News, Expert Opinions and general chit chat from the world of wine

JN Wine Blog

Rocca Delle Macie

Recently the JN wine team made a visit to one of our amazing producers, Rocca Delle Macie in the Chianti Classico region of Tuscany. On a warm and beautiful night we arrived at the Riserva di Fizzano, a retreat reconstructed from a medieval village in the heart of Chianti Classico and surrounded by the vineyards of Rocca. After a very hospitable welcome from Georgetta we had a good night’s rest.

In the morning nothing could have prepared us for what lay around us. The Tuscan landscape was everything I had imaged and more; rolling hills of vines and magnificent Cyprus trees which we hadn’t seen as we arrived in the darkness of the evening, and beautiful stone buildings dotted amongst it all. The Chianti region is stunning. After our breakfast we made the 15min journey to the Rocca Delle Macie cellars, stopping occasionally (impossible not to) to take in all the wonderful views and vastness of the estate. 

Upon arrival to the cellars we were shown the wine shop. This opens every day for people looking to sample and ultimately buy the wines. In the shop we heard the history of Rocca and how Italio Zangarelli’s love for Tuscany made him leave a life of films and create a winery in the heart of the Chianti Classico Region. Today the winery consists of about 600 hectares (200 for vineyards, 80 as Olive groves) divided among the 6 properties: Le Macìe, Sant’Alfonso, Fizzano and le Tavolelle within the borders of Chianti Classico, and Campomaccione and Casamaria within the DOC of Morellino di Scansano.

The tour began with an explanation of how the vines have changed over the years due to both improvements in technology and climate change. The new technology has aided the growers in pinpointing any faults in the grapes down to the individual vines and therefore only that vine will be treated instead of treating the whole vineyard, thus lowering the chemical contact.  These factors have helped the vineyard become 95% organic.

As of the time of year we visited, the team was in the process of transferring the vinified wine into the casks for aging. The smell was amazing; something that I hope and think will never be forgotten. As we were taken into the cellars we were greeted by rows and rows of beautiful Slavonian and French oak casks. Some already filled with wine and some soon to be filled. From here the next stop was to the bottling factory, this was where we soon realised the vastness of the production of Rocca Delle Macie. On any given day they produce 6000 bottles per hour, a combination of their own estate wines and bottling wines from other growers. 

Rocca Delle Macie makes a wide selection of wines, from table wine through to the new Chianti denomination of Gran Selezione. This wine from the new Chianti Classico Denomination shows again just how great wonderful Chianti Classico can be. Made from a single vineyard beside the apartments we stayed in, it is intense with flavours of wild berries, coffee and spice. Well balanced acidity and tannins with a long finish. Watch this space!

Once the tour was over we were treated to an amazing lunch where we were introduced to Sergio Zingarelli, owner of Rocca Delle Macie, son of Italio and President of the Chianti Classico Wine Consortium. With the lunch we got to enjoy some of the wines that we distribute from Rocca.

Chianti Classico 2013

Rocca Macie Chianti Classico 2013 Pk6

Bottle Price: £13.75 / €19.50 Case Bottle Price £12.38 / €17.55

This wine was born with the vineyard, as the vineyard developed so has the wine. We tasted the 2013 vintage and it was good; ripe berries on the nose with a hint of oak. On the palate it carried through these flavours to give a full bodied wine with a lasting finish. Perfect for the tomato based pasta dish

Tenuta Sant'Alfonso 2012

Rocca Macie Chianti Sant'Alfonso 12 Pk6

Bottle Price: £16.95 / €23.50 Case Bottle Price: £15.26 / €21.15

This wine has been made in a way to preserve as much of the fruit flavours as possible. Beautiful on the nose, with a touch of spice from the oak. Has great tannins and very smooth on finish.  A delicious combination with our duck dish. 

Rocca Macie Chianti Riserva 2011

Rocca Macie Chianti Riserva 2009 Pk6

Bottle Price: £18.89 / €25.75 Case Bottle Price £17.00 / €23.18

This is an intense wine on the nose, an abundance of fruit, blackcurrant, blueberry and dark cherries. It just fills the mouth with flavour as with the aromas, a well-balanced wine that leaves you wanting more. A brilliant pairing with our steak.

