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Decanter April 2018

The April 2018 edition of Decanter (www.decanter.com) – released on Friday, 2nd March – is an interesting Mixed Bag of Delights. It's definitely no regional/country special this month!!

For all of the wines (that we can obtain) featured in the April edition, complete with their Decanter reviews (where available), see the full (clickable) listing at the foot of this page.

For our entire compendium of Decanter-rated wines from the last 18 months, click here.

The March edition features three panel reviews from across three continents:

  • Australian Riesling - from all of Australia's cooler regions - drawn from all of Tasmania, South Australia (especially the Clare and Eden Valleys), Western Australia, NSW and Victoria;
  • the St-Emilion satellite appellations 2015 vintage) - that's Lussac, Montagne, St-Georges and Puisseguin; and
  • Californian Cabernet Sauvignon.

We're never dismissive, us, but we would fully admit to taking a somewhat agnostic approach to the latter two:

  • We've long taken the view that the small jump in price from Satellite St-Emilion to affording le vrai article is a price that most customers are prepared to pay, and, quality-wise, it makes a big difference to do so (which also emerges from this review: there are no Exceptionals or Outstandings despite 2015 being a highly-regarded vintage in Gironde)...
  • ... and Californian Cabernet 2014, while wonderful and celebrated, is a category we just don't see major demand for at the prices required, especially when so much excellent New World Cabernet can now be found at barely a third of the cost of most "Napa Cabs". To illustrate, the reviewed wines average £60 a bottle and, as seems so often the case, half of the rated wines (28 of the 56 that are Highly Recommended or better) are not available in the UK! (The wisdom of such inclusions on the part of the producer and Decanter, we have questioned often: ultimately, it’s not great for the reader/consumer). All that said, we might have the temerity to direct you towards the 91-point Raymond Reserve and 90-point Black Stallion. Both hail from Napa, and, at around the £30 mark each are, by far, the two most affordable 90+-pointers on test.

But the Australian Riesling panel is a whole other matter: there are 2 Exceptionals (98+), 14 Outstandings (95+) and 66 Highly Recommendeds (90+). In contrast to the Californian Cabs, the first two categories here average just £17 a bottle. What's more, of those 16 wines in the top two brackets, we have six of them on offer

 

Let us tell you more. Of those two Exceptionals (a rare accolade indeed), one <sharp intake of breath> can't be found in the UK. The other one could (and maybe still can?), but we have now well-and-truly (really, we really have) sold out of our allocation of both this and its older sister: these were the two wines from Pauletts (the 2014 and the 2010 Aged Release).

**STOP PRESS - FRIDAY 9th MARCH: OUR SUPPLIER HAVE JUST UNCOVERED A SPARE 60 BOTTLES OF THE 2011 VINTAGE - ALSO QUITE EXCELLENT. THESE WILL ARRIVE WITH US ON TUESDAY 13th MARCH. BUY AS MANY AS YOU LIKE, NO LIMITS THIS TIME! ** 

Normally, there'd be just cause to be disappointed about that. But there are so many great, well-priced Rieslings in the picture, all rated Outstanding, that nobody need be dismayed.

Our 4 Outstandings are quite excellent (I personally rate the Lehmann Wigan 2012 as the pick of the whole review) and will make up an excellent Riesling case:

  • There's the 96-point Peter Lehmann Wigan 2012 (£15.75 and again, with all the age development flavours from 6 years in the bottle);

Peter Lehmann Masters 'Wigan' 2012

£15.75

 

 

Grosset Polish Hill Clare Valley Riesling 2017

£29.95

 

  • From the rest of the current Decanter, you also have options. There's a whole feature on Alternatives to Chablis - so we obviously see a few cool-climate Chardonnays from Chile (like the De Martino), Tasmania (the highly-rated and wonderful Tolpuddle) and NZ (from Pyramid Vineyards). But then you also see some super-affordable Soaves and even a serious Muscadet. And, for good measure, there's a feature on Dry Creek Zinfandel, too.

See what we mean? It's a very Mixed Bag of Delights.

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Pauletts Polish Hill River Riesling 2017 (1x75cl)

The 2014 vintage of this wine was a huge hit when it featured in Decanter (www.decanter.com) recently. The current 2017 vintage is now newly available and also superb; indeed, as the below vintage table (also from Decanter) shows, 2017 is already talked of by some as the best Riesling vintage in Australia for over 15 years.

The 2014 vintage was awarded 98 points and rare Exceptional status by Decanter (www.decanter.com) in their April 2018 edition review of Australian Riesling  (see blue link below) .

