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Decanter July 18



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).

  • There's an expert review of New Zealand Pinot Noir(s) by Anne Krebiehl MW, in which our perennial favourite and South Island superstar, the Felton Road Block 5 2016 (from Bannockburn in Central Otago) scores a well-deserved 95 points, and is accompanied by fine specimens at more (and very) everyday prices by Saint Clair, Yealands and Seifried.
  • The much under-discovered whites of Argentina are well revealed in an expert review (by Andy Howard MW) of ... er.. Argentine whites. Three wonderful wines by Matias Riccitelli, Susana Balbo and Colomé (superb value this, at ~£11) are well worthy of a spot in any mixed case.
  • Dry German Rieslings - the top-bracket Grosses Gewächs category - get the full panel review/blind tasting treatment...
  • ... as does premium Australian Shiraz, where we lay claim to a good dozen contenders, including the Outstanding/95-point Castagna Genesis 2013 from the much-undervalued Beechworth sub-region.
  • And the ever-excellent Weekday Wines awards 92 points to one of our favourite cool-climate Chardonnays, Trapiche's Costa & Pampa 2016 from Mar del Plata in Argentina, much used in recent Exel tastings.

And for our full, filterable/searchable compendium of Decanter-recommended wines from the last two years, click here.


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Costa & Pampa Chardonnay,Trapiche 2016 (1x75cl)

Awarded 92 points and Highly Recommended status by Decanter (www.decanter.com) in their July 2018 edition article Weekday Wines (see blue link below)

Trapiche Costa & Pampa Chardonnay 2016 - July 2018 Decanter review

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).

Trapiche Costa & Pampa Chardonnay 2016 - October 2017 Decanter review

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.


Felton Road Block 5 Pinot Noir 2016 (1x75cl)

Awarded 95 points and rare Outstanding status by Decanter (www.decanter.com) in their July 2018 edition article on New Zealand Pinot Noir (see blue link below)

Felton Road Block 5 Pinot Noir 2016 - July 2018 Decanter review

Beginning with meticulous site selection and vineyard design started in 1991, Felton Road's story is one of refusal to compromise. A strict 100% estate policy with fully organic and biodynamic viticulture (Demeter certified) ensures that the fruit arrives at the winery as pure as it can be, while the entire estate comes as close to true sustainability as is possible. A commitment to hands off winemaking: gravity flow, wild yeasts, wild malolactic, an avoidance of fining and filtration all help preserve the wine's expression of its terroir. The result is Riesling, Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, which accurately express the authenticity and complexity of their unique vineyards.

Felton Road's Block 5 is situated within the Elms Vineyard which lies in a gently sloping, north facing valley cut into the Bannockburn hills at the southern extremity of the Cromwell Basin of Central Otago.

Around 25% of the grapes used to make this wine were kept in whole bunches with the remaining 75% being meticulously destemmed, then fed into fermenters using only gravity. There is a lengthy pre-fermentation soak of 7 - 8 days before the fermentation  is allowed to begin. Indigenous yeasts are used and during fermentation the skins are punched down 3 times a day.  This is done over a period of a minimum of 21 days. The wine is then transferred to barrels ( a third of these are made using new French Oak) and the wine is left to mature for 17 months.  The wine is racked twice before being bottled without fining or filtration.

Winemakers comments: "Immediately the pedigree is obvious: loaded with dark fruit and dried herbs, with hints of smoked meat over a complex spice background. The palate leads with a silky, chocolate like sensation that builds and flows to every corner of the mouth. There is a harmony of different textural components that's enchanting and endlessly enticing. It's all about finesse, detail and honesty, no more and no less."


Saint Clair Omaka Reserve Pinot Noir 2015 (1x75cl)

The 2016 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.

Saint Clair Omaka Reserve Pinot Noir 2015 - July 2018 Decanter review

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.

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.


Yealands Estate Pinot Noir Winemaker Reserve 2015 (1x 75cl)

The 2016 vintage was awarded 91 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, some way from arriving into the UK (we'll keep you posted).