31 Days Of German Riesling - Meet the Wines

To celebrate 31 days of German Riesling we have a selection of wines available with 15% off until the end of this month.

For maximum enjoyment, have a look at our recipes for the ideal matches to these sensational wines. The JN Wine Team put their thinking caps on and created some recipes, just for you. Find them on our Facebook page throughout the week. We can not wait to hear what you think of them!

Leitz Blue Label 2013

Leitz Blue Label 2013 Pk6

Bottle Price: £13.45 / €19.50 Offer Price: £11.43 / €16.58 

Food Match: Stephen's Avocado and Parma Ham salad, with Pomegranate Seeds and Lime

Dr Loosen Estate Riesling 2013

Loosen Estate Riesling 2013

Bottle Price: £10.65 / €N/A Offer Price: £9.05

Food Match: Judith's Thai Inspired Chicken 

Selbach Zeltinger Son Ries Aus 09 ( 37.5cl )

Selbach Zeltinger Son Ries Aus09 1/2 X24

Bottle Price: £12.50 / €N/A Offer Price: £10.63

Food Match: Rachel's Apricot Crème Brûlée w/ Apricot and Almond dipping sticks 

Donnhoff Kreuz Kroten Ries Kab 09

Donnhoff Kreuz Kroten Ries Kab 09 Pk6

Bottle Price: £18.50 / €25.50 Offer Price: £15.73 / €21.68 

Food Match: Marie-Elena's Seared Scallops and Mango Salad

Selbach Fisch Dry Riesling 2011

Selbach Fisch Dry Riesling 2011

Bottle Price: £11.75 / €N/A Offer Price: £9.99

Food Match: Watch this space!

Loosen Weh. Sonnenuhr Ries Spat 2011

Loosen Weh. Sonnenuhr Ries Spat 2011 Pk6

Bottle Price: £22.95 / €N/A Offer Price: £19.51

Food Match: Laura's Violet Eton Mess


31 Days of German Riesling

They say it takes 30 days to acquire a habit so, back by popular demand, this summer we’re dedicating the entire month of July to Germany’s most famous grape variety – Riesling! Why are we doing this? Simple; we want to share the Riesling love. Adored by wine fans across the land, we want to showcase just how food-friendly and delicious German Riesling is.  If you’re tired of sipping on the same old white wine, it’s time to get tasting German Riesling – from fruity and aromatic to racy and bone dry, there’s a German Riesling out there for you…

Want to impress your friends with your Riesling knowledge? Check out some of these facts -

Did you know that with more than 50% of all of the Riesling vineyards in the world, Germany is the biggest Riesling growing country?

Searching for a dry Riesling? Look for the word ‘trocken’ on the label as that means ‘dry’.

Ever wondered why some bottles of German Riesling have ‘Kabinett’, ‘Spätlese’, ‘Auslese’, ‘Beerenauslese’ or ‘Trockenbeerenauslese’ on their label? These terms refer to the level of ripeness of the grapes when picked. Kabinett Rieslings have the lowest but freshest level of ripeness and tend to be drier in style, while Trockenbeerenauslese Riesling grapes have been left on the vine for much longer to produce ripe and sweet wines.

With naturally high acidity, Rieslings are said to be amongst the best white wines in the world, and some have ageing potential similar to some of world’s best red wines from top regions such as Bordeaux and Burgundy.

Searching for the perfect wine to match Asian food? Try a German Riesling – it is one of the few varietals that pairs well with hot and spicy flavours!

Many German Rieslings have a naturally lower level of alcohol (8-10%) making them the perfect light summer choice!


Here at JN we will be running a German Riesling promotion for two weeks in July (20th to 31st). During these two weeks we will have a selection of German Rieslings available with 15% off! We will be pairing 6 different styles of Riesling with food, to give you some ideas of the kinds of food that partner perfectly with German Riesling. This is the perfect opportunity to give them a go. 

