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Cullen Amber Wilyabrup 2017 (1x75cl)

Awarded 90 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.

Cullen Amber Wilyabrup 2017 - November 2019 Decanter review

Cullen Wines is a certified biodynamic, carbon neutral and naturally powered estate, with their philosophy summed up in three simple words; ‘Quality, Integrity and Sustainability’. It is one of the oldest and most awarded family wineries in Wilyabrup, in Western Australia’s famous Margaret River region. First established in 1971 by Dr Kevin and Diana Cullen and now run by their daughter Vanya, the winery has built an outstanding reputation for fine certified biodynamic wines that receive critical national and international acclaim. All wines are produced with grapes grown on the Cullen and adjoining Mangan Estates. Both are certified biodynamic, to allow the soil to be nurtured and the wines to reflect their sense of place.

Cullen follows the maxim that states that great wines are made in the vineyard. Thus, prior to planting, extreme care is taken in choosing the best possible site. Fruit for all Cullen Wines is sourced exclusively from two vineyards, both certified A Grade Biodynamic by the Biological Farmers Association (BFA) of Australia.

The idea behind this wine is to make a white wine like a red wine. The grapes were left on skins and fermented partially before being pressed. The length of skin contact with the must ranged from two days to one month depending on the grape/parcel. The fruit was fermented in different vessels: open-top fermentation tanks, closed tanks as well as amphora which explains the many layers and complexity in this wine. 79% of the wine spent four months in new Tonnellerie Bordelaise and Louis Latour oak barrels.

100% Sauvignon Blanc.

This is a complex wine, with lemon, kumquat, orange blossom and hints of honey. It is textured and concentrated on the palate, with great length and persistence. Flavours of figs, dried pears, cream and orange are supported by a gentle saltiness on the finish.

ABV = 12.3%.

£25.50

Cullen Mangan East Block 2014 (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).

Cullen Mangan East Block 2014 - January 2019 Decanter review

Cullen Wines is a certified biodynamic, carbon neutral and naturally powered estate, with their philosophy summed up in three simple words; ‘Quality, Integrity and Sustainability’. It is one of the oldest and most awarded family wineries in Wilyabrup, in Western Australia’s famous Margaret River region. First established in 1971 by Dr Kevin and Diana Cullen and now run by their daughter Vanya, the winery has built an outstanding reputation for fine certified biodynamic wines that receive critical national and international acclaim. All wines produced are sourced from grapes grown on the Cullen and adjoining Mangan Estates. Both are certified biodynamic, to allow the soil to be nurtured and the wines to reflect their sense of place.

The Mangan vineyard is dry farmed and maintained using a biodynamic approach to viticulture. Soils are old, granite and gravely sandy loam, overlaying lateric subsoils. The vineyard is located adjacent to the Cullen vineyard in Wilyabrup. The vines are cane and spur pruned.

The growing season was excellent with perfectly timed rainfall – good spring rains and none during the harvest season. Another great vintage with small yields producing concentrated, richer wines with plenty of character.

The grapes were hand harvested from the prime sections of the eastern blocks of the Mangan vineyard. Fruit was then destemmed and vinified with the emphasis on accentuating the fruit character of the grapes. It was naturally fermented, basket pressed and then matured for 17 months in seasoned French oak.

72% Petit Verdot, 28% Malbec.

Vibrant deep purple, with violet floral notes complemented by dark fruit and spicy notes. On the palate this wine is structured and dense with plums, bitter chocolate and a hint of sweet spice. Fantastic refined tannins carrying a very long finish.

ABV = 14.0%.

£27.45

Domaine Des Roches Neuves Saumur Blanc L Insolite 2018 (1 x 75cl)

The 2015 vintage was awarded 90 points and Highly Recommended status by Decanter (www.decanter.com) in their February 2017 edition review of Loire Dry Chenins (see blue link below).