Yealands Estate Pinot Noir Winemaker Reserve 2015 - July 2018 Decanter review

Thinking differently is what they do at Yealands. Crafting award-winning wines in harmony with nature has seen them lead the world in sustainable winegrowing. But most importantly, it means great tasting wines which don’t cost the earth.

The grapes for this wine come from the Willowflat Vineyard, Awatere Valley. The block comprises of a North facing slope that has an altitude of 180 metres above sea level. The soils are free draining river gravels with a top loess layer.

Regular hand plunging has helped to craft a wine with elegance and balance. 10% of the blend was whole bunch fermented in a small format French oak Cuve. The wine was aged for 12 months in French barriques in a selection from my favourite coopers, 15% of which were new. Malolatic fermentation commenced naturally during spring. The blend received no fining and was lightly filtered prior to bottling.

Winemaker’s notes: “This parcel of fruit has been selected from one of our Awatere Valley river terrace blocks that are so well suited to high quality Pinot Noir production. We work very hard in the vineyard to minimise crop levels and this fruit does get quite a bit of sun exposure to ripen sufficiently the tannins and all aspects of the wine. What intrigues me about this wine is the beautiful floral notes and elegance. We aim to enhance these attributes of the wine with French oak barrels but are always very careful not to include too much new oak. It is always a bit shy right after bottling but I believe the wine will continue to evolve in the bottle positively for years to come. An elegant Pinot Noir showing ripe red fruit and floral characters enhanced by well-integrated oak and a velvety texture. Cellar up to 10 years.”

This wine is suitable for vegetarians and vegans.


Pinot Noir, Old Coach Road, Seifried Estate 2016 (1x 75cl)

Awarded 89 points and Recommended status by Decanter (www.decanter.com) in their July 2018 edition article on New Zealand Pinot Noir (see blue link below)

Pinot Noir, Old Coach Road, Seifried Estate 2016 - July 2018 Decanter review

The Old Coach Road brings together Pinot Noir from both of Seifried's Brightwater and Rabbit Island vineyards.

The Brightwater vineyard is situated 15 km from the coast and is sheltered from the south by the Richmond ranges. The ‘soil’ is a combination of rocks and boulders: very hard on the farm equipment but vital for holding the warmth of Nelson’s sun. The Rabbit Island vineyards are situated on a wide river flat. The soil is made up of gravelly sandy loam, which marks the sites of Maori kumara beds (sweet potato) prior to European settlement in the early 1800’s. The Maori transferred and spread fine gravel and sand over the land to provide suitable soils for their kumara plantings. Scrub was burned to give ash and charcoal which increased soil fertility and gave characteristic topsoil. This fertility is now considerably reduced due to modern farming. The soils are however, very sandy and free draining. The water table is relatively high ensuring adequate underground water.

The grapes were picked and then underwent a five day cold maceration period before being inoculated for fermentation. The cap was plunged 2-3 times daily during fermentation. A further 3-6 days of skin contact followed the fermentation period before the wine was drained to oak barrels for an immediate malolactic fermentation and ageing.

The 2016 Old Coach Road Pinot Noir is warm and varietal. Summer berry fruits, notes of plum and gentle savoury spices define the nose and palate. The wine has a long, warm generous finish that lasts on the palate.

This wine is suitable for vegans and vegetarians.


Riccitelli Old Vines Patagonia Semillon 2016 (1x75cl)

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)

Riccitelli Old Vines Semillon 2016 - July 2018 Decanter review

Awarded 95 points and rare Outstanding status by Decanter (www.decanter.com) in their October 2017 edition article on South America's Top Ten Winemakers  (see blue link below)

Riccitelli Old Vines Semillon 2016 - October 2017 Decanter review

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 Semillon 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.

100% Semillon. 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 Semillon is capable of. This is not explosive or showy, it's a little restrained. A Semillon that is beautifully textured with great acidity and a long, moreish finish.