Pauletts Polish Hill River Riesling 2014 - April 2018 Decanter review

See also here for Decanter's assessment of Australian Riesling vintages (click blue link below).

Decanter Australian vintage summary

Clare Valley is one of Australia`s oldest wine regions and is probably best known for its Riesling wines. Polish Hill River is a sub-region one and a half hours drive north from Adelaide. Named after the Polish settlers of the mid 1800s, the climate is ideal for premium grape growing with a combination of consistently good winter rains, hot summers tempered by cool nights and a long ripening period.

Pauletts' reputation for producing wines of finesse, elegance and intensity is justly deserved with consistent skill and care from vintage to vintage. Neil Paulett graduated from the Roseworthy oenology course in the early 1970s and spent a further ten years honing his winemaking skills at Penfolds before buying his own property in the Clare Valley. Located some 90 minutes north of Adelaide,this lovely property now extends to 150 hectares with 47 planted with vines. Since the first vintage in 1983 there have been many accolades both at home and internationally. These wines are a true reflection of the region and are of outstanding quality.

The Clare Valley yields one of the world`s great styles of Riesling. This youthful, aromatic, dry wine has intense mineral and floral aromas on the nose. These aromas follow through on the palate leading to flavours of lime, citrus and white blossom. Tropical fruits and citrus dominate the fresh, racy acidity and a distinct minerality comes through on the palate leaving a fantastic, clean finish.

This wine is a good choice to accompany seafood, especially prawn, crab, oysters and bass and mildly spiced Thai stir fry and seafood curries.

ABV = 12.8%.

£13.15

Pauletts Aged Release Polish Hill River Riesling 2012 (1x75cl)

** ONLY ~80 BOTTLES REMAIN UNTIL END OF VINTAGE ON UK STOCKS **

Awarded a Platinum medal and 97 points at the 2019 Decanter World Wine Awards (click link for details).

For other 2019 DWWA winners, click here.

The 2010 vintage of this wine was a huge hit when it featured in Decanter (www.decanter.com) recently, being awarded 96 points and Outstanding status by Decanter (www.decanter.com) in their April 2018 edition review of Australian Rieslings. The 2014 vintage scored 98 points and was rated Outstanding (see blue links below).

Pauletts (Aged Release) Polish Hill River Riesling 2010 - April 2018 Decanter review

Pauletts Polish Hill River Riesling 2014 - April 2018 Decanter review

See also here for Decanter's assessment of Australian Riesling vintages (click blue link below).

Decanter Australian vintage summary

And, for extra info, here's Paulett's own data sheet/fiche technique on the 2012 (published before being badged as an Aged Release, but exactly (and we mean exactly) the same wine!).

Pauletts Polish Hill River Riesling 2012 - fiche technique

Clare Valley is one of Australia`s oldest wine regions and is probably best known for its Riesling wines. Polish Hill River is a sub-region one and a half hours drive north from Adelaide. Named after the Polish settlers of the mid 1800s, the clim2ate is ideal for premium grape growing with a combination of consistently good winter rains, hot summers tempered by cool nights and a long ripening period.

Pauletts' reputation for producing wines of finesse, elegance and intensity is justly deserved with consistent skill and care from vintage to vintage. Neil Paulett graduated from the Roseworthy oenology course in the early 1970s and spent a further ten years honing his winemaking skills at Penfolds before buying his own property in the Clare Valley. Located some 90 minutes north of Adelaide,this lovely property now extends to 150 hectares with 47 planted with vines. Since the first vintage in 1983 there have been many accolades both at home and internationally. These wines are a true reflection of the region and are of outstanding quality.

Neil Paulett holds back a small parcel of Riesling from the most successful vintages for an extended maturation in the winery`s cellar. After 7 years, this (bone-)dry Riesling has blossomed into an expressive golden wine, with a nose of lemon zest and acacia with hints of honey and toast but with an underlining crispness. Citrus flavours of lime are evident and with a delightful freshness and acidity through to the finish.

This wine is superb with oysters and prawns or spicy Asian dishes.

ABV = 12.0%.

£15.90

Pauletts Aged Release Polish Hill River Riesling 2013 (1x75cl)

Awarded a Gold medal and 95 points at the 2019 Decanter World Wine Awards (click link for details).

For other 2019 DWWA winners, click here.

The 2010 vintage of this wine was a huge hit when it featured in Decanter (www.decanter.com) recently, being awarded 96 points and Outstanding status by Decanter (www.decanter.com) in their April 2018 edition review of Australian Rieslings. The 2014 vintage scored 98 points and was rated Outstanding (see blue links below).

