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Christmas

For deadlines on ordering from Exel to have bottles with you by Christmas, please click this link.

It may come but once a year, but it's definitely coming. And pretty soon, it seems. Love it, loathe it, dread it, long for it... or somewhere in between... as we said here just now, "Christmas - you just have to deal with it". 

Dealing with it, we find quite tough. We try to point our customer to suggestions and selections, but the last two years have taught us that the 'average' (and none of you are that) Exel customer is - almost without exception - too savvy to be pointed towards our choices.

That said, we do want to guide the slightly-bewildered, time-pressured buyer to some sensible choices.

Below, you'll find a selection of our favourite picks for Christmas across a range of drinks categories.

 

Wines

Most customers know us for our wines - after all, the clue is in our title. It's what we do. But we know you know your wines, and we know you'll find just what you want from the ~2,000 on our site, especially in our compendium of Decanter recommended wines. If you need any help - style, price points, food matching, "my significant other likes X, can you suggest Y for him/her?" (we get this one a lot) - we're more than happy to advise. Please call Mark or Evelyn on 01738 493535 or ping us on communications@exelwines.co.uk.

One thing, mind: much as we love them (and we do - we have an office cat), we really don't do wine for cats or dogs. You'll have to look for your Cote de Bone somewhere else.

Whiskies

Being where we are, we've always been big on whisky. We're now much bigger on whisky on-line. From everyday drams - malts, grains, Bourbons - to real rarities, take a look at our Whiskies page.

On this page (below), for the curious, we've singled out our favourite three of the Flora and Fauna malt range from Diageo -  the Blair Athol, the Inchgower and the Linkwood - plus three boutique rarities from Glenfarclas, Glenrothes and Arran.

We're particularly pleased to offer three unusual, but not-so-often found, malts from Benromach - the 15-year-old and two fantastically-priced red wine cask finishes (the casks being from Bordeaux's Chateau Cissac and Tuscan masterpiece, Sassicaia (a wine we stock!))

 

Gin (and gin liqueurs)

Gin, gin ... and more gin. What a renaissance gin is having! We alas can't stock all the myriad thousand or so British gins, but we pride ourselves on our selection of Scottish gins. In a world of so much competition and - in some cases - not that much differentiation of flavour, the five gins we've singled out below all stand out. From the pure grain spirit Gilt, to Crossbill (with Scottish juniper only),  via Hills & Harbour from Galloway and Red Door (distilled at Benromach, as above) to the full-bodied, intense and wonderful Lussa (distilled on Jura), we've gins for Christmas consumption and presents alike.

A 'spin on gin' that we can barely source fast enough are gin liqueurs, and the Edinburgh Gin foursome are ultra-popular with our local customers (and only very recently available here on-line). Rhubarb & Ginger and Raspberry are particularly à la mode.

 

Rums

We've a few of this increasingly-popular category, but do see (in particular) our Scottish rum (still a surprise, pehaps, despite climate change), the Dark Matter, from Scotland's first dedicated rum distillery.

 

Ports and dessert wines

Few drinks say, "It's Christmas" quite as clearly as Port and 'stickies' (never been a fan of the latter term). As fabulous (and fabulous-looking) gifts go, the Croft 430th Anniversary Ruby and Taylors Limited Edition Reserve Tawny Port take some beating. The Barros 10-Year-Old Tawny (a big winner at DWWA18) and the newly-released Taylor's Quinta da Vargellas 2004 (a fantastic single quinta Port) represent amazing value.

The Quady dessert wines will, as a pair, cover any dessert you may put in front of friends or family and are quite stunning. And then, leaving the best to last, for the dessert wine connoisseur, we have the hallowed Vin de Constance 2014, a Decanter 97-point jewel and DWWA18 Best In Show, and also the new 2015 (also with great reviews). 

It's too early to bid you a Merry Christmas, but we wish you Happy Choosing...

 

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Benromach 15 Year Old (1 x 70cl)

Established in 1898, the Benromach distillery is independently owned by a family with proud, enduring roots in Speyside. 

The Benromach 15 Year Old has a captivating golden amber colour, thanks to the long maturation in sherry and bourbon casks. Without water its aromas are of vanilla pod, zesty orange and spicy ginger complemented by delicate chamomile and menthol notes. The flavours are luscious - rich fruit cake with stewed plum, red apple skin and the sharp edge of kiwi fruit. With a splash of water added, there is an increased hint of sweet spice and cocoa, both of which blend seamlessly with those rich fruit flavours.