Colome Torrontes 2017 (1x75cl)

Awarded 93 points and Highly Recommended status by Decanter (www.decanter.com) in their July 2018 edition article on Argentinian whites (see blue link below)

Colome Torrontes 2017 - July 2018 Decanter review

Bodega Colomé was established in 1831 by the Spanish Governor of Salta, Nicolás Severo de Isasmendi y Echalar. In 1854, his daughter Ascensión, who was married to José Benjamín Dávalos, brought the first French pre-phylloxera Malbec and Cabernet Sauvignon vines to Colomé. Grapes from three vineyards (of four hectares each) planted in that year are still used to make wines. Located in the Upper Calchaquí Valley in Salta in the far north of Argentina, not only is Colomé the oldest winery in Argentina, but it also claims to own the world's highest vineyard.

The high altitude of the Calchaqui Valley and greater difference between day and night temperatures, ensures a longer growing season which in turn leads to a more intense accumulation of flavour in the grapes. The large difference (25°C) between day and night also aids the retention of natural acidity within the grapes. The climate here is dry with very little rainfall, on average around 120mm per year. Soils are sandy with layers of gravel which aid drainage. The vineyards are all farmed biodynamically.

The grapes went through a double selection process, firstly in the vineyard and then again on the sorting table at the winery. Fermenation was slow, using selected yeasts at low temperatures to retain the varietal fruit character. The wine was aged in stainless steel tanks for three months before bottling in June 2016. It then spent a further two months ageing in bottle before release.

Intense gold in colour with green tones, this wine has a bright floral nose with the citrus aroma of grapefruit and a hint of spice. In the mouth it is fresh and well structured with a crisp finish. Elegant and fruity with tropical notes to the fore.


Susana Balbo Signature Barrel Fermented Torrontes 2015 (1x 75cl)

Awarded 92 points and Highly Recommended status by Decanter (www.decanter.com) in their July 2018 edition article on Argentinian whites (see blue link below)

Susana Balbo Signature BF Torrontes 2015 - July 2018 Decanter review

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).

Susana Balbo Signature BF Torrontes 2015 - October 2017 Decanter review

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.

100% Torrontés. 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.


Furst von Metternich Schloss Johannisberg Riesling Silberlack Rheingau 2016 (1x 75cl)

Awarded 92 points and Highly Recommended status by Decanter (www.decanter.com) in their July 2018 edition panel review of Dry German Riesling (Grosses Gewächs) (see blue link below)

Furst Von Metternich Schloss Johannisberg Riesling Silberlack Rheingau 2016 - July 2018 Decanter review

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.

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. 


Schloss Vollrads Grosses Gewachs Schlossberg Riesling 2016 (1x 75cl)

Awarded 91 points and Highly Recommended status by Decanter (www.decanter.com) in their July 2018 edition panel review of Dry German Riesling (Grosses Gewächs) (see blue link below)

Schloss Vollrads Grosses Gewachs Schlossberg Riesling 2016 - July 2018 Decanter review

Schloss Vollrads, with nearly 800 years of viticulture experience, is one of the oldest wine estates in the world. The vineyards are located in the heart of the Rheingau, where the quality of Riesling is unsurpassed by any other region in the world. In 1728, the world's first Kabinett was produced at Schloss Vollrads and, 300 years on, the estate is still going from strength to strength under the watchful eye of Rowald Hepp and his winemaker Ralph Herke. The estate now has 81 hectares of Riesling vineyards.

All Schloss Vollrads' vineyards are planted with Riesling. Rowald has been improving quality since he joined in 1997, and his philosophy runs through every aspect of production. The soil in the vineyards of Schloss Vollrads is a mixture of Taunus quartzite, agrillaceous shale and gravel. The climate is mild, benefiting from the Rhine river on one side and the Taunus mountain range on the other side. The vineyard slopes are all south-facing, allowing them to capture the best sunshine. The Taunus mountain range offers protection from the northern winds with its forests and creates the ideal conditions for the vines.

Grapes were hand harvested, gently pressed and fermented with selected yeasts in stainless steel tanks over three weeks at a temperature of 18°C. After fermentation, the wine is aged on its lees for an extended period prior to bottling.

Bright yellow in colour with hints of green. The nose is bright and aromatic, loaded with white flowers, stony minerality, layers of fruit and herbal notes. Full bodied, the palate offers prominent flavours such as Mirabelle plum, grapefruit and fresh lemon zest. A very elegant Riesling with great finesse and depth.