Pauletts (Aged Release) Polish Hill River Riesling 2010 - April 2018 Decanter review

Pauletts Polish Hill River Riesling 2014 - April 2018 Decanter review

See also here for Decanter's assessment of Australian Riesling vintages (click blue link below).

Decanter Australian vintage summary

And, for extra info, here's Paulett's own data sheet/fiche technique.

Pauletts Polish Hill River Riesling 2013 - fiche technique

Clare Valley is one of Australia`s oldest wine regions and is probably best known for its Riesling wines. Polish Hill River is a sub-region one and a half hours drive north from Adelaide. Named after the Polish settlers of the mid 1800s, the clim2ate is ideal for premium grape growing with a combination of consistently good winter rains, hot summers tempered by cool nights and a long ripening period.

Pauletts' reputation for producing wines of finesse, elegance and intensity is justly deserved with consistent skill and care from vintage to vintage. Neil Paulett graduated from the Roseworthy oenology course in the early 1970s and spent a further ten years honing his winemaking skills at Penfolds before buying his own property in the Clare Valley. Located some 90 minutes north of Adelaide,this lovely property now extends to 150 hectares with 47 planted with vines. Since the first vintage in 1983 there have been many accolades both at home and internationally. These wines are a true reflection of the region and are of outstanding quality.

Neil Paulett holds back a small parcel of Riesling from the most successful vintages for an extended maturation in the winery`s cellar. After 5 years this dry Riesling has blossomed into an expressive golden wine, with a nose of lemon zest and acacia with hints of honey and toast but with an underlining crispness. Citrus flavours of lime are evident and with a delightful freshness and acidity through to the finish.

This wine is superb with oysters and prawns or spicy Asian dishes.

ABV = 12.5%.

£15.90

Peter Lehmann Masters `Wigan` Riesling 2013 (1x75cl)

The 2012 vintage was awarded 96 points and Outstanding status by Decanter (www.decanter.com) in their April 2018 edition review of Australian Riesling  (see blue link below) .

Peter Lehmann Masters Wigan Riesling 2012 - April 2018 Decanter review

Peter Lehmann, with 33 vintages already under his belt, started his own winery in 1979, partly as a means of helping with the glut of grapes then afflicting the Barossa. "I'll take your grapes and turn them into wine," he told the desperate growers, many of them conservative farmers of Silesian descent who regarded their old vines as part of their patrimony. "But I'll only be able to pay you when I sell the wine." They gratefully accepted. Without this deal, it is widely thought that the Barossa would have lost a huge chunk of its old vines. The 'Masters' wines are made from the parcels regarded by the winemakers as the best Semillon, Riesling, Cabernet Sauvignon and Shiraz of the vintage.

Known for producing truly world class Riesling, the soils of the Eden Valley are shallow and rocky. The fruit for this wine comes from the William Hurn - Ross' Block single vineyard.

The 2013 vintage came early and was one of the driest and quickest for many years. The weather remained warm to hot throughout, but without any extended heat waves. The small crop produced outstanding wines that show delicacy and great purity of fruit.

The grapes were picked early and fermented cold in stainless steel for two weeks before clarification. Bottling took place immediately, then the wine was cellared at the winery for five years prior to release.

100% Riesling.

Residual sugar = 5g/litre.

The 2013 'Wigan' Riesling is delicate in colour with youthful highlights, and a soft aroma of lime cordial combined with toasty characters. The palate shows great fruit purity with a fresh, crisp, dry finish. This is one of the classic Wigan Rieslings from an exceptional vintage, which will age well.

ABV = 11.0%.

£19.85

Grosset Polish Hill Clare Valley Riesling 2018 (1x75cl)

The 2017 vintage was awarded 95 points and Outstanding status by Decanter (www.decanter.com) in their April 2018 edition review of Australian Riesling  (see blue link below) .

Grosset Polish Hill Clare Valley Riesling 2017 - April 2018 Decanter review

Jeffrey Grosset established his winery in 1981 in the historic township of Auburn, Clare Valley, 100 kilometres north of Adelaide. The winery is stylish and functional and reflects the attention to detail that extends to the Grosset estate-owned vineyards and winemaking. Jeff is best known for his Rieslings which have shown a consistency of style and quality, making this one of Australia’s greatest wineries. By combining a disciplined approach and decades of experience, Grosset consistently achieves the purest expression of variety and place.

