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Heinrich Leithaberg Blaufrankisch 2015 (1x75cl)

Awarded 93 points and Highly Recommended status by Decanter (www.decanter.com) in their January 2019 review of Festive Wines (see blue link below).

Heinrich Leithaberg Blaufrankisch 2015 - January 2019 Decanter review

Gernot Heinrich has 100 hectares of vines in Gols, Burgenland, which is Austria's easternmost province, lying only a few kilometres from the Hungarian border. After graduating in viticulture from Klosterneuberg, Gernot's vinous travels in Bordeaux, Spain, California and Italy convinced him that his best approach in this continental climate was to use indigenous grapes such as Blaufränkisch, St Laurent and Zweigelt to make the highest quality, most characteristic wines he could.

The Blaufränkisch grapes were sourced from old vineyards on the Leithaberg (Leitha Mountain) slopes, 150 - 300 metres above sea level, in the villages of Winden and Breitenbrunn that face southeast toward Lake Neusiedl and have around 20 hectares in total. The soils comprise the fossil-rich limestone, calcareous sandstone, and mica schist that are typical of the region.

The 2015 vintage saw hot, sunny weather throughout summer which was welcomed after the difficult, rainy 2014 vintage. The grapes in 2015 were healthy and ripe, resulting in fruit-forward wines with slightly lower acidity than usual. This was not an issue for a country that typically makes wines with high acidity.

The vineyards are cultivated according to biodynamic regulations. The grapes were handpicked at the beginning of October, then underwent spontaneous fermentation and three weeks maceration on the skins in 3000-litre wooden fermentation vats, with gentle basket pressing. The wine was then matured for 20 months in used 500-litre oak barrels.

This Blaufränkisch has a plethora of aromas, including cherries, peppery spice and earthy notes reminiscent of autumn leaves, fresh truffles and roasted root vegetables. This wine has fine-grained tannins and a powerful, long finish.

£25.90

Mesquida Mora Sincronia Blanc 2018 (1x75cl)

Awarded 89 points and Recommended status in Decanter's November 2019 Spanish supplement review of the Spanish islands (see blue link below). 

Mesquida Mora Sincronia Blanc 2018 - November 2019 Decanter review

Mesquida Mora is a newer established winery on the small island of Mallorca by 4th generation winemaker Bàrbara Mesquida Mora. Their family has been making wine on the island for around 50 years now, and in 2007, with her brother Jaume, she decided to branch out with a new line of wines and committing to an entirely bio-dynamic production. Pulling from their estate fruit that is dotted throughout the central and eastern portion of the island within the Pla i Llevant DO, the wines are proving to be an incredible representation of what the island wines are capable of. Focused on happy and healthy grapes that will be passed on to generations to come, Mesquida Mora is a winery to keep an eye on.

Although located within the Pla i Llevant DO in the center of the island, Mesquida Mora chooses to demarcate their wines to VdlT Mallorca to preserve the entire island’s importance Sincronia Blanc takes its name from the simple pieces of life that take opportunity from other pieces, the magic of life.When the younger vines of Mesquida Mora vineyards were born, they came in synchrony with their older siblings (Acrollam & Trispol) to create a second tier for the estate’s exceptional production.  The Blanc is made of Premsal, Giró and Chardonnay, having seen a hand harvest, separate fermentations, and a combination for a 4-month aging in stainless steel on the lees.  The Premsal is a fairly light bodied varietal, so it saw a couple days of extruded skin contact to add more depth to the final wine.  Very little sulfur was used throughout the winemaking process so that the final wine is soft yet has incredible texture and freshness with loads of life, with a grip of tasty fruit, and displays the style and personality of the island.

75% Chardonnay, 15% Premsal, 10% Giró.

0.3g/litre residual sugar, ie bone dry.

AGE OF VINEYARD(S): 25 years old.

SOIL TYPE: Calcareous, clay, & red gravel.

FARMING METHODS: Biodynamic/organic.

FERMENTATION: Stainless steel, indigenous yeasts.

AGING: No oak aging 4 months on lees.

FILTER/FINING: Bentonite.

PRODUCTION: 16,000 bottles.

The nose is gently aromatic, showing crisp notes of greengage and pear, the palate is finely textured with a minerally undertone from the Prensal grape – altogether a fresh, zesty delicate and balanced white.

ABV = 13.5%.

£15.35

Millton Riverpoint Viognier 2016 (1x75cl)

The 2015 vintage was awarded 93 points and Highly Recommended status by Decanter (www.decanter.com) in their September 2018 edition panel tasting of "Alternative" New Zealand Whites (not Sauvignon Blanc or Chardonnay) (see blue link below)...

Millton Riverpoint Viognier 2015 - Sept 2018 Decanter review

James Millton is a living legend in the New Zealand wine scene. A pioneer of organic and biodynamic winemaking, he has ploughed his own furrow for three decades, quietly convinced that his sustainable approach to viticulture and winemaking was the only way to progress.  