Castagna Genesis Syrah 2013 (1x75cl)

Awarded 95 points and Outstanding status by Decanter (www.decanter.com) in their July 2018 edition article on Australian Shiraz (see blue link below)

Castagna Genesis Syrah 2013 - July 2018 Decanter review


The Castagna Vineyard is situated at an altitude of 500 metres five-and-a-half kilometres outside the beautiful town of Beechworth in North-East Victoria. The soil consists mainly of decomposed granitic-loam on a base of clay. The climate is distinctly Mediterranean with hot days and cool nights during the important part of the growing season. The land is farmed biodynamically using Rudolf Steiner’s biodynamic principles. They believe this is the best way to achieve optimum fruit quality that best expresses its terroir. The intention is to make, as simply as possible, wine which is an expression of the place where it is grown.

The vineyard is hand-pruned and the fruit is hand-picked. They crop at a bit less than two tons per acre. The winemaking is very traditional using only the vineyard’s indigenous yeast with minimal interference. Elevage varies between 18-20 months using only the very best, tight grain French oak available, about half of which is new each year.

The colour is of dark plum with crimson edges. The nose is of cassis and spice with hints of star anise, sweet black and red berries and tight grain French oak. The palate speaks of the forest floor and of mushrooms with hints of truffle and lovely notes of cedary wood. It has a supple mid-palate with fine powdery tannins on the finish. A focused wine with hints of violets and black pepper which will need time to show at its best.


Charles Melton `Grains of Paradise` Shiraz 2013 (1x 75cl)

Awarded 92 points and Highly Recommended status by Decanter (www.decanter.com) in their July 2018 edition article on Australian Shiraz (see blue link below)

Charles Melton Grains Of Paradise Shiraz 2013 - July 2018 Decanter review

Charles Melton Wines has produced premium Barossa red wines since 1984. At that time, Charlie and a small band of Barossa winemakers turned their winemaking efforts to what were then considered a couple of unfashionable varieties: Shiraz and Grenache. These wines were initially styled on those from the Rhône but are now considered leading examples of the varieties in their own right.

Fruit from one of the vineyard's finest Barossa blocks makes up the majority of this wine. The single vineyard, which is located in the heart of the Barossa Valley, dates back to the early 1900s. It is a more elegant style than traditional Barossa Shiraz but still retains the warmth and generosity of the Barossa. No chemicals have been used for over five years.

2013 saw one of the driest growing seasons in recent memory. After reasonable winter rain, there was very little subsequent rain in the following months. Temperatures were high at the start of the new year but then cooled down. This enabled the fruit to ripen gradually and a lovely mild harvest period resulted in a very small crop of intensely flavoured small berries.

During fermentation, a mix of hand plunging and pump over techniques in the traditional style influenced this wine. The wine is finished in barrique with all the press wine included. American oak is sent to France for a 36-month European seasoning before being coopered into barriques using the immersion bending technique. The wine is then aged ‘sur lie’ to give an interpretation of the traditional Barossa style with a contemporary twist.

A wonderful expression of the traditional Barossa style. Deep in colour and softly perfumed with excellent melding of vanillin and cedar oak aromatics and rich Barossa Shiraz fruit. Intense coffee and mocha flavours are supported by firm tannins and richness of mouthfeel.


Grosset Nereus 2014 Clare Valley Shiraz (1x75cl)

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)

Grosset Nereus 2014 - July 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 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.

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.


Paringa Estate Shiraz, Mornington Peninsula 2010 (1x75cl)

Awarded 91 points and Highly Recommended status by Decanter (www.decanter.com) in their July 2018 edition panel review of Australian Shiraz (see blue link below)

Paringa Estate Shiraz 2010 - July 2018 Decanter review

Located in the heart of Victoria’s beautiful Mornington Peninsula, Paringa Estate was founded in 1984 by Lindsay McCall when he purchased a derelict orchard. Lindsay’s passion and fascination with wine began in the mid 1970s and by the mid 1980s he decided to follow his dream by establishing Paringa Estate. The first vintage was in 1988 with just three tonnes of fruit and over the years it has grown considerably, with production now at 16,000 cases. Paringa Estate is one of the most highly awarded boutique wineries in Australia, regularly winning trophies for its Shiraz, Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. James Halliday says Paringa Estate is “one of the best, if not the best, wineries on the Peninsula”.

