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Decanter Oct

It's traditional for us to open with "¡Ay, caramba!" when the annual South American special of Decanter (invariably the October edition) is released. Typically an exclamation of surprise - much used by the despicable adversaries of Tintin™ in his Latin American adventures (we'd show a picture of them doing just that ... but we'd be instantly pursued by Belgian copyright lawyers) - it adequately captures our excitement in offering so many of the wines in this month's edtion (probably a record for us).

We never set out to be South American specialists, but we do seem to fare well in that area.

It's not all South America, mind - there's some fine Australia and California. Stick with us below and we'll explain just what there is going.

The wines featured this month in Decanter - and that we list - appear at the foot of this page. The reviews for each wine  (where we've been able to show them) appear on each product page.

Some part of our excitement stems from the magazine's main/only panel review. That is, of South American Syrah. In a bit of a coup, we're delighted to offer two - the best-priced two - of the four Outstanding (95-point) wines, one exclusively. Rather than clutter up this very busy page, we've set out a full, separate blog page on the region, the central issues surrounding Syrah there, the review results, the top wines and how to get hold of them (click link or the banner below). Apols for all the detail, but we'd rather you made informed choices - there's even a video tasting. These are two great wines. Don't miss them.

 

 

Still here? You didn't head off to look at the Syrahs? You've either already done that, don't like Syrah, are missing out or looking for other things. Of other things, there are many:

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In South American White: A New Era - arguably the edition's lead article there is a re-expose of many of the great whites revered in, or emerging from, South America. Most will not surprise fans of the region.

That the new 2018 vintage of Catena's White Stones Chardonnay  (alas all allocations already sold; we offer its brother, the White Bones, from previous vintages) lands 96 points is no suprise. Not at all. A little more unexpected is that it is outpipped, on 97 points, from across the Andes, by Errazuriz's Las Pizarras Chardonnay 2018 (from Aconcagua Costa). As the review points out, this is a truly world-class Chardonnay of the very utmost class (one shudders to think what it might cost if made this well in Burgundy). At £55, it may not seem a giveaway, but we are able to offer this at a market-busting price. It's 98-point Pinot Noir Las Pizarras sibling (2016) is also available from us at a market-busting price. 

Picture of Errazuriz, Las Pizarras Chardonnay 2018 (1x75cl)

Errazuriz

Las Pizarras Chardonnay

Aconcagua Costa, Chile 2018

£55.00

Elsewhere in the review, and at more everyday price-points, new vintages of old/classic show-stoppers land the major scores: Riccitelli's Old Vines Semillion from Patagonia (94 points), El Esteco's excellent Old Vine Torrontes (93), two superb 92-point, mineral Sauvignon Blancs: one from Vina Leyda (Garuma Vineyard) and the other from Montes's Outer Limits project. Add in the new 2019 vintage of the ever-brilliant Reserva Albarino from Uruguay's Garzon (90 points): we are talking South American whte wine royalty.

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There's a fine article (by Marina Gayan MW) on the top red blends of South America: topping the pops (97 points) is Catena's Nicolas (2016: we offer the 2015) and, hot on its heels (95 points) is Zuccardi's Tito (we offer 2017: 2018 is reviewed). The former is one of the world's very finest wines; the latter a pretender to such glory at a mere £27.

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We love Cabernet Franc. Never consider it a bridesmaid grape. It's verily the Iron Fist in the Velvet Glove of red wine. Got properly ripe, it makes a superb mono-varietal wine. And South Americal leads the way in doing just that ...  as an expert review this month points out. There's superb flavour and outstanding value to be found in the Cab Francs of Andeluna (94 points), Trapiche's El Esteco (their Fincas Notables) vineyards (93 points; we'd tell you that this is particularly fine if you were to ask us), Undurraga and the avant-garde/'out there maaaan' style of Zorzal. 

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One of the month's very toppest wines shouldn't get left until this late on the page. Decanter have (re)-published their article on South Australia's McLaren Vale that appeared on their Premium service some months ago. Since then, we've managed to secure a dozen cases of Thistledown's Vagabond (Old Vine) Grenache (2018). This 96-pointer is quite outstanding, but, let's be clear, a big (if refreshing) wine. A shrinking violet, this is not. This is another wine not to miss this month. It's joined by SC Pannell's leftfield Touriga-Tempranillo blend; let nobody tell you that these grapes don't thrive outside Iberia.

Picture of Thistledown, Vagabond Grenache, Blewitt Springs, McLaren Vale 2018 (1x75cl)Thistledown

Vagabond Old Vine Grenache

Blewitt Springs, McLaren Vale 2018

£21.95

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In Uruguay's Great Ascent, Tim Atkin MW alights on an Exel super-favourite, the Garzon Tannat Reserva, now in its 2018 vintage and attracting a thoroughly deserved 93-point score.

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Pinot Noir, anyone? There's a retrospective of the top PNs of DWWA19; we offer the lovely Aconcagua Costa PN 2017 from Errazuriz (a very affordable version of the Las Pizarras mentioned above) and the super-fragrant Schroeder Saurus PN from Nuequen in cool Patagonia.

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Finally this hectic month, there's a producer focus on the legendary Stag's Leap of California's Napa Valley. Of the wines under review/taste, we offer the Cask 23, the Fay and a number of famous and highly-rated others.

 

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Finca Las Glicinas, Terciopelo Syrah 2018 (1x75cl)

** ARRIVAL & AVAILABILITY **

 

The Terciopelo is not yet here given its release from the cellars in Argentina only very recently.

 

21 Sep - It has just passed through the Panama Canal. It will be here in mid-October (in good amount). With these "deep water imports", there is always the possibility of a hold-up on the high seas (storms, canal waits, not pirates) and customs delays when it arrives into the UK. If we've already taken customer money, such delays (after a long wait already) rankle a bit. We can't change the origin, routing, or timing uncertainty of the Terciopelo ... but we can decline taking any funds until it's cleared customs. And we do want to put it on offer now: customers will be curious and invariably want to secure it when they read of it. 

 

To this end, we are deploying our usual waiting list approach. That is, send us an email to/at communications@exelwines.co.uk, telling us how much you require. We will duly reserve some for you when it arrives. A few days before it does, we'll be in touch, asking you to go on-line and buy it and we can then arrange delivery.

 

IMPORTANT:

 

- If seeking to buy other wines from us, do please keep the Terciopelo apart from them in ordering. That is:

 

- Please buy those other items online as one action. Send us an email re the Terciopelo as another.

 

- Please don't email your overall order: since online sales are immediate and emails over a weekend are not, there is a good chance low-stock items will have been depleted by the time the email can be acted upon

 

- If you want to make other ordered wines wait for the Terciopelo's arrival for carriage reasons, we can hold them for you (although it is not preferred).

 

- However, please note that a late arrival of the Terciopelo does not see the other wines sent to you separately to offset the delay. At the prices we offer, we can't do this any other way. A 'delayed free postage' option would means we'd have to charge ~£2/btl more for the wine!

 

Awarded 95 points and Outstanding status by Decanter in their October 2020 panel tasting of South American Syrah (see blue link below).

 

Finca Las Glicinas, Terciopelo Syrah 2018 - October 2020 Decanter review

  

See also our video tasting of this wine and our other Outstanding from this review.

 

Finca Las Glicinas (FLG) is a family business dedicated to growing quality grapes to produce premium wines, and to producing wines with selected vines from our own terroir. Our vineyards are located in Alto Valle de Uco, more specifically in the region of Paraje Altamira, La Consulta, in the Department of San Carlos, in the Province of Mendoza. Their signature wines include Malbec, Cabernet Franc, Chardonnay and some complex blends which have a distinct identity, typical of the estates of Paraje Altamira.

The family adventure of Finca Las Glicinas began in 2003 when, fascinated by the beauty of the landscape, they decided to acquire a Malbec vineyard, which had been planted in the year 1999 in the heart of Paraje Altamira. They were inspired and guided by an old family winemaking tradition, which started many generations ago in the Piemonte region of Italy.

The premium Terciopelo line of FLG's red wines are principally characterized by their complexity. With these wines, the scrupulous selection from the vines in the vineyard is followed by the meticulous processing of the wines at the winery. These are mineral wines. Their fruity and floral notes, harmoniously combined with the wood/oak in which they are aged, gives them a classical elegance. An enforced bottle storage before release adds to that quality. Currently available in the Terciopelo line are this Syrah plus a Cabernet Sauvignon, Malbec and a delicious and complex red blend.

For this wine, the Terciopelo Syrah 2018, see the blue link below for the excellent fiche technique/technical note from the winemakers themselves.

Finca Las Glicinas, Terciopelo Syrah 2018 - fiche technique

Syrah 100%.

Visually, intense purplish-red with bright flashes. On the nose, Tercioplelo Syrah 2018 presents a complex array of aromas of both red and black berry fruits. The spices, typical of Syrah, are melded with notes of tobacco and cocoa from the oak. On the palate, freshness particularly stands out, with excellent acidity and a full, rounded mouthfeel. This is a wine of great structure and complexity, whose subtle mineral notes distinctly express its origin in the terroir of Paraje Altamira.

ABV = 14.6%.

** PLEASE SEE AVAILABILITY SECTION ABOVE! **

£21.50

Errazuriz, Las Pizarras Chardonnay 2018 (1x75cl)

** THIS WINE IS HELD IN NO OR LOW STOCK BUT IS QUICKLY BROUGHT IN TO ORDER. ORDERS PLACED BY 9am EACH MONDAY WILL BE WITH US FOR DESPATCH ON THE THURSDAY. **

Awarded 97 points and Outstanding status by Decanter in their October 2020 article South American Whites: A New Era (see blue link below).

Errazuriz, Las Pizarras Chardonnay 2018 - October 2020 Decanter review

 

See this article for more detail on the Las Pizarras Chardonnays (especially 2015-2017) from Greg Sherwood MW. As he points out, "As a Chardonnay/white Burgundy aficionado, I would be the first to express my scepticism at the claims that Chilean Chardonnay can be great or even profound. But tasting the Las Pizarras expression from Errazuriz really blew my mind and reset my regional compass for the potential of this varietal".

