more famous French original.

Dowie Doole, Moxie – sparkling Shiraz from McLaren Vale, Australia. Yes, a red sparkler! Delicious Shiraz spices and dark fruit, a tiny hint of port-like sweetness, and a proper ‘methode traditionelle’ mousse.

Marc Riesling – from what is without question the best winery in Bethnal Green! Renegade Urban Winery brings an East London craft ale sensibility to making wine. This one’s a low intervention made from grapes grown sustainably in Germany, but they make other wines from British grapes, too.

Wildeberg Chenin Blanc – We just put this one in because we love it. Earthy, almost wooly, beautifully balanced South African Chenin Blanc.

Portia Crianza, Ribera de Duero – a 100% Tempranillo, aged for 2 years in oak barrels, made at the modernist Portia winery designed by Foster and Partners and imported by a specialist importer from Spain.

Verum Cabernet Franc – Cabernet Franc, from Patagonia; both would imply a lighter wine, so be prepared to be surprised by the unusually depth of this atypical Argentinian wine.

This week’s featured wines are some of the new ones that we brought in last week in our first dabble in the world of direct wine importing.  We’ve brought in 8 wines that Lindsay and I enjoyed for years while we lived down in Provence and that I am now very excited to share with you on the Brent Riviera!

Mourchon has been farmed organically for the last 8 years, but will only receive its official accreditation this summer.  But hell, they’re organic, right?  Their Loubié Rosé is rated as one of the best rosés in the Provence, Decanter made it their pick of the Provencal rosés a couple of years ago and Jeb Dunnock describes this vintage as offering “a beautiful bouquet of ripe peach, tangerines and strawberries… with a juicy, medium-bodied style… bright acidity, plenty of fruit… another undeniably delicious rosé from this great estate”.

Their Tradition Rouge is a traditional Rhône blend of 65 % Grenache, 25 % Syrah, 10% Carignan, aged in raw concrete vats to recreate the style of wines traditionally matured in stone lined vats.  It’s full of cherries and herbs with forward notes of spice and liquorice. Next time – and we all have time for this now, don’t we? – so next time you butterfly a leg of lamb and grill it over the embers of an open fire, this is the wine for you.  (Also good with a kebab.)

The Grande Reserve is a more concentrated affair.  It’s made from the grapes of older Grenache and Syrah vines lower yields but, as a result, more concentrated juice.  40% of the wine is matured in new and 1-2 year-old oak barrels to soften the powerful tannins particularly of the Syrah, where the rest is matured in the same concrete tanks to keep some structure and freshness. Delicious with ‘un peu de rosbif’.

Finally, we have brought in a few bottles of the Mourchon Chateauneuf-du-Pape.  The grapes are grown a few miles away in Châteauneuf, where the wine is made before transferring it for maturing in Mourchon’s cellars.  It matures for a year in large ‘demi-muid’ oak vats, which are used more to soften and develop the flavor of the wine, than to add the flavours associated with barrel ageing.  Mourchon describe this as “a medium ruby wine with a harmonious nose of gentle spice and ripe red fruit. The palate is rich and elegant with a touch of oak and well-defined length lifted with balanced freshness”.  It’s tasting lovely now, but if you were looking for something to lay down for an anniversary, then this one will mature and mellow over the next 5-10 years. 

This week’s featured wines are some of the new ones that we brought in last week in our first dabble in the world of direct wine importing.  We’ve brought in 8 wines that Lindsay and I enjoyed for years while we lived down in Provence and that I am now very excited to share with you on the Brent Riviera!

Mourchon has been farmed organically for the last 8 years, but will only receive its official accreditation this summer.  But hell, they’re organic, right?  Their Loubié Rosé is rated as one of the best rosés in the Provence, Decanter made it their pick of the Provencal rosés a couple of years ago and Jeb Dunnock describes this vintage as offering “a beautiful bouquet of ripe peach, tangerines and strawberries… with a juicy, medium-bodied style… bright acidity, plenty of fruit… another undeniably delicious rosé from this great estate”.

