Featured Reviews

Italian and Spanish Red Imports from Steve Bennett MW

28 March,2018

monteSteve Bennett MW has the knack of importing very good value wines for the New Zealand market. While he has been involved in the importation and distribution of a number of very high profile fine wines, he is arguably best known for sourcing wines especially from Italy and Spain. These are archetypical of their regions of origins, but also have an appeal that will please moderately adventurous wine drinkers who want to branch out from local fare, and taste wines which may not be from absolutely ‘classical’ regions. Here, I review an Italian and Spanish red, both youthful and fruit-driven, and a decade-old Spanish red, earlier vintages of these proven to be successful sellers here. For availability, email: steve@bdwine.co.nz


Monte Giove Rubicone Sangiovese/Merlot IGT 2016

Blended Red from Italy – Other


Very dark, deep, black-hued purple ruby-red colour, a little lighter on the rim, youthful in appearance. The nose is elegantly concentrated with a rounded and well-packed core of ripe dark-red berry fruit along with notes of black plums, unfolding fragrant dark-red floral elements. A little whole berry ferment jam-like lift shows, the aromatics possessing freshness and depth. Medium-bodied, the palate is moderately concentrated with up-front dark-red cherry fruit entwined with dark herb and curranty notes. The fruit is sweet and juicy, and enlivened by soft acidity, and underlined by light tannin extraction lending background structure. The flavours carry with good drive along a rounded line, leading to a soft finish of cherries and currants. This is a sweet and juicy Rubicone red with cherry and curranty flavours and light structure. Serve with pasta, pizza and barbecued fare over the next 3 years. A blend of Sangiovese and Merlot, from the Rubicone, north-east Italy, fermented to 12.5% alc. 17.0/20 Mar 2018 RRP $15.00

Dominio de Punctum ‘Viento Aliseo’ La Mancha Tempranillo/Petite Verdot 2016

Blended Red from Spain


Full, very dark, black-hued purple-red colour, a little lighter edged, youthful in appearance. The nose is soft and gently voluminous with aromas of dark-red cherry and berry fruit with an amalgam of nutty and resinous elements at the core. The aromatics grow in intensity with aeration unveiling herbal nuances. Medium-full bodied, the palate is intense and vibrant with a sweet-fruited heart showing red cherry and berry fruit and subtle notes of herbs and currants along with nutty and resin elements. The fruit is lively with light, fine-grained tannin structure and fresh, balanced acidity. The wine carries with energy to a light, lingering finish. This is an intense an vibrant, sweet-fruited La Mancha red with herb, nutty and resinous notes on a fine, grainy-textured palate. Match with tapas and roasted or grilled red meat dishes over the next 3+ years. Organically and biodynamically farmed Tempranillo and Petit Verdot from ‘La Mancha, fermented to 13.5% alc. Certified UE Agriculture organic and Demeter biodynamic. 16.5+/20 Mar 2018 RRP $19.00

Bodegas Navalon ‘Anciano’ ‘Anos 10 Years’ Valdepenas Gran Reserva Tempranillo 2006

Tempranillo from Spain


Full, even, dark ruby-red colour with slight garnet hues, a little lighter on the edge. The nose is softly full with integrated and layered aromas of ripe black plum fruit and soft notes of liquorice, along with savoury secondary and nutty elements and sweet, cedary oak. The bouquet is soft and grows in intensity with aeration. Medium-bodied, the palate has gently mouthfilling and harmoniously integrated flavours of ripe dark plums, liquorice and savoury dark herb and earthy notes, melded with a layering of sweet, cedary oak. The fruit is developing savoury secondary detail and is supported by fine, velvety tannins, with soft, integrated acidity adding to the harmony. The wine flows smoothly to a sustained, sweet, cedary finish. This is a harmoniously integrated Valdepenas Gran Reserva with layers of plum, liquorice, savoury earth and cedary oak flavours on a smooth-flowing palate. Serve with slow-cooked game meat dishes over the next 4 years. Tempranillo fruit fermented to 13.0% alc., the wine aged at least 18 months in oak barriques. 17.5+/20 Mar 2018 RRP $22.00

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