The eight hectare Polish Hill vineyard (ACO certified organic) is planted at 460 metres altitude and just five kilometres from Springvale. The low fertility soils of this hard rock site are composed of silt and shallow shales over a thin crust of clay and gravel. The vines have to work harder than those at Springvale and so produce small, thick skinned berries with bunches weighing just 100 grams.

The 2018 vintage was very dry, with less than average rainfall. The dry conditions meant that the vines struggled to ripen resulting in smaller berries and yields. With every vintage, it becomes clear that the vines have a unique resilience to changing seasonal conditions. The grapes harvested were in pristine condition resulting in fresh, vibrant and well-balanced wines.

The organic grapes were hand harvested between 5th - 9th March and delivered promptly to the winery in small parcels, where they were crushed and destemmed. The fruit was then gently pressed and settled in tank for five days at 0°C. Only the free run juice was used. A small proportion was whole-bunch pressed. Six separate ferments took place according to clone and vine age before blending and bottling.

To see an informative information sheet, tasting note and reviews for this wine, please click on the blue link below.

Grosset Polish Hill Clare Valley Riesling 2018 - fiche technique

100% Riesling.

Residual sugar: 0.9 g/litre.

The 2018 has aromas of lavender, herbs, lime and a hint of chalk. Framed by a pure natural acidity, the concentrated palate is pure lime juice and lemon pith with a characteristic shaley minerality. Tight, fine and steely with a long, bone dry finish.

ABV = 13.0%.

£30.55

Peter Lehmann Hill & Valley Eden Valley Riesling 2018 (1x75cl)

The 2015 vintage was awarded 95 points and Outstanding status by Decanter (www.decanter.com) in their April 2018 edition review of Australian Riesling  (see blue link below). This vintage has now just depleted (it's amazing it lasted as long as it did), but the 2016 seems equally excellent!

Peter Lehmann H&V Riesling 2015 - April 2018 Decanter review

Peter Lehmann, with 33 vintages already under his belt, started his own winery in 1979, partly as a means of helping with the glut of grapes then afflicting the Barossa. "I'll take your grapes and turn them into wine," he told the desperate growers, many of them conservative farmers of Silesian descent who regarded their old vines as part of their patrimony. "But I'll only be able to pay you when I sell the wine." They gratefully accepted. Without this deal, it is widely thought that the Barossa would have lost a huge chunk of its old vines. The 'Hill & Valley' wines are made from fruit selected, often from single vineyards, in the Barossa Valley and from the higher reaches of the adjacent Eden Valley.

The grapes were sourced from John and Liz Stanton and Mark and Deborah Petney's vineyards on the Eastern slopes of Eden Valley. This east-facing side is particularly cool as it lies over 400m above sea level on acidic sandy soils, ideal for enhancing the natural acid balance of an exceptional Riesling.

The fruit was picked early, crushed, chilled and the juice immediately separated from the skins to enhance delicacy. Following cold fermentation in stainless steel tanks, the wine was clarified and bottled.

Early picking has produced a fresh, lively Riesling with a delicate green tinge and hints of freshly picked limes. The palate shows great fruit purity with a refreshingly crisp, dry finish. It is a wine that can be drunk now or aged with confidence for a few years where it will develop the complexity expected of a top flight Eden Valley Riesling.

ABV = 11.0%.

£13.65

Clos Clare Watervale Riesling 2018 (1x75cl)

The 2016 vintage was awarded 92 points and Highly Recommended status by Decanter (www.decanter.com) in their April 2018 edition review of Australian Riesling  (see blue link below) .

Clos Clare Watervale Riesling 2016 - April 2018 Decanter review

The story behind clos Clare (sic) is fast becoming a legendary tale and has earned a place in the Clare Valley’s winemaking history. This tiny, two hectare vineyard was originally part of the celebrated Florita vineyard in the Clare Valley subregion of Watervale, famed for producing outstanding dry Riesling. In 1986, Mark, Peter and John Barry purchased the whole Florita vineyard and sold off the small corner of the vineyard to a local artist, Ian Sanders and clos Clare was born. Today’s label is an original design by Ian Sanders. In 2007, Peter and Sue Barry purchased clos Clare, which by now had forged a reputation for producing one of Australia’s finest dry Rieslings. clos Clare is now run by their sons, Tom and Sam, the third generation of the Barry family and grandsons of Jim Barry, a pioneer of Clare Valley winemaking. For outstanding Clare Valley Rieslings, look no further.

