Awarded 93 points and Highly Recommended status by Decanter (www.decanter.com) in their August 2018 edition's "Weekday Wines (25 under £25)" (see blue link below)...
The 6th generation of the Chambers family to make wine in the Rosewood winery, Stephen, took over the winemaking in 2001. This venerable winery, started in 1858 by William Chambers, is one of the most fabled in Rutherglen. This charming, northeastern Victorian town, the sort of place that time forgot, still speaks of the gold rush that led to the town's foundation, and the development of the wine industry, in the 1850s.
The vineyards are located on the fringes of the Rutherglen Township, slightly to the North West, where Chambers produce drier style Muscats which express rose petal characters. The vines are hand pruned to a rod and spur system which allows each vine to be viewed on an individual basis. The trellising system is a single wire with a sprawling canopy.
Harvest of the grapes for this wine commences once the fruit reaches a ripeness of 16 Baumé. At this stage the grapes will have some variation throughout the bunches, with some being plump, while others showing signs of grape shrivel. Once a parcel of grape is harvested, it is destemmed and the must placed into a closed stainless steel fermentation tank. The amount of fermentation is dependent upon the final baumé level of the parcel, and it occurs around 24 hours after harvest and a soak on skins. Once fermentation has commenced and the sugar level has fallen to between 14 and 15 baumé the grapes are pressed with the fermenting juice and fortified with neutral grape wine spirit (95.8 to 96.2%). The resultant wine is then settled in stainless steel tanks and then racked into old oak casks, which range in size between 220 to 5500 litres. The wines are kept as single vintage and vineyard parcels until blending.
The Rutherglen Muscat is typically tawny red in colour with aromas of rose petals, raisins and dried fruit. These characters carry through to the palate, balanced with fresh acidity. The wine is unctuous and rich yet zesty and balanced.
Awarded 93 points and Highly Recommended status by Decanter (www.decanter.com) in their September 2018 edition producer profile of Charles Heidsieck (see blue link below)...
Charles Heidsieck is one of the most admired Champagne houses thanks to the unrivalled and consistently high quality of its wines. The current range is one of the most awarded collections of wines in the world. The intricacies of the champagnes' complex make-up have been perfected over the years by one of the most celebrated winemaking teams in Champagne - between three winemakers they have been awarded 'Sparkling Winemaker of the Year' at the International Wine Challenge fifteen times. This winemaking legacy, paired with the house's flamboyant history since its foundation in 1851 by the man who would become known as 'Champagne Charlie', makes it a unique offering from Champagne: a house with great, hand-crafted wines, heritage and proven quality.
Charles Heidsieck have built exceptional relationships with the most experienced growers across the Champagne region, and can draw on a rich palette of crus. Precise selection of grapes takes place from 60 specific sites. Vineyards which are integral to producing grapes which build the house style are Oger for Chardonnay for its texture, floral notes and ageing ability, Ambonnay for Pinot Noir for its power, vinosity and fruit, and Verneuil for Pinot Meunier for its acidity, body and aromatics.
After the first fermentation, the wine is racked to separate the lees and then undergoes malolactic fermentation to soften the natural acidity. After blending, using 40% reserve wines which have an average age of 10 years, the cuvée is bottled and selected yeast added to begin the second fermentation. The bottles are placed in the cellars at a temperature of 10°C. In order to achieve the depth and complexity required by the house style, Charles Heidsieck age their Non-Vintage champagne for 5 years before disgorging, much longer than the legal requirement of 15 months.
The Brut Réserve NV is a radiant pale gold colour with fine, persistent bubbles. The nose is characterised by complex pastry aromas, with an opulent combination of ripe apricot, mango and greengages, dried fruits, pistachio and almond. The palate begins with a silky-smooth sensation, developing into ripe fleshy apricot, melon and enticing plum pastry notes and delicate spice. There is perfect balance of freshness and generosity.
The 2015 vintage was awarded 95 points and Outstanding status by Decanter (www.decanter.com) in their Italy 2019 supplement as part of an article on Sicily (see blue link below).
