September 2017 Selection

Modern wines from ancient civilisations

September 2017 Selection

Fèlsina Chianti Classico Riserva 2013 (2 bottles)
Librandi Cirò Rosso 2015 (2 bottles)
Tasca d'Almerita Grillo di Mozia 2016 (2 bottles)

Normal retail price: £76.79
Club Discount Price: £65.70
You save: £11.09 (14.44%)

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About this selection...

Is it really true that viticulture came to Italy with the Romans? If truth be known, not at all. Even before the emperors and consuls were living in Italy, wine was a product regularly consumed from north to south of the country. We're no doubt talking about a rudimentary form of viticulture, very spontaneous and natural, but many of the techniques of that era, many place names and many wine-related utensils were passed on to the Romans and have subsequently come down to our times.

The various systems of training vines for protecting the vineyard from wind and optimising its sunshine hours, and many other techniques, are part of this ingenious heritage. Today, we come across them all over the country, in the Aosta Valley, on the island of Pantelleria, in Tuscany, and they constitute the mainstay of the legacy bequeathed by pre-Roman viticulture in Italy.

Obviously these methods have undergone a huge amount of modernisation, and the vineyards and varieties which are cultivated nowadays are very different from those in Antiquity, but this expedition to the roots of Italian wine will make us appreciate not only the organoleptic depth of certain wines, but also their enormous historical and cultural legacy. The trace of Magna Grecia in the Librandi Cirò Rosso, the Etruscan geniality of the Fèlsina Chianti Classico Riserva and the age-old Tasca d'Almerita Grillo di Mozia now right at the height of commercial success: get ready to uncork some wines based on ancient tradition but amazingly modern in concept.

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Fèlsina Chianti Classico Riserva 2013 (2 bottles)

Red. Fèlsina Chianti Classico, Italy Sangiovese

Bottle: £14.79 club members / £16.92 non-members


One of this winery's most highly esteemed products, to put it simply, thanks to the exceptional balance it shows between sinew and roundness. The Chianti Classico Riserva from Fèlsina (a name that's Etruscan in origin, denoting places of board and lodging) emanates from the best Castelnuovo Berardenga vineyards, in the south-eastern part of the Chianti Classico production area. Almost entirely facing the south-west, at an altitude ranging from 320 to 420 metres above sea level, on alluvial terrain rich in sand and loam, these are vineyard characteristics which will benefit the wine's structure and verticality.

Bottled since 1967, this Chianti Classico Riserva, a single varietal Sangiovese, is not only a benchmark for this denomination, but also offers an excellent price-quality ratio. The vineyard, planted in the 1970s, benefits from the most modern methods of cultivation and is harvested during the first three weeks of October in order to guarantee a perfect state of ripeness. Maceration of the grapes takes place in steel tanks until spring arrives, when the wine proceeds to age in French oak barrels of second and third use and in medium-sized Slavonian oak casks, where it matures for between 12 and 16 months.

A lovely ruby colour, intense and with garnet glints, this Reserva reveals on the nose floral notes of violets and mallows, and other fruit-driven notes of blackberries and cherries. On a mineral background, it also displays hints of undergrowth, cocoa, oregano and mild spices. We pick up these aromas on the palate too, where we find a full, vertical wine, elegantly tannic and pleasantly mineral. Enveloping and satisfying, with a slightly bitter persistence that indicates this region and invites us to take another sip.

Pasta with bolognese sauce

  • Alcohol content: 13,5%
  • Optimum serving temperature: Between 16ºC and 18ºC
  • Drink now or keep until 2025.

Fèlsina Chianti Classico Riserva 2013
Front and back

Librandi Cirò Rosso 2015 (2 bottles)

Red. Librandi Cirò, Italy Gaglioppo

Bottle: £4.73 club members / £5.37 non-members


The contribution made by Greek civilisation to Italian wine production, as is well known, was rather superior to that made by Roman civilisation, and so much so that a good number of the varieties found in the south of Italy, and further afield, are Hellenic in origin. This isn't the case as regards Gaglioppo and Magliocco, ancient grapes native to Calabria, but it's undeniable that Cirò and Crotona retain vestiges from the episode of Greek civilisation in Italy.

In Calabria, which still has a long way to go on its path to wine-making excellence, Cirò and Librandi are benchmark names in the region thanks to their quality. Cirò, a town set in a Mediterranean landscape, is situated on the hills overhanging the Ionian Sea, with soils rich in limestone and clay, and it’s unquestionably Calabria's most representative denomination. A land with a talent for red wines of great intensity, but well-structured, and rosé wines of great versatility. However, this is also a land of pleasant, lively whites, which are given a perfect interpretation at Librandi.

An original, everyday red, made from the Gaglioppo variety in all its purity, the Librandi Cirò displays an intense ruby colour with garnet flecks. On the nose it appears intriguing and intense, with notes of red fruit jam, aromatic herbs and mineral hints. On the palate it proves structured and interesting, having substantial freshness and good body, with a long and convincing finish that emphasises its olfactory notes. An immediate and inviting profile which benefits from a light refinement in tank and in bottle. According to the "Vini d'Italia 2017" guide published by L'Espresso, one of the most independent magazines and with very good authority in Italy, it figures among the best 100 wines due to its excellent price-quality ratio.

Pasta with bolognese sauce / cooked pork products

  • Alcohol content: 13,5%
  • Optimum serving temperature: Between 16ºC and 18ºC

Librandi Cirò Rosso 2015
Front and back

Tasca d'Almerita Grillo di Mozia 2016 (2 bottles)

White. Tasca d'Almerita Sicilia, Italy Grillo

Bottle: £13.34 club members / £16.11 non-members


If we skirt the Stagnone lagoon and climb aboard one of the typical flat-keeled boats that goes over to Mozia, the last thing we'd expect is the high quality viticulture we find there. Across from the coast between Marsala and Trapani, a place rich in saltpans, Mozia is a small island which could be reached on foot once upon a time. It was a Phoenician colony and in fact grew to become one of the most prosperous cities of this merchant and seafaring people who inhabited the Mediterranean basin. It was the Phoenicians who introduced onto the island one of the most ancient and interesting of vine-growing and wine-making practices, and they made good use of the island's dusty, calcareous soils, its burning-hot climate and its saline minerality.

The distinction for regaining this heritage, that was apparent back in the 19th Century with the Marsala pioneers, has fallen upon Tasca d'Almerita, which has replanted eight hectares of the Grillo variety for the purpose of extracting from it one of the most original and innovative Sicilian whites. Vinified in steel tanks and also refined in steel for 5 months, in contact with its lees, this ultra-modern Grillo di Mozia has figured for years among the favourites of many renowned critics.

It's a young wine, but that doesn't mean it lacks expressivity and intensity, which we could already sense from its bright appearance and its pale colour with golden flecks. On the nose, revealing a salty, balsamic undertone, it displays complex and typically Mediterranean aromas: crisp fresh fruit, dried flowers, matorral bushes, lime and lemon, broom and white pepper. On the palate it exhibits very good acidity, but especially a remarkable flavour that complements to perfection its vigorous structure, and ends with a saline and almond persistence. Ideal to serve as an accompaniment to crustaceans and any seafood.

  • Alcohol content: 13,0%
  • Optimum serving temperature: Between 6ºC and 8ºC

Tasca d'Almerita Grillo di Mozia 2016
Front and back

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