 

Awarded a high 17.5 points (of 20) on Jancis Robinson's Purple Pages (www.JancisRobinson.comreviewer Ferran Centelles - in August 2019 (see blue link below).

Errazuriz, Las Pizarras Chardonnay 2018  - jancisrobinson.com Aug 2019 review

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The Errazuriz Estate was founded in 1870 when Don Maximiano Errazuriz planted his first vineyards at Panquehue in the Aconcagua Valley - 100 km north of the Chilean capital. Recognising that this valley, with its cool, rainy winters, hot, dry summers and moist Pacific Ocean breezes, was ideal for growing grapes, Don Maximiano sent for the finest clones from France and with tenacity and perseverance transformed this barren land into a world class vineyard.

Today, the tradition of quality lives on with Don Maximiano's descendant, Eduardo Chadwick. Eduardo is the fifth generation of his family to be involved in the wine business. Eduardo has overseen the modernisation of the winemaking technology at this historic Estate whilst maintaining a distinct identity for its wines. Dedicated to producing estate grown wines of superior quality, Errazuriz has built a reputation as the 'Premier Family Wine Estate of Chile'.

Errazuriz's philosophy is best expressed by Don Maximiano who said, "from the best land, the best wine." Vina Errazuriz believe in the concept of terroir and strive to produce the finest wines by controlling every stage of the winemaking process, from grape growing in the Aconcagua and Casablanca valleys, to winemaking with the most natural techniques. An emphasis is placed on the delicate handling of the wines, with the aim of producing wines with elegance and complexity.

The Errazuriz Winery was established in 1870 when the founder Don Maximiano Errazuriz first brought vines to the area. The beautiful original 1870 building still stands with the spectacular underground cellars still being used. Two brand new winery buildings were completed in 2010; one for Max Reserva wines and one for thef lagship wines. The Don Maximiano Icon Winery is an architecturally stunning masterpiece with oak fermenters and environmentally friendly ground-source heating/cooling. Sitting alongside the original 1870 building, these new developments show the importance of respecting our heritage whilst having a clear vision for the future. Both were showcased by Jancis Robinson and Hugh Johnson in the 7th Edition of The World Atlas of Wine as benchmark examples of a state-of-the-art modern winery. In October 2017, Errazuriz became Chile’s first recipient of the Robert Parker Wine Advocate Extraordinary Winery Award for Best Chilean Winery 2017.

With the Las Pizarras wines specifically (see also the superb Pinot Noir), the dream was to create unique wines that could stand out alongside world class wines, aspiring to showcase the potential of Aconcagua Costa through terroir-specific wines. The name comes from the high percentage of metamorphic rock, slate (Spanish: pizarras) found in the property. With a grand cru philosophy, years of knowledge and mapping the vineyard revealed specifics blocks (see link below) to produce the most complete and complex Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Syrah.

For more details, see the blue links below: the first regarding vintage and winemaking, and the second regarding land and terroir.

Errazuriz Las Pizarras Chardonnay 2018 - data sheet

Errazuriz Las Pizarras Chardonnay 2018 - land and vineyards

Chardonnay 100%

The 2018 vintage of Las Pizarras Chardonnay shines with its bright yellow-straw color. On the nose, it delivers notes of citrus fruits, accompanied by some floral notes framed by soft notes of marzipan and nuts. On the palate, the wine enters with freshness and deepness, followed by a delicate and complex feel. The palate is dominated by its citrusy profile, plus a hint of tropical fruits accompanied by delicate notes of toasted bread and dried fruits, all crowned by an exquisite mineral sensation, great persistence and an elegant finish.” FRANCISCO BAETTIG, TECHNICAL DIRECTOR

ABV = 13.0%. 

£55.00

Errazuriz, Las Pizarras Pinot Noir 2016 (1x75cl)

** THIS WINE IS HELD IN NO OR LOW STOCK BUT IS QUICKLY BROUGHT IN TO ORDER. ORDERS PLACED BY 9am EACH MONDAY WILL BE WITH US FOR DESPATCH ON THE THURSDAY. **

Awarded 98 points and Exceptional status by Decanter in their October 2018 article Top Pinot Noir wines outside Burgundy (see previous link for full article, link below for review on just this wine)

Errazuriz, Las Pizarras Pinot Noir 2016  - October 2018 Decanter review.

"The mineral, stone, slate and violet aromas are superb. Full body, dense and silky texture. So much beautiful fruit yet it's so reserved and refined. Layered and complete. Fantastic acidity at the finish. Iron, iodine and oyster. Long finish. Superb follow up to the 2015. Drink or hold. 99 points." James Suckling, www.JamesSuckling.com, May 2017.

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The Errazuriz Estate was founded in 1870 when Don Maximiano Errazuriz planted his first vineyards at Panquehue in the Aconcagua Valley - 100 km north of the Chilean capital. Recognising that this valley, with its cool, rainy winters, hot, dry summers and moist Pacific Ocean breezes, was ideal for growing grapes, Don Maximiano sent for the finest clones from France and with tenacity and perseverance transformed this barren land into a world class vineyard.

Today, the tradition of quality lives on with Don Maximiano's descendant, Eduardo Chadwick. Eduardo is the fifth generation of his family to be involved in the wine business. Eduardo has overseen the modernisation of the winemaking technology at this historic Estate whilst maintaining a distinct identity for its wines. Dedicated to producing estate grown wines of superior quality, Errazuriz has built a reputation as the 'Premier Family Wine Estate of Chile'.

Errazuriz's philosophy is best expressed by Don Maximiano who said, "from the best land, the best wine." Vina Errazuriz believe in the concept of terroir and strive to produce the finest wines by controlling every stage of the winemaking process, from grape growing in the Aconcagua and Casablanca valleys, to winemaking with the most natural techniques. An emphasis is placed on the delicate handling of the wines, with the aim of producing wines with elegance and complexity.

The Errazuriz Winery was established in 1870 when the founder Don Maximiano Errazuriz first brought vines to the area. The beautiful original 1870 building still stands with the spectacular underground cellars still being used. Two brand new winery buildings were completed in 2010; one for Max Reserva wines and one for thef lagship wines. The Don Maximiano Icon Winery is an architecturally stunning masterpiece with oak fermenters and environmentally friendly ground-source heating/cooling. Sitting alongside the original 1870 building, these new developments show the importance of respecting our heritage whilst having a clear vision for the future. Both were showcased by Jancis Robinson and Hugh Johnson in the 7th Edition of The World Atlas of Wine as benchmark examples of a state-of-the-art modern winery. In October 2017, Errazuriz became Chile’s first recipient of the Robert Parker Wine Advocate Extraordinary Winery Award for Best Chilean Winery 2017.

With the Las Pizarras wines specifically (see also the superb Chardonnay), the dream was to create unique wines that could stand out alongside world class wines, aspiring to showcase the potential of Aconcagua Costa through terroir-specific wines. The name comes from the high percentage of metamorphic rock, slate (Spanish: pizarras) found in the property. With a grand cru philosophy, years of knowledge and mapping the vineyard revealed specifics blocks (see link below) to produce the most complete and complex Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Syrah.

For more details, see the blue links below: the first regarding vintage and winemaking, and the second regarding land and terroir.

Errazuriz Las Pizarras Pinot Noir 2016 - data sheet

Errazuriz Las Pizarras Pinot Noir 2016 - land and vineyards

100% Pinot Noir.

"Of a cherry red color, it has beautiful violet hues. Complex nose, with reminiscent of rosehip, myrtle, sour cherries and a refreshing bergamot hint, accompanied by soft notes of marzipan and dried fruit notes. Equally complex and consistent with what is perceived in the nose, the palate is predominantly marked by fresh red fruit, floral notes, with some subtle notes of moist soil, citrus fruits, sweet spice and brioche. Very well structured, with fine and elegant tannins that deliver a chalky finish. A wine that displays a balance between amplitude and length very well achieved that allows to talk about power and elegance in a harmonious and persistent outcome.” FRANCISCO BAETTIG, TECHNICAL DIRECTOR.

ABV = 13.0%. 

£69.95

Matias Riccitelli Old Vines Patagonia Semillon 2019 (1x75cl)

** THIS WINE IS HELD IN NO OR LOW STOCK (SEE AMOUNT HELD BELOW) BUT MORE IS QUICKLY BROUGHT IN TO ORDER. ORDERS PLACED BY 9am EACH MONDAY WILL BE WITH US FOR DESPATCH ON THE THURSDAY. **

Awarded 94 points and Highly Recommended status by Decanter in their October 2020 article South American Whites: A New Era (see blue link below).

Matias Riccitelli Old Vines Patagonia Semillon 2019 - October 2020 Decanter review

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 

Riccitelli Old Vines Patagonia Sémillon 2017 - October 2019 Decanter review

... 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).

Riccitelli Old Vines Patagonia Sémillon 2017 - October 2019 Decanter review

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)....

Riccitelli Old Vines Sémillon 2016 - July 2018 Decanter review

... 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)

Riccitelli Old Vines Sémillon 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 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.

100% Sémillon.

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%.

£31.40

Vina Leyda, Sauvignon Blanc Garuma Vineyard 2019 (1x75cl)

Awarded 92 points and Highly Recommended status by Decanter in their October 2020 article South American Whites: A New Era (see blue link below).

Vina Leyda, Sauvignon Blanc Garuma Vineyard 2019 - October 2020 Decanter review

Few wineries encapsulate the development of coolclimate winemaking in Chile as well as pioneering Viña Leyda. The first producer to explore this coastal area, a rising star of New World winemaking, it took its name from the local railway station and later lent it to the entire DO of Leyda Valley. If Casablanca Valley represents Chile’s first tentative steps into cool-climate production, Leyda is a series of determined, confident strides: just 14km from the Pacific, the Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Syrah planted here express a crispness, minerality and fine-boned structure not found elsewhere in Chile’s viticultural paradise. Viña Leyda now has more than 200 hectares under vine, but the approach remains one of micromanagement, with detailed mapping of each vineyard and individual lot, and constant experimentation with clonal selection and viticultural techniques.

The fruits of those labours are reflected not just in their impeccable Reserva range, but in the exciting series of single vineyard and single plot wines, including Sauvignon Blanc, Riesling, Chardonnay and a trio of top-quality Pinot Noirs.