£55.00

Benromach Wood Finish Chateau Cissac 2010 (1x70cl)

Alongside an unrivalled knowledge of Scottish single malts and passion for matching spirit with oak, the Urquhart family, of the well known whisky firm Gordon & Macphail, held a long-standing ambition to own a distillery. This desire became a reality in 1993 with the purchase of the Benromach Distillery on the outskirts of Forres, just 12 miles from Elgin.

Over the next five years, the distillery, rescued from the brink of extinction after closure in 1983, was re-equipped and put back to into service. As passionate custodians of some of the best examples of old-style Speyside single malt from the company's ‘liquid library’, the newly refurbished distillery was designed to recreate this rare style of spirit which the Directors knew was key in Speyside whisky from the pre-1960’s, and rarely found in modern day whisky production in the region. Therefore, the decision was taken to create Benromach as a ‘Classic Speyside’ – elegant, fruity, with just a hint of smoke. The distillery was officially opened by HRH Prince Charles in 1998.

To view some excellent notes about the Benromach Chateau Cissac Wood Finish please click on the blue link below.

Benromach Chateau Cissac Wood Finish 2010 - fiche technique

£44.00

Benromach Wood Finish Sassicaia 2010 (1x70cl)

Alongside an unrivalled knowledge of Scottish single malts and passion for matching spirit with oak, the Urquhart family of the well known whisky firm Gordon & Macphail, held a long-standing ambition to own a distillery. This desire became a reality in 1993 with the purchase of the Benromach Distillery on the outskirts of Forres, just 12 miles from Elgin.

Over the next five years, the distillery, rescued from the brink of extinction after closure in 1983, was re-equipped and put back to into service. As passionate custodians of some of the best examples of old-style Speyside single malt from the company's ‘liquid library’, the newly refurbished distillery was designed to recreate this rare style of spirit which the Directors knew was key in Speyside whisky from the pre-1960’s, and rarely found in modern day whisky production in the region. Therefore, the decision was taken to create Benromach as a ‘Classic Speyside’ – elegant, fruity, with just a hint of smoke. The distillery was officially opened by HRH Prince Charles in 1998.

To view some excellent notes about the Benromach Sassicaia Wood Finish please click on the blue link below.

Benromach Sassicaia Wood Finish 2010 - fiche technique

£44.00

Blair Athol Flora & Fauna 12 Year Old (1x 70cl)

Blair Athol Distillery stands at the gateway to the Scottish Highlands in the picturesque town of Pitlochry, Perthshire. Set in open moorland south of the town, in the foothills of the Grampian mountains, Blair Athol’s ancient source of water – the Allt Dour – flows through the grounds from the slopes of Ben Vrackie, contributing to the whisky’s, mellow quality and smooth finish.

This Flora and Fauna release has bags of character courtesy of good sherry maturation which impart onto it richness and spice. At the forefront of the palate is a beautiful nutty almondy flavour which also contributes to a soft texture. Blair Athol works best served in a traditional whisky glass, neat or with a little water. The creamy subtlety of a vanilla cheesecake provides the perfect base line to the melody of Blair Athol’s flavours.

£52.00

Inchgower Flora & Fauna 14 Year Old (1x 70cl)

Moved and renamed, rescued and preserved, Inchgower became more than just a distillery for its founders and his loyal workers. It was an idea – a reaction to increasing land prices, and a commitment to Single Malt Scotch Whisky – and one of the only distilleries to inspire a poem. Originally known as Tochieneal, the distillery was built near Cullen, by local factor, Alexander Wilson. His nephew - confusingly called Uncle Sandy - built a thriving business, but was forced to suspend operations in 1870, when a doubling of the rent made the small premises uneconomic to operate. A move to the coast where the rent was lower, and Inchgower was born 1871. Men who spent their working lives there recorded the move in the poem “Tochieneal”. Inchgower remained in the Wilson family until 1929, but had to be saved from receivership by the local council during the troubled 1930s. Happily, acquisition by Arthur Bell & Sons in 1938 secured its future, and – aside from an expansion to accommodate two more stills in 1966 – the buildings are largely unchanged to this day.