L'Insolite 2015 - February 2017 Decanter review 

A classy, dry, Loire Chenin from one of the classiest of Loire producers, one whose (biodynamic) approach is more Burgundian than of the Loire. Harvesting is manual, selecting grapes at their very ripest level; vinification is handled in small batches with bottling both unfined and unfiltered. The producer has garnered praise in the European press for his exciting wines, which are always filled with ripe, generous fruit and supple textures. 

L’Insolite is from a plot of vines some 85 years old, grown on clayey-limestone with sandstone and flint subsoil.

The grapes are harvested by hand. Fermentation takes place in large vessels of 12hl to preserve the character of the wine. The pressing is done using pneumatic equipment for four hours before the wine is left to ferment at a controlled temperature of 12.8°C for four months. The wine is then left to age on its fine lees for a further nine months.

This wine is 100% Chenin Blanc.

The colour of L'Insolite is straw yellow, bright and shiny. The nose combines concentration, freshness, generosity and power. The aromas encompass subtle scents of fruit, flowers and vegetables. Then there are white fruit aromas (pear, peach) and citrus (lemon, grapefruit ...). It also has a verbena character. On the palate, the mouthfeel is balanced and velvety showing all the potential of this great terroir. Acidity is present, which draws the flavours together in perfect harmony with each other. There are also deeper flavours of ginger and spice giving a sense of structure to the wine.

£25.65

Domaine Gramenon Cotes Du Rhone La Sagesse 2017 (1x75cl)

The 2016 vintage was awarded 93 points and Highly Recommended status by Decanter at an En Primeur Rhone tasting in October 2017.

Domaine Gramenon 'La Sagesse' 2016 - October 2017 Decanter review

Domaine Gramenon was created in 1978 and is situated in Montbrison-sur-Lez in Drôme provençale, at the bottom of the first pre-Alps foothills, the domain stands at a 350 m altitude in the most northern part of the southern Côtes du Rhône area. The vineyard has been cultivated in a natural and organic way since its creation in 1978. They also felt that they should adopt biodynamic techniques and were certified as biodynamic in 2010. They believe each piece of their land to be specific and have its own identity.

This wine is 100% Grenache.

See blue link below for the excellent, 2017 fiche technique / technical note from the winemakers at Domaine Gramenon.

Domaine Gramenon La Sagesse - fiche technique

The La Sagesse reveals stony notes mixed with spices and red and black fruit aromas. The palate is full and dense, offering fruit flavours and a long, powerful finish.  This wine would be a good match with beef rib, red meats or smoked crab and paprika chowder.

£25.55

Felton Road Block 1 Riesling 2016 (1x75cl)

Awarded 93 points and Highly Recommended status by Decanter (www.decanter.com) in their January 2018 edition article: The Most Exciting Wines of 2017 (see blue link below).

Felton Rd Block 1 Riesling 2016 - January 2018 Decanter review

Felton Road's story is one of refusal to compromise. The estate is fully organic and uses biodynamic viticulture (Demeter certified) ensuring that fruit arrives at the winery as pure as it can be. The entire estate comes as close to true sustainability as is possible. There is a commitment to hands off winemaking: gravity flow, wild yeasts, wild malolactic, an avoidance of fining and filtration all help preserve the wine's expression of its terroir. The result is wine that express the authenticity and complexity of their unique vineyards. 

This wine is 100% Riesling.

Please click the blue link below to see Felton Road's excellent information and tasting note for this wine.

Felton Road Block 1 Riesling 2016 - fiche technique

£27.10

Foradori Granato Vigneti Delle Dolomiti Rosso IGT 2016 (1x75cl)

Awarded 96 points and Outstanding status by Decanter (www.decanter.com) in their September 2019 edition article The Joy of Clay on amphora-produced wines (see blue link below).