For more detail on this exciting Sauvignon, see the blue link below for the excellent fiche technique/technical note from the winemakers themselves (NB: large file ~6MB).

Vina Leyda, Sauvignon Blanc Garuma Vineyard 2019 - fiche technique

100% Sauvignon Blanc.

This Sauvignon Blanc has a delicate and deep nose. Ripe citrus aromas (such as grapefrui)t combine with fresh green lime and hints of green chilli peppers on the nose. On the palate, this wine is fully concentrated and fresh, with mineral tones at the front, a rich mid-palate and a well-balanced grapefruit character on the finish.

ABV = 13.5%.

£13.95

Montes Outer Limits Zapallar Sauvignon Blanc 2019 (1x75cl)

** THIS WINE IS HELD IN NO OR LOW STOCK (SEE AMOUNT HELD BELOW) BUT MORE IS QUICKLY BROUGHT IN TO ORDER. ORDERS PLACED BY 9am EACH MONDAY WILL BE WITH US FOR DESPATCH ON THE THURSDAY. **

Awarded 92 points and Highly Recommended status by Decanter in their October 2020 article South American Whites: A New Era (see blue link below).

Montes Outer Limits Zapallar Sauvignon Blanc 2019 - October 2020 Decanter review

The 2017 vintage of this wine was awarded 91 points and Highly Recommended status by Decanter (www.decanter.com) in their October 2018 edition panel tasting of Chilean Sauvignon Blanc  (see blue link below).

Montes Outer Limits Zapallar Sauvignon Blanc 2017 - Oct 2018 Decanter review

Montes was established in 1988 by Aurelio Montes, Douglas Murray, Alfredo Vidaurre and Pedro Grand, with the aim of producing the best wines in Chile from the best regions. The Montes wines are consistently good because they are meticulous throughout the entire production process. The Outer Limits wines were born out of Aurelio Montes' desire to push Chilean viticulture in a new direction. The vineyards that produce the grapes for the Montes Outer Limits Sauvignon Blanc are located 7 km from the coast of the resort town, Zapallar. They are the only vineyards with the Zapallar Denomination of Origin, which is the most coastal zone of the Aconcagua Valley. Due to the balance and concentration in the Outer Limits wines, they can be enjoyed now or allowed to age for a few years, rewarding with a wonderfully complex bouquet.

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

Montes Outer Limits Zapallar Sauvignon Blanc 2019 - fiche technique

100% Sauvignon Blanc.

This wine is light yellow in colour, with intense aromas of passion fruit, pink grapefruit and pineapple. On the palate, it is medium-bodied with vibrant acidity. A subtle saline touch on the finish hints at the coastal origin.

ABV = 13.5%.

£15.45

Bodega Garzon Reserva Albarino 2019 (1x75cl)

Awarded 90 points and Highly Recommended status by Decanter in their October 2020 article South American Whites: A New Era (see blue link below).

Bodega Garzon Reserva Albarino 2019 - October 2020 Decanter review

The 2018 vintage was awarded 91 points and Highly Recommended status by Decanter (www.decanter.com) in their October 2019 edition panel tasting of Alternative South American Whites (see blue link below).

Garzón Reserva Albariño 2018 - October 2019 Decanter review

The 2017 vintage was awarded 91 points and Highly Recommended status by Decanter (www.decanter.com) in their October 2018 edition feature on Uruguay  (see blue link below).

Garzón Reserva Albariño 2017 - Oct 2018 Decanter review

The 2016 vintage was awarded 95 points and a Platinum Best In Category (Best Central South American White) at the 2017 Decanter World Wine Awards (www.decanter.com): see their August 2017 DWWA supplement (see blue link below).

Garzón Reserva Albariño 2016 - 2017 DWWA Decanter review

Bodega Garzón is a family owned winery in Maldonado on the Atlantic coast in southern Uruguay. They pioneered viticulture in this area over 10 years ago, and have since become the standard-bearer for premium wines from Uruguay. In November 2018, their pioneering status was recognised by Wine Enthusiast with the ‘New World Winery of the Year’ award. The vineyards at Bodega Garzón are a patchwork quilt of 1,150 individual plots of around 0.2 hectares in size, each plot carefully chosen for a specific variety according to its soil and microclimate. The winery is specially designed to operate as sustainably as possible, and is the first winery outside North America to pursue LEED certification (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design). Built on natural terraces, the winery uses cutting-edge technology and operates using a gravity system to ensure quality and energy efficiency at every stage of production.

Located 11 miles from the Atlantic Ocean, the estate has more than 1,000 small vineyard blocks covering hillside slopes, which benefit from varying microclimates, different levels of humidity and an intense canopy management. Well-draining granitic soils and cooling Atlantic breezes allow the grapes to ripen steadily. The vineyards are surrounded by lush forests, palm trees, rocky soils and granite boulders. This single vineyard Tannat comes from a site which is cooler than the other blocks on the estate, with steep slopes, thin soils and excellent drainage thanks to the predominance of ballast in the upper layers.

The 2019 vintage began with a cold winter. During spring there was abundant rainfall and warm temperatures, which resulted in homogenous budbreak and flowering. Disease threat posed by heavy December and January rainfall was minimised by cool Atlantic ocean breezes that swept through the vineyards. Low temperatures at the end of February and March ensured steady ripening and good levels of natural acidity in the grapes.

The hand-harvested grapes were pressed before being fermented in stainless-steel tanks at a cool 17ºC for two weeks. The wine then spent a further 3-6 months on lees for added complexity.

For full details of this unusual but superb wine, we would point you towards Garzon's own, excellent fiche technique/data sheet (click here).

100% Albariño/Alvarinho.

Pale yellow with a green hue, this Albariño is intense on the nose with peach and citrus aromas. The freshness and minerality on the midpalate is superb, ably supported by a remarkable acidity which frames the juicy fruit on the crisp finish.

ABV = 13.5%.

£15.75

Catena Zapata Nicolas 2015 (1x75cl)

** THIS WINE IS HELD IN NO OR LOW STOCK BUT IS QUICKLY BROUGHT IN TO ORDER. ORDERS PLACED BY 9am EACH MONDAY WILL BE WITH US FOR IMMEDIATE DESPATCH ON THURSDAY. **

The not-yet-in-the-UK 2016 vintage was awarded 97 points and Outstanding status by Decanter in their October 2020 Top 20 South American Red Blends (see blue link below).

Catena Zapata Nicolas 2015 - October 2020 Decanter review

Awarded 94 points and Highly Recommended status by Decanter (www.decanter.com) at their February 2019 Catena tasting (see blue link below).

Catena Zapata Nicolas 2015 - Feb 2019 Decanter review

The inaugural 1997 vintage of this Cabernet Sauvignon and Malbec blend set a new standard of quality for wines from South America when it won a series of blind tastings against first growths and other prestigious cuvées from around the world. Indeed, it featured as one of Decanter's Wine Legends in October 2018 (see blue link below).

Catena Zapata Nicolas 1997 - Decanter Wine Legend October 2018

“The 2015 Nicolás has the highest ever percentage of Cabernet Sauvignon, with 17% Malbec for company and is a stunning blend that’s right up there with some of the best vintages of the wine. Floral, minty and refined, it has subtle, spicy oak, notes of green herbs and red fruits, tangy acidity and remarkable palate length. One for the cellar.” Tim Atkin MW, 96 points, 5th Jan 2018.

In 1902, Nicola Catena, an Italian immigrant, planted his first vineyard in Mendoza, Argentina. The winery has remained under family control — now in its fourth generation — and is one of the few family-owned wine companies in Argentina that remains in Argentine hands. Owned today by Nicolás Catena and his daughter Laura, Bodega Catena Zapata is known as the pioneer of fine wine from Argentina, and Nicolás is recognized as the vintner who revolutionized wine quality in Argentina. A trained economist, Nicolás began this revolution in the early 1980s and continues to challenge himself and his team to make wines that can be counted among the best in the world. His measured approach to viticulture has taken its place in wine history as the pioneer of Malbec and high-altitude viticulture.

Catena wines, first launched in 1992, set a new standard for quality in South America. The wines immediately proved the quality potential of Argentina and garnered the first outstanding reviews for Argentine wines from worldwide media. After more than 20 years, the wines of Catena continue to lead the way in Argentine viticulture and winemaking. The family and the winery’s employees take great pride in carrying on the tradition that began over a century ago.

Nicolás Catena Zapata has an intense, deep purple color with bluish-black tones. On the nose, aromas of black fruits – blackberries, black cherries, black plums – predominate with subtle notes of vanilla and dark chocolate intermingled with savory hints of green olive and a stony minerality. On the palate, the wine is tremendously complex, unfolding layer upon layer of red currant, eucalyptus, and black pepper flavours. Black cherries and blackberries give way to cassis followed by a hint of saline minerality. The wine is remarkably concentrated with a firm tannic structure providing the backbone for the lush fruit. The finish is long, giving some idea of the very long aging potential of this Argentine masterpiece.

This wine is 83% Cabernet Sauvignon and 17% Malbec.

See/click the link below for more data from the winemakers themselves.

Catena Zapata Nicolas 2015 - fiche technique

ABV = 14.0%.

£73.20

Zuccardi Tito 2017 (1x75cl)

** THIS WINE IS HELD IN NO OR LOW STOCK (SEE AMOUNT HELD BELOW) BUT MORE IS QUICKLY BROUGHT IN TO ORDER. ORDERS PLACED BY 9am EACH MONDAY WILL BE WITH US FOR DESPATCH ON THE THURSDAY. **

The not-yet-in-the-UK 2018 vintage was awarded 95 points and Outstanding status by Decanter in their October 2020 Top 20 South American Red Blends (see blue link below).

Zuccardi Tito 2017 - October 2020 Decanter review

Some years before 1950, engineer Alberto ‘Tito’ Zuccardi arrived in Mendoza from Tucumán, the small province in northwest Argentina where his Italian grandparents had settled many years before. He began experimenting with new irrigation systems because, back then as is the case today, water management is strategic due to its scarcity. In 1963 he planted a vineyard in the Maipú region, aiming to show other neighbouring farmers how his irrigation system worked, not realising at the time that this would be the beginning of his life’s passion.