Located in the prestigious Watervale subregion of the Clare Valley, the vineyard itself is over 70 years old, although the Riesling vines were replanted 46 years ago. Situated in the south-west corner of the former La Florita vineyard, the clos Clare vineyard comprises two hectares. The vines are dry-grown, which is facilitated by the clay content of the soil, as it helps to retain the moisture to nourish the vine. The canopy management techniques used in the vineyard differ according to the orientation of the vine: the north-facing vines are exposed to the sun, while the southfacing vines are protected by the canopy vegetation.

The fruit was hand-picked during the latter part of February and was immediately chilled for 24 hours, prior to whole bunch pressing. The juice was completely racked off its solids after approximately 48 hours and fermented. The fermentation process took place without lees agitation or stirring and once the fermentation was complete, it was racked off its lees. Oxygen was not purposely introduced at any stage, as the wine was made as reductively as possible.

100% Riesling.

A hand-crafted wine showing poise, elegance and character. Delicate aromas of lemons and limes, carry through onto the palate. The palate shows great balance between citrus fruit and the hallmark acidity of the 2018 vintage and leads to a delicious and mouthwatering finish.

A hand-crafted wine showing poise, elegance and character. Delicate aromas of lemons and limes, carry through onto the palate. The palate shows great balance between citrus fruit and the hallmark acidity of the 2018 vintage and leads to a delicious and mouthwatering finish.

The Watervale Riesling is a stunning accompaniment to shellfish and fish dishes or with Asian influenced cuisine.

This wine is suitable for vegetarians but not vegans.

ABV = 12.0%.

£20.45

Dandelion Vineyards Enchanted Garden of the Eden Valley Riesling 2018 (1x75cl)

Dandelion Vineyards is the venture of self-titled 'typist' Zar Brooks, his winemaking wife Elena and growers Carl Lindner and Brad Rey, with wines made from the Barossa and Eden Valleys, Fleurieu and McLaren Vale. Nick Stock, one of Australia's leading journalists, has described Dandelion as follows: "Brooks has teamed up with his winemaking wife Elena, a woman whose talents are outweighed only by her tolerance, in an exciting new venture called Dandelion Vineyards. The approach is remarkably simple and sees Elena making wine from a suite of beautiful old vineyards identified by Carl Lindner and Brad Rey across that blessed curve that runs from the Barossa, up through the Eden Valley and Adelaide Hills and down into McLaren Vale".

Dandelion Vineyards are proven plantings that have stood the test of time, encouraging the humble dandelion amongst the vines as they suppress winter weeds, provide mulch in summer, and proffer their Wishing Clocks in spring to blow off and make the Dandelion wish come true. The Enchanted Garden was planted in 1910 and thrives to this day, a seven acre Eden Valley Vine Garden lovingly tended by Sue and Stuart Woodman.

Whole bunches were hand picked, then destemmed without crushing the fruit to fill the press exactly. The free-run juice and pressings were fermented separately in small tanks between 11-13°C. The wine was bottled directly with minimal fining and filtration.

See blue link below for the excellent fiche technique/technical note from the winemakers at Dandelion.

Dandelion Vineyards Enchanted Garden Of The Eden Valley Riesling 2018 - fiche technique

This wine is 100% Riesling.

The appearance of this Riesling foretells the pristine quality of its fruit. Classic aromas of citrus zest, lemon foliage and hints of dragon fruit flowers are etched by a clear steely minerality. This is an attractively textural wine displaying the variety's intense purity. Bone-dry, its structure and length is underpinned by bracing acidity.

ABV = 11.5%.

£13.90

Henschke Julius Riesling 2018 (1x75cl)

The 2017 vintage was awarded 90 points and Highly Recommended status by Decanter (www.decanter.com) in their April 2018 edition review of Australian Riesling (see blue link below).

Henschke Julius 2017 - April 2018 Decanter review

Today, it is fifth-generation winemaker Stephen Henschke and his viticulturist wife Prue at the helm of Henschke, passionately upholding the family name and reputation. Stephen and Prue continue to craft their white wines with a focus on purity, while their red wines have a strong focus on terroir, using traditional winemaking techniques. Stephen's thoughts on their work: “Prue and I are the current ‘keepers of the flame’. Just as earlier generations have done, we want to manage the vineyards and winery so they can be passed on to the next generation in better condition than we inherited them. Our vision would not be complete without the expectation that future generations will uphold and perpetuate our belief that such ancient and unique single-vineyard sites can produce exceptional wines that are prized for their beauty and rarity.”