Warm and dry conditions through flowering ensured good berry set. Average temperatures during February and March provided long and even ripening and allowed for fruit to be picked at optimal maturity. It was one of the best ever vintages in the history of Paringa Estate. The fruit was picked on 22nd April.

The vineyard is the home block at the Paringa winery. It was first planted by Lindsay McCall in 1985. The north facing vineyard sits at an altitude of 146 metres above sea level and the soil is red volcanic, known as Ferrasol, and is typical of the region. The vines are trellised to a split canopy to balance the fertile soil.

The hand-picked fruit was 100% destemmed and cold soaked for four days prior to the yeast inoculation. The wine spent a total of 21 days on skins in open fermenters with gentle plunging. Post fermentation, the wine was aged for 18 months in French oak barrels, of which 70% were new.

A serious cool climate Shiraz with incredibly focused aromas of pepper, ink and spice set against damson fruit and silky almost pinot-esque texture. A long life ahead and one of Australia's finest examples of cool climate Shiraz.

This charming wine is a great choice with Turkish influenced grilled lamb or Welsh rarebit.


clos Clare, The Cemetery Block Shiraz 2014 (1x75cl)

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)

Paringa Estate Shiraz 2010 - July 2018 Decanter review

The story behind clos Clare 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.

The 2014 vintage saw normal conditions for the Watervale district, with warm days and cool nights. This diurnal temperature difference led to a long ripening period and concentrated the flavours in the berries, resulting in excellent quality fruit. Vineyard The vineyard is located across the road from the Watervale cemetery, with headstones listing the district's who's who. The block of 30 year old Shiraz vines are grown in limestone soils and with a north-south orientation in order to optimise the exposure to the sun in this cool microclimate. The vines are spur pruned and a minimal intervention approach is undertaken in the vineyard.

The grapes were hand-picked at optimal ripeness, destemmed and then fermented at low temperatures in vessels with 'heading down' boards. Once the fermentation was complete, the wine was then matured in used French oak hogheads for a period of 12 months.

A magnificent, stylish and well balanced Shiraz, showcasing intense aromas of blueberries and mulberries combined with overtones of chocolate and mint. The palate demonstrates integrated tannins and an abundance of fruit flavours, leading to a long finish.

A delicious accompaniment to roast lamb with all the trimmings.


Darenberg The Dead Arm Shiraz 2014 (1x75cl)

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)

Darenberg The Dead Arm Shiraz 2014 - July 2018 Decanter review

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.

Decanting this wine is highly recommended to allow it to reach its true potential. Initially, your senses are flooded with an array of savoury, earthy notes. Shiitake mushrooms, roasted meats and modelling clay. Slowly as the air permeates through the wine, the savoury layers are peeled away revealing a wealth of sweet black fruits. The palate is similarly laden with blackberry, plum and mulberry flavours. The sweetness is offset by a raft of woody spices and umami character. Superbly rich and supported by by a core of slatey, crushed rock-like tannins, this is a wine that will reward patience.

While enjoyable in youth, this wine will reach its full potential with bottle age up to at least 20 years. The considerable structure and depth will ensure that the fruit characters will develop over time revealing more complexity and providing immense interest. This wine is best stored in an environment free of direct sunlight and with consistent temperatures between 10°C and 15°C.


Fox Gordon Eight Uncles,Shiraz 2015 (1x75cl)

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)

Fox Gordon Eight Uncles,Shiraz 2015 - July 2018 Decanter review

Fox Gordon is a family run winery specialising in contemporary, premium and award-winning wines from the Barossa Valley and Adelaide Hills. From a diverse selection of grape varieties, each bottle is the ultimate fusion of wine and fashion. Made using the Fox Gordon philosophy of low input and low yield to give maximum flavour, while preserving the inherent qualities of the fruit and the site; these stylish wines are modern, bright and vibrant.