Today Bodega Zuccardi Valle de Uco is led by Sebastián Zuccardi. Following in the footsteps of his Grandfather, Alberto and his Father, José, Sebastián’s aim is to create wines of great purity, firmly rooted in the terroirs of the Uco Valley, in the shadow of the Andes Mountains.

Located in the Paraje Altamira, in the shadow of the Andes Mountains, the Zuccardi winery was designed to reflect the surrounding landscape. It was built as a tribute to the austere and solemn mountains that define the climate and the soils of the region. The construction is part of the landscape, made using materials sourced from the estate and the nearby Tunuyan River. It is composed of concrete from the outside to the inside, from the stone walls, oblique and imposing, to the concrete vats in which are the wines aged.

The Zuccardi family mission is to establish working policies which minimise the impact on the environment and which can contribute to the overall awareness of environmental issues in society today. They base all their decisions, for both production and distribution processes, on a respect for the soil, the air, the flora and fauna, and the whole community. They are focusing towards sustainable agriculture, co-existing with nature without damaging it. They keep a comprehensive waste recycling policy and they incorporate the use of alternative energy sources into the production systems.

Fermented with native yeast in concrete vats. Skin maceration after fermentation for 20 days. Malolactic fermentation in concrete and French oak barrels. 40% of the wine was the put in used 500-litre, French oak barrels while the rest remained in concrete. Zuccardi do not specify a barrel time for the 2017, but previous vintages have varied from 6 to 12 months.

General wine note: Tito, named after the grandfather, experimenter and innovator, is the wildcard in the Zuccardi pack. It is all about Paraje Altamira. It changes from vintage to vintage according to what varietals stands out. 2016 was a blend of Malbec, Cab Sauv, Ancellotta and Caladoc. 2017 is Malbec and Cab Franc. The wood to concrete regime also changes year by year. Sebastien leans towards a high % of concrete – too austere for some. Jose has a more traditional palate – making big, rich, dense wines with other varietals (to the Malbec) adding dimension and complexity.

The 2017 harvest, despite being low in yields, produced grapes with a perfect health and quality in each region. Thanks to the climatic conditions, that were similar to a typical year of Mendoza, the wines produced had a very good balance.

85% Malbec, 15% Cabernet Franc.

Violet color with deep blue hues. Black and red fruit aroma and other herbal notes. The palate has a silky entry with nice and juicy tannins, aromatic and receiving end of a long and deep mouth complexity.

ABV = 14.0%. 

£27.30

Andeluna Pasionado Cabernet Franc 2016 (1x75cl)

** WE HAVE INCOMING STOCK THIS THURSDAY 24th SEPTEMBER. ** 

Awarded a Gold medal and 96 points at the 2019 Decanter World Wine Awards (click link for details).

For other 2019 DWWA winners, click here.

The not-yet-in-the-UK 2017 vintage was awarded 94 points and Highly Recommended status by Decanter in their October 2020 expert review of South American Cabernet Franc (see blue link below).

Andeluna Pasionado Cabernet Franc 2016 - October 2020 Decanter review

The 2015 vintage was awarded 93 points and Highly Recommended status by Decanter in their June 2019 panel tasting of South American Icon Wines (see blue link below).

Andeluna Pasionado Cabernet Franc 2015 - June 2019 Decanter review

Founded in 2003, Andeluna is a small boutique winery specialising in premium Bordeaux varietals of world class recognition. The vineyard covers 70 hectares in the beautiful Uco Valley near Tupungato, one of the best subregions of Mendoza. By night you can often see the moon illuminating the magnificent Andes Mountains nearby and the winery has been named after this stunning scene. Situated at an altitude of 1,300 metres, the vineyard produces some of the best fruit in Argentina. Winemaker, Manuel Gonzalez (previously Head Winemaker at Pulenta Estate and Chief Oenologist at Trivento) works alongside Andeluna's wine consultant Hans Vinding Diers to make outstanding wines which have propelled this producer into the global spotlight in a very short space of time. Their Pasionado range is only made in exceptional vintages and rivals some of the great wines of the world.

The grapes come from vineyards located in Gualtallary in Tupungato at an altitude of 1,300 metres above sea level. The vines are irrigated by a drip-water system that regulates and supplies the exact amount of water that the plant needs. The vineyard soils are alluvial, sandy and permeable.

The grapes were hand-picked in the cool of dawn in April, when they had reached full polyphenolic maturity. The berries were manually selected and the best berries underwent cold pre- fermentation maceration. Fermentation took place with natural yeasts in stainless steel tanks at controlled temperatures of 26°C. The wine was aged in used French oak barrels (60% second passage, 40% third passage) for a period of 12 months and then cellared in bottles for a minimum of eight months prior to its release. 

This wine is 100% Cabernet Franc.

Intense aromas fill the glass, with deep red fruits and a remarkable presence of red bell pepper, fennel, mint, anise, eucalyptus and basil. A structured, full bodied wine, with rounded tannins which result in a pleasant and persistent finish. 

Serve with full bodied meats as steak or lamb. Decant and serve at 16°C.

ABV = 13.5%.

£32.75

El Esteco Fincas Notables (Cuartel number 5) Cabernet Franc 2016

** WE HAVE RECENTLY LEARNED, AFTER THE OCTOBER DECANTER WAS PUBLISHED, THAT THIS WINE WILL NOT BE AVAILABLE UNTIL MID-TO-LATE OCTOBER. THE 2015 VINTAGE IS AVAILABLE AND SCORES IDENTICALLY TO THE 2016, AND HAS AN EXTRA YEAR OF BOTTLE AGE! ** 

Awarded 93 points and-Highly Recommended status by Decanter in their October 2020 expert review of South American Cabernet Franc (see blue link below).

El Esteco Fincas Notables (Cuartel Number 5) Cabernet Franc 2016 - October 2020 Decanter review

Among the Calchaquí Valley’s lush vegetation, rivers and rocky mountains, there emerges, unexpectedly, a stretch of desert. At an altitude of 1,800 metres, with its radiant sunshine and ideal temperature range hot days and cool nights, the environment is perfect for the vine growing. And it is here, in the heart of this unique valley where El Esteco stands with 1,000 acres of vineyards. French immigrants David and Salvador Michel founded the winery in 1892, taking advantage of this special region to produce distinctive and elegant high-end wines, with great concentration of colour, deep aromas and well-defined flavours.

The grapes for this wine are carefully harvested by hand, after which a second selection process is carried out to ensure that only the best grapes are used. The juice undergoes pre-fermentation maceration at 8°C in French oak vats. Indigenous and selected yeasts are used for alcoholic fermentation, which takes place at controlled temperatures between 26°C- 30°C. Malolactic fermentation occurs in new French oak barrels after which the wine is aged for 15 months. The wine is bottled following a light filtration and is aged for another 6 months before release.

100% Cabernet Franc.

A concentrated and intense wine with notes of black fruits, sweet pepper and hints of menthol The oak is well-balanced and of medium intensity The palate has ripe, juicy tannins with a long, persistent finish.

ABV = 14.5%. 

£19.15

Undurraga, TH Cabernet Franc, Maipo 2015 (1x75cl)

** THIS WINE IS HELD IN NO OR LOW STOCK (SEE AMOUNT HELD BELOW) BUT MORE IS QUICKLY BROUGHT IN TO ORDER. ORDERS PLACED BY 9am EACH MONDAY WILL BE WITH US FOR DESPATCH ON THE THURSDAY. **

Awarded 92 points and Highly Recommended status by Decanter in their October 2020 expert review of South American Cabernet Franc (see blue link below).

Undurraga, TH Cabernet Franc, Maipo 2015 - October 2020 Decanter review

Undurraga is one of Chile’s most prestigious wineries, consistently receiving high scores from top wine critics. Founded in 1885, Undurraga owns 1,350 hectares of estate vineyard in Chile’s premium wine-producing areas such as Leyda, Cauquenes and Itata. Head winemaker Rafael Urrejola has spent a great deal of time understanding the diversity of Chile’s vineyard sites; the result is the emblematic ‘Terroir Hunter’ (ie TH). Undurraga cultivates their vineyards with respect for the environment and follow a philosophy of minimal intervention in the cellar in order to showcase the terroir.

The Cabernet Franc grapes were sourced from a selected vineyard planted exclusively for this range in Catemito, in the Valle de Maipo. The daily temperatures during the summer are lower in this area than in the rest of the Valle de Maipo, decreasing substantially in March and April, providing the ideal conditions for the tannins to ripen completely and to ensure that the fresh aromas and flavours are preserved. Catemito is located on an alluvial terrace which was formed in the Holocene period, approximately 10,000 years ago. The soil has a mixed sandy-clayey texture and a high presence of gravel, which results in good drainage and subsequently in balanced vigour and yields. The vines are 12 years old and planted on their own rootstocks. This low-yielding terroir of 2.25 hectares was subjected to a controlled limited water supply during the ripening process and the resulting yield was 1.5 kg per vine, providing the necessary concentration for a rich, ripe wine.

The grapes were de-stemmed and carefully sorted to ensure only healthy, ripe fruit was crushed. The grapes were transferred by gravity into the vat, where they underwent pre-fermentation cold maceration under anaerobic conditions for five days at 6 to 8°C. Fermentation took place with natural yeasts at 27 to 28°C for 13 days with three daily pump-overs. The wine was left over its lees and skins for an additional 12 days to further enhance its structure. It was aged for 16 months in French oak barrels.. The floral, well-structured Cabernet Franc is gently softened by a touch of Merlot.

This wine is a blend of Cabernet Franc 85%, Merlot 15%.

A mature wine with intense black fruit aromas complemented by hints of cedar, spice and floral touches of violets. Firm, mature tannins surround a fresh, textured palate with harmonious balance. Serve with game, grilled red meats or cheese.

ABV = 14.0%. 

£17.85

Zorzal Eggo Franco Cabernet Franc 2018 (1x75cl)

**  NEXT STOCK ARRIVING THURSDAY, 24th SEPTEMBER. ** 

Awarded 92 points and Highly Recommended status by Decanter in their October 2020 expert review of South American Cabernet Franc (see blue link below).

Zorzal Eggo Franco Cabernet Franc 2018- October 2020 Decanter review

The 2016 vintage of this wine was awarded 91 points and Highly Recommended status by Decanter (www.decanter.com) in their October 2018 edition panel tasting of South American Cabernet Franc  (see blue link below).