Inchgower 14 Year Old has a deep amber colour. The aromas you will find are rich, deep and faintly toffied. After a while offers some short-crust pastry and fruit, like greengage tart or damson pie. Then it settles and becomes lighter and vaguely 'gun-metal' - a mix of metal, gun oil and cordite, but all very faint. With water it freshens up, but gives little away. For a time there is an unmistakable scent of horse chestnuts - green and nutty - but after a while it becomes much sweeter and more floral, like acacia honey. The palate is medium bodied and mouth filling with flavours that are sweet overall, but also curiously mouth-drying, with some salt and traces of oil. The finish leads you to an aftertaste of bitter almonds.

This whisky presents you with a conundrum, in which the aromatics, and even the flavour, change continually. It seems to be more coastal than Speyside. Dry, crisp and even salty – Inchgower lends itself to sweet foods, and pairs particularly well with chocolate truffles or even a cheeseboard. 

£54.00

Linkwood Flora & Fauna 12 Year Old (1x 70cl)

This distillery by the banks of the river Lossie is every bit the idyll of a country distillery, with its woodlands and resident population of Swans. Legend has it that longtime manager Roderick Mackenzie thought the environment so important to the taste of Linkwood, he forbade the removal of spiders’ webs from the rafters in case the character were to change. Great care is still taken to maintain its high standards, though the cobwebs have been removed. Founded in 1821, the distillery sits in a tranquil setting overlooking the dam of the Linkwood Burn. The water that makes Linkwood whisky comes from Millbuies springs, and makes a fine, smooth and complex whisky; just it always has, through wars and depressions, takeovers and closures.

Smooth and medium bodied, Linkwood Single Malt Scotch Whisky is a hidden Speyside treasure, full of the characteristic fruit and flower scents of the region.

The first impression on the nose is of fresh soft-fruits (but indistinguishable), with a hint of vanilla in the background. Then light cigar-box notes are perceptible, and a faint hint of expensive ladies' perfume. The whole effect is civilized, complex and tightly integrated. With water, it opens into carnations and lavender, with a whiff of perfumed smoke. There are traces of juicy green sticks, then cedar-wood, with undercurrents of pomander or dried orange peel. The palate is mouth-filling and smooth. Sweet, overall. Viscous, but fresh and clean: a pleasant acidity helps to maintain this.

As a light whisky, Linkwood finds an ideal partner in sweet foods, like chocolate fondant or cheese cake.

£52.00

Arran The Bothy Quarter Cask - Batch 2 (1x 70cl)

Great malt whisky is a distillation of the place where it’s made. The local water, microclimate and air quality all influence the spirit as it’s distilled and matured. Isle of Arran whisky couldn’t come from anywhere else but this wee islan, of twenty miles by ten. This whisky is the island, bottled. This geography is key to the character of Arran whisky. Here they make a spirit that reflects a range of regional influences, yet achieves a rare and unique personality all its own. Rather like the island itself.

The Arran Single Malt selected for The Bothy Batch 2 was initially matured in first-fill ex-Bourbon barrels before being transferred for secondary maturation into smaller casks also made of the finest American oak for a minimum of 18 months. This process produces far greater contact between the whisky & oak and a faster, more intense maturation. 

The end result is a full-bodied expression of The Arran Malt combining power and finesse full of rich vanilla sweetness, with notes of tropical fruit, citrus and toast and bold peppery spice. Bottling at natural Cask Strength without chill-filtration or artificial colouring of any sort presents this whisky in its purest form. 

Small casks would have been a common feature of the Arran whisky trade in the eighteenth & nineteenth centuries as they were easier to handle and transport around the island. With The Bothy they have proudly brought this tradition back to life.

£55.00

Glenfarclas 25 Year Old (1x 70cl)

Glenfarclas, from the Gaelic ‘Glen of the Green Grassland’, nestles at the foot of Ben Rinnes. Since 1865 Glenfarclas has been owned and managed by just one family, the Grants of Glenfarclas. On the 8th of June 1865 John Grant acquired the tenancy for the Rechlerich Farm and as part of the transaction purchased the Glenfarclas Distillery for £511.19S.0d. To this day Glenfarclas is one of only a few distilleries in Scotland to remain family owned and managed. Now in the hands of the fifth and sixth generation of the family, the Grants remain committed to the vision of creating the best quality Highland Single Malt Scotch Whisky, in the traditional Speyside style. A rival distiller wrote to the Grant family in May, 1912: “of all the whiskies, malt is king, of all the kings, Glenfarclas reigns supreme”, a compliment the family still hold dear and close to their hearts.

