The July 2018 edition of Decanter (www.decanter.com) - released 1st June - features a bundle of excellent reviews, and we are delighted to offer some 23 wines from them (see foot of page for all of their clickable product pages and the links in the text below).
The 2017 vintage was awarded 91 points and Highly Recommended status by Decanter (www.decanter.com) in their April 2019 edition article Weekday Wines (see blue link below).
The history of Trapiche begins in 1883, in a small vineyard called El Trapiche, in the district of Godoy Cruz, Mendoza, where the grapes for the first fine wines were grown. With more than 130 years of experience, Trapiche has earned its place as a pioneering winery in the introduction of French vines, the production of varietal wines, the import of French oak barrels and the use of stainless steel tanks. True to its origins, today Trapiche is in a continuous quest for the latest best practices. Led by Daniel Pi, Director of Winemaking, Trapiche's winemaking team permanently strives to improve winemaking practices by exchanging experience and knowledge with winemakers from other wine producing countries such as France, the US, Australia and New Zealand
The grapes are hand-harvested in the early hours of the morning, when the sea breeze still rests on the berries. The fruit is carefully selected from the vines that produce highly-concentrated grapes. The juice undergoes cold skin maceration for 24 hours followed by pneumatic pressing. Ageing takes place in French oak barrels for 7 months, achieving a more complex aromatic profile. The wine is clarified, stabilised, filtered and bottled.
An elegant wine, lemon in colour with slight greenish tones. It has notes of green apples, pear, citrus fruits and hints of nuts & broiche. Delicate on the palate with marked minerality and a long, delicious finish.
The 2015 vintage was awarded 92 points and Highly Recommended status by Decanter (www.decanter.com) in their July 2018 edition article on New Zealand Pinot Noir (see blue link below). It is, however, seemingly as rare as unicorn mane, and thus we offer the 2015.
Neal and Judy Ibbotson were pioneers in the Marlborough wine industry, first planting vineyards in the valley in 1978 and then establishing Saint Clair Family Estate in 1994. They own 160 hectares of vineyard in 10 different Marlborough locations chosen specifically for the attributes of their individual "terroir" and ability to produce top quality grapes. Neal Ibbotson combines his extensive expertise in viticulture with the talent of one of New Zealand's leading winemaking teams led by Hamish Clark. Since 1994, when wines from the first vintage all won medals including gold, the name Saint Clair has been synonymous with quality and its award-winning record continues today. This is a sentiment shared by Bob Campbell MW, who says “Saint Clair now makes the country’s and perhaps the world’s best Sauvignon Blanc”.
The grapes are sourced from a single vineyard in the Delta region within the Southern Valleys subregion, where the vines are grown in clay soils. A naturally low cropping vineyard that produces tight bunches with small berries, which intensifies the wine's flavour and concentration. Some of the grapes come from clone 115. The fruit was harvested when it had reached full physiological ripeness and maximum flavour maturity.
The fruit was cold soaked for five days prior to fermentation to help extract maximum flavour and to enhance colour stability. 27% whole cluster bunches were added to the fermentation to add a stems component and another layer of complexity. Selected cultured yeast were used to carry out the alcoholic fermentation, during which the fermenting must was hand plunged up to six times daily at the peak of fermentation. At dryness the wine was pressed, then racked off the gross lees to a mixture of 32%new French oak and older seasoned 225 litre oak barriques. The wine was aged for 10 months during which time it underwent malolactic fermentation. The wine was then carefully extracted from oak, blended and prepared for bottling.
100% Pinot Noir.
Concentrated flavours of black cherry, blackcurrant, Kalamata olive, and perfumed wild flowers, lead to an elegant palate with a structure reminiscent of finely powdered cocoa or dense dark chocolate. The finish is long incorporating freshly roasted coffee beans, toasty oak and spice.
ABV = 13.5%.