Zorzal Eggo Franco Cabernet Franc 2016 - Oct 2018 Decanter review

The 2015 vintage was awarded 95 points and rare Outstanding status by Decanter (www.decanter.com) in their October 2017 edition review of Argentine reds (Altamira and Gualtallary) (see blue link below)

Zorzal Eggo Franco Cabernet Franc 2015 - October 2017 Decanter review

Zorzal is an Argentinian boutique winery which has been dedicated to the production of high quality wines since 2008 and is located at the highest point of the Uco Valley. Hailed as one of the most exclusive and well-regarded areas for viticulture in Argentina, the terroir is revealed in the Zorzal wines through a respectful, non invasive winemaking process that puts austerity before exuberance and fruit before wood. The wines have rapidly gained international recognition. Founded by the Michelini brothers, who are outstanding in their passionate leadership in the vineyards and winery, this highly regarded winemaking duo have become renowned as the trendsetters of the Argentinian winemaking scene.

The vines are grown in high altitude, drip irrigated vineyards in Gualtallary, in the Uco Valley. Gualtallary is situated at 1,350 metres above sea-level in the highest vinegrowing zone in the Province of Mendoza, at the foot of Tupungato volcano. This zone is characterised by its combination of altitude, alluvial soils, sunny days, low rainfall and wide temperature ranges. The diurnal temperatures here oscillate between 35°C and 17°C, creating long, slow ripening periods, concentrating the flavours in the fruit. The combination of cool climate and very specific white chalky soil, gives the wine great structure and a delicious acidity.

2018 was another warm vintage, but this year is characterised as a year of balance. The yields returned to average after a positive growth cycle under good weather conditions. The wines are harmonious, with good maturity balanced by acidity.

The grapes were placed in cement egg shaped fermenters to allow fermentation to take place. The native yeasts were left to start working naturally. The egg shape of the fermenter facilitates vinification without the need for numerous pump-overs to extract components such as anthocyanin and polyphenols. Due to its ovoid shape, everything inside is constant movement, allowing gentler and more homogeneous extractions. Once the fermentation was complete, maceration with the skins took place over 40 days and the wine was then removed from the tank before being returned to the same egg shaped vessel for 12 months further ageing.

See also the blue link below for the excellent fiche technique/technical note from the winemakers themselves.

Zorzal Eggo Franco Cabernet Franc 2018 - fiche technique

This wine is 100% Cabernet Franc.

A fine example of Cabernet Franc, this wine shows varietal purity with its aromatic expression of white pepper, green pepper and earthy notes highlighted by mineral overtones. The juicy fruit on the palate is direct and leads to a long satisfying finish. Serve with grilled steak with a wild mushroom sauce or tangy cheese.

ABV = 14.5%.

£17.50

SC Pannell Touriga / Tempranillo 2016 (1x75cl)

** THIS WINE IS HELD IN NO OR LOW STOCK BUT IS QUICKLY BROUGHT IN TO ORDER. ORDERS PLACED BY 9am EACH MONDAY WILL BE WITH US FOR IMMEDIATE DESPATCH ON THURSDAY. **

Awarded 94 points and Highly Recommended status by Decanter in their June 2019 expert review tasting of Australian multi-regional blends (see blue link below).

SC Pannell Touriga / Tempranillo 2016 - June 2019 Decanter review

The not-going-to-be-in-the-UK-for-ages-yet 2018 vintage was awarded 93 points and Highly Recommended status by Decanter (www.decanter.com) in their Oct 2020 edition regional review of McLaren Vale (see blue link below)Full article available here.

SC Pannell Touriga / Tempranillo 2018 - Jan 2020 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.

The Tempranillo grapes are grown on mature McLaren Vale vines. The Touriga Nacional and Tinta Cao are sourced from McLaren Vale and Barossa.

The 2016 vintage was a vintage of two distinct halves. Winter and spring were exceptionally dry and warm and the vines required additional irrigation to avoid heat stress. Thankfully, a number of rainstorms turned 2016 into one of the wettest and mildest ripening periods. This cool, wet period saved the harvest and allowed for a long maturation period, which resulted in wines with incredible structure and ageing potential.

The parcels were hand-harvested, crushed and traditionally vinified in small open-top fermenters, with no additions other than yeast. Temperatures were maintained between a minimum of 15°C and a maximum of 34°C. Fermentation lasted 10-11 days and during this time the cap was hand plunged and pumped over. The wine spent seven months in 500 litre French oak puncheons, 80% in mature (five to six years old) oak and 20% in new oak.

57% Tempranillo, 29% Touriga Nacional, 14% Tinto Cão.

On the nose, abundant black fruits, cherry, fruit bread and red liquorice are overlaid with jasmine, nutmeg and cinnamon spices. The palate is long, with integrated and granular tannins with a balanced finish. An excellent food wine perfect with grilled sausages or charcuterie and cheese.

ABV = 14.0%.

£17.95

Errazuriz Aconcagua Costa Pinot Noir 2019 (1x75cl)

** THIS WINE IS HELD IN NO OR LOW STOCK (SEE AMOUNT HELD BELOW) BUT MORE IS QUICKLY BROUGHT IN TO ORDER. ORDERS PLACED BY 9am EACH MONDAY WILL BE WITH US FOR DESPATCH ON THE THURSDAY. ** 

Awarded 91 points and Highly Recommended status by Decanter in their October 2020 retrospective of DWWA19 (see blue link below).

Errazuriz Aconcagua Costa Pinot Noir 2019 - October 2020 Decanter review

The Errazuriz Estate was founded in 1870 when Don Maximiano Errazuriz planted his first vineyards at Panquehue in the Aconcagua Valley – 100km north of the capital. Errazuriz’s philosophy is best expressed by Don Maximiano who said, “From the best land, the best wine.” Vina Errazuriz believe in the concept of ‘terroir’ and strive to produce the finest wines by controlling every stage of the winemaking process, from grape growing in the Aconcagua and Casablanca valleys, to winemaking with the most natural techniques. An emphasis is placed on the delicate handling of the wines, with the aim of producing wines with elegance and complexity.

Today, the tradition of quality lives on with Don Maximiano's descendant Eduardo Chadwick. Eduardo is the fifth generation of his family to be involved in the wine business. Eduardo has overseen the modernisation of the winemaking technology at this historic estate whilst maintaining a distinct identity for its wines. Alongside him works winemaker Francsico Baettig who boasts an impressive wine industry CV prior to coming to Errazuriz. They are dedicated to producing estate grown wines of superior quality and have built their reputation on this and as a result are one of Chile's leading family owned wine estates.

The grapes for the Aconcagua Costa Pinot Noir are sourced from the Aconcagua Costa vineyard, located barely 7.5 miles from the Pacific Ocean. This vineyard was planted by Viña Errázuriz in 2005 and 2009. The climate is Mediterranean, acquiring cold weather conditions thanks to its proximity to the sea. The soil has a thin layer of loamy texture and placed on a base of clay and metamorphic rock (slate/schist), providing the mineral notes present in the wines that are grown in these vineyards.

The 2019 vintage in Aconcagua Costa was slightly warm due to the spring period, which scored a higher than average heat summation. Nevertheless, months that preceded the harvest were slightly cooler than the historically recorded, with lower temperatures in February and March that allowed a slow and gentle ripeness, along with outstandingly healthy grapes.

Grapes were handpicked between February 26th and February 28th, double sorted, 85% destemmed and crushed, then placed in open top stainless-steel tanks (15% whole clusters). Before starting the fermentation process, the grapes underwent a 3 to 5 days cold soak at 8°C. Fermentation was carried out with native yeasts only, by which the wine develops complex and distinctive aromas and flavours. Total skins contact, including post fermentation maceration was 12 to 20 days. Final blend is aged for 13 months in French oak barrels, 15% new.

See also the blue link below for the excellent fiche technique/technical note from the winemakers themselves.

Errazuriz Aconcagua Costa Pinot Noir 2019 - fiche technique

100% Pinot Noir.

Limpid ruby red color with beautiful violets flashes. On the nose, this Pinot Noir is very intense, showing red fruits as raspberries, accompanied by floral notes that remind of rosehip, all framed by spices and a smoky note. The palate is dominated by fresh red fruits and floral notes with soft balsamic touches. It has great structure, tension and freshness, with polish and round tannins that make it a very attractive wine, easy to drink.

ABV = 13.5%. 

£15.45

Bodega Garzon Tannat Reserva 2018 (1x75cl)

** THIS WINE IS HELD IN NO OR LOW STOCK (SEE AMOUNT HELD BELOW) BUT MORE IS QUICKLY BROUGHT IN TO ORDER. ORDERS PLACED BY 9am EACH MONDAY WILL BE WITH US FOR DESPATCH ON THE THURSDAY. **

Awarded 92 points and Highly Recommended status by Decanter in their October 2020 article, Uruguay - What Next? by Tim Atkin MW (see blue link below).

Bodega Garzon Tannat Reserva 2018 - October 2020 Decanter review

Bodega Garzón is a family owned winery in Maldonado on the Atlantic coast in southern Uruguay. They pioneered viticulture in this area over 10 years ago, and have since become the standard-bearer for premium wines from Uruguay. In November 2018, their pioneering status was recognised by Wine Enthusiast with the ‘New World Winery of the Year’ award. The vineyards at Bodega Garzón are a patchwork quilt of 1,150 individual plots of around 0.2 hectares in size, each plot carefully chosen for a specific variety according to its soil and microclimate. The winery is specially designed to operate as sustainably as possible, and is the first winery outside North America to pursue LEED certification (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design). Built on natural terraces, the winery uses cutting-edge technology and operates using a gravity system to ensure quality and energy efficiency at every stage of production.

Located 11 miles from the Atlantic Ocean, the estate has more than 1,000 small vineyard blocks covering hillside slopes, which benefit from varying microclimates, different levels of humidity and an intense canopy management. Well-draining granitic soils and cooling Atlantic breezes allow the grapes to ripen steadily. The vineyards are surrounded by lush forests, palm trees, rocky soils and granite boulders. This single vineyard Tannat comes from a site which is cooler than the other blocks on the estate, with steep slopes, thin soils and excellent drainage thanks to the predominance of ballast in the upper layers.

