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Algueira Mencia Ribeira Sacra 2013 (1x 75cl)

The subsequent vintage was awarded 90 points and Highly Recommended status by Decanter (www.decanter.com) in their September 2016 edition's "Weekday Wines" (wines under £25) (see blue link below). 

Algueira Ribeira Sacra Mencia 2014 - Sep 2016 Decanter review

The Algueira winery is located in the midst of old chestnut and oak tree forests,on the banks of the river Sil, where the monks built their monasteries back in the 12th Century, A scenario which reflects the calm and peacefulness necessary for the creation of their wines.

Loads of red fruit aromatics, with flavours of raspberry jam and blueberry. Herbal notes and light balsamic aromas accompany the fruit. This wine is fresh and lively.

£12.00

Alpha Zeta 'A' Amarone 2014 (1x75cl)

The previoius (2013) vintage was awarded 92 points and Highly Recommended status by Decanter (www.decanter.com) in their May 2017 edition review of Amarones (see blue link below). The 2014 is of excellent - probably better - quality in our view.

Alpha Zeta 2013  - May 2017 Decanter review

The vineyards are situated in the hills outside Verona in the Valpantena Valley. Cool currents blow down the valley from the foothills of the Dolomites, which helps to moderate the climate, enabling the grapes to ripen slowly. This helps the grapes to retain their aromatic compounds and acidity. The soil is a mixture of clay and limestone with good drainage. The vineyards are south-facing and therefore warmer than other parts of Valpolicella.

One of the best harvests in recent years, the grapes in 2013 enjoyed gradual ripening thanks to excellent sunlight rather than heat.

Selected grapes were picked in mid September and left to dry in specially ventilated rooms until the end of January. During this time the grapes lost about 40% of their natural weight. The grapes were destemmed and crushed at the end of January. Fermentation temperature was between 18°-22°C with daily periodic pumping over, while the length of maceration was 20 days. This Amarone was matured in oak (a mixture of large 'botti' and French oak barriques) for 18 months before bottling.

Deep and intense on the nose with perfumes of dried cherries and blueberries, with notes of spiced autumn fruit compote.  On the palate it is powerful but modern, with a lovely balance of ripe tannins and spiced, concentrated savoury cherry fruit character.  A touch of woodsmoke completes the long finish.

£23.00

Altos de Corral, Rioja, Bodegas Corral 2009 (1x 75cl)

Awarded 92 points and Highly Recommended status by Decanter (www.decanter.com) in their March 2017 edition review of Premium Rioja (see blue link below).

Altos de Corral, Rioja, Bodegas Corral 2009 - March 2017 Decanter review

Made from 100% Tempranillo from a superb 10-hectare vineyard on a prominent hillside, at an altitude of 600 metres, overlooking Navarrete in the Rioja Alta. The soil in this vineyard is extremely poor and rocky and yields are 30% below the average for Rioja, resulting in wines of great concentration and richness.

Harvest and selection is carried out by hand. Aged for 24 months in French oak casks.

Intense red cherry in colour. Complex, dominant flavour of red berries, well-assembled with soft notes of vanilla and new fine oak barrel. Soft tannins, full-bodied and a lingering finish.

£30.64

Altos Las Hormigas Appellation Altamira Malbec 2014 (1x 75cl)

Awarded 93 points and Highly Recommended status by Decanter (www.decanter.com) in their October 2017 edition review of Argentine reds (Altamira and Gualtallary) (see blue link below)...

Altos las Hormigas Appellation Malbec 2014 - October 2017 Decanter review

... and awarded 95 points and Outstanding status in their October 2017 edition review of South American Extreme Viticulture (see blue link below)...

Altos las Hormigas Appellation Malbec 2014 - October 2017 Decanter review

... and awarded 94 points and Highly Recommended status in their October 2016 edition review of Argentina (see blue link below).

Altos Las Hormigas Appellation Altamira Malbec 2014 - October 2016 Decanter review 

Altos Las Hormigas is based in Luján de Cuyo, the only officially recognised appellation in Mendoza and one of the region's premier vine growing areas. The estate is known as a Malbec specialist with a reputation as one of the country's top five producers of this particular variety. 

The wine was matured in 3,500 litre untoasted oak foudres for 18 months, and a further 12 months in bottle. There was a coarse filtration prior to bottling, to ensure that the quality of the wine was not interfered with.

Fresh and delicate on the nose showing layers of red cherries and raspberries combined with herbal notes of wild rocket and thyme and a touch of minerality. On the palate it is elegant and supple with fine tannins providing structure. A graceful, complex, deep and structured wine with considerable length.