Cyril Henschke developed the Henschke reputation for premium riesling wines as early as the 1950s from the vineyard areas of Eden Valley, Keyneton and Springton in the Eden Valley wine region. This region provides ideal ripening conditions for the riesling grape and has a unique track record of exceptional ageing potential for the variety. The Eden Valley riesling vineyard is planted on sandy loam over gravel and bedrock with patches of clay. The wine is named after ancestor Julius Henschke, a highly acclaimed artist and sculptor.

Riesling 100%.

For a full description of this wine with tasting notes, we would direct you to the data sheet/fiche technique from Henschke themselves (click blue link below)

Henschke Julius Riesling 2018 - fiche technique

ABV = 11.5%.

£28.70

Clonakilla Canberra District Riesling 2017 (1x75cl)

Awarded 88 points and Recommended status by Decanter (www.decanter.com) in their April 2018 edition review of Australian Riesling  (see blue link below).

Clonakilla Riesling 2017 - April 2018 Decanter review

Dr John Kirk founded Clonakilla vineyard at Murrumbateman, 40 kilometres north of Canberra, in 1971 after his scientific curiosity led him to question why vines were not being grown in this area. His research showed that the soil and climate seemed suited to certain varieties. Clonakilla means 'meadow of the church' and is the name of theDr Kirk's grandfather's farm in County Clare, Ireland. In 1997 Tim Kirk, the fourth of John's six sons, took over responsibility for winemaking. Today, Clonakilla is recognised as one of the leading estates in Australia. Tim was named Gourmet Traveller Winemaker of the Year in 2013.

Riesling has been grown at Clonakilla since 1971, and John Kirk used it to make the Canberra District's first commercial vintage in 1976. The fruit for the 2017 Riesling comes from estate owned vineyards around the winery, planted on fertile soils on a bed of decomposed granite. At 600 metres above sea level, the grapes benefit from a cool, continental climate, with warm days and cool nights that extend the ripening season.

Winter rains set up an ideal growing season which sustained the fruit through a warm summer and classic cool climate ripening period. Harvest took place in March 2017.

The grapes were whole bunch pressed, with the clear juice fermented in stainless steel tanks at low temperatures. The wine was stabilised and bottled three months after picking, in June 2017.

100% Riesling.

Residual sugar = 5g/litre.

A pale straw green Riesling, with ripe lime, citrus and floral notes paving the way for a crisp, fresh palate. Beautiful natural, mineral acidity gives the wine great texture and length.

ABV = 12.5%.

£25.20

Chateau La Fleur Grands-Landes Montagne St. Emilion 2015 (1x75cl)

Awarded 88 points and Recommended status by Decanter (www.decanter.com) in their April 2018 edition review of the St-Emilion satellite appellations 2015 vintage (see blue link below).

Château La Fleur Grands-Landes Montagne St. Emilion 2015 - April 2018 Decanter review

The Durand family has owned the seven hectare estate in the Montagne district since the 18th century. In 1969, M. Carrère, Mme Durand's husband took over the estate, shaping it to its current form. Since 1997, his daughter Isabelle Carrère, oenologist from Michel Rolland's team, has been running the estate having taught viticulture and oenology for 10 years.

The vines are grown on slopes in clay soils. The vineyards are carefully managed throughout the year, with debudding, manual removal of the vine-shoots, leafthinning and green harvesting all being carefully performed. Chemical fertilisers are not used; instead vegetal based compost is added moderately to the soil having monitored its equilibrium. A manual harvest takes place when the grapes are slightly overripe to get a better phenolic maturity of the skins and the pips.

Generous flowering took place followed by a hot, dry early summer. August was slightly cooler and damper, followed by good weather in September enabling the grapes to reach full maturity. Generally the harvest took place earlier than the previous year. 2015 has been cited as a great modern Bordeaux vintage of excellent quality.

The grapes were carefully sorted by hand after a total destemming on the sorting table. 20% of the wine was bled off. A cold maceration took place prior to fermentation, which lasted three to four days. The fermentation was carried out in temperature controlled stainless steel vats, with daily pump-overs and lasted for three weeks. The wine was then matured, with 80% aged in vats and 20% in oak barrels.

Merlot 80%, Cabernet Franc 15%, Cabernet Sauvignon 5%.

A medium bodied Bordeaux , with spicy, dark fruits and herbal notes combined with earthy hints. A beautifully balanced wine with silky tannins and a light finish. A lovely match for beef wellington or barbequed chicken.

This wine is suitable for vegetarians and vegans.

ABV = 14.0%.