Average seasonal temperatures meant bud burst and fruit set occurred between September and December. However, strong spring winds meant work had to be undertaken in the vineyard to tie the shoots to their trellises to prevent damage. The hard work continued as rains between December and January threatened the vines and careful canopy management became necessary. Summer was dry and hot, and drip irrigation was necessary. The leaves were left untrimmed to serve as sun protection for the grapes. Late rains at the end of March brought forward the end of harvest. The wines from 2017 are characterised by elegant acidity and freshness.

Please click the blue link below to see a tasting note and more information about this wine, which has been written by the winemakers at Garzon. 

Garzon Tannat Reserva 2018 - fiche technique

100% Tannat.

ABV = 14.5%.

£15.70

Vina Echeverria Gran Reserva Syrah 2015 (1x75cl)

Awarded 91 points and Highly Recommended status by Decanter in their October 2020 panel tasting of South American Syrah (see blue link below).

 Vina Echeverria Gran Reserva Syrah 2015 - October 2020 Decanter review

Viña Echeverría is a family-run estate winery, owned and managed by the Echeverría family. Established in 1930, but with an agricultural heritage going back to the 1700s, Viña Echeverría is as much today, as always, driven by a shared passion for winemaking and an uncompromising search for excellence. Viña Echeverría combines nearly a century of viticulture and winemaking experience with a modern state-of-the-art winery, to produce an extensive collection of quality wines. The 'No es Pituko' range represents a radical departure from the rest of the more traditional Echeverría wines, both in look and make-up, being vinified naturally, without any additions at any stage. Viña Echeverría has recently been awarded its Sustainable Winery status by Wines of Chile, as well as its ISO9000 certification.

The grapes come from the Aconcagua Valley, located 40 miles north of Santiago, which is a small wine region famous for producing some of Chile’s greatest red wines. The vineyard sits at 243 metres above sea level, with clay and sandy soils to the east; granite and clay to the west. With cold nights and warm dry days, intense sunlight and a long growing season, it is ideally suited to produce healthy vines and grapes. Daily breezes moderate the otherwise high temperatures found in the Aconcagua Valley and reduce the risk of vine disease. The Antarctic Humboldt current, which flows up the west coast of Chile, helps to maintain this effect. The Syrah vines are from ungrafted selected clones of pre-phylloxera French rootstocks producing grapes of optimum quality and flavour.

The season was marked by a spring without frosts, resulting in a good flowering and fruit setting of the varieties. Higher temperatures during December and February favoured a rapid accumulation of sugar and acidity loss; therefore the vineyards were given an adequate water regime to control the ripening process. Reds ripened slowly as the temperatures returned to normal during March and April . The harvest took place one week earlier than usual and resulted in wines of high quality, with intense fine tannins and high aromatic potential.

The grapes were fermented to dryness in 12,000- and 15,000-litre open stainless steel tanks over a period of eight days. Selected yeasts were used and the temperatures were maintained between 24 to 28°C. Once fermentation was complete, an extended skin maceration took place for an additional 10 days. The wine then went through 100% malolactic fermentation, before being matured in 225-litre French oak barrels, for 12 months.

Syrah 100%. 

A highly aromatic Syrah, as blackberry, blueberry and raspberry characters are presented in this wine of great personality. Hints of bitter chocolate combine seamlessly with notes of black pepper, cinnamon and tobacco on the palate. Well balanced, with a juicy and long lasting finish.

ABV = 14.5%.

£10.95

Errazuriz Aconcagua Costa Syrah 2017 (1x75cl)

** THIS WINE IS HELD IN NO OR LOW STOCK (SEE AMOUNT HELD BELOW) BUT MORE IS QUICKLY BROUGHT IN TO ORDER. ORDERS PLACED BY 9am EACH MONDAY WILL BE WITH US FOR DESPATCH ON THE THURSDAY. **

Awarded 91 points and Highly Recommended status by Decanter in their October 2020 panel tasting of South American Syrah (see blue link below).

Errazuriz Aconcagua Costa Syrah 2017 - October 2020 Decanter review

The Errazuriz Estate was founded in 1870 when Don Maximiano Errazuriz planted his first vineyards at Panquehue in the Aconcagua Valley - 100 km north of the Chilean capital. Recognising that this valley, with its cool, rainy winters, hot, dry summers and moist Pacific Ocean breezes, was ideal for growing grapes, Don Maximiano sent for the finest clones from France and with tenacity and perseverance transformed this barren land into a world class vineyard.

Today, the tradition of quality lives on with Don Maximiano's descendant, Eduardo Chadwick. Eduardo is the fifth generation of his family to be involved in the wine business. Eduardo has overseen the modernisation of the winemaking technology at this historic Estate whilst maintaining a distinct identity for its wines. Dedicated to producing estate grown wines of superior quality, Errazuriz has built a reputation as the 'Premier Family Wine Estate of Chile'.

Errazuriz's philosophy is best expressed by Don Maximiano who said, "from the best land, the best wine." Vina Errazuriz believe in the concept of terroir and strive to produce the finest wines by controlling every stage of the winemaking process, from grape growing in the Aconcagua and Casablanca valleys, to winemaking with the most natural techniques. An emphasis is placed on the delicate handling of the wines, with the aim of producing wines with elegance and complexity.

The Errazuriz Winery was established in 1870 when the founder Don Maximiano Errazuriz first brought vines to the area. The beautiful original 1870 building still stands with the spectacular underground cellars still being used. Two brand new winery buildings were completed in 2010; one for Max Reserva wines and one for thef lagship wines. The Don Maximiano Icon Winery is an architecturally stunning masterpiece with oak fermenters and environmentally friendly ground-source heating/cooling. Sitting alongside the original 1870 building, these new developments show the importance of respecting our heritage whilst having a clear vision for the future. Both were showcased by Jancis Robinson and Hugh Johnson in the 7th Edition of The World Atlas of Wine as benchmark examples of a state-of-the-art modern winery. In October 2017, Errazuriz became Chile’s first recipient of the Robert Parker Wine Advocate Extraordinary Winery Award for Best Chilean Winery 2017.

The grapes for the Aconcagua Costa Syrah are sourced from the Aconcagua Costa vineyard, located 12 kilometers from the Pacific Ocean. Planted by Viña Errázuriz in 2005 and 2009, the soil is composed by a thin layer of loamy texture and placed on a base of clay and metamorphic rock (slate/schist), providing the mineral notes present in the wines that are grown in these vineyards.

After a winter of historical records in terms of temperatures and rainfall, temperate and dry conditions followed during the months of August and September. As spring and summer unfolded, we experienced dry conditions, as well as constantly warm temperatures, especially during November and January, which created ideal circumstances for optimal flowering, fruit set and veraison, in addition to a harvest in excellent sanitary conditions. March brought relief to the usually warm summer temperatures, allowing the grapes to continue a gentle ripeness process, preserving their acidity and freshness.

Grapes were hand-picked between March 11th and March 28th, and carefully transported to the winery in small boxes of 15 kilos approximately, to avoid damaging the grapes. Once there, they were carefully inspected, crushed and deposited in stainless steel tanks, where they went under alcoholic fermentation with native yeasts. The total maceration time (in contact with the skins) was between 8 to 20 days; 10% whole clusters. During 14 months, 10% of the wine was aged in new French oak barrels, while 75% was aged in French oak barrels of second and third use. The remaning 15% was aged in foudres.

See also the blue link below for the excellent fiche technique/technical note from the winemakers themselves.

Errazuriz Aconcagua Costa Syrah 2017 - fiche technique

100% Syrah. 

The 2017 vintage of Aconcagua Costa Syrah displays a bright, intense, deep ruby red color with violet hues. The nose reveals pink pepper, blueberries, fresh raspberries, with hints of dill and incense, while the palate has soft hints of incense and a spicy profile, framed by notes of fresh black fruit. A wine with soft and elegant tannins, whose entrance stands out with a refreshing acidity, showing nerve and juiciness. A linear and deep wine with very fine grained tannins.

ABV = 13.5%. 

£15.60

Errazuriz Max Reserva Syrah (Shiraz) 2016 (1x75cl)

** THIS WINE IS HELD IN NO OR LOW STOCK (SEE AMOUNT HELD BELOW) BUT MORE IS QUICKLY BROUGHT IN TO ORDER. ORDERS PLACED BY 9am EACH MONDAY WILL BE WITH US FOR DESPATCH ON THE THURSDAY. **

Awarded 90 points and Highly Recommended status by Decanter in their October 2020 panel tasting of South American Syrah (see blue link below).

Errazuriz Max Reserva Syrah 2016 - October 2020 Decanter review

The Errazuriz Estate was founded in 1870 when Don Maximiano Errazuriz planted his first vineyards at Panquehue in the Aconcagua Valley - 100 km north of the Chilean capital. Recognising that this valley, with its cool, rainy winters, hot, dry summers and moist Pacific Ocean breezes, was ideal for growing grapes, Don Maximiano sent for the finest clones from France and with tenacity and perseverance transformed this barren land into a world class vineyard.

Today, the tradition of quality lives on with Don Maximiano's descendant, Eduardo Chadwick. Eduardo is the fifth generation of his family to be involved in the wine business. Eduardo has overseen the modernisation of the winemaking technology at this historic Estate whilst maintaining a distinct identity for its wines. Dedicated to producing estate grown wines of superior quality, Errazuriz has built a reputation as the 'Premier Family Wine Estate of Chile'.

Errazuriz's philosophy is best expressed by Don Maximiano who said, "from the best land, the best wine." Vina Errazuriz believe in the concept of terroir and strive to produce the finest wines by controlling every stage of the winemaking process, from grape growing in the Aconcagua and Casablanca valleys, to winemaking with the most natural techniques. An emphasis is placed on the delicate handling of the wines, with the aim of producing wines with elegance and complexity.