£31.88

Altos Las Hormigas Valle De Uco Malbec Reserva 2014 (1x 75cl)

Awarded 91 points and Highly Recommended status by Decanter (www.decanter.com) in their October 2016 edition review of Argentina (see blue link below).

Altos Las Hormigas Reserva Malbec 2014 - October 2016 Decanter review

Altos Las Hormigas is based in Luján de Cuyo, the only officially recognised appellation in Mendoza and one of the region's premier vine growing areas. The estate is known as a Malbec specialist with a reputation as one of the country's top five producers of this particular variety. Alberto Antonini and fellow Tuscan, Antonio Morescalchi, were so impressed with the vineyards in the area around Mendoza, following their first trip to Argentina in 1995, that they persuaded a few friends to join with them in buying this estate. The estate covers 216 hectares, of which 40 were planted between 1996 and 1999.

Grapes were harvested by hand with delicate and conscious bunch selection. The de-stemmed berries were loaded by gravity to allow a gentle breaking of skins. During fermentation very gentle treatment was used to avoid over extraction. The juice was fermented using native yeast. The wine was matured in 3,500 litre untoasted Foudres (wooden casks) for 18 months, and six months in bottle. There was a coarse filtration prior to bottling, to ensure no interference with the quality of the wine.

A brilliant, purple-red in colour with an enticing nose of flowers, ripe red and black fruits mixed with subtle notes of graphite and flint stone. The complexity of the nose develops further with time and air. The palate is creamy with good depth and softness. Fresh, juicy red fruit flavours abound with round, firm tannins and a backbone of well-integrated acidity. A balanced, complex and long-lasting finish.  

£21.20

Altos Las Hormigas Valle De Uco Malbec Terroir 2014 (1x 75cl)

Awarded 91 points and Highly Recomended status by Decanter (www.decanter.com) - in their December 2017 edition - in their Weekday Wines column (see blue link below)... (yes, and cheaper than your local high-street boutique supermarket...)

Altos las Hormigas 2014 - December 2017 Decanter review

Opaque black in colour, with flashes of violet and an ethereal, highly complex nose with notes of red and black fruits, spices, smoke, forest groves and sweet, fresh wood. The palate has excellent breadth and depth of juicy fruit. The acidity is fresh and the tannins are firm but fine-textured, supporting the berry flavours well on the long, elegant finish.

£14.95

Amalaya Blanco de Corte Torrontes/Riesling 2016 (1x75cl)

Awarded 95 points and a Platinum Best In Show at the Decanter World Wine Awards (www.decanter.com): see their August 2017 DWWA supplement (see blue link below).

Amalaya Torrontes-Riesling 2016 - August 2017 Decanter review

The Amalaya wines offer incredible value for their quality and truly reflect their ‘sense of place‘. All of the Amalaya wines are fruit driven in style, with a finesse that unites them.

The Torrontes and Riesling grapes were both grown on the Finca Amalaya and Finca Las Mercedes vineyards. These are located in the Cafayate Valley in the very heart of the Calchaqui Valley, distinguished for being the highest wine region in the world. The climate here is very dry, with just 150mm of rain in an average year and a huge thermal amplitude of around 20°C. The soils here are rocky, poor and sandy so the roots of the vines are forced to dig deep to find the vital nutrients and water they need, which in turn results in a huge concentration of flavour within the fruit. The winery is also situated in Cafayate, Calchaquí Valley in Salta in the far north of Argentina at nearly 1,828 metres above sea level.

Amalaya translates to ‘hope for a miracle’ in the indigenous language of the now extinct tribe, the Calchaquí. The winery is situated in Cafayate, Calchaquí Valley in Salta in the far north of Argentina at nearly 1,828 metres above sea level. It is a part of the Hess Family Estates and is run with the same dedication to quality, sustainability and social responsibility as the other Hess Estates.

Intense gold in colour with tints of green. On the nose this wine is intense and complex with aromas of citrus and grapefruit typical of Torrontes. Delicate and silky on the palate with great freshness and crisp acidity on the distinctly mineral finish.

£9.64

Andeluna Altitud Malbec 2014 (1x 75cl)

Awarded 91 points and Highly Recommended status by Decanter (www.decanter.com) in their October 2017 edition review of Argentine reds (Altamira and Gualtallary) (see blue link below).

