Red Wine

As you will probably know the wine world is divided up into "old world" and "new world" countries. Old world consists of mainland Europe - France, Spain, Italy, Germany etc, while New World consists mainly of the regions colonised by European settlers such as Australia, New Zealand, USA, Chile, Argentina and South Africa, although the South African wine insustry dates back to the mid 17th century so "new" could be a misleading term. This sector is ever expanding with new emerging regions such as Mexico, Brazil, Uruguay, and these days even India and China.

So there is a lot to choose from! The UK is regarded as the "shop window" of the world and most producers want their goods on sale here. And as the UK has no history of producing quality wines there is no allegiance to traditional regions or styles over here, giving every wine an equal chance to shine on it's own merits. Hence the UK wine market is probably the most diverse in the world.

Naturally we assume more choice is a good thing. But with a subject as vast and confusing as red wine there is such a thing as too much choice. Most UK consumers find selecting the right red wine amid the myriad of different retailers and brands a very challenging experience. Unfortunately the UK is flooded with poor quality wine, driven by low supermarket prices and some of the highest excise duty rates in the world - the UK pays over 40% of all the excise duty of the entire European Union! This means a cheap wine in mainland Europe costing three Euros, would cost you more like £8.99 by the time it is on sale in a UK off license - three times as much!

Most retailers, whether supermarkets, grocery chains, off licenses or even independent retailers end up sourcing factory produced wines made on a large scale, with large quantities of additives, driven by price, so finding a good bottle of wine amongst them is like finding a needle in a haystack. This is where we come in. We are a small privately owned, fiercely independent business specialising in sourcing only good quality wines, made properly by people (not machines), with minimal if any additives. We buy the vast majority of our red wines direct from small family owned wineries, and pass the savings onto our customers.

That means you get great quality wines at the right price, our small family wineries get their wines to market, and hopefully we make a profit in the middle which we reinvest into sourcing more great wines. We only sell GOOD WINES so every wine on our site is good, many are exceptional. Most have at least one award, many are multi gold medal winners. So you can be confident of getting a good bottle regardless of which country or region you choose. Many of our really tiny artisan wineries don't actually enter their wines for awards as they produce so little, but these are also sourced on their merits and are excellent wines.

Here is a guide to help you decide where to start looking.

Argentina

Our boutique producers make some truly world class red wines. Malbec is the signature grape as it flourishes in Argentina producing wines in a big, bold and punchy style not found in the old world. There is a move toward more restrained styles now but there are still plenty of big blockbusting Malbecs out there if you know where to look. They also make exceptional "Bordeaux blends" and great single varietal reds. Look out for "Tannat" and Bonarda as other favourites from here.

Australia

The best regions are around Barossa Valley and Adelaide Hills (at the bottom of Australia in the middle). Margaret River south of Perth is widely regarded but personally I find these red wines too expensive for their quality. The Australian dollar is particularly strong so Aussie wines aren't great value at the moment. We struggle with their whites too as we like to source only wines with low sulphite content and we just can't seem to find them in Australia. The reds from Barossa and Adelaide can be very good though, particularly Shiraz whether on it's own or in a blend.

Chile

Famous for quality wines at an affordable price. We don't currently import from Chile as it's a difficult country to deal directly with. We have some decent wines from Aresti and Undurraga but Chile is not a focus of ours.

France

We don't get involved with the established regions like Bordeaux and Burgundy. These sectors are very well catered for already, and in truth I find the red wines to be very disappointing value for money. I would much rather have a Bordeaux blend from South Africa or Argentina than one from Bordeaux - it will be half the price and twice as good! But we do like France for natural wines and we import exclusively from several wineries along the south coast producing excellent organic and sulphite free wines.

Italy

In my opinion Italy makes some of the best wines in the world. It is also the world's largest producer by volume. There is a vast array of different grapes and styles from cool climate Pinot Nero in the snowy north to hot weather Primitivo in the south. Italian red wine labels are very difficult to understand for the amateur enthusiast as most Italian wines are named after their region rather than grape varieties. We have beautiful top quality Amarones from Veneto, from world class producers like Zenato and Campagnola. Superb Tuscans from La Selva and Casanova di Neri - I could go on and on as there is a wealth of great wines on our Italian page. Read through it for yourself.