Glenfarclas 25 Year Old is a great after dinner whisky - it is so rich and full that it is almost a dessert in its own right. It also has a finish that seems to last forever.

It is amber in colour with dark gold highlight when viewed fom your favourite whisky glass. The aromas are complex but refined with tempting scents of marmalade, honey, freshly ground coffee, sherry and nuts. There are also some oaky tannins in evidence. The flavours are full bodied and robust. Both the sherry and oaky start vying for your attention but neither overpowers the other in this wonderfully rich but balanced whisky. In conclusion this is an intense, long lasting dry and malty single malt. There is a beautiful dark chocolate flavour at the back of the palate to complete the 25 Year Old.

£135.00

Gilt Single Malt Gin - Scotland (1x 70cl)

Gilt gin is the result of a meeting of minds. A Scotsman and a Spaniard were in a bar. As we know from experience the conversation often turns to drink in these situations. They dreamt of the idea of a gin. A Scottish gin produced from only the finest malt barley and botanicals of the highest standard. Botanicals that will marry with the base spirit to create one of the most outstanding craft gins. A bespoke still would need to be used to enhance the natural flavours and bring this marriage of premium raw materials together. The Scotsman scurried home and locked himself away in the still house, determined to create a gin to surpass the Spaniard's exacting standards. Twelve months later Gilt Gin was born.

This delightful Scottish Gin is produced from only the finest malt barley and botanicals of the highest standard. The signature of this gin is the light citrus botanicals with the balance of fine flavour that meets the standards of the most discerning taste. The taste is dry with punches of juniper and Cardamom, leaving a warm thirst quenching finish.

£32.50

Red Door Gin - Scotland (1x 70cl)

Benromach distillery has been creating spirits in the Scottish Highlands for over 120 years, with meticulous attention to detail and quality. Now the red sliding door to their old malt barn opens up a new chapter for them in a long and proud history. The idea was simple: to capture the spirit of Scotland’s majestic mountains, forests and windswept coastline in a deliciously distinctive, small-batch Highland Gin that works beautifully in a G&T or silky-smooth martini.

Discover a world of flavour, inspired by the elemental beauty of Scotland’s mountains, forests and coastline.

Handcrafted in copper pot still, known affectionately as Peggy, this small-batch Highland gin has a heart of finest juniper, infused with locally-influenced botanicals that reveal defining citrus notes of bitter orange, aromatic sea buckthorn, pearls of heather and rowanberries. Complex and dramatic, yet perfectly balanced, Red Door is a deliciously distinctive, bittersweet London Dry with a lingering palate. Open, serve and share good times.

Elegantly simple, beautifully balanced, Red Door Gin delivers signature notes of juniper and defining citrus bite of bitter orange, with aromatic sea buckthorn, grassy, floral pearls of heather and chocolatey, smoky rowanberries.

£30.00

Hills & Harbour Gin - Scotland (1x 70cl)

Galloway is the home of Hills & Harbour gin and is a special corner of Scotland. Surrounded by forests and unspoilt coastlines, it’s the perfect larder for their ingredients. Nestled on the edge of Newton Stewart this modern grain to glass distillery pumps out gallons of tasty stuff and delivers panoramic views over the Galloway Hills.

This is the smooth and vibrant Hills & Harbour Gin which offers a taste of Galloway. With local Noble Fir needles and Bladderwrack Seaweed, it leads with juniper and is balanced with hints of forest fir, tropical fruit, citrus spice, tangy sherbet and a subtle scent of the shore. Balanced and versatile it serves well with almost any garnish, which means you can get creative and serve the gin the way you like it.

£34.00

Crossbill Small Batch Highland Gin - Scotland (1x 70cl)

Crossbill Gin is a celebration of juniper and rosehip, two bold and fresh Highland botanicals. Made using only 100% Scottish hand picked botanicals, they have re-established a long lost tradition of harvesting Scottish juniper. This creates a distinct taste evocative of the ancient pine forests where juniper has grown for centuries. 