Andeluna Altitud Malbec 2014 - October 2017 Decanter review

Andeluna was founded in 2003 by the late Ward Lay whose family had interests in many industries and companies including Frito-Lay and Pepsico. The vineyard covers 70 hectares in the beautiful Uco Valley near Tupungato, one of the best sub-regions 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. At an altitude of 1,300 metres the vineyard produces some of the best fruit in Argentina. Their winemaker, Manuel Gonzalez (previously Head Winemaker at Pulenta Estate and Chief Enologist at Trivento) works alongside Andeluna's wine consultant Hans Vinding Diers making outstanding wines which have propelled this producer into the world spotlight in a very short space of time.

The grapes come from the vineyard located in Tupungato, which is situated at an altitude of 1,300 metres above sea level. The area is characterised by its great diurnal temperature swings, which encourages aromatic expression and a great intensity of colour in the wine. 

100% Malbec. Grape clusters were hand selected prior to vinifcation and underwent a prefermentation maceration at low temperatures. Fermentation took place with natural yeasts in stainless steel tanks at temperatures maintained at approximately 26°C. The wine was aged in French oak barrels for eight to 12 months, followed by six months in bottle, prior to release.

This is a full flavoured Malbec with intense aromas red fruits and violets combined with delicate hints of vanilla, coffee and chocolate. Sweet fruit on the palate is backed by soft, but high volume tannins which give the wine a long and exquisite finish.

£15.40

Andeluna Pasionado Malbec 2014 (1x 75cl)

Awarded 91 points and Highly Recommended status by Decanter (www.decanter.com) in their October 2017 edition review of Argentine reds (Altamira and Gualtallary) (see blue link below).

Andeluna Pasionado Malbec 2014 - October 2017 Decanter review

Andeluna was founded in 2003 by the late Ward Lay whose family had interests in many industries and companies including Frito-Lay and Pepsico. The vineyard covers 70 hectares in the beautiful Uco Valley near Tupungato, one of the best sub-regions 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. At an altitude of 1,300 metres the vineyard produces some of the best fruit in Argentina. Their winemaker, Manuel Gonzalez (previously Head Winemaker at Pulenta Estate and Chief Enologist at Trivento) works alongside Andeluna's wine consultant Hans Vinding Diers making outstanding wines which have propelled this producer into the world spotlight in a very short space of time.

The Pasionado range is only made in exceptional vintages and rivals some of the great wines of the world.

100% Malbec. The grapes were selected by hand, followed by a pre-fermentation maceration, to extract a rich colour. Fermentation took place in temperature-controlled vats. The post-fermentation maceration lasted for up to 10 days before racking. The wine was then aged for 18 months in new French oak barrels and at least 12 months in bottle before release.

Characteristic intense red colour, with violet shades. Complex aromas of ripe red fruits and sweet notes of violet. Oak aging gives the wine delicate hints of vanilla and tobacco, with a touch of chocolate. A structured, full bodied wine, with rounded sweet tannins and aromatic notes that linger, giving a long lasting finish.

£29.08

Antinori Pian Delle Vigne Brunello Di Montalcino 2012 (1x 75cl)

Awarded 93 points and Highly Recommended status by Decanter (www.decanter.com) in their November 2017 edition review of Brunelllo di Montalcino 2012 (see blue links below).

Antinori PdV Brunello 2012 - November 2017 Decanter review

The Pian delle Vigne estate is located six kilometers (3.5 miles) to the south of the town of Montalcino  above the Orcia river valley. The property consists of 184 hectares (460 acres) , 65 of which (some 160 acres) are planted to vines situated between 130 and 200 meters (440-660 feet) above sea level and with an exposure which is principally to the southeast. The soil consists prevalently of clay and limestone and is rich in small stones. It takes its name from a period-style 19th century railroad station situated within the estate’s confines. 

The 2012 vintage was characterized by a balanced late autumn of 2011 and a cold winter, and a mild spring in 2012. The summer season immediately arrived with high temperatures, which assisted a regular ripening of the grape bunches. Late August, instead, was marked by lower temperatures and important temperature swings from daytime warmth to evening and nighttime coolness, factors which made a major contribution to aromatic intensity and freshness. The harvest took place in mild and dry daytime weather between the third week of September and the first week of October.

After a careful selection of the grapes both in the vineyard and in the cellar, the grapes were destemmed, and given a soft pressing; the must then went into stainless steel tanks  and remained in contact with its skins for approximately three weeks at a temperature around 82° Fahrenheit (28° centigrade). The resulting wine was put through a complete malolactic fermentation and aged in 800 to 2100 gallon (30-80 hectoliter) oak casks. After two years of aging the wine was bottled in April of 2015.