Foradori Granato Vigneti Delle Dolomiti Rosso IGT 2016 - September 2019 Decanter review

It could be said that Elisabetta Foradori has single handedly brought the intriguing Teroldego grape back from the brink of extinction. She is also one of the key figureheads of Biodynamic production in the Trentino. She is someone deeply attached to her native land and vineyards. 'My memories are here. I’ve known in my mind ever since I was a small girl that the only place I felt well was in nature, maybe because I was born and raised among vineyards.' Today she resides over a beautiful estate of some 26 hectares and produces 160 000 bottles of superb biodynamic wine from various local varieties but her signature wine is Teroldego. The Foradori wines are certified as both organic and biodynamic.

The name "Granato" means "garnet" in Italian but is especially a reference to the pomegranate or in Italian melograno, a fruit of Mediterranean origin, like the first grape vines brought to Italy millenia ago. Elisabetta has always felt stirred by the vitality within this bright, juicy, tannic, many-seeded orb; the name honors that connection she always made between the self-contained beauty and energy of this old-vine wine and this ancient fruit. 

Granato is an historic and special wine for Foradori. It comes from their original Campo Rotaliano estate vineyard on this flat, sunny, well-drained plateau with sandy, stony, Dolomitic limestone soils. And as is true of all Foradori reds, the farming is certified-biodynamic and the winemaking very light-handed. That said, several things make Granato stand out. It is Foradori's only riserva, first bottled by Elisabetta in 1986, and the wine that put Foradori on the international wine map; it comes from 3 parcels of the oldest, pergola-trained vines, planted from 1938 to 1956 on the most gravellly parts of the vineyard; and it is the longest-aged and -lived of their wines. The old and genetically diverse material in the Granato vineyard is the source of all cuttings needed for re-planting vines at Foradori.

In its early years, Granato was a more internationally-styled wine, aged in new French barriques and garnering high scores from critics and collectors, and that is how it often still viewed out in the wider wine world. But notably, the last vintage with any new barrique was 2000 and the last vintage with even used barrique was 2008. The vinification and aging of Granato gradually shifted into something more gentle and traditional, with a true terroir focus, as the farming evolved from conventional to organic to biodynamic. The hand-harvested fruit is partly destemmed and gently pressed, with up to 40-50% whole clusters. Fermentation is spontaneous in huge, open wooden vats or tini, with little to no sulfur generally. Maceration is two to three weeks and is built not around punch-downs or pump-overs but rather around the infusion effect of a cappello sommerso or submerged cap of skins in the wine. The wine is aged in old oak botti up to 22 hectoliters in size for around 15 months, before being bottled unfiltered and aged another year before release.

100% Teroldego.

The red berry fruit is multilayered and fleshy with a cranberry-like perfume and firm, ageworthy structure. Plush dark fruits, plenty of acidity, this is a wine that will evolve marvelously for decades. 

£49.30

Foradori Teroldego Sgarzon IGT 2017 (1x75cl)

The 2015 vintage was Awarded 95 points and Outstanding status by Decanter (www.decanter.com) in their November 2017 edition Producer Profile feature on Foradori (see blue link below)....

Foradori Sgarzon 2015  - November 2017 Decanter review

... and awarded 93 points and Highly Recommended status by Decanter (www.decanter.com) in their January 2018 edition article: The Most Exciting Wines of 2017 (see blue link below).

Foradori Sgarzon 2015 - January 2018 Decanter review

It could be said that Elisabetta Foradori has single handedly brought the intriguing Teroldego grape back from the brink of extinction. She is also one of the key figureheads of Biodynamic production in the Trentino. She is someone deeply attached to her native land and vineyards. 'My memories are here. I’ve known in my mind ever since I was a small girl that the only place I felt well was in nature, maybe because I was born and raised among vineyards.' Today she resides over a beautiful estate of some 26 hectares and produces 160 000 bottles of superb biodynamic wine from various local varieties but her signature wine is Teroldego. The Foradori wines are certified as both Organic and Biodynamic.