The Errazuriz Winery was established in 1870 when the founder Don Maximiano Errazuriz first brought vines to the area. The beautiful original 1870 building still stands with the spectacular underground cellars still being used. Two brand new winery buildings were completed in 2010; one for Max Reserva wines and one for thef lagship wines. The Don Maximiano Icon Winery is an architecturally stunning masterpiece with oak fermenters and environmentally friendly ground-source heating/cooling. Sitting alongside the original 1870 building, these new developments show the importance of respecting our heritage whilst having a clear vision for the future. Both were showcased by Jancis Robinson and Hugh Johnson in the 7th Edition of The World Atlas of Wine as benchmark examples of a state-of-the-art modern winery. In October 2017, Errazuriz became Chile’s first recipient of the Robert Parker Wine Advocate Extraordinary Winery Award for Best Chilean Winery 2017.

The grapes for Max Shiraz primarily come from Max vineyards in the Aconcagua Valley. Located in the interior of the valley, the vineyard soils have a predominantly silty texture and are of colluvial origin. The special conditions of nutrition and drainage of the diverse soils help control plant vigor, producing balanced fruit loads with small bunches and berries.

The challenging vintage of 2016 performed different scenarios through the season, with a cool spring and a warmer than average summer. A rainy and cool October was followed by pleasant spring days in November, promoting a healthy flowering and fruit set. At the beginning of the summer temperatures gradually increased, reaching during January temperatures higher than the historical averages. February was warm, with oncoming sunny weather interspersed with cool morning fog, prevailing through to the end of the growing season. All of this conditions delivered wines of outstanding vivacity and character.

The grapes were handpicked early in the morning and inspectedon a double selection table, crushed, and desposited into stainless steel tanks for fermentation. Maceration period ranged from 12 to 25 days. The wine was aged for 12 months in French oak barrels, 25% of which were new.

See also the blue link below for the excellent fiche technique/technical note from the winemakers themselves.

Errazuriz Max Reserva Syrah 2016 - fiche technique

100% Syrah. 

Beautiful and bright ruby red with violet highlights. The wine shows aromas of red fruits such as raspberries, cherries accompanied by notes that remind of blueberry tart, along with a hint of tobacco and black pepper. In the palate it feels fresh and juicy, with a medium to long persistence, fine tannins and a pleasant sensation that surrounds the palate.

ABV = 13.5%. 

£12.35

Montes Outer Limits Zapallar Syrah 2017 (1x75cl)

** THIS WINE IS HELD IN NO OR LOW STOCK (SEE AMOUNT HELD BELOW) BUT MORE IS QUICKLY BROUGHT IN TO ORDER. ORDERS PLACED BY 9am EACH MONDAY WILL BE WITH US FOR DESPATCH ON THE THURSDAY. **

Awarded 89 points and Recommended status by Decanter in their October 2020 panel tasting of South American Syrah (see blue link below).

Montes Outer Limits Zapallar Syrah 2017 - October 2020 Decanter review

Montes was established in 1988 by Aurelio Montes, Douglas Murray, Alfredo Vidaurre and Pedro Grand, with the aim of producing the best wines in Chile from the best regions. The Montes wines are consistently good because they are meticulous throughout the entire production process. The Outer Limits wines were born out of Aurelio Montes' desire to push Chilean viticulture in a new direction. The 45 hectare Zapallar Vineyard in the Aconcagua Valley was Montes' first venture into the 'outer limits'. Due to the balance and concentration in the Outer Limits wines, they can be enjoyed now or allowed to age for a few years, rewarding with a wonderfully complex bouquet.

The Zapallar vineyards are truly coastal, being just 7 kilometres away from the Pacific Ocean, an ideal location for the growth and development of varieties such as Syrah. Montes’ 45 hectares are the only vineyards planted in this area, situated at an altitude of 120 – 150 meters above sea level. The clay-loam, granitic soil provides moderate drainage and gives rise to intense, aromatic wines, exceptionally balanced with body, flavour, and ripe tannins. Zapallar is without doubt an “Outer Limits” terroir, with an extreme climate for winegrowing which has put Montes’ winemaking abilities to the test.

The 2017 vintage was characterised by favourable weather conditions – little rainfall and plenty of sunshine. This meant grapes needed little viticultural intervention to help ripen evenly and without risk of disease. Good weather continued well into the growing season and as harvest approached, temperatures dropped slowly, allowing fruit to retain acidity and develop aromatic complexity. This vintage has delivered fruit of exceptional quality, displaying a level of balanced ripeness not seen in recent vintages.

The grapes were hand-picked early in the morning to preserve freshness and fruit purity. They were then hand sorted at the winery before undergoing a temperature-controlled five day cold maceration at 6-8°C on the skins to extract colour and aroma. The must was then slowly brought up to 26-28°C and inoculated with specially selected yeasts. Fermentation followed taking 10 days to complete. The wine then remained on its skins for a further five days to ensure good colour and tannin extraction. 65% of the wine was then racked off into a concrete egg, which allows continuous contact with the lees. The other 35% was racked off to second-use French oak barrels and aged for 12 months. After ageing, these two portions were blended together and lightly filtered to retain the full character of the wine.

100% Syrah.

This wine is deep ruby red in colour with violet tones. The fruity nose recalls ripe black and red berries with notes of smoke, Serrano ham and coffee. The palate is vibrant and well balanced with very smooth tannins and remarkable structure and volume.

ABV = 14.5%.

£20.15

Caballo Loco Grand Cru Limari 2015 (1x75cl)

Awarded a high 17 points (of 20) on Jancis Robinson's Purple Pages (www.JancisRobinson.comreviewer Alistair Cooper MW - in Feb 2020 (see blue link below).

Caballo Loco Grand Cru Limari 2015 - jancisrobinson.com May 2020 review

Awarded 86 points and Recommended status by Decanter in their October 2020 panel tasting of South American Syrah (see blue link below).

Caballo Loco Grand Cru Limari 2015 - October 2020 Decanter review

The Caballo Loco Grands Crus were created by Valdivieso to show the different wines that are fundamental components of the icon Caballo Loco wine. For this reason, specific wines from specific valleys wine were born, where each strain/blend reflects the maximum expression of that valley.

One can arguably see these wines as understudies for the "true" Caballo Loco, but they are more than that, being quite superb - and full-throttle - wines in their own right, made with all the care, attention and know-how of the NV/"solera" version.

This Grand Cru Apalta represents all the fruit power and smoothness of the Limari Valley, showcasing the excellent Syrah (100% here) of this region.

For full details, see the blue link below for the excellent fiche technique/technical note from the winemakers themselves.

Caballo Loco Grand Cru Limari 2015 - fiche technique

A big, full-bodied wine with delicious aromas and flavours of ripe red cherries, coffee and dark chocolate. It has a luxurious texture and a lingering finish.

ABV = 15.0%.

£24.15

Stags Leap Wine Cellars Aveta Sauvignon Blanc 2017 (1x75cl)

** THIS WINE IS HELD IN NO OR LOW STOCK BUT IS QUICKLY BROUGHT IN TO ORDER. ORDERS PLACED BY 9am EACH MONDAY WILL BE WITH US FOR IMMEDIATE DESPATCH ON WEDNESDAY. **

The 2018 vintage (not yet available) was awarded 91 points and Highly Recommended status by Decanter in their October 2020 article on Stag's Leap (see blue link below).

Stags Leap Wine Cellars Aveta SB 2018 - October 2020 Decanter review

Considered one of the “first growths” of Napa Valley, Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars produces renowned Cabernet Sauvignon from its historic Stags Leap District estate vineyards. Founded in 1970, the winery brought international recognition to California winemaking and the Napa Valley when the 1973 SLV Cabernet Sauvignon won the now famous 1976 Paris Tasting, also known as the “Judgment of Paris.” Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars’ three estate-grown Cabernet Sauvignons - CASK 23, SLV and FAY - are among the most highly regarded and collected Cabernet Sauvignons worldwide.

The Danika Ranch estate vineyard, located adjacent to the Napa River in the Oak Knoll District, provides most of the fruit. Other is sourced from the Rancho Chimiles vineyard, just over the hill in the warm and clear reaches of Wooden Valley. The remaining grapes for this wine were sourced from key vineyards in Napa Valley including Beckstoffer Melrose in Rutherford, Solari in Calistoga and Bravo Zulu in Oak Knoll. Danika Ranch brings spicy peach, guava and grapefruit notes to the mix while the Rancho Chimiles Sauvignon grapes lend racy citrus, tropical fruit and mineral notes to the wine. Long-time grower Terry Wilson farms Sauvignon Blanc and Sauvignon Musque at Rancho Chimiles for this wine.

The juice was fermented at cool temperatures in a mix of stainless steel (45%) and neutral French oak barrels (55%). The wine was aged on light lees for six months and was stirred every two weeks, providing some roundness to the wine’s texture.

100% Sauvignon Blanc. 

Intense fruit aromas of mango and gooseberry with hints of custard apple, herbs and citrus. The palate is dry and lively with crisp fruit flavours and a buttery lemony texture and refreshing acidity.

Pairs well with grilled oysters with mignonette sauce, grilled prosciuttowrapped shrimp, fresh fish ceviche with cilantro.

ABV = 14.0%. 

£24.80

Stags Leap Wine Cellars Karia Chardonnay 2018 (1x75cl)

** THIS WINE IS HELD IN NO OR LOW STOCK BUT IS QUICKLY BROUGHT IN TO ORDER. ORDERS PLACED BY 9am EACH MONDAY WILL BE WITH US FOR IMMEDIATE DESPATCH ON WEDNESDAY. **

Awarded 90 points and Highly Recommended status by Decanter in their October 2020 article on Stag's Leap (see blue link below).

Stags Leap Wine Cellars Karia Chardonnay 2018 - October 2020 Decanter review

Considered one of the “first growths” of Napa Valley, Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars produces renowned Cabernet Sauvignon from its historic Stags Leap District estate vineyards. Founded in 1970, the winery brought international recognition to California winemaking and the Napa Valley when the 1973 SLV Cabernet Sauvignon won the now famous 1976 Paris Tasting, also known as the “Judgment of Paris.” Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars’ three estate-grown Cabernet Sauvignons - CASK 23, SLV and FAY - are among the most highly regarded and collected Cabernet Sauvignons worldwide.