£14.60

Raymond Vineyards, Reserve Selection, Napa Valley, Cabernet Sauvignon 2015 (1x75cl)

The 2014 vintage was awarded 91 points and Highly Recommended status by Decanter (www.decanter.com) in their April 2018 edition review of 2014 Californian Cabernet Sauvignon (see blue link below).

Raymond Reserve CS 2014 - April 2018 Decanter review

The yet-to-be-released-in-the-UK 2015 vintage was awarded 90 points and Highly Recommended status by Decanter (www.decanter.com) in their November 2018 edition review of 2015 Californian Cabernet Sauvignon (see blue link below).

Raymond Reserve CS 2015 - Nov 2018 Decanter review

Raymond Vineyards, founded in 1970, is one of the Napa Valley’s pioneering estates. The Raymond family arrived in Napa in 1933 and have become deeply connected to the valley’s winemaking origins. In 1970, they established a 36 hectare estate in Rutherford, which now comprises 121 hectares in Rutherford, St. Helena and Jameson Canyon. Raymond’s Rutherford and St. Helena estate vineyards are certified organic and biodynamic; and 100% of the winery’s power comes from renewable solar energy. Five generations of the Raymond family have created a Napa icon, with an enduring reputation for elegant wines with a beautiful balance of finesse, opulence and complexity.

In honour of the Raymond family’s first harvest in 1974, 40 years of exceptional wines are celebrated with the 2014 Napa Valley Reserve Selection Cabernet Sauvignon. The 2014 vintage in Napa Valley was one of the earliest harvested vintages in years. A warm spring led to early bud break and created the perfect environment for flowering and fruit set. With warm days and cool nights, the ideal balance of acidity with optimum, bright fruit flavours was achieved.

The grapes for the Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon were sourced from the vineyards in Rutherford and St. Helena, as well as select nearby growers. The estate vineyards are located on gravelly alluvial fan soils with good drainage, necessary for growing excellent quality Cabernet Sauvignon. The vineyards are diligently monitored throughout the growing season to balance the crop size and quality. Shoot thinning and leaf removal early in the growing season, followed by cluster thinning at véraison, help to achieve evenly ripened grapes with concentrated flavours.

This wine spent between 21 and 63 days on the skins, then was aged for 19 months in 100% French oak, of which 30% was new. The balance was aged in twice and thrice used French oak. The final blend includes a small proportion of additional varieties for added depth and complexity. The wine was bottled unfiltered, contributing greater texture and presence to the mid palate.

The 40th Anniversary 2014 Reserve Selection Cabernet Sauvignon opens with fresh aromas of cherry, candied violet and red fruits with a touch of sandalwood and maple. Enveloping on the palate with flavours of blackcurrant and cocoa nibs this wine is juicy with melting tannins and a kiss of minerality on the finish. Serving Suggestion A great match with roast pork tenderloin or hearty pasta dishes.

ABV = 14.5%.

£39.25

Grosset Springvale Clare Valley Riesling 2019 (1x75cl)

Jeffrey Grosset established his winery in 1981 in the historic township of Auburn, Clare Valley, 100 kilometres north of Adelaide. The winery is stylish and functional and reflects the attention to detail that extends to the Grosset estate-owned vineyards and winemaking. Jeff is best known for his Rieslings which have shown a consistency of style and quality, making this one of Australia’s greatest wineries. By combining a disciplined approach and decades of experience, Grosset consistently achieves the purest expression of variety and place.

The six hectare Springvale vineyard (ACO certified organic) is situated at Watervale’s highest elevation (460 metres) on a gradual, mainly north -facing slope where thin red loams are interspersed with shale over limestone. This highly soft rock site insulates the drought-sensitive Riesling vines, which produce compact lime-green, moderate sized berries and bunches averaging 150 grams.

The 2019 vintage was a game changer for Grosset Wines. The low winter rainfall resulted in the lowest yielding vintage for decades. Smaller berries and bunches than normal gave more concentrated flavours in the harvested fruit.

The organic grapes were hand harvested and delivered promptly to the winery in small parcels, where they were crushed and destemmed. The fruit was then gently pressed and the free run juice was inoculated with neutral yeasts to preserve the natural expression of the vineyard in the final wine. Fermentation lasted two weeks and took place in temperature controlled stainless steel tanks in separate batches according to clone and vine age before blending and bottling.

100% Riesling. 

Residual sugar: 1.4 g/litre.

The 2019 Springvale Riesling is highly fragrant with intense aromas of lemongrass, lime and floral notes. On the palate, this wine is powerful and weighty with concentrated lemon and lime flavours. The crisp acidity and mineral notes carry through on the lingering finish.