Sgarzo means vine shoot in the Campo Rotaliano. The vines that grow in the Sgarzon vineyard benefit from the cooler climate that distinguishes this site. This causes the Teroldego's character to change slightly and it is enriched with a freshness unusual to Teroldego. The eight months spent on the skins in amphorae (tinajas from Villarobledo,Spain), retain and amplify its distinctiveness. The Sgarzon strongly expresses the great versatility of this variety.

This wine is 100% Teroldego.

The Sgarzon Teroldego has aromas of rose petal, blueberry and lemon peel.  It has a full body with firm, silky tannins and a long, flavourful finish.

This wine is suitable for both vegetarians and vegans.

£31.70

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

Henschke Keyneton Estate Euphonium 2014 (1x75cl)

The 2013 vintage was awarded a Gold Medal and 95 points at the 2018 Decanter World Wine Awards (click link for details).

For other 2018 DWWA winners, click here.

Today, it is fifth-generation winemaker Stephen Henschke and his viticulturist wife Prue at the helm of Henschke, passionately upholding the family name and reputation. Stephen and Prue continue to craft their white wines with a focus on purity, while their red wines have a strong focus on terroir, using traditional winemaking techniques. Stephen's thoughts on their work: “Prue and I are the current ‘keepers of the flame’. Just as earlier generations have done, we want to manage the vineyards and winery so they can be passed on to the next generation in better condition than we inherited them. Our vision would not be complete without the expectation that future generations will uphold and perpetuate our belief that such ancient and unique single-vineyard sites can produce exceptional wines that are prized for their beauty and rarity.”

To see some wonderfully informative information and tasting notes for the Henschke Keyneton Estate Euphonium 2013 please click the blue link below.

Henschke Keyneton Estate Euphonium 2013 - fiche technique

£33.30

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

Paolo Vodopivec Carso Vitovska amphora 2015 (1x75cl)

The 2011 vintage was Awarded 97 points and Outstanding status by Decanter (www.decanter.com) in their May 2018 edition review of Italian wines made without the use of oak (see blue link below).

Paolo Vodopivec Carso Vitovska Amphora 2011 - May 2018 Decanter review

Fasten your tastebuds – it’s going to be a scintillating ride! This is a wine that is thrilling in its richness and striking in its textural complexity. The winery is located in the small commune of Carso, where two enigmatic brothers, Paolo and Valter Vodopivec have earned an enviable international reputation for their distinctive wines.

Any discussion regarding the terroir of Carso is always more about rock than soil. Carso, in fact, is believed to mean “land of rock” in Celtic tradition.  Walter and Paolo Vodopivec had to physically break up the limestone bedrock in order to be able to plant their vines. The rocky terrain leaves a firm imprint on the wine with an undeniable acidity and mineral influence.

Made from the Vitovska grape, which is a crossing between Prosecco and Malvasia Bianco, the wine is first fermented in clay amphorae that are buried underground. These amphorae come from Georgia.

We feel we should also mention the ransom story. Brothers Walter and Paolo Vodopivec had experimented with aging their wines in wooden cask and Spanish amphorae (inspired by Gravner), but they weren’t enamoured with the results. Paolo felt sure that Georgian amphorae would be superior, so off they went to Georgia to source some. However, the local mafia held the clay pots to ransom, but even though it was unclear what their demands were, the vessels were eventually freed and are now used in Friuli as fermenters.

Back to the wine. It undergoes six months of maceration in the amphora to allow the full potential of the grapes to shine through. They collect grapes from several different vineyards to give the wine all the characteristics of the area. The wine then spends 24 months aging in wood before being bottled.

Upon opening, it is intensely tannic with gripping minerality. Decant once or even twice. The result, if you’re patient, is a wine that has a purity and fascination that makes you want to roll it appreciatively around your mouth. 

It is deep, rich (but not heavy) and aromatic with layers of dried peach, warm apricot and apple notes on both the nose and mid-palate. A splendid Vitovska that is as bone dry as the rocks from which the vines eke out their precarious existence, yet somehow refreshing and curiously saline with a very long finish that imparts further flavours of hazelnuts and dried fig.

£41.35

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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