In the 18th century Scotland’s fragrant juniper was exported to Holland to produce Jenever (gin's great, great grandfather). This tradition died out 200 years ago but Crossbill’s founder Jonathan was captivated by the idea of reviving Scottish juniper harvesting to produce a new gin.

£39.65

Lussa Gin - Scotland (1x70cl)

A gin truly from the Isle of Jura: not only are the 15 botanicals foraged there, but it is – unusually for island gins – distilled there too. It's a gin produced by a trio of wild ladies on a truly wild island.

If the term “full bodied” can be applied to a gin, it applies to Lussa. Jura honeysuckle, rose petals, ground elder, water mint, ground elderflower, lime flowers, rosehips, lemon balm, orris, sea lettuce and coriander are all used in the gin, along with spring water from the nearby Lussa glen.

Round, warm, fruited, citrussy and a wee bitty spicy: this is a real “boutique gin”.

£44.00

Edinburgh Gin Elderflower Liqueur - Scotland (1x 50cl)

This versatile liqueur is abundantly-filled with the summer’s crop of delicate, sweetly-perfumed elderflowers. 

On the nose, it delivers a highly aromatic, floral bouquet. On the palate, this is a delicately sweet liqueur with light citrus notes and a fruity finish of grapefruit, pear and peach.  

Edinburgh Gin's Elderflower Liqueur delivers a light, floral profile to refreshing, long summer drinks, sparkling wine and fizzes. It’s the perfect counterpoint to bright green flavours such as mint, cucumber, parsley and apple in cocktails. 

£19.00

Edinburgh Gin Pomegranate & Rose Liqueur - Scotland (1x 50cl)

Inspired by dusky evenings in the Orient, this Edinburgh Gin Pomegranate & Rose Liqueur is light and fragrant, evocative of sugar-dusted Turkish Delight. Blending ruby-red pomegranate seeds and damask rose petals with their classic Edinburgh Gin, this sumptuous liqueur is softly floral, its gentle warmth tempered by lingering fruit flavours and a light citrus lift.

On the nose there are soft floral notes, with sweetness and a light citrus finish. The flavours are candied, with juicy fruit-filled flavours and a touch of zest. The finish has a lingering flavour of rose, balanced by the tang of lively fruit from the pomegranate.

The candied, aromatic notes are a perfect complement to dry sparkling wine such as Prosecco. It also makes a delicately sweet addition to the classic Martini, and is equally delicious when served over ice. For a longer drink, this gin liqueur mixes beautifully with rose lemonade, garnished with a lemon twist.

£19.00

Edinburgh Gin Raspberry Liqueur - Scotland (1x 50cl)

Perthshire’s reputation for growing the finest berries inspired the recipe for Edinburgh Gin's intensely fruity liqueur. Made with raspberries from a family-owned farm in Blairgowrie and blended with classic Edinburgh Gin, it’s jam-packed and intense. 

The nose promises full red berry aromas, whilst the full flavour delivers sweet ripeness accented by a sharp edge. 

The Raspberry Liqueur’s juicy flavours perfectly complement a dry sparkling wine for a summery fizz, or try it in your favourite fruity cocktail. 

£19.00

Edinburgh Gin Rhubarb and Ginger Liqueur - Scotland (1x 50cl)

An ode to the classic cook’s flavour pairing, Edinburgh Gin's Rhubarb & Ginger Liqueur delicately balances sweetness with warming spice. 

Spring-crop rhubarb and Oriental ginger marry to create a liqueur that promises lively sweetness, sharpness and spice on the nose and palate, with a lingering warm finish. 

The liqueur is great in a variety of cocktails, its complex notes perfectly complement many cocktails, enhancing punchier aromatics such as lemongrass, cardamom and candied ginger.

£19.00

Dark Matter Spiced Rum - Scotland (1x 70cl)

Dark Matter was the first dedicated rum distillery in Scotland. It came about after a holiday to the Carribean when the founders wanted to visit a rum distillery but could not find one that would accept visitors.  They casually remarked that it would be easier to build a distillery themselves at which point Dark Matter Distillers sprang to life. "Our curiosity drives us while science inspires us. Combining knowledge and imagination we obsessively pursue flavour through systematic study, observation and experiment."

It took four years for Dark Matter Spiced Rum to evolve from an idea to reality but it has proved a successful venture and this Scottish rum now has fans all over the world. 

