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Liberty Wines Annual Portfolio Tasting 2024

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On 23 January 2024 I went to the Liberty Wines Annual Portfolio Tasting at the Kia Oval in London.

Liberty Wines was established in March 1997 with a founding team of four alongside the backing of leading wine producers from Italy and Australia. In this, their 26th year the team has expanded to more than 185 staff members and a portfolio featuring over 375 wine producers. They were the IWC Agent of the Year in 2023.

Liberty Wines doesn’t offer direct sales to the public, but comprehensive details on all their wines can be found at libertywines.co.uk. Their selection is widely distributed among independent UK merchants, ensuring good availability (search Google if you wish to find a supplier for a particular wine).

The event was large, across three rooms, very busy and included over 150 producers and winemakers with over 800 wines from 25 different countries. Here are the wines that I tried in no particular order:

Here are my notes in the order of tasting. The prices are only indicative and vary across independent merchants.

English Sparkling

NV Candover Brook Brut NV £39.99. This won a Gold DWWA 2023 and Trophy IWC 2023. Almond aroma. Toasty, fresh, excellent length.
Rathfinny Wine Estate Classic Cuvée Brut 2019 £32.99. Grapefruit aroma. Fresh, more acidic than Candover, less toasty.
Nyetimber Classic Cuvée NV Multi Vintage £47.90. Very similar to the Rathfinny.
Nyetimber 1086 Prestige Cuvée 2013 £233.00. Almond/nut aroma, apple taste. Darker, more refined toast/brioche taste, long finish.


Devaux Coeur des Bar Blanc de Noirs NV £59.99. Silver – IWC 2022, Silver – DWWA 2022. Only Pinot Noir. Pear aroma and taste. Seemed slightly sour after previous.
Devaux Cuvée D, Aged 5 Years £59.90. Silver – IWC 2022. Floral notes, slightly citrus taste. More balanced than Coeur des Bar, more acidic than expected.
Devaux Ultra D, Aged 5 Years £62.99. Silver – DWWA 2022. Pale gold. Floral aroma, mineral taste. More as I expected, more toasty, good long finish.

Charles Heidsieck Brut Réserve NV £63.99. Gold – IWC 2022. Deeper colour. Mango/nutty notes, vanilla taste. Sweeter, rounder, less acidic, best of all the fizz I tasted, including the English Sparkling.
Charles Heidsieck Blanc des Millénaires £225.00. Vintage Blanc de Blancs Champagne Trophy – IWC 2022. Paler. I honestly couldn’t tell much difference to the Brut Réserve NV. Something wrong here. Maybe I had sparkling fatigue.

Domaine Sautereau Sancerre Rouge 2020 £24.99. Silver – IWC 2022. Ruby colour, Pinot Noir but I was told the 2020 year was more full bodied than normal. Pleasant fruity raspberries, blackcurrant and spices. An interesting heavier-than-normal Pinot Noir.


Shaw + Smith Balhannah Vineyard Adelaide Hills Shiraz 2020 £63.99. Silver – IWC 2023. 100% Shiraz. Blackberry aroma, dark fruit taste but oaky and very tannic.
Mitolo Jester McLaren Vale Cabernet Sauvignon 2020 £19.99. 2018 was Winemaker top 100. Similar but more fruity than the Balhannah. Similar, even though different grape, because of extreme oak and tannins.
Heirloom Vineyards Barossa Shiraz 2021 £19.99. Silver – IWC 2023. From vines over 100 years old. Plum nose. Extremely dark, like ink. Good balance. Still very tannic.

Henschke ‘Henry’s Seven’ Barossa Shiraz/Grenache/Mataro/Viognier £30.99. Very nice blend. Young vines, complex, dark berry aromas and taste, fruity, soft, lower (average) tannins.
Henschke ‘Keyneton Euphonium’ Barossa Shiraz/Cabernet Sauvignon/Merlot 2018 Cabernet Franc £44.99. Black cherry aroma, chocolate/tobacco taste. Again, soft, fruity, old vine. Excellent balance.
Henschke ‘Mount Edelstone’ Eden Valley Shiraz 2018. £150.00. Vine planted in 1912. Spice and plum aromas, blackberry, plum and spice taste. Again, excellent.
(Henschke ‘Johann’s Garden’ Barossa Valley Grenache/Mataro/Shiraz 2019, not at the event, was previously a Wine Merchant top 100)


Bedoba Saperavi 2021 £18.99. Very interesting varietal a bit like Cabernet Sauvignon but with an extra Malbec-esque twist at the end.