The wine is ruby red in color. The nose shows fruity and floral notes together with spicy and balsamic sensation which add freshness and complexity. The palate and its supple and silky tannins are  creamy in texture, the wine round and enveloping in character with an excellent and pleasurable length and persistence. Complex, generous nose with ripe aromas of cherries and raspberries, light tobacco notes and hints of coffee and cocoa powder. Multi-layered structure with a nicely rounded texture and elegant fruit leading to a very long finish.

£43.50

Ata Rangi Sauvignon Blanc 2016 (1x 75cl)

Awarded 90 points and Highly Recommended status by Decanter (www.decanter.com) in their August 2017 edition review of New Zealand Sauvignon Blancs (see blue link below).

Ata Rangi SB 2016 - August 2017 Decanter review

Ata Rangi is owned and run by Clive Paton and his wife Phyll, together with Clive's sister Alison and winemaker Helen Masters. Clive planted the bare, stony five hectare home paddock at the edge of Martinborough in 1980 and, in doing so, was one of a handful of people who pioneered grape growing in the area. Renowned for their Pinot Noir, which is consistently ranked as one of New Zealand's best, Ata Rangi also produces a range of white wines including Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc.

The Ata Rangi vineyards are situated in Martinborough, to the north of Wellington. The grapes for this wine come from Waiora, Walnut Ridge, Hau Ariki Marae and Southdowns Estate. Vineyard husbandry is important to Ata Rangi, including leaf plucking to keep the canopies open. Naturally low yields, older vines, small canopies and judicious, labour-intensive hand picking of the entire crop are all factors in producing this uniquely Martinborough style of Sauvignon Blanc. The vineyards are in conversion to organic certification and are accredited as 100% sustainable.

Fruit was hand-picked and crushed with around half given a few hours of cold soak skin-contact before draining and pressing. Four separate ferment components make up the final wine. A small portion of de-stemmed whole berries were loaded into a super-sized oak barrel where the juice fermented in contact with the berry skins. Adding further complexity and savoury notes, around 30% was fermented in neutral oak barrels.

The on-skins component has highlighted beautiful citrus florals, with a hint of fresh fennel and lime zest. The wine has an impressive textural quality with mouth-watering drive and a tight, flinty, satisfyingly long finish.

£15.55

Auntsfield Estate Single Vineyard Sauvignon Blanc 2017 (1x75cl)

** ARRIVING WITH US ON THURSDAY 23rd NOVEMBER FOR CHRISTMAS **

The previous 2016 vintage was awarded 98 points and ultra-rare Exceptional status by Decanter (www.decanter.com) in their August 2017 edition review of New Zealand Sauvignon Blancs (see blue link below). It has been one of our biggest sellers of 2017.

Auntsfield Single Vineyard SB 2016 - August 2017 Decanter review

The big question is: will the 2017 be as good as the 2016? We think so, but see also the link below for the word from Auntsfield themselves...

Auntsfield Single Vineyard SB 2017 - vintage release from Auntsfield - September 2017

... and the first word from the New Zealand reviewers...

Auntsfield Single Vineyard SB 2017 - Raymond Chan of NZ review - September 2017

 

It's on our Christmas list because... it's probaby the best NZ Sauvi Blanc we've tasted. Nothing else comes close for power and intensity. We've sold 1,000+ this year and there no signs of that stopping, for good reason. The Tinpot Hut scored the same 98 points with Decanter and is equally superb, see our comparison here

 

A true cracker of a Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc that simply bursts with both quality and flavour. 

Marlborough is famous for its two main river valleys, the Wairau and the Awatere, from where many of its great names hail. The Auntsfield plots lie directly between the two, in what is are known as the Southern Valleys. This is a sub-region where the climate is cooler and drier. With its mix of high-mineral Greywacke rock and old, low-fertility Loess clay soils, the Southern Valleys is regarded for its riper styles of wine with more structure, texture and minerality. The Auntsfield vineyard covers 65 hectares and is planted in Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, and Pinot Noir. 

This, the Single Vineyard SB, lies some way above Auntsfield's entry level and is made only from grapes grown on the main Estate. The style is aimed towards texture, complexity and length, balancing the typical Marlborough fruit spectrum and aromatics with richness and mouth feel. Unusually for an NZSB, although the majority of the wine was cool-fermented in stainless steel (standard), this was balanced by a portion of the fruit being subject to traditional winemaking practices: handpicked, whole-bunch-pressed and fermented in seasoned oak barrels, which very materially adds texture, body and length to the wine. 