The majority of the fruit is grown in the sub-regions of Greenock and Bethany in the Barossa, from vines of up to 20 years old. The addition of some fruit from a young vineyard grown at higher altitude in the Eden Valley, adds vibrancy to the resulting wine.

Each plot was vinified separately and the yeast used depends on the fruit characters. Two main cultured yeasts were used; one for the warmer ferments and one for the cooler ferments depending on what best suits the vineyard. The wine was fermented for over ten days in stainless steel and was then pressed to 225-litre oak barrels for 16 months in total. Gently filtered prior to bottling.

Elegant and restrained, Eight Uncles is all about primary fruits - plums, damson and cherries with a hint of mocha and peppery spice. The smooth velvety tannins add to its appeal with an unusually vibrant finish.

The ideal accompaniment for lamb chops or traditional roast beef.


Heirloom Vineyards A`Lambra Shiraz 2014 (1x75cl)

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)

Heirloom Vineyards A`Lambra Shiraz 2014 - July 2018 Decanter review

Heirloom Vineyards is a venture of Zar and Elena Brooks, 'the lofty aim of which is to preserve the best of tradition, the old world of wine, the unique old vineyards of South Australia and to champion the best clones of each variety, embracing the principals of organic and biodynamic farming' - James Halliday 2011. Halliday names Heirloom as one of the best new vineyards in Australia in 2011, saying the quality of the new wines is outstanding. Seven long vintages of trial and error have passed before Heirloom Vineyards were satisfied they had made a wine fine enough to pass on to future generations.

The Heirloom Vineyards A'Lambra Eden Valley Shiraz was produced from a single site in the Eden Valley. Heirloom hand-tends their vines meticulously, carefully balancing cutting-edge techniques with old-school viticulture and winemaking.

Good winter and early spring rain set the vines up well for the 2014 vintage. Wind and frost negatively impacted fruit set but late spring and summer experienced warm, dry days. The harvest began with very hot weather interrupted by two days of heavy rain in mid-February. An Indian Summer allowed the grapes to ripen slowly and evenly, producing exceptional quality.

The must is natural yeast open top fermented, then basket-pressed and matured for up to two years in well-seasoned first use French and Bulgarian oak barriques from bespoke coopers.

An extraordinary Shiraz from the Eden Valley that is inky red in the glass, the wine has lifted red fruits on the nose as well as darker blackberry and blueberry aromas. A touch of spice from the new French oak lends richness and complexity to the wine. The palate is fresh and persistently fruity throughout its long finish.


Mount Horrocks Shiraz 2014 (1x 75cl)

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 Shiraz 2014 - July 2018 Decanter review

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.

2014 was a fabulous year for Mount Horrocks. A coolish growing and ripening season, and some much-needed rain in January, allowed the grapes to reach pristine condition. Harvest started about a week earlier than average, on the 13th of February, and was completed within five days. Picking is always done by hand, in the cool of the morning.

A portion of the fruit was 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 in 40% new French oak barriques.

Deep dark crimson purple. Intense, ripe dark fruit aromas, dark chocolate and gentle spice. Mid-weight, this is a supple, super-stylish shiraz. Mouthfilling rich juicy red and black fruits, with hints of savoury spice. Long, fine tannins and beautifully integrated oak round out this age-worthy wine.


S.C.Pannell Adelaide Hills Syrah 2015

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)

SC Pannell Adelaide Hills Syrah 2015 - July 2018 Decanter review

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, 410m above sea level in the Southern Adelaide Hills. The fruit is grown on well-drained, granitic soil. It is called Syrah instead of the traditional Shiraz to stop confusion and pay homage to the style of wine it makes in the Northern Rhone Valley of France where it originates from.

The vineyard is contour planted and is hand harvested in sections progressively through the vintage as each part matures. The 2 varieties were crushed together as the co-fermentation results in a wine with better integration and complexity. No enzyme or yeast was added to the ferment. Temperatures were maintained between a minimum of 15°C and a maximum of 35°C. Fermentation length was 12 days and during this time the cap was hand plunged and pumped over to ensure gentle tannin extraction. 20% new French oak was used. The wine was matured for 18 months in 500 litre oak barrels and racked twice during this time.