The Millton winery's own tasting notes for this wine are excellent, so please click the blue link below to see all this wine's details.

100% Viognier.

Millton Riverpoint Viognier 2016 – fiche technique

ABV = 12.5%.

£16.90

Millton Te Arai Chenin Blanc 2017 (1x75cl)

The 2016 vintage was awarded 94 points and Highly Recommended status by Decanter (www.decanter.com) in their September 2018 edition panel tasting of "Alternative" New Zealand Whites (not Sauvignon Blanc or Chardonnay) (see blue link below)...

Millton Te Arai Chenin Blanc 2016 - Sept 2018 Decanter review

... with comments from one particular reviewer...

Millton Te Arai Chenin Blanc 2016 - Sept 2018 Decanter review - individual comments

James Millton is a living legend in the New Zealand wine scene. A pioneer of organic and biodynamic winemaking, he has ploughed his own furrow for three decades, quietly convinced that his sustainable approach to viticulture and winemaking was the only way to progress.

The Millton winery's own tasting notes for this wine are excellent, so please click the blue link below to see all this wine's details.

Millton Te Arai Chenin Blanc 2017 – fiche technique

£18.40

Monte dall Ora Amarone Classico La Stropa 2011 (1 x 75cl)

The 2009 vintage was awarded 92 points by Decanter (www.decanter.com) in their February 2018 article on Amarone (see blue link below).

Monte dall'Ora Amarone La Stropa 2009 - Feb 2018 Decanter review

This wine is from the vineyards of Monte Dall’Ora in the heart of Valpolicella's classica zone, which enjois excellent exposure to sunlight and has a limestone soil. The vineyards are 50 years old.

The grapes are selected only from vineyards that are between 50 - 70 years old. The harvest began on the first week of October, selecting only the finest bunches in crates and placing these in well-ventilated rooms for 5 months, without the use of any mechanical drying aids.

Vinification takes place in the month of February following the vintage, with maceration and fermentation being completed in tonneaux of Slavonian oak for 25 - 30days. Pumping over and punching down the cap are carried out manually. Maturation is carried out in French oak  tonneaux of 5 hl for 4 years and the wine is subsequently aged in bottle for a further 12 months.

The La Stropa Amarone has a dark brilliant ruby red colour with a hint of garnet which it has developed with age. On the nose, it displays perfumes of ripe fruits, such as plums, blackberries, redcurrants and at the endthere are balsamic hints as well as spices. On the palate, it echoes the sensation offered on the nose: structured, extremely persistent, full and elegant.

This wine is excellent when served with aged cheese and dishes with intense flavours such as braised meats and wild game.

£78.35

Monte Dall`Ora Camporenzo Valpolicella Classico Superiore 2016 (1x75cl)

The 2014 vintage was Awarded 90 points and Highly Recommended status by Decanter (www.decanter.com) in their May 2018 edition review of Valpolicella Superiore (see blue link below).

Monte Dall'Ora Camporenzo Valpolicella Superiore 2014 - May 2018 Decanter review

Monte Dall’Ora, in the heart of Valpolicella, was born from a dream: to interpret nature without forcing it. They started from an idea of ​​enhancing and nurturing their environment before using the land for a vineyard. A meeting between two people with a shared instinct have given rise to an exciting and new journey. Their great love for the land, the desire to express their emotions and the willingness to be amazed by nature guide the choices made at Monte Dall'Ora every day. 

This wine comes from the vineyard Camporenzo in San Pietro hill, which is rich in limestone. The ground is terraced and cultivated with traditional Pergola Veronese, using both organic and biodynamic methods. Harvest takes place at end of September /beginning of October. This wine is made using spontaneous fermentation with indigenous yeasts for 7/8 days, with manual movement. Maturation in oak barrels lasts for 9 months and the wine is subsequently allowed to rest in bottle.

This wine is made using a blend of Corvina, Corvinone and Rondinella.

This wine has a ruby red colour. On the nose, it displays perfumes of red fruits, such as cherries, as well as hints of hay and spices, and closes on mint and herbal notes. The flavour echoes the sensations on the nose, whilst maintaining a somewhat traditional, well-defined style. The wine as a whole reveals notable freshness. Able for long ageing. This is a wine for drinking throughout the meal. It goes particularly well with traditional Veronese dishes such as local soups (eg pasta e fasoi), poultry and white meat.

£21.15

Urlar Pinot Gris 2017 (1x75cl)

The 2016 vintage was awarded 91 points and Highly Recommended status by Decanter (www.decanter.com) in their September 2018 edition panel tasting of "Alternative" New Zealand Whites (not Sauvignon Blanc or Chardonnay) (see blue link below).