When Hermann Seifried and his New Zealand wife Agnes first planted grapes in the Moutere Valley near Nelson, Seifried has grown to become one of New Zealand’s most sustainable family-owned wineries. With 14 vinifera varieties, on two hectares of land, they began the South Island’s modern commercial wine industry. Hermann and Agnes were true pioneers, experimenting with what classical European varieties may do well in this untested climate and terroir. Today it has grown from very modest beginnings to become one of New Zealand’s most sustainable wineries, producing the very best Nelson has to offer. The site that Herman and Agnes chose for their new vineyards was perfect in terms of location. It is surrounded by mountains to the east, west and south (Richmond and Western Ranges) and the Tasman Sea to the north, which moderates the temperate climate throughout the year. The sunshine here was also a real drawcard, with an average of over 2,400 hours of sunshine a year, earning Nelson its reputation as the ‘Sunshine Capital of New Zealand’. 1976 was the first harvest with five distinctive varietal wines being made - Riesling, Sylvaner, Chardonnay, Müller-Thurgau and Refosco.
The Old Coach Road brings together Pinot Noir from both of Seifried's Brightwater and Rabbit Island vineyards.
100% Pinot Noir.
To see the winemaker's notes - including a tasting note - on/for this wine, please click on the blue link below.
This wine is suitable for vegans and vegetarians.
ABV = 13.0%.
The 2017 vintage was awarded 95 points and Outstanding status by Decanter (www.decanter.com) in their October 2019 edition article on South American Old Vines (see blue link below)... and
... awarded 91 points and Highly Recommended status by Decanter (www.decanter.com) in that same edition's panel tasting of Alternative South American Whites (see blue link below).
The 2016 vintage was awarded 95 points and Outstanding status status by Decanter (www.decanter.com) in their July 2018 edition article on Argentinian whites (see blue link below)....
... and 95 points and Outstanding status by Decanter (www.decanter.com) in their October 2017 edition article on South America's Top Ten Winemakers (see blue link below).
Matias Riccitelli is the son of renowned winemaker Jorge Riccitelli. Having worked at some of the most prestigious wineries in Argentina and several vintages around the world, Matias used his experience, knowledge and passion and set up his own winery in 2009. His vineyards cover 50 hectares located in three selected sites within the premium growing region of Lujan de Cuyo, Mendoza. This is a young and dynamic project in which Matias is seeking to express the full potential of Argentine terroir.
This Sémillon was sourced from forgotten vines that are over 50 years old. These old vineyards are located in Río Negro in Patagonia, at an altitude of 400 metres above sea level on the 39° latitude south. Sunlight exposure is more intense than northern areas, but at this latitude the nights are much colder. This daily diurnal temperature range is excellent for the production of quality grapes; the nightly cooling-off extends the ripening period, allowing the grapes to develop rich varietal characteristics while retaining balancing acidity.
The grapes were harvested at perfect maturity levels and then underwent a skin maceration of 12 hours at 10°C. Fermentation took place at temperatures of between 14 to16°C. Maturation lasted for eight months with 50% aged in French oak barrels and 50% in small concrete eggs.
It has all the seriousness, subtleness, elegance and nuances that old Sémillon is capable of. This is not explosive or showy, it's a little restrained. A Sémillon that is beautifully textured with great acidity and a long, moreish finish.
ABV = 12.5%.
The 2016 vintage was awarded 93 points and Highly Recommended status by Decanter (www.decanter.com) in their October 2017 edition review of Argentinian whites (see blue link below).
The wines of Susana Balbo’s Signature series are her maximum expression of her art as a wine- maker. The barrels with the most sophisticated aromatics and flavors are selected for this line. Susana looks for great complexity and balance in her wines, and each varietal is individually fermented and aged in order to achieve this. All of the wines of this line are a reflection of the personal likes and preferences of Susana, who individually composes each batch.
Produced in very limited quantity, this wine was fermented for three months in medium-toast French oak barrels. The result is a wine that embraces the delicate floral aromas of this unique grape variety, intertwined with enchanting exotic fruit characters, a twist of lime, and notes of wild honey and fresh vanilla. Sublime yet subtle in the mouth, the finish is elegant, long, and finely balanced.
Hand-harvested, hand-picked, destemmed, cooled at 6° C, macerated with dry ice for 6 hours, low-pressure pressed. 100% fermented in new French oak and aged for 4 months in 100% new French oak barrels.
Pale gold with bright reflections. On the nose, this wine seduces because of its hints of white pear, white flowers and ripe peach. On the palate, it has a beautiful structure and acidity along with enticing fruit flavours. Plenty of body for a wine that shows such delicate aromas and flavours. Fruity, floral and yet still quite dry.