Dark Matter Spiced Rum is a molasses-based rum with flavours of bell pepper, fresh ginger, green peppercorns and allspice. It is, according to the distillers, the taste equivalent of warping into a liquid black hole but without every atom in your body being crushed to an infinitely small point. We have no idea either - perhaps more tasting is required!

£34.80

Barros 10 Year Old Tawny Port (1x75cl)

Awarded a Gold medal and 95 points at the 2018 Decanter World Wine Awards (click link for details).

For other 2018 DWWA winners, click here.

Awarded 92 points and Highly Recommended status by Decanter (www.decanter.com) in their January 2018 edition panel review of Tawny Port (see blue link below).

Sogevinus Barros 10yo Tawny - January 2018 Decanter review

Having celebrated their 100th year of trading in 2013, Barros Port is undoubtedly one of the most prestigious companies producing and trading in Port. Much of their success comes from Colheita Ports - old Tawnies from a single year matured in cask for a minimum period of seven years.

Hand-harvested at their best moment, the grapes are destemmed, crushed and vinified in a careful maceration with extraction of colour, tannins and pellicle aromas, complemented by permanent pumping-over during fermentation. This process takes place in vats at a controlled temperature between 28-30ºC. At this phase grape brandy is added, creating a fortified wine. A wine of an exceptional quality, obtained by the selection of several harvests. It is matured in wood for variable periods of time and  the age mentioned on the label is an average age of the different wines used in blending this port. This is instrumental in the wine expressing its character which is influenced by the ageing in oak casks.

With a brown-tawny colour, the nose is dense with dried fruit aromas, with delicate vanilla and chocolate notes. The soft and silky texture and the subtle nuances of wood are balanced by a fresh acidity which culminates with a long and elegant finish.

When served slightly chilled, it is the ideal choice to serve with appetizers like strong cheeses. The velvety texture and the  aromatic expressions stand-out remarkably with main courses with dried fruits. Irresistible with pate as well as aubergine and nuts. Wonderful choice to serve with a myriad of delicious caramel brownies, chocolate and pistachio pavê and nuts crostini with goats cheese.

£20.60

Croft 430th Anniversary Ruby Port (1x75cl)

Croft is one of the most distinguished of all Port houses. Founded in 1588, it is the oldest firm still active today as a Port wine producer. The company is renowned above all for its Vintage Ports as well as for its range of wood aged reserves and tawnies, time-honoured styles refined by skill and experience passed down the generations.

Please click on the blue link below to see a fiche technique / information sheet about this special port from Croft themselves.

Croft 430th Anniversary Ruby Port - fiche technique

And see also this detailed information pack

£17.00

Taylors Limited Edition Reserve Tawny Port (1x100cl)

For many, Taylor’s is the archetypal Port house and its wines the quintessential Ports. Established over three centuries ago in 1692, Taylor’s is one of the oldest of the founding Port houses. It is dedicated entirely to the production of Port wine and in particular to its finest styles. 

Please click on the blue link below to see a fiche technique / information sheet about this port from Taylors.

Taylor's Limited Edition Reserve Tawny Port - fiche technique

And see also this detailed information pack

£40.00

Taylor's Quinta de Vargellas 2004 (1x 75cl)

Awarded 94 points and Highlky Recomended status by Decanter (www.decanter.com) in their January 2019 edition review of Dessert Wines and Ports (see blue link below) ...

Taylor's Quinta de Vargellas 2004 - January 2019 Decanter review

... and further endorsed in the same edition by a 93-point review in a review of Festive Wines (see blue link below).

Taylor's Quinta de Vargellas 2004 - January 2019 Decanter review

"This '04 has a lovely perfume and energy in the structure that drives it forward... This is the most powerful wine we tasted from this vintage, only hinting at its more delicate complexities that may emerge with time". Score: 94, Wine & Spirits Magazine

See blue link below for the fiche technique/technical note from the UK importer.

Taylor's Quinta de Vargellas 2004 - fiche technique

The 2003/2004 winter was very dry, having only rained 1/3 of the quantity registered the previous winter. The lack of water during the early part of the growing season led to very little pressure from disease. Our concern in July was mainly one of doubting the vines capacity to ripen the grapes due to the drastic shortage of water. The vintage stood out for the perfect weather conditions for the whole period. The young Ports showed good structure with very fresh berry fruit aromas, resulting from the cooler than normal ripening period.