Terrapieno Valpolicella Ripasso 2020. £16.99. Berry/jam nose and taste. Excellent, typical, but could possibly do with a bit more tannins? Or maybe my tannins calibration had been zapped by the previous Australian wines?
Alpha Zeta A Amarone della Valpolicella 2020 £35.99. Plum/cherry nose with cherry/smoke taste. Fruiter style, balanced, long finish. I like this one.
Alpha Zeta R Valpolicella Superiore Ripasso 2021 £18.99. Was Wine merchant 100 recommended. Red fruit nose, cherry taste. Typical of Ripasso, excellent. Better value than the Amarone.

G.D. Vajra Barolo Albe £51.99. Lighter bodied than expected. More acidic.

Fèlsina Berardenga Colonia Chianti Classico Gran Selezione 2018. DOCG. £104.99 Silver – IWC 2023. Intense colour, red fruit/spice aroma, enticing vanilla finish. Excellent aroma and balance.
Selvapiana Chianti Rufina 2022. £21.49. Brighter colour. Cherry/spicy nose, more floral taste. Not as good as Colonia, slightly lighter, great nonetheless for the price.
Selvapiana Vigneto Bucerchiale Chianti Rufina Riserva 2020. £38.99. Oak/vanilla nose. Drier and more tannic.

Gran Sasso Montepulciano d’Abruzzo 2022. £13.99. Cherry/blackberry notes and taste, balsamic finish. Smooth, balanced. Nice. Excellent example for the price.

A Mano ‘Prima Mano’ Primitivo 2021 £28.99. Turned out this is a ‘di Manduria’. Deep purple. Aromatic, fruity, balanced, intense, long mineral and pepper finish. Excellent. ‘Prima Mano’ wines are only produced in excellent vintages. Sourced from two ancient vineyards.
A Mano ‘Prima Mano’ Negroamaro 2017 £29.99. Excellent wine again. Berries, black cherries and spice with a slight burnt taste distinctive of the Negroamaro.

Vigneti del Salento Zolla Salice Salentino 2020. £17.99. More tannic and acidic, less smooth than the A mano.
Vigneti del Salento I Muri Negroamaro 2022 £14.99. Bolder, more extreme ‘burnt’ tasting Negroamaro. Interesting.


Kaiken Mendoza Malbec 2020 £16.99. Blackberries, plums, chocolate, spice. Good balance, oaky, smokey. Nice.
Kaiken Disobedience by Francis Mallmann Red Blend 2020 £21.99, Silver – DWWA 2022, Silver – IWC 2023. Herby taste. Dry.
Kaiken Mai Mendoza Malbec 2019 £51.99. Great aroma of olive, eucalyptus. Blackcurrant taste. Good balance.


Château Los Boldos Gran Reserva Cachapoal Carménère 2022 £16.99. Blackcurrant/tobacco aroma and taste. Strongly tannic and oaky.
Château Los Boldos Gran Reserva Cachapoal Cabernet Sauvignon 2021 £16.99. More spicy aroma, redcurrant taste. Strongly tannic and oaky but ok, somehow, nonetheless.


El Coto 875m Finca Carbonera Rioja Tempranillo 2020 £19.49. Cherry/coffee aroma. Red fruit flavours. Well balanced, smooth. I like it.
El Coto Coto de Imaz Rioja Gran Reserva 2017 £27.99. Oak/leather aromas with red berries. Raisins and slight spice on the palate. Same as previous Rioja tasting but this is a newer vintage. Still Excellent.


Casa Ferreirinha Castas Escondidas Douro Tinto 2019 £47.99. 2018 vintage was Winemaker top 100. Great balance.


Kanaan Winery Ningxia Riesling 2022 £27.99. Interesting, like typical dry style Riesling but with a fruity lime twist.
Kanaan Winery Pretty Pony Ningxia Cabernet Sauvignon/Merlot 2015 £44.99. Blackberry and blackcurrant aromas. Balanced tannins.

My ‘finds’ for the event were the Australian Henschke range and the Italian A Mano ‘Prima Mano’ wines. I personally found some of the other Australian reds to be too tannic and oaky which is interesting given that they used to have a reputation for too jammy and fruity. The Australian Henschke has found a nice balance between old and new Australian styles. I also loved the A Mano Prima Mano wines for their intensity and fruitiness without sweetness.