Awarded a Gold medal and 95 points at the 2019 Decanter World Wine Awards (click link for details)
Awarded 94 points and Highly Recommended status by Decanter (www.decanter.com) in August 2018 (see blue link below).
The legendary Schloss Johannisberg is steeped in history. The vineyards were planted on the orders of the Roman Emperor Charlemagne. Planted solely with Riesling grapes in 1720, Schloss Johannisberg was the world's first Riesling Estate and plays a significant part in wine history. It was here in 1775 that the Spätlese quality was discovered using late picked grapes suffering from "noble rot". Following this discovery, in 1787 the estate gave Auslese, Beerenauslese and Trockenbeerenauslese to the wine world. Schloss Johannisberg is a single vineyard designation in its own right and one of a handful of German vineyards that does not have to display a village name on the label.
The south-facing vineyard is steep, with a 45° gradient and climbs from 114 metres above sea level to 181 metres. The forest on the top of the Taunus protects the vineyard from cold winds from the north, while in the south, the Rhine lays like a lake in front of the estate. The 50° parallel runs directly through the vineyard and the unique soil formation of Taunus quartz, topped with loam and rich loess, is perfect for minerally Rieslings, retaining both moisture and heat.
2017 began with very cold and extremely dry conditions. March 2017 was one of the warmest months on record and as a result the vines started to shoot on April 12th – approximately 14 days earlier than usual, which was a new record. A very warm May brought the long-awaited rainfall, which was crucial for the vine’s development. Warm conditions during the summer enabled ripening to start from the beginning of August and a record-breaking early harvest was emerging. Harvesting began in the middle of September and produced high quality grapes.
The grapes were handpicked from the steep, south facing slopes of Domaine Schloss Joahnnisberg in the Rheingau. These were pressed in whole clusters and fermented in old oak barrels for a period of six weeks. The wine was then left on its lees for seven months, adding complexity and weight to the wine.
This deep lemon yellow wine shows complex aromas of peaches and apricots, complemented by lemon, lavender, a hint of smoky minerality and an elegant spiciness in the background. Concentrated on the palate, with a mouthwatering acidity and a long, clean finish.
ABV = 12.5%.
Awarded 92 points and Highly Recommended status by Decanter (www.decanter.com) in their July 2018 edition panel review of Australian Shiraz (see blue link below).
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 iconic Rieslings, and he has almost single-handedly been responsible for the renaissance of Clare Valley Riesling. By combining a disciplined approach and decades of experience, Grosset consistently achieves the purest expression of variety and place.
Jeff sourced fruit for the 'Nereus' from three carefully selected private growers in the Clare Valley.
2014 saw early vintage challenges of extreme heat and rain which resulted in slightly lower than average fruit yields. Despite this, the overall quality achieved this year was outstanding. The vineyard canopies maintained optimum physiological ripeness, resulting in perfect sugar and acid balance in the grapes.
Fascinated by the art of blending, Jeff has trialled Shiraz-based wines for years. This release is Shiraz with just a small amount of Nero d’Avola which adds a touch of perfume and freshness. the wines is matured in French oak (30% new barriques) for 24 months. Only 300 dozen were produced.
To see an informative information sheet, tasting note and reviews for this wine, please click on the blue link below.
90% Syrah/Shiraz, 10% Nero d`Avola.
The Grosset Nereus 2014 has complex brooding briary aromatics, and a supple fleshy palate that has generous brambly flavours with savoury overtones. It is medium-bodied yet has substantial weight and a gently firm tannin grip that is neatly balanced. It’s wonderfully drinkable now but can be cellared for the medium term.
ABV = 14.0%.
Awarded 95 points and Outstanding status by Decanter in their November 2019 edition expert tasting (by Matthew Jukes) of Australian Premium Shiraz (see blue link below).
Family owned d’Arenberg is located in the breathtaking McLaren Vale in South Australia, and produces an enviable range of wines. From humble beginnings, these wines quickly gained cult status amongst imbibers and judges alike – it’s a deft combination of winemaking tradition and vinous innovation. A tall order for some, but one that d’Arenberg takes in their stride as they continue to push the boundaries and get under the skin of each individual vineyard in order to get the best from the vines. This is backed up by an engaging consumer-friendly approach to the ‘deadly serious fun’ of wine.