ABV = 12.8%.

£26.45

Pierre Luneau-Papin Muscadet De Sevre Et Maine Le Clos Des Noelles Excelsior 2016 (1x75cl)

The 2014 Vintage was Awarded 93 points and Highly Recommended status by Decanter (www.decanter.com) in their January 2018 edition article: The Most Exciting Wines of 2017 (see blue link below).

Luneau-Papin Muscadet dSeM Excelsior 2014 - January 2018 Decanter review

Pierre-Marie Luneau heads this 50 hectare estate in Le Landreau, a village in the heart of Muscadet country, where small hamlets dot a landscape of vineyards on low hills. Their estate, also known as Domaine Pierre de la Grange has been in existence since the early 18th Century when it was already planted with Melon de Bourgogne, the Muscadet appellation's single varietal. After taking over from his father Pierre in 2011, Pierre-Marie bacame the ninth generation of his family to make wine in the area. This wine comes from a parcel of vines – Clos des Noëlles, planted in 1945 by Pierre-Marie's great grandfather, Joseph Bonneau. This wine is certified as organic. 

Everything that is done in the vineyard and the cellar is designed to produce a top quality wine that reflects this wonderfull schisteous terroir and emphasises the full range of wine’s aromas. This is achieved by maturing the wine on its lees, wich are frequently stirred. All technical manipulation of the wine is banned. This is a pure expression of terroir-no cold maceration, no skin contact, no barrel aging… To appreciate Excelsior at its best this Grand Cru Muscadet, like white Burgundy, should be decanted.

The grapes are picked by hand and are meticulously sorted in the vineyard.They are pressed in a pneumatic press. The juice is then transferred by gravity to small underground vats, wich are lined with glass tiles and are very typical of the Nantes region. This is followed by cold clarification of grape juice and there is no chaptalisation (addition of sugar). Temperature controlled alcoholic fermentation lasts for several weeks at 20° using indigenous yeasts. This wine then spends 24 months maturing on its lees.

This wine is 100% Melon de Bourgogne.

This single-vineyard Muscadet has an amazing, almost exotic nose of acacia blossom and lime flower. It fills the palate with layer upon layer of fruit that reminds you of bread and butter pudding. The yeasty sour dough smokiness lingers and it has a good length. 

This wine is suitable for vegetarians and vegans.

£24.50

Ca Rugate Monte Fiorentine Soave Classico 2018 (1x75cl)

Awarded Tre Bicchieri -2020 by Gambero Rosso.

The 2016 vintage was awarded 91 points and Highly Recommended status by Decanter (www.decanter.com) in their May 2018 article on Soave (see blue link below).

Ca'Rugate Monte Fiorentine Soave Classico 2016 - May 2018 Decanter review

The family business has been handed down through the generations of the Tessari family since the early 1900s. The estate was renamed Ca'Rugate in 1986, taking its name from the volcanic hills where the vineyards are located. Now run by the fourth generation, Michele has brought with him a lively, passionate and entrepreneurial spirit. Considerable expansion has taken place in recent years with investment in a new technologically advanced cellar and expansion into the Valpolicella area with the purchase of vineyards in the hilly zone of Montecchia di Crosara. Ca'Rugate has been awarded the prestigious 'Tre Bicchieri' award rating from Gambero Rosso multiple times, making it one of the most awarded producers in the competition and has been hailed by the New York Times as one of the "Top Five producers of high end Soave".

The grapes come from the Monte Fiorentine vineyard in Brognoligo di Monteforte d'Alpone and are harvested at optimum maturity in the middle of October. The yields are 90-100 quintals per hectare. The vineyard soils are volcanic and rich in minerals, imparting a certain minerality to the final wine.

The 2018 winter was cool with frequent rainfall. The start of the growing season was also marked by rain, but a hot, dry period followed during the summer. Attention in the vineyard with crop thinning in July maintained the yields of the Garganega vines. The harvest delivered good yields of high quality grapes.

Fermented in stainless steel tanks at a temperature of 16 to 18°C for approximately 10 to 15 days, maintaining the freshness and aromatic qualities of the Garganega grapes.

100% Garganega.

Rich and golden in colour, a wonderful example of a Soave Classico, with beautiful layering of exotic, tropical fruits and a touch of minerality. Full and rich in flavour, this is a structured wine with a fresh, mineral finish. This wine is best enjoyed chilled, to accompany full flavoured dishes in creamy sauces, fish, soups and young cheeses.

This wine is suitable for vegetarians and vegans.

ABV = 12.5%.

£15.20
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