Their Tradition Rouge is a traditional Rhône blend of 65 % Grenache, 25 % Syrah, 10% Carignan, aged in raw concrete vats to recreate the style of wines traditionally matured in stone lined vats.  It’s full of cherries and herbs with forward notes of spice and liquorice. Next time – and we all have time for this now, don’t we? – so next time you butterfly a leg of lamb and grill it over the embers of an open fire, this is the wine for you.  (Also good with a kebab.)

The Grande Reserve is a more concentrated affair.  It’s made from the grapes of older Grenache and Syrah vines lower yields but, as a result, more concentrated juice.  40% of the wine is matured in new and 1-2 year-old oak barrels to soften the powerful tannins particularly of the Syrah, where the rest is matured in the same concrete tanks to keep some structure and freshness. Delicious with ‘un peu de rosbif’.

Finally, we have brought in a few bottles of the Mourchon Chateauneuf-du-Pape.  The grapes are grown a few miles away in Châteauneuf, where the wine is made before transferring it for maturing in Mourchon’s cellars.  It matures for a year in large ‘demi-muid’ oak vats, which are used more to soften and develop the flavor of the wine, than to add the flavours associated with barrel ageing.  Mourchon describe this as “a medium ruby wine with a harmonious nose of gentle spice and ripe red fruit. The palate is rich and elegant with a touch of oak and well-defined length lifted with balanced freshness”.  It’s tasting lovely now, but if you were looking for something to lay down for an anniversary, then this one will mature and mellow over the next 5-10 years. 

This week’s featured wines are some of the new ones that we brought in last week in our first dabble in the world of direct wine importing.  We’ve brought in 8 wines that Lindsay and I enjoyed for years while we lived down in Provence and that I am now very excited to share with you on the Brent Riviera!

Mourchon has been farmed organically for the last 8 years, but will only receive its official accreditation this summer.  But hell, they’re organic, right?  Their Loubié Rosé is rated as one of the best rosés in the Provence, Decanter made it their pick of the Provencal rosés a couple of years ago and Jeb Dunnock describes this vintage as offering “a beautiful bouquet of ripe peach, tangerines and strawberries… with a juicy, medium-bodied style… bright acidity, plenty of fruit… another undeniably delicious rosé from this great estate”.

Their Tradition Rouge is a traditional Rhône blend of 65 % Grenache, 25 % Syrah, 10% Carignan, aged in raw concrete vats to recreate the style of wines traditionally matured in stone lined vats.  It’s full of cherries and herbs with forward notes of spice and liquorice. Next time – and we all have time for this now, don’t we? – so next time you butterfly a leg of lamb and grill it over the embers of an open fire, this is the wine for you.  (Also good with a kebab.)

The Grande Reserve is a more concentrated affair.  It’s made from the grapes of older Grenache and Syrah vines lower yields but, as a result, more concentrated juice.  40% of the wine is matured in new and 1-2 year-old oak barrels to soften the powerful tannins particularly of the Syrah, where the rest is matured in the same concrete tanks to keep some structure and freshness. Delicious with ‘un peu de rosbif’.

Finally, we have brought in a few bottles of the Mourchon Chateauneuf-du-Pape.  The grapes are grown a few miles away in Châteauneuf, where the wine is made before transferring it for maturing in Mourchon’s cellars.  It matures for a year in large ‘demi-muid’ oak vats, which are used more to soften and develop the flavor of the wine, than to add the flavours associated with barrel ageing.  Mourchon describe this as “a medium ruby wine with a harmonious nose of gentle spice and ripe red fruit. The palate is rich and elegant with a touch of oak and well-defined length lifted with balanced freshness”.  It’s tasting lovely now, but if you were looking for something to lay down for an anniversary, then this one will mature and mellow over the next 5-10 years. 

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