New Zealand

Famous for Pinot Noir, but also getting more acclaim for heavier reds like Syrah, subject to it coming from the right region of course. I find their red wines a bit too manipulated for my personal taste, with the exception of the real top end like Jurassic Ridge on Waiheke Island, but I am particularly fussy on purity. The New Zealand dollar is very strong so we have stopped importing from here foe the forseeable future as the wines are simply not value for money at the present time.

South Africa

A country producing exceptional wines. There are roughly 1600 wineries in South Africa, many of them small and family owned, with the wine industry dating back to the 1600s. The reputation of SA red wines has suffered due to the poor quality mass produced plonk flooding our high streets, but get onto their top boutique wines and they stand right up there with the best from the rest of the world. We import from about ten top quality boutique family owned wineries, and these wines are amongst the best on our site. The Rand is weak so South Africa is easily the best value of all the new world countries at present, and in my opinion produces some of the best wines in the new world.

Spain

Famous for red wine of course as one of the biggest producers in the world. Rioja is their most famous region but that has been surpassed by Ribera del Duero for quality which in turn is finding fierce competition from emerging regions such as Toro and Bierzo. Tempranillo is their signature grape but there are also significant plantings of Cabernet, Merlot and Grenache as well as native Spanish grapes, which are often blended with Tempranillo. We are now importing directly from a dozen tiny artisan Spanish wineries. These wines tend to be made naturally with minimal additives, and are not only delicious but also great value for money too.

USA

California is their biggest red wine region but there are other emerging regions on the east coast. We specialise in sulphite free wines and import directly from Frey Winery, the USA's oldest organically certified winery.

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  1. Amarone Zenato

    Amarone Classico Della Valpolicella Zenato to give it it's full name is one of the finest Amarones on the market and Zenato are one of the top Amarone producers. They are members of the elite Amarone producers consortium of course. This Amarone is made by Alberto Zenato who took over the winemaking from his father, the great Sergio Zenato, who sadly passed away a few years back.

    In my opinion one of the best and most consistent Amarones on the market. Certainly my favourite out of all the big name Amarones out there. I've been drinking this wine for as long as I can remember and have never had a disappointing vintage. Consistently excellent every year!

    Sulphite level: Medium Low

    John's Rating:

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    £41.99
  2. Amarone Sergio Zenato Riserva

     

    Sergio Zenato's personal Riserva Amarone is something special. We've been stocking it for years and enjoyed many great vintages. It is the one wine we turn to when we decide to treat ourselves to a special wine. Sergio Zenato sadly passed away a few years back, so this wine is now made by his son Alberto. It is still extremely limited of course and made to honour the great Sergio Zenato who is one of the all time great exponents of Amarone.

     

    Sulphite level: Medium Low

    John's Rating:

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    £90.00
  3. Ripassa Zenato

    James Suckling 93 points

    Sommelier Wine Awards - Gold

    Ripassa Zenato is a powerful wine with sweet fruit initially, balanced by more savoury mid palate flavours and a long finish. It's very smooth, and like all good Italian wines is superb with food. This one from Zenato is often referred to as "baby Amarone" and is certainly better than many co-operative produced or supermarket listed Amarones out there. While Zenato are very highly regarded for all their wines, particularly their Amarones, they are the undisputed Ripassa champions with this wine.

    Sulphite level: Medium Low

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    £19.99
  4. Sansonina

    Sansonina is a masterpiece of winemaking, a truly unique wine from Carla Prospero and Nadia Zenato.

    Sulphite level: Low

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    £40.00
  5. Santa Cristina Cabernet Sauvignon

    Santa Cristina Cabernet Sauvignon is a stunning wine from the Zenato family's smaller Santa Cristina winery on the shore of Lake Garda.

    It's a blend of 85% cabernet sauvignon and 15% cabernet franc. It's aged for 18 months in a combination of first fill and used French oak then a brief spell resting in stainless steel followed by a further 6 months or so in bottle prior to release.

    It has initial sweet fruit with a delicious natural aspect. Full bodied, elegant and smooth with a long finish. This is a great wine.

    Sulphite level: Low

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    £19.99
  6. Recioto della Valpolicella Zenato 500ml

    Recioto della Valpolicella Classico Zenato is one of the very best red dessert wines I have ever tasted. Certainly the best Recioto. It is simply stunning

    Sulphite level: Medium Low

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    £29.99
  7. Alanera Appassimento Zenato

    93 Points - James Suckling

    A new "Appassimento" wine from Zenato. 

    Big, smooth and delicious as you would expect. This is a neat fit between their Valpolicella and Ripassa.