You can view all the Rieslings currently on offer here.






Five Reasons for buying Soalheiro this week

1) The weather is halfway decent and a delicious and refreshing glass of something chilled to cool you down will transport you to your happy place.  These wines tick all the boxes and what’s more, Soalheiro means ‘sunny place’.  It’s a sign, clearly...

2) The Alvarinho won the Regional Trophy in Decanter Magazine World Wine Awards published this month.  That is a serious endorsement.

3) The quality is superb.  This is a small, family-run winery in northern Portugal and Luis (son and winemaker) is verging on the fanatical, but in a very good way and it feels great to support such passionate and dedicated people.  Soalheiro wines could be considered to be meditations on the Alvarinho grape which is a very good thing indeed.

4) Soalheiro wines offer something to suit every palate (with the exception of die hard red wine fans who don’t drink white at all).  From fizzy to full bodied and all the shades in between, Luis has created something to fit the bill.    

5) There is 15% off for one week only.

Soalheiro Espumante Alvarinho 2013

Soalheiro Espumante Alvarinho 2013 Pk6

Bottle Price £16.99 / €28.50 - 15% Discount £14.44 / €24.23

Not at all like Prosecco, this is very dry and crisp with beautiful purity of fruit. 

Soalheiro Allo 2014

Soalheiro Allo 2014 Pk6

Bottle Price: £9.95 / €14.95 - 15% Discount  £8.46 / €12.71

Alvarinho’s little sister.  A blend of Loureiro and Alvarinho this has a really beautiful nose, very aromatic and pretty.  The Loureiro plumps out the Alvarinho and gives it a bit more ripe fruitiness.  Utterly charming.

Soalheiro Alvarinho 2014

Soalheiro Alvarinho 2014 Pk6

Bottle Price: £12.99 / €18.99 - 15% Discount £11.04 / €16.14

Also available in magnum.

The trophy winner.  Here’s what the world’s best wine magazine had to say:

“A definite step up from the norm, with its enticing nose interwoven with stones, sea salt, nectarine, banana and tropical fruits.  The mouth kicks off with a full and intense attack of floral fruit and spice, spreading across the palate before gliding into a deliciously fresh finish. A wonderful wine.” (Decanter Magazine, World Wine Awards 2015).

Soalheiro Reserva 2012 

Soalheiro Reserva 2012 Pk3

Bottle Price: £23.50 / €31.50 - 15% Discount £19.98 / €26.78

A barrel aged Alvarinho giving the wine extra body, fullness and richness and a more savoury character.  Fantastic with roast chicken or a match made in heaven with pulled pork.






Much Loved - Rustenberg

South Africa is having something of a moment in the sun.  Things have come a long way since the vast swathe of Swartland steen and the bulk wines they used to specialise in.  These days winemakers are focussing on quality and putting their energy into matching grape varieties to vineyard sites.  Lower yields, improvements in winemaking and the boundless enthusiasm from well-travelled and well-educated winemakers is moving the wine scene here in a very positive direction.  Jump in now and take advantage of some fabulous wines that offer really great value for money. 

Rustenberg is in Stellenbosch which is long regarded as South Africa’s prime vineyard land.  Winemaking at this estate dates back to 1682 when a German man, Roelof Pasman, recognised its winegrowing potential.  Since then, the estate has seen its fair share of changes including being divided in two and was sadly neglected at times.  John X Merriman (later to become President of the Cape) bought part of the estate in the 1800s and his brother in law bought the other part and the two undertook some major renovations and improvements.  These days the two estates are again united under the custodianship of the Barlow family who have been running the estate for over 70 years.  The philosophy is simple, to make “quality wines true to the style of the estate and the brand.”

Rustenberg Chardonnay 2014

Rustenberg Chardonnay 2014 Pk6

Rustenberg Sauvignon Blanc 2014 Pk6

Rustenberg John X Merriman 2012 Pk6

Rustenberg Shiraz 2012 Pk6

Rustenberg Cabernet Sauvignon 2013 Pk6

Rustenberg Straw Wine 2012 Pk6 37.5cls