Dead Arm is a vine disease caused by the fungus Eutypa Lata that randomly affects vineyards all over the world. Often affected vines are severely pruned or replanted. One half, or an 'arm' of the vine slowly becomes reduced to dead wood. That side may be lifeless and brittle, but the grapes on the other side, while low yielding, display amazing intensity.
Small batches of grapes are gently crushed and then transferred to five tonne headed down open fermenters. These batches remain separate until final blending. Foot treading is undertaken two thirds of the way through fermentation. The wine is then basket pressed and transferred to a mixture of new and used French and old American oak barriques to complete fermentation. The barrel ferments are aged on lees; there is no racking until final blending and no fining or filtration.
This iconic wine always displays the power and intensity of McLaren Vale Shiraz, yet has an elegance and refinement that few other wines from the region possess. It’s vibrant and lifted on the nose with bustling red fruits and savoury spice. The palate is long, linear and pure with tightly wound tannin and mouth-watering acidity. Beneath the layers of blueberry, pomegranate and satsuma plum is an intriguing core of earth and crushed rocks. If stored correctly, this wine should age for 15+ years.
ABV = 15.0%.
The 2014 vintage was awarded 90 points and Highly Recommended status by Decanter (www.decanter.com) in their July 2018 edition panel review of Australian Shiraz (see blue link below).
Mount Horrocks Wines is run by proprietor/winemaker Stephanie Toole. Stephanie restricts production to approximately 3,500 cases per annum in order to achieve her aims of quality and single vineyard expression. Stephanie describes her wines as 'essentially hand-made food wines with an emphasis on structure as well as generous fruit flavours'. All grapes are 100% estate grown from three separate vineyard sites totalling nearly 10 hectares which, in 2014, were 'A grade certified' by Australian Certified Organic (ACO). Her persistence with classic, no-compromise winemaking and a fully integrated organic approach to growing and making sets Mount Horrocks wines apart from the mainstream.
The Mount Horrocks Shiraz was produced from low yielding vines produced from their estate owned single vineyard in Watervale, Clare Valley, which is certified organic.
After an early break to the season, and following a cooler than average December and January, Mount Horrocks experienced just enough rainfall to keep canopies green and healthy. The early vintage, low yields, lack of disease and particularly mild, sunny conditions proved conducive to uninterrupted and relatively fast ripening, earlier than ever before. The result of the combined conditions was fully ripe fruit with high natural acidity.
10% of grapes were crushed, whole bunch, by foot, for mid-palate texture and additional complexity. The balance was cold soaked on skins and fermented in purpose-built vessels to allow gentle plunging of the cap to extract maximum colour, flavour and tannins. The wine then spent 18 months French oak barriques, of which 40% was new and the remainder one to two years old.
This wine is deep, dark crimson in colour. There are intense aromas of ripe dark fruits and dark chocolate. On the palate, it is rich with juicy red and black fruits, with hints of savoury spice. On the finish, it is long, with fine tannins and beautifully integrated oak which rounds out this ageworthy wine.
ABV = 14.0%.
Awarded 90 points and Highly Recommended status by Decanter (www.decanter.com) in their July 2018 edition panel review of Australian Shiraz (see blue link below).
Stephen Pannell is one of the best and brightest of the new generation of Australian winemakers, having spent a decade working as chief red wine maker at Hardys before striking out on his own in 2004. Steve has worked all over the world, including in Italy with Aldo Vajra in Barolo and in France for Domaine Dujac and Pousse d'Or. His broad experience has helped shape his approach to winemaking and his wines are true expressions of the grapes and vineyards of McLaren Vale. In October 2015, Steve was named Winemaker of the Year by the consumer wine magazine, Gourmet Traveller Wine.
This cool climate Syrah was sourced from Echunga, 410 metres above sea level in the Southern Adelaide Hills. The fruit is grown on well-drained, granitic soils which Stephen believes are perfect for the cultivation of the best quality Syrah. The vineyard is contour planted and is hand harvested in sections progressively through the vintage as each section matures.