Highly perfumed, vibrant and complex with prominent black forest fruits, fresh peppercorns, and dried herbs. There is a lovely tension between the power and control of palate with heaps of juicy black fruit and a measure of peppery spice woven into a juicy silky texture and gently integrated dry, earthy tannins on the finish.


Teusner The Riebke, Barossa Valley, Shiraz 2016 (1x 75cl)

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)

Teusner The Riebke, Barossa Valley, Shiraz 2016- July 2018 Decanter review

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 from the Northern Barossa which has incredible purity and freshness combined with length and enveloping tannins.


Wakefield St Andrews Shiraz 2014 (1x75cl)

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)

Wakefield St Andrews Shiraz 2014 - July 2018 Decanter review

When Bill Taylor Snr and his sons acquired a promising block of land in the Clare Valley in 1969, they did so with the singular hope of creating a wine of the finest quality. Not only did they achieve this dream, they founded a winemaking philosophy that continues to resonate through the wines today. "We understand the importance of protecting, preserving and enhancing the quality of the fruit from our vineyards. Our aim is to achieve balance, elegance and finesse in every wine and somewhat uniquely when it comes to the style of our wines, we often seek to make wines that are at once both powerful and elegant."

All artists have a signature. A mark that signifies everything they stand for in a few elegant strokes. For Wakefield, St Andrews is that signature. Every bottle is a testament to their winemaking philosophy and a showcase for their hand-crafted approach to winemaking. The first Wakefield St. Andrews wines were released in 1999 and have developed a reputation as benchmark examples of great Clare Valley wine. St Andrews is only ever released in the finest vintages.

Once harvested, the grapes for this wine were taken the short distance to the winery where they were gently de-stemmed to protect the vibrant fruit characters and minimise any maceration and extraction of harsh tannins. The fruit was then transferred to headless barrels and inoculated with a specialist Shiraz yeast strain for fermentation. The fermenting must was hand-plunged twice daily to aid gentle extraction and then the wine was left to soak on skins for a further 2 weeks. Once pressed, the wine was then transferred back to the same oak barrels to complete its secondary malolactic fermentation. After completing malolactic fermentation, the wine was racked off lees prior to final blending. The blended wine was then transferred to high quality water-bent American oak barrels and matured for 18 months prior to filtering and bottling in June 2016.

The wine has complex and enticing bouquet of dark berry fruit along with juicy black plum, spice, cedar and hints of liquorice, chocolate and roasted coffee. . On the palate, the wine is rich and complex with layers of flavour. Dark berry fruits combine with lashings of coffee,chocolate and spice from high quality oak. The fruit and oak weight create a multidimensional palate which is defined with well-balanced,elegant tannins. This is a very generous wine with textural complexity and long, persistent flavours.


Clonakilla Hilltops Shiraz 2016 (1x 75cl)

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).

Clonakilla Hilltops Shiraz 2016 - Feb 2018 Decanter review

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)

Clonakilla Hilltops Shiraz 2016 - July 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.

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 come in 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.

The grapes were destemmed and fermented warm in a variety of open fermenters from 1t to 10t. Each batch has either nil or up to 20% whole bunches and are soaked on skins for 2-3 weeks and then pressed to barrel. The wine is matured for 11 months in central forest Allier oak barriques and puncheons, 15% new and the balance 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.

The 2016 vintage continues a run of warm vintages for the Hilltops region. The vineyards appear to take the heat in their stride however. The vines responded by producing rich black Shiraz with great depth of flavour.

Plenty of ripe dark plum and blackberry fruits on the nose. Chocolate and mocha too. The palate has bright, mid-weight red plum and cherry fruits wrapped in lithe, supple tannins. The Hilltops Shiraz 2016 has a nice balance and is really approachable. 

Drink now or cellar with confidence. This wine may surprise and delight you with five to ten years in the bottle.

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