    Sulphite level: Medium Low

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    £16.00
  8. Valpolicella Superiore Zenato

    Valpolicella Superiore Zenato. The image of Valpolicella suffered in the UK in the 1990s when cheap inferior Valpolicella and Chianti were everywhere. But a good Valpolicella is one of northern Italy's most popular and most respected red wines. Zenato are one of the Veneto region's best producers and members of the elite Amarone Consortium. All their wines are high quality. You will note this Valpolicella is  a "Superiore" meaning it has to be aged for at least one year before release and must be at least 12% abv - a guarantee of quality.

    This wine is delicious, and a long time favourite with many of our customers. It's very smooth with great fruit and a long finish.

    Sulphite level: Medium Low

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    £11.99
  9. Amarone Campagnola

    Amarone Guiseppe Campagnola is a delicious Amarone, perfect with food. It's a bit softer and lighter in style than Campagnola's Caterina Zardini Amarone, but is still a big wine. It's super smooth and full flavoured. It's great value to get such a quality Amarone at this price.

    Guiseppe Campagnola makes some great red wines at affordable prices when compared to other Amarone, Valpolicella and Ripasso wines. They are consistently good quality and great value for money.

    Sulphite level: Medium Low

    John's Rating:

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    £26.50
  10. Valpolicella Classico Superiore Caterina Zardini Campagnola

    Valpolicella Classico Superiore Caterina Zardini Campagnola is one of the finest Valpolicellas produced. It is a superb wine.

    Sulphite level: Medium Low

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    £19.00
  11. Ripasso della Valpolicella Classico Superiore Campagnola

    Ripasso della Valpolicella Classico Superiore Campagnola is a delicious smooth easy drinking Ripasso wine, perfect with red meat dishes.

    Sulphite level: Medium Low

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    £12.49
  12. Sequerciani Aleatico Passito 375ml

    Organically certified by ICEA and Demeter

    A truly magnificent dessert wine! Aleatico is a grape native to Maremma. Please note this is a half bottle 375ml.

    "grapes, sun and earth - that's it"

    Free sulphur: <5

    Organic: Yes

    Sustainable farming: Yes

    Gluten free: Yes

    Vegan: Yes

    Sulphite level: Sulphite Free

    John's Rating:

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    £19.99
  13. Sequerciani Pugnitello sulphite free wine

    Organically certified by ICEA and Demeter

    This wine is something special. Big, full flavoured and super smooth. Initial fruit then a more savoury note comes through on the very long finish. This is a very classy wine.

    "grapes, sun and earth - that's it"

    Free sulphur: 0

    Organic: Yes

    Sustainable farming: Yes

    Gluten free: Yes

    Vegan: Yes

    Sulphite level: Sulphite Free

    John's Rating:

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    £26.95
  14. Sequerciani Foglia Tonda sulphite free wine

    More on order - Sequerciani are bottling the new vintage now so fresh stock should be here by mid July.

    Foglia Tonda is an old Tuscan grape dating back to the 1800s. Similar to Sangiovese, although later ripening, but producing significantly more grapes per plant, hence Sequerciani crop the plants back dramatically in July leaving only the best bunches to ripen.

    Free sulphur: 0

    Organic: Yes

    Sustainable farming: Yes

    Gluten free: Yes

    Vegan: Yes

    Sulphite level: Sulphite Free

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    £20.95
  15. Sequerciani Ciliegiolo

    Organically certified by ICEA and Demeter

    Sequerciani Ciliegiolo grapes which were previously blended with Sangiovese in their superb Libello, now used to produce a straight Ciliegiolo, fermented in concrete with no wood used.

    Big black fruit flavours, super smooth with good weight. This is excellent.

    Free sulphur: <5

    Organic: Yes

    Grapes Own Yeast: Yes

    Sustainable farming: Yes

    Gluten free: Yes

    No wood used: Yes

    Vegan: Yes

    Sulphite level: Sulphite Free

    John's Rating:

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    £19.99
  16. Sequerciani Libello

    Organically certified by ICEA and Demeter

    A beautiful wine from this amazing tiny natural wine producer! This is one of our biggest selling sulphite free wines. 

    it has become so popular that we are already on the 2019. Although you can drink it now it'll certainly improve with a few months bottle age as it will settle down and mellow a bit. Right now it's a bit lively, and has a natural rustic feel much like Philippe Virets wines. 