Spring and early summer were quite warm and very dry, with temperatures cooler than usual in January and early February, which allowed the fruit character to develop at a steadier pace. The usual hot and dry weather soon returned, and as a result the vintage began a week earlier than normal. Although yields were reduced, the quality of the fruit harvested in 2015 was outstanding and the wines show excellent freshness, vibrancy and intensity.
Fermentation took place in small open top fermenters with 20% whole bunches. This along with hand plunging and pump overs contributed to the beautifully silky tannin structure of the wine. After fermentation, the wine was transferred to large format French oak vats and puncheons and matured for 10 months before bottling.
This wine is highly perfumed, vibrant and complex. There is a lovely tension between the power and control of the palate with intense juicy black fruit and peppery spice woven into a silky texture with well-integrated dry earthy tannins on the finish. As the use of 'Syrah' in the name suggests, it is more Northern Rhône in style.
ABV = 13.5%.
The 2016 vintage was awarded 90 points and Highly Recommended status by Decanter (www.decanter.com) in their July 2018 edition panel review of Australian Shiraz (see blue link below).
Established by Kym Teusner and Michael Page in 2001, Teusner’s philosophy is to produce only exceptional, affordable wines by being very selective about the fruit, which is sourced from old, well maintained vineyards in Barossa. These vineyards reliably produce balanced, complex fruit which are guided, with minimal input, into stunning wines.
The grapes come predominantly from Ebenezer, Northern Barossa, with a small quantity from Marananga in Western Barossa. Northern Barossa is known for its red fruit spectrum, with its cooler climate and heavier red soil that give a gentle flavour. Riebke, pronounced "Ribkee", is elevated at 200 metres above sea level, compared to the Barossa floor which is at approximately 80 metres altitude. These vineyards are selected for bright red fruit flavours and restrained characters. The vines are between 20 to 30 years of age.
The grapes were open fermented and received lots of oxygen from two daily manual pump overs. The yeasts were carefully monitored and the wine remained on its skins for five days. No pre or post-maceration took place, however oxygen was incorporated to soften the wine. Fermentation lasted for five days in stainless steel; it was then pressed through both a basket press and a pneumatic slotted screen press, providing more oxygen. The wine was then finished in tank or barrel depending on the parcel. The oak used was all old oak barrels of between three to 15 years old, for a period of 12 months. The wine was racked off and bottled, without fining or filtration.
The Riebke Shiraz is all about old vine fruit which delivers flavours of plums and ripe black fruit enveloped in warming spices of cinnamon and nutmeg. There’s a touch of mid-palate sweetness, with mocha and black olive and seamlessly integrated tannins. Plush, vibrant and generous with rich, dark fruit on the finish.
ABV = 14.5%.
The 2016 vintage was awarded 92 points and Highly Recommended status by Decanter (www.decanter.com) in their February 2018 edition article 30 Great New World Buys under £30 (see blue link below).
The 2016 was also awarded 89 points and Recommended status by Decanter (www.decanter.com) in their July 2018 edition panel review of Australian Shiraz (see blue link below).
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 Dr 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.
The grapes for this Shiraz were selected from four vineyards in the Hilltops district around Young in New South Wales, the Canberra District’s closest neighbouring wine region. The altitude is marginally lower than Canberra so the grapes tend to be harvested around two weeks before those grown on the estate. Soils are deep red loam over light clay, giving distinctive blackberry and blackcurrant notes to the wine.
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 majority of grapes were destemmed, with a small portion of bunches left intact. Separate batches were fermented in open-top vessels of various sizes, some containing up to 20% whole bunches to add complexity and texture. The wine spent 2-3 weeks on skins before being pressed to barrel. The wine was matured for 11 months in Allier oak barriques and puncheons, 15% of which were new; the remaining barrels varying from 2-5 years old. The wine was racked once during its maturation in oak, blended in November and bottled in late February the following year.
This wine is 100% Shiraz.
The wine has signature 'Hilltops' ripe, dark fruit flavours with a deep, concentrated cherry and blackberry character. It has fine-grained tannins and a racy acidity, which allow it to be enjoyed now but also be aged for up to 10 years.
ABV = 14.0%.