On the nose, it has powerful aromas of fresh passionfruit, ripe citrus and lime, with lesser notes of dried herbs, lemongrass, jalapeno and blackcurrant. It's no exaggeration to say that we at Exel reckon this is one of the most deliciously aromatic NZSBs we have yet encountered.

On the palate, the Auntsfield is truly powerful and yet retains its elegance: it displays intense ripe fruit flavours of passionfruit and white peach, again with citrus notes of lime and mandarin. Minerality is a term all-too-often banded about in these tasting notes, yet there is a decided wet-stone twang here. Overally, the palate has intense concentration and generous weight, balanced by an underlying minerality and tight structure. All of which is to say: "glorious".

£13.50

Balnaves Cabernet Sauvignon 2011 (1x 75cl)

Awarded 91 points and Highly Recommended status by Decanter (www.decanter.com) in their April 2017 edition review of New World Cabernets (see blue link below).

Balnaves Coonawarra Cab Sauv 2011 - April 2017 Decanter review 

The Balnaves' family vineyard is situated at the southern end of the famous Coonawarra 'Terra Rossa' strip. Planted in 1975, the vineyard is 48 hectares in size and has been in the family for three generations. The predominant variety planted is Cabernet Sauvignon. Winemaker Pete Bissell was the Qantas Winemaker of the Year 2005 and Balnaves was James Halliday's Winery of the Year in 2008.

Blended from Walker, Quarry and Avery vineyards, the wine spent 19 months in 100%, tight-grain French oak, in a mixture of hogsheads and barriques. The barrels were made by St Martin, Saury, Taransaud and Sylvain cooperages, before bottling in December 2011. 

Deep rich red in colour, the nose is intense with aromas of ripe cassis, liquorice, and some spicy leather notes, combined with fine smoky French oak. The palate is solid and structured with a fine tannin finish.

£22.80

Balnaves 'The Tally' Cabernet Sauvignon 2008 (1 x 75cl)

Awarded 96 points and Outstanding status by Decanter (www.decanter.com) in their December 2016 edition review of 'Langton's Classification' (Australia's finest bottles) (see blue link below).

Balnaves Tally Cab Sauv 2008 - Dec 2016 Decanter review

The Balnaves family vineyard is situated at the southern end of the famous Coonawarra 'Terra Rossa' strip. Planted in 1975, the vineyard is 48 hectares in size and has been in the family for three generations. The predominant variety planted is Cabernet Sauvignon. Winemaker Pete Bissell was the Qantas Winemaker of the Year 2005 and Balnaves was James Halliday's Winery of the Year in 2008.

Doug Balnaves was a shearer of Merino sheep. A shearer in Australia is paid by the number of sheep he shears. Counted every two hour period, the Tally is recorded in the Tally book. The higher the Tally, the greater the recognition among his peers for skill and hard work. As an expression of this tradition, the Balnaves family see the wine 'The Tally' as the ultimate achievement for their company.

The nose is lifted with perfumed red berries, violets and wild blackberry fruit coming from the Petit Verdot. The palate is medium bodied and restrained in style with tight dense fruit and a modulated structure showing balance and depth of fruit, flowing onto a long finish of chewy tannins. This is a compact but deeply flavoured Tally.

£59.73

Beronia Rioja Gran Reserva 2009 (1x75cl)

Awarded 91 points and Highly Recommended status by Decanter (www.decanter.com) in their March 2017 edition review of Premium Rioja (see blue link below).

Beronia Gran Reserva 2008 - March 2017 Decanter review

The 2008 harvest was classified by the Rioja Regulatory Council as 'Very Good' as it showed extremely high quality which allowed for the production of exceptional wines (including this one!).

For the production of this Gran Reserva, the best grapes from the oldest vineyards were hand-harvested. Following the harvest, the best bunches were selected in the winery. The grapes then underwent a slow and controlled alcoholic fermentation with periodic pumping over to extract colour and aromas.  Following this, the wine remained in French oak barrels for 26 months.  

Beronia Gran Reserva 2008 shows a powerful and deep maroon colour. On the nose, it is intense and complex with dried fruits (such as dates) standing out over a base of chocolate and sweet spice from the French oak. On the palate this wine is silky and meaty with pleasant tannins, giving structure and complexity.  This wine shows great personality with body, elegance and intense flavours.

This Gran Reserva is best when decanted before serving due to the long time it has spent ageing in the bottle.  It is ideal when served with red meats, game, mature cheeses and also with chocolate desserts.  Drink it now or you can keep this wine until 2024 before opening it.

£19.95
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