    Free sulphur: <5

    Organic: Yes

    Sustainable farming: Yes

    Gluten free: Yes

    No wood used: Yes

    Vegan: Yes

    Sulphite level: Sulphite Free

    John's Rating:

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    £14.99
  17. La Selva Organic Pugnitello

    Gambero Rosso - Due Bicchieri

    Fabulous! Pugnitello is an old Tuscan grape, with literally less than a dozen people farming it these days. This wine is beautiful, real Brunello quality!

    Free sulphur: 5mg/l

    Organic: Yes

    Sustainable farming: Yes

    Gluten free: Yes

    Vegan: Yes

    Sulphite level: Very Low

    John's Rating:

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    £25.00
  18. La Selva Organic Avorio

    An easy drinking good healthy red, soft and fruity, very low in sulphites, fermented and aged for six months in steel tanks.

    Organic: Yes

    Sustainable farming: Yes

    Gluten free: Yes

    No wood used: Yes

    Vegan: Yes

    Sulphite level: Very Low

    John's Rating:

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    £10.99
  19. La Selva Organic Morellino di Scansano Colli del Uccellina Riserva DOCg

    Wine Spectator 90 Points

    90 points Wine Enthusiast

    90 points Guida Veronelli

    2 glasses Gambero Rosso

    A fantastic sangiovese blend from this very highly rated DOCg. 8 months in French barriques. 

    Free sulphur: 17

    Organic: Yes

    Sustainable farming: Yes

    Gluten free: Yes

    Vegan: Yes

    Sulphite level: Very Low

    John's Rating:

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    £15.95
  20. La Selva Organic Sangiovese

    A straight forward but delicious, soft and smooth Sangiovese. Exceptionally low in sulphites and very healthy for you!

    Free sulphur: 4mg/l

    Organic: Yes

    Sustainable farming: Yes

    Gluten free: Yes

    No wood used: Yes

    Vegan: Yes

    Sulphite level: Very Low

    John's Rating:

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    £10.99
  21. La Selva Organic Prima Causa

    La Selva Organic Prima Causa is a delicious oak aged Bordeaux blend. Fantastic wine, and of course genuinely organic and healthy too.

    Free sulphur: 8mg/l

    Organic: Yes

    Sustainable farming: Yes

    Gluten free: Yes

    Vegan: Yes

    Sulphite level: Very Low

    John's Rating:

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    £19.99
  22. La Selva Organic Ciliegiolo

    La Selva Organic Ciliegiolo is a lovely wine. Soft cherry flavours followed by strong vanilla. Very smooth and balanced. Delicious and highly recommended!

    Free sulphur: 7mg/l

    Organic: Yes

    Sustainable farming: Yes

    Gluten free: Yes

    Vegan: Yes

    Sulphite level: Very Low

    John's Rating:

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    £15.95
  23. La Selva Privo sulphite free wine

    La Selva Organic Privo NAS Sangiovese - a sulphite free Sangiovese which has cherry flavours and a lovely natural balance.

    This is one of our best selling sulphite free wines.

     

    Free sulphur: <5

    Organic: Yes

    Sustainable farming: Yes

    Gluten free: Yes

    No wood used: Yes

    Vegan: Yes

    Sulphite level: Sulphite Free

    John's Rating:

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    £11.99
  24. Borgo Salcetino Chianti Classico DOCg

    Borgo Salcetino Chianti Classico DOCg - absolutely superb, having picked up Gambero Rosso's highest award of Tre Bicchieri.

    Sulphite level: Medium Low

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    £15.95
  25. Borgo Salcetino Chianti Classico Lucarello Riserva DOCg

    Borgo Salcetino Chianti Classico Lucarello Riserva is a top class Chianti Riserva from the Livon family. Absolutely superb wine in a more powerful style with more wood ageing than their Classico Chianti.

    Sulphite level: Medium Low

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    £19.99
  26. Chianti Classico Capraia

    Chianti Classico Capraia is a superb Chianti from the owners of Rocca di Castgnoli.

    Sulphite level: Medium Low

    John's Rating:

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    £16.80
  27. Chianti Classico Riserva Capraia

    Chianti Classico Riserva Capraia is a superb limited production Chianti Riserva from Rocca di Castagnoli.

    Sulphite level: Medium Low

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    £20.99
  28. Chianti Classico Riserva Poggio a Frati Rocca di Castagnoli

    Chianti Classico Riserva Poggio a Frati Rocca di Castagnoli. A superb Chianti winning Gambero Rosso Tre Bicchieri for several vintages.