The word Karia is derived from the Greek word meaning 'graceful', and this sums up the style that has been aimed for in the making of this Chardonnay. Karia comes from a tapestry of vineyards in the southern part of Napa Valley. For the 2013 offering, vineyards in the Atlas Peak District, Carneros, Coombsville (Arcadia vineyard) and Oak Knoll (Danika Ranch) contributed fruit in equal parts. The vineyards in Carneros, which are cooled in the mornings and evenings by breezes sweeping north from San Pablo Bay, contribute citrus and mineral notes to the wine. Arcadia vineyard brings perfume and delicate fruit characters while our estate vineyard at Danika Ranch provides bright, juicy apple and pear personality to the blend. The fruit was picked early in the morning to keep it cool and then was whole cluster pressed to preserve the freshness. Oak and malolactic fermentation were used in moderation to accent, rather than overwhelm, the fruit.

86% of the wine is barrel-fermented, while 14% is fermented in stainless steel. 30% of the wine goes into new French oak with eight months sur lie. 89% of the wine goes through MLF.

100% Chardonnay.

Generous and complex on the nose, which abounds with notes of lemon, orange blossom, fresh apples and toasted brioche. Mouth-filling and delicately spicy, but supremely elegant and refreshing. Try pairing this medium-bodied Chardonnay with grilled whole fish with lemons and capers, seared scallops drizzled with lemon-infused olive oil, or roast chicken.

ABV = 14.5%. 

£32.50

Stags Leap Wine Cellars Cask 23 Cabernet Sauvignon 2016 (1x75cl)

** THIS WINE IS HELD IN NO OR LOW STOCK BUT IS QUICKLY BROUGHT IN TO ORDER. ORDERS PLACED BY 9am EACH MONDAY WILL BE WITH US FOR IMMEDIATE DESPATCH ON WEDNESDAY. **

The 2017 vintage (not yet available) was awarded 94 points and Highly Recommended status by Decanter in their October 2020 article on Stag's Leap (see blue link below).

Stags Leap Wine Cellars Cask 23 Cabernet Sauvignon 2017 - October 2020 Decanter review

Considered one of the “first growths” of Napa Valley, Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars produces renowned Cabernet Sauvignon from its historic Stags Leap District estate vineyards. Founded in 1970, the winery brought international recognition to California winemaking and the Napa Valley when the 1973 SLV Cabernet Sauvignon won the now famous 1976 Paris Tasting, also known as the “Judgment of Paris.” Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars’ three estate-grown Cabernet Sauvignons - CASK 23, SLV and FAY - are among the most highly regarded and collected Cabernet Sauvignons worldwide.

The story of CASK 23 began during the harvest of 1974. Back then, the winery enlisted the help of celebrated winemaker André Tchelistcheff. As he tasted through various lots of new wines from that year, one lot from S.L.V. was so beautiful and deliciously distinct the winery decided it should be bottled separately. It was named CASK 23 for the large wooden cask in which it was aged. Today, the wine is a blend of the most distinctive fruit from the S.L.V and FAY vineyards, resulting in a wine of extraordinary depth and richness balanced by restraint. Over the years, CASK 23 has become one of the most highly regarded and collected wines worldwide.

CASK 23 is a tale of two vineyards that come together in a harmonious blend. For the 2016 offering, 52% of the fruit is from S.L.V. (blocks 3B, 2A) and 48% is from FAY Vineyard (blocks 7A, 7B, 10A, 3A, 5C3, 9, 12A). Specific blocks within these adjoining ranches provide distinct attributes to the wine. Vines planted in volcanic soils on the eastern hillsides of S.L.V. and FAY give CASK 23 its structure, concentration, spicy intensity and elegant tannins; those grown in the alluvial soils in the middle and lower sections of the two vineyards add vibrant fruit flavors, a supple mid-palate and perfumed aromatics. After malolactic fermentation, the lees were stirred daily for several months to add richness to the wine. Each lot was vinified and aged separately for the first year allowing the characteristics of each block to develop, while adding subtle spice notes. In the second year of aging, the lots were blended together to let the flavors harmonize, becoming one in CASK 23. Overall, the wine was aged in small new French oak barrels for 21 months.

100% Cabernet Sauvignon.

The deep purple-black colored barrel sample of 2016 Cask 23 Cabernet Sauvignon features compelling, youthful notes of freshly crushed red and black currants, black cherries, kirsch and mocha with nuances of Marmite toast, roasted nuts, underbrush and truffles. Medium to full-bodied, the palate has a very firm frame of super ripe tannins supporting the multilayered flavors, finishing on an epically long, lingering fragrant earth note. Beautiful.

ABV = 14.5%. 

£273.00

Stags Leap Wine Cellars Fay Cabernet Sauvignon 2016 (1x75cl)

** THIS WINE IS HELD IN NO OR LOW STOCK BUT IS QUICKLY BROUGHT IN TO ORDER. ORDERS PLACED BY 9am EACH MONDAY WILL BE WITH US FOR IMMEDIATE DESPATCH ON WEDNESDAY. **

The 2017 vintage (not yet available) was awarded 94 points and Highly Recommended status by Decanter in their October 2020 article on Stag's Leap (see blue link below).

Stags Leap Wine Cellars Fay Cabernet Sauvignon 2017 - October 2020 Decanter review

Considered one of the “first growths” of Napa Valley, Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars produces renowned Cabernet Sauvignon from its historic Stags Leap District estate vineyards. Founded in 1970, the winery brought international recognition to California winemaking and the Napa Valley when the 1973 S.L.V. Cabernet Sauvignon won the now famous 1976 Paris Tasting, also known as the “Judgment of Paris.” Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars’ three estate-grown Cabernet Sauvignons-CASK 23, S.L.V. and FAY-are among the most highly regarded and collected Cabernet Sauvignons worldwide.

The FAY vineyard is where the Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars story began. Established by pioneering grape grower Nathan Fay in 1961, it was the first planting of Cabernet Sauvignon in what is now the Stags Leap District. At the time, conventional wisdom maintained that the area was too cool for Cabernet Sauvignon. But tasting Nathan Fay’s homemade Cabernet in 1969 was a defining moment for the founder of Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars. Here was land capable of producing a wine that could rival the best in the world. Within a year an adjoining ranch, now known as S.L.V., was purchased. And, in 1986, the winery purchased Nathan Fay’s vineyard and named it FAY in his honor. The first vintage of a single vineyard FAY Cabernet Sauvignon was 1990.

FAY vineyard remains one the great Napa Valley vineyards, producing fruit with an abundance of supple red and black berry character, voluptuous perfume and a luscious, fine-grained texture. Almost three quarters of the Cabernet Sauvignon for the 2016 blend comes from blocks in the lower and middle sections of the FAY vineyard, which give the wine its classic red-fruit tones and aromatic top notes. The balance was sourced from the upper section (eastern blocks) of FAY, which tends to be more powerful and lends structure to the wine. When the various lots are blended and aged in French oak barrels, the resulting wine gives us the classic expression that is a hallmark of our estate-grown Cabernet Sauvignon, “an iron fist in a velvet glove.”

Although bud-break in Napa Valley was early in 2016, the season was much cooler than normal. We didn’t get the usual high heat in July and August, which provided for a longer hang time for the grapes. Overall, quality was high and particularly at our FAY and S.L.V. estate vineyards. The grapes in FAY and S.L.V. ripened uniformly and while yields were a bit lower than average, the flavors were great, and the tannins were soft and supple. The harvest was smooth and progressed from varietal to varietal with the Sauvignon Blanc coming in first, then the Chardonnay, and time in between to transition to the reds. In late September, we started bringing in Cabernet Sauvignon from across the valley for our ARTEMIS Cabernet Sauvignon and it was interesting that the grapes – all the way from the cooler Coombsville area up to the warmer parts of St. Helena – ripened at the same time. We completed the Cabernet harvest in October.

With this vintage, Winemaker Marcus Notaro used careful barrel selection to marry the unique characters of FAY vineyard to the barrel type and toast level to further enhance the fruit in the wine. In addition, he added 2% Cabernet Franc to the blend for the first time which adds an accent of blueberry spice. This is first crop of Cabernet Franc, which replaced the Petite Verdot that was originally planted in FAY.

98% Cabernet Sauvignon, 2% Cabernet Franc. 

Generous and inviting, the 2016 FAY Cabernet Sauvignon has vibrant aromas of ripe raspberry, blueberry spice, and boysenberry with a touch of nutmeg. The palate is loaded with blueberry and black cherry flavors wrapped around soft and silky tannins. Bright berry notes linger on the persistent finish. Try pairing this estate-grown Cabernet with Maitake mushroom risotto, maple-glazed salmon or grilled buffalo burgers with caramelized onion & Havarti cheese.

ABV = 14.5%.

£155.85

Stags Leap Wine Cellars SLV Cabernet Sauvignon 2014 (1x75cl)

** THIS WINE IS HELD IN NO OR LOW STOCK BUT IS QUICKLY BROUGHT IN TO ORDER. ORDERS PLACED BY 9am EACH MONDAY WILL BE WITH US FOR IMMEDIATE DESPATCH ON WEDNESDAY. **

The 2017 vintage (not yet at the UK importer) was awarded 93 points and Highly Recommended status by Decanter in their October 2020 article on Stag's Leap (see blue link below).

Stags Leap Wine Cellars SLV 2017 - October 2020 Decanter review

Considered one of the “first growths” of Napa Valley, Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars produces renowned Cabernet Sauvignon from its historic Stags Leap District estate vineyards. Founded in 1970, the winery brought international recognition to California winemaking and the Napa Valley when the 1973 SLV. Cabernet Sauvignon won the now famous 1976 Paris Tasting, also known as the “Judgment of Paris.” Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars’ three estate-grown Cabernet Sauvignons - CASK 23, SL. and FAY - are among the most highly regarded and collected Cabernet Sauvignons worldwide.

100% Cabernet Sauvignon. 

The 2014 SLV Cabernet Sauvignon offers generous aromas of cocoa powder, graphite, blackberry and baking spice. A broad, silky entry fills the mouth with dark berry fruit and dark chocolate flavors. The palate is rich and concentrated with round tannins that are present but enjoyable and inviting. The wines structured tannins, rich fruit, and pleasing minerality point to this wine’s ability to age.

Enjoy with Osso Buco, filet mignon or a hearty wild mushroom risotto.

ABV = 14.5%.

£156.00
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