Urlar Pinot Gris 2016 - Sept 2018 Decanter review

(of the 2016) "Ripe, fruity spicy and complex with aromas and flavours of bosc pear and apple, some white pepper and sweet rose, a mineral earthy layer and gentle oak spice layers. Medium+ acidity in a just dry style; flavours of white fleshed fruits are persistent; a complex and well made example. Drink now and through 2022."

93 Points - Cameron Douglas

 

(of the 2016) "Bright, even straw-yellow colour with pale gold hues. The nose is elegant in proportion with moderately deep aromas of white and yellow stonefruits and a subtle amalgam of white florals, nutty elements and minerals.  The aromatics are soft in expression and show delicacy and detail. Dry to taste and medium-full bodied, the palate has good depth and intensity of white and yellow stonefruits, white florals, nutty notes and a little toasty oak.  The fruit forms a well-concentrated core with good intensity and presence..  The mouthfeel is rounded and smooth with some underlying alcohol drive.  The wine carries to a long, lingering finish of stonefruits, nuts and hints of oak.  This is a well-proportioned dry Pinot Gris with deep flavours of white and yellow stonefruits, nuts and oak, with plenty of mouthfeel and presence, and alcohol drive. Match with most white meat dishes over the next 4+ years.  Hand-picked fruit, WBP, and fully barrel-fermented in seasoned French oak to 13.5% alc. and dryness, the wine aged 10 months on lees with batonnage and 30% MLF.  BioGro organic." 

18.5/20 Dec 2017 - Raymond Chan

 

(of the 2016) "This is a distinctive Pinot Gris, drier and more robust (13.5% alc/vol) than most. Fermented and aged in old oak barrels, it is pale straw, with rich, peachy, slightly spicy flavours, showing good complexity and a creamy-smooth finish."

4.5 stars - Michael Cooper

Proudly family-owned, Urlar Estate produces outstanding single vineyard wines using organic and biodynamic principles. Urlar is a Gaelic word that means “the Earth”. Their desire is to bring an abundance of life back to our ancient soils so that the drinker can discover the purity of flavour inherent in the land. Their journey from the highlands of Scotland to the stony soils and cool climate of Gladstone, Wairarapa has cemented a love for all things pure and true.

See this blog on Urlar, especially regarding their organic credentials.

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

Urlar Pinot Gris 2017 - fiche technique

ABV = 12.5%.

£14.45

Villalobos Carignan Reserva 2016 (1x75cl)

The 2014 vintage was awarded 92 points and Highly Recommended status by Decanter (www.decanter.com) in their June 2018 edition article on Chile's Colchagua Valley (see blue link below)

Villalobos Carignan Reserva 2014 - June 2018 Decanter review

The Villalobos family consists of the mother, Rita Encina, a professional ceramicist, the father Enrique Villalobos, a sculptor, and their sons: Martin and Renaldo are both civil engineers and Alejandro is a philosophy professor. Each has their own profession, but they unite around their vineyards and viticulture.

They started making wine in 2007 with a small production from the family. It was only to be a small production for the family and friends made by their friend Martin Rousseau. They persevered, and began to make some of the most celebrated wines in Chile. The first commercial harvest in 2009 was awarded best Carignan in Chile from Descorchados.

This 60-year-old, non-industrial, organic vineyard continues to be in its wild state, without any pruning, irrigation or the use of chemical products such as pesticides or herbicides. The vineyard’s distinguishing feature is its untouched wilderness where for over the last 40 years Carignan vines have grown side-by-side native vegetation. This vineyard is bio-diverse, hosting a wide variety of native flora and fauna, including culen, maiten, quillai, hawthorn and rosehip, among others. The vineyard’s unique surroundings are instrumental in keeping the vines pest and disease-free. The vines grow freely among the trees climbing them for structural support. In fact, one comes across vines making their way up four metre trees alongside shrub-like vines three meters thick. Horses are used in the vineyard to prune by gently nibbling the vines and their droppings have the benefit of fertilising the vines. Indeed, they do not use any machinery that involves the use of fossil fuels.

The vineyard is located 30 km from the Pacific coast, settled in a warm, temperate climate with six to eight months of dry season yearly and up to 20-degree temperature differences. Particularly in the summer months, daily temperatures can range from 30°C to 10°C.

100% Carignan from old vines planted in the 1950s and 1960s. Total production is just 6,000 bottles, some evidence of the tight (and quality-inducing) yields pursued. 

Fermented and macerated for 10 days with natural yests in stainless steel. Malolactic fermentation is carried out in barrels, followed by 18 months of ageing in French oak barrels (these used 3 times previously, ie limited oak flavour is deliberately imparted to the Carignan to preserve maximum fruit flavour/integrity whilst allowing tannis to soften).

