Following the addition of some 84 wines from 15 different producers to its portfolio, importer and distributor Hallgarten & Novum Wines has showcased the new offering in a dedicated tasting this week in London's Soho.
‘Over 80 wines is a little bit more than what you would normally expect as we normally tend to do around 50 wines per season,’ portfolio director Jim Wilson told Imbibe. 'We had a very busy 18 months.'
Most of the new additions come from previously unrepresented agencies: ‘60% of what we brought has never been in the UK before,’ said Wilson. The remaining wines are new labels from Hallgarten’s current producers or agencies acquired from other UK importers.
‘We’re very strong in the eastern Mediterranean – Steve Daniel has been the Greece man in the UK for 15 years,’ explained Wilson, ‘and we have good distribution of wines from Croatia, Macedonia, Lebanon and Turkey, so it’s natural for us to go another few hundred miles down the coast in Georgia and Armenia.’
Armas is a 180ha winery surrounded by a brick wall set against the backdrop of Mount Ararat. Its Karmrahyut 2014 is nicely perfumed, with an orange-peel-led nose, some fresh cherries and abundant tannin, while the Voskehat 2018 is nicely poised, with greengages, melon and rosemary, a creamy palate and a long spicy finish.
Vachnadziani Valley is instead Georgia’s largest wine producer, owning vineyards in the Kakheti and lmereti regions. The Mtsvane 2018 has a Viognier-esque aromatic profile, but higher acidity; the oak-aged Saperavi Classical 2016 is savoury, meaty, truffley and very indulgent; and the Qvevri Otskhanuri Sapere 2014 is rich in acidity and tannins and shouts for food.
From the New World, Hallgarten added Chile’s minimal-intervention Undurraga winery, South Africa’s Chenin specialist Mulderbosh Vineyards, and Tahbilk from Central Victoria in Australia (featured picture), which owns the largest and oldest single holding of Marsanne plantings in the world. Its Nagambie Lakes, whose 2012 and 2018 vintages both featured at the tasting, is clear evidence of how well this grape can develop over time.
Other impressive additions to the portfolio come from Gérard Bertrand (just a single sip of the Grand Vin Blanc La Clape 2018 is uber-rewarding), Etna’s Al Cantara (Occhi di Ciumi 2018 is a full, savoury Carricante and Grecanico blend with plenty of mineral notes), and Paniza from Spain’s Aragon, boasting the impressive Garnacha Dama Roca 2018 – with its grapefruit nose and fresh, crunchy palate, and a price-tag of £6.22 ex-VAT, this by-the-glass is a real steal.
Hallgarten will be holding the same event in Manchester on 15 October at Salut Wines.