    Sulphite level: Medium Low

    John's Rating:

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    £20.99
  29. Brunello Casanova di Neri

    International Wine Report - 94 points

    Luca Gardini - 95 Points

    Wine Advocate - 92 Points

    Brunello di Montalcino Casanova di Neri 2014

    James Suckling - 93 points

    Brunello di Montalcino from Casanova di Neri, one of the finest wineries in all Italy. Brunello is world famous as one of Italy's best red wines. Brunello is produced from the Sangiovese grape, and only from designated vineyards around the area of the town of Montalcino in southern Tuscany. To qualify for DOCg Brunello di Montalcino status the wine is aged for a considerable time (three years or more) in oak casks prior to bottling. The Brunello is then further bottle aged before it is allowed to be released for sale.

    Virtually all Brunello producers are small family farms and the name Brunello on the label is a guarantee the wine in the bottle was made properly with care and attention. There is no such thing as a cheap Brunello and to my knowledge no such thing as a bad Brunello. But there are good Brunellos and great Brunellos, and Jacomo di Neri is regarded as one of the finest producers of all.

    His wines including his single vineyard Tenuta Nuova Brunello have been awarded the maximum 100 points by James Suckling on several occassions.

    Sulphite level: Medium Low

    John's Rating:

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    £48.00
  30. Moncaro Montepulciano D'Abruzzo DOC

    Moncaro Montepulciano D'Abruzzo DOC is a good value, very tasty Montepulciano from Moncaro, one of Italy's best cooperative producers. Being based in Le Marche Montepulciano is their forte.

    Sulphite level: Medium Low

    John's Rating:

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    £7.99
  31. Moncaro Marche Sangiovese IGT

    Moncaro Marche Sangiovese IGT is an easy drinking Sangiovese, great value at this price.

    Sulphite level: Medium Low

    John's Rating:

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    £7.99
  32. Primitivo di Salento IGT Il Medaglione Leone de Castris

    Primitivo di Salento IGT Il Medaglione Leone de Castris is a great quality Primitivo and a great value price. Soft and fruity with just a minimal amount of oak.

    We have a couple of the old presentation left then we are onto new stock with the new label.

    Sulphite level: Medium Low

    John's Rating:

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    £10.00
  33. Primitivo di Manduria San Gaetano Celebration Cantine due Palme

    Luca Maroni  91 Points

    Another very good wine from Cantine due Palme. Named "celebration" and bottled in a heavyweight bottle to reflect it's quality.

    Big, full flavoured and velvet smooth. Great with virtually any food or just to enjoy on it's own by the fire.

     

    Sulphite level: Medium

    John's Rating:

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    £13.99
  34. Passo del Sud Appassimento

    Luca Maroni  95 Points

    Passo del Sud is a new wine for us made in the Appassimento method of pre drying the grapes in the sun to concentrate flavour, alcohol and power.

    This wine is the collaboration of two friends (Benedetto & mario) using local indigenous grapes with a little Merlot.

    It is very good indeed. Made on a slightly larger scale than our boutique wines but still much smaller than mass produced wines. We have given it a medium rating for sulphites just to be over cautious, so please avoid it if you have a sulphite intolerance. For everybody else though this is an excellent choice if you want a powerful wine at the right money.

    Big, powerful yet velvet smooth. Excellent wine!

    Sulphite level: Medium

    John's Rating:

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    £11.99
  35. Selvarossa Riserva DOC Salice Salentino Cantine due Palme

    Gambero Rosso - Tre Bicchieri - every vintage since 2004

    Selvarossa Riserva, Cantine due Palme is one of the best reds to come out of Southern Italy, regularly being awarded Gambero Rosso's highest accolade of Tre Bicchieri. I've been stocking it for years and every vintage has been superb. It's a big powerful warming red with sweet tannins. Super smooth.

    Sulphite level: Medium Low

    John's Rating:

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    £19.99
  36. Tombacco Aglianico del Beneventano IGT

    A big, powerful wine well suited to food. 

    We are on the new presentation, not the blue label any more, but the wine is the same.

    Sulphite level: Medium

    John's Rating:

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    £10.50
  37. Salice Salentino Riserva DOC Leone de Castris

    Just moved onto the 2015

    Leone de Castris is one of the region's top wineries, established in 1665. They make some excellent wines which are great value. The previous vintage was awarded Tre Bicchieri by Gambero Rosso. Fantastic value wine.

    Sulphite level: Medium Low

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    £14.99

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