Powerful, pungent, aromatic nose with ripe, rich, juicy, berry fruit aromas; overlaid with wonderful characteristic floral notes. This wine has a bouquet with great depth and layers of intense fresh fruit. On the palate, the freshness of berry fruit continues, combining with rich chocolate and liquorice flavours of equal intensity. The tannins are firm but well integrated, resulting in a beautifully structured and balanced wine. Texturally the wine is smooth and silky, leaving one with the sensation of a well crafted, stylish, extremely elegant wine.

£27.15

Quady Essensia Orange Muscat 2015 (1x37.5cl)

Awarded 91 points and Highly Recommended status by Decanter (www.decanter.com) in their September 2017 edition review of Top 40 Californian Wines Under £40 (see blue link below).

Essensia Orange Muscat 2015 - Sept 2017 Decanter review

Quady is the foremost American winery specialising entirely in dessert wines and continues to win medals worldwide. In 1980, Andrew Quady discovered a parcel of underused Orange Muscat grapes in Reedley, California, which led him to make a wine which celebrated the intense aromas and spicy fruit flavours of the grapes. In Italy, the variety is known as Moscato Fior d'Arancio: Orange Blossom Muscat.

Here in California, it is grown in well-drained, alluvial soils, in climatic conditions ideally suited to this variety. The grapes are harvested at optimal maturity once they have reached a very high 22 Brix. The grapes were crushed, chilled and allowed to macerate. Fermentation was arrested with neutral grape brandy, lightly fortifying the wine to 15% alcohol. This arrested fermentation preserves the delicate aromas of the fresh, ripe grapes. The wine was then aged for three months in used, predominantly French, oak barrels.

Luscious sweet oranges and apricots on the palate with bittersweet orange marmalade notes which balance well with the fresh lemony finish.  Excellent served chilled in small glasses with desserts consisting of peach, pear or apricot fruits or pumpkin pie.

£12.10

Klein Constantia Vin de Constance 2014 (1x50cl)

Awarded a Platinum Medal and 97 points at the 2018 Decanter World Wine Awards (click link for details).

For other 2018 DWWA winners, click here.

Awarded 96 points by Decanter (www.decanter.com) - and some particularly glowing words - in 2017 (see blue link below).

Vin de Constance 2014 - Decanter review

See blue link below for the fiche technique/technical note from the the producer.

Klein Constantia Vin de Constance 2014 - fiche technique

... and this video for more details on the wine.

Golden hued, deep amber in appearance. First nose is of freshly dried pineapples with hints of vanilla and roasted almonds. Heady woodspice scents intermingle with fresh mandarin, lemongrass and mango. The seamless palate is elegantly structured, with ripe tropical flavours of mango. and pineapple. Raisined Muscat flavours provide concentrated acidity and a piercing lift to the seemingly endless finish. Will mature for at least a further 25 years.

£45.75

Klein Constantia Vin de Constance 2015 (1x50cl)

Awarded 98 points and Exceptional status by Decanter (www.decanter.com) in their January 2019 edition review of Dessert Wines and Ports (see blue link below).

Klein Constantia Vin de Constance 2015 - January 2019 Decanter review

Even better than the 2014 release - and that was a spectacular sweet wine - the 2015 Vin de Constance is one of the greatest ever vintages of this iconic sticky. More Barsac than Sauternes in terms of weight, it’s fresh and refined, a bit like the 2012, with citrus and orange zest balancing the 172 grams of sugar. The oak is perfectly judged; the length and freshness, things of wonder". 98 points, Tim Atkin, South Africa Report 2018

See blue link below for the fiche technique/technical note from the UK importer.

Klein Constantia Vin de Constance 2015 - fiche technique ...

... and this detailed information pack on the wine and this vintage ...

... and (perhaps best of all) this video for more details on the wine.

Golden hued, deep amber in appearance. First nose is of freshly dried pineapples with hints of vanilla and roasted almonds. Heady woodspice scents intermingle with fresh mandarin, lemongrass and mango. The seamless palate is elegantly structured, with ripe tropical flavours of mango. and pineapple. Raisined Muscat flavours provide concentrated acidity and a piercing lift to the seemingly endless finish. Will mature for at least a further 25 years.

£45.75
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