Bright and intense ruby-red. Nose with a hint of wild blackberry and elegantly defined maqui berry.  Delicate, soft and round tannins on the palate with a food-friendly acidity bearing traces of cherry and strawberry.

£21.95

Waterkloof Circumstance Sauvignon Blanc 2018 (1x75cl)

Awarded 94 points and Highly Recommended status by Decanter in their November 2019 edition article, Celebrating Sauvignon, picking out a global Top Twelve of Sauvignon(s) Blancs.

Waterkloof Circumstance Sauvignon Blanc 2018 - November 2019 Decanter review

Founded by Paul Boutinot in 2004, Waterkloof is a family-owned, organic, biodynamic and WWF Biodiversity Champion farm perched high up on the windswept Schapenberg, overlooking False Bay and The Atlantic Ocean. Living soils, naturally low yields and a long growing season help provide talented young Cellarmaster Nadia Barnard with naturally balanced grapes that are imbued with a truly defining sense of origin. Those grapes are then transformed into wine with a minimum of intervention. The resulting wines are fine, inimitable and best enjoyed with food.

Living soils and a natural approach to winemaking means that each of the single-varietal wines in the Circumstance range is truly defined by the circumstances influencing the chosen varietal and vineyard blocks, including: soil, aspect, altitude and vintage. These factors combine to produce low yields, balanced grapes and wines with a true sense of place. The Sauvignon Blanc is from three windswept, south-facing (less sun exposure) blocks 270-300m above and a mere 2 miles from The Atlantic. The vines are 20 years old and production was a miserly 4 tons per hectare. Waterkloof follow a traditional, minimalistic approach in their gravitational cellar which means interfering as little as possible with the winemaking process. This allows the flavours prevalent in that specific vineyard to ultimately express themselves in the wine.

To achieve this goal, all grapes are whole-bunch pressed, which ensures that juice is extracted in the gentlest way. The juice is then settled naturally for 24 hours. Naturally present wild yeast is employed to ferment the juice, mainly in old 600litre barrels (90%). This leads to a longer fermentation process with a slow release of aromas and a more structured palate. The natural fermentation process took 7-8 months to complete, after which the wine was left on the gross less for another 6 months. There are no added acid or enzymes during the winemaking process, with only a light filtration and a small addition of sulphur added as a preservative prior to bottling.

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

Waterkloof Circumstance Sauvignon Blanc 2018 - fiche technique

100% Sauvignon Blanc.

Crushed laurel on the nose with more than a nuance of residual seaside salt. This has a big and textured palate with stone fruit and fennel hints – it is rich and minerally, showing even a slight rocky quality about it. As bracing as the wind through the vines at Waterkloof.

ABV = 14.5%.

£11.45

Wieninger, Wiener Gemischter Satz DAC Nussberg 2017 (1x75cl)

The 2016 vintage was awarded a Platinum Medal, 97 points and Best In Show status at the 2018 Decanter World Wine Awards (click link for details).

For other 2018 DWWA winners, click here.

Fritz Wieninger is considered a pioneer of the “New Vienna” wine movement, combining a sense of modernity and progress with the traditions of the region and of his family, who have been making wine for over 100 years. “I try to use the numerous facets of my grape material,” Fritz says. “To be able to show the differences in site and vintage and to get the character of the vineyard into the bottle – this is my greatest challenge.”

The grapes for the Wiener Gemischter Satz - Nussberg 2017 were grown in the Ulm vineyard, which lies on a very steep southern slope on the eastern part of the Nussberg next to the Danube river. The vineyards are certified Organic and Biodynamic since 2011. The soil is calcareous shell limestone with small amounts of clay underneath. This area of the Nussberg region is understood to be a remnant of a coral reef from the Tertiary period.

The 2017 vintage began with a cold winter, however, very warm conditions in the months up to mid March resulted in early bud break. Conditions were cooler than average through April and early May, but fortunately the vines didn’t suffer too much from the frosty nights, and the warm and dry summer months that followed kept the grapes healthy. This was the third hottest summer since records began, prompting harvesting to commence earlier than usual at the beginning of September, in order to preserve acidity and freshness in the grapes.

This wine is a field blend of nine organically and biodynamically grown varieties including Neuburger, Welschriesling and Grüner Veltliner. The grapes were hand picked, processed together and macerated for four hours prior to being gently pressed. Fermentation took place in a mix of 75% stainless-steel tanks and 25% large old oak barrels, before being matured on the fine lees for 10 months prior to blending and bottling.

This wine is a blend of 30% Pinot Blanc/Pinot Bianco, 25% Neuburger, 19% Other Native White Varietals, 16% Welschriesling, 10% Grüner Veltliner.

The wine has complex aromas of citrus fruit, pineapple, yellow blossom and sweet herbs. Lively acidity is evident on the elegant palate which has a touch of minerality alongside subtle notes of spice.

ABV = 13.5%.

£27.70
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