The 2015 was also awarded a Platinum Medal, 97 points and Best in Show status at the 2018 Decanter World Wine Awards (click link for details).
The Rallo family has made wine in Marsala since 1851 and their ancient cellars tunnel beneath the city. They were one of the first families to begin making high quality table wine when sales of traditional Marsala started to decline, launching the Donnafugata label in 1983 and championing the potential of the region's native varieties. Today, Donnafugata has three estates in Sicily. Donnafugata means 'fleeing woman' and is a reference to Queen Maria Carolina, who escaped the court of Naples in the early 19th Century with her husband, Ferdinand IV of Bourbon, when Napoleon's troops arrived. The couple took refuge in Sicily at the Santa Margherita Belice palace, also the favourite residence of celebrated writer Giuseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa and depicted on the 'Mille e Una Notte' label.
Brilliant amber in colour, Ben Ryé is wonderfully fresh and complex. The bouquet is intense and fragrant - aromas of apricots and candied citrus zest combine with notes of Mediterranean thyme and rosemary. The palate is well-defined and intense, with pleasant sweetness well balanced by fresh acidity and great minerality. The finish is long and persistent - a captivating Passito di Pantelleria.
To see an excellent information sheet and tasting note for this wine produced by the team at Donnafugata, please click on the blue link below.
The 2014 vintage was awarded 95 points and a rare Outstanding status by Decanter (www.decanter.com) in their 2016 Decanter World Wine Awards Canadian Section (see blue link below).
Inniskillin is now synonymous with top quality icewine and consistently sets the bar much higher than its competitors. They harvest at a higher brix level than the minimum set by the VQA (Vintners Quality Alliance in Ontario) and their wines have a higher level of residual sugar. This gives richer, more intense wines that merit their higher price. Inniskillin was founded in 1975 by Austrian chemist Karl Kaiser and Italian-Canadian agriculture graduate Donald Ziraldo, who worked tirelessly to introduce better vines and superior winemaking techniques to Niagara. In 1984, to make the most of the extreme Canadian winter, Kaiser produced his first icewine - a pivotal point in garnering attention from the international wine world.
The Niagara Peninsula is a cool climate region and the mineral-rich soils are the result of melting glaciers that left behind large and varied deposits of gravel, sand and clay, as they receded approximately 13,000 years ago. Thanks to the warming influence of Lake Ontario and the Niagara River, the region's temperatures during fruit-ripening are moderate and consistent.
2016 proved to be an excellent year for Icewine grapes, with ideal conditions in early December providing an earlier than normal harvest. Great weather conditions during September, October and November were instrumental in the development of top quality Icewine grapes for the 2016 vintage as the grapes went into the Icewine season healthy and in great shape. The weather turned cold in December and the Vidal harvest began early morning of 19th December with approximately 95% brought in by midday. There were several freeze/ thaw events in December which are integral to enabling the Vidal grapes to dehydrate, concentrating the flavours.
The frozen Vidal grapes were picked and pressed immediately upon arrival at the winery. The viscous juice was allowed to cold settle for three days before being racked clean and inoculated with a specifically selected strain of yeast. The juice was fermented in new French oak barrels at an average temperature of 15ºC for 22 days and remained in oak a further five months prior to bottling.
Aromas of peach, apricot, cinnamon and clove with a touch of toast on the nose. Intense marmalade and orange flavours balance the crisp acidity of this complex Icewine.
The 2017 vintage was awarded 94 points and Highly Recommended status by Decanter (www.decanter.com) in their January 2019 edition review of Dessert Wines and Ports (see blue link below). Alas, the 2017 is all sold out at the UK importer; we offer the 2018 here.
Mount Horrocks Wines is run by proprietor/winemaker Stephanie Toole. Stephanie restricts production to approximately 3,500 cases per annum in order to achieve her aims of quality and single vineyard expression. Stephanie describes her wines as 'essentially hand made food wines with an emphasis on structure as well as generous fruit flavours'. All grapes are 100% estate grown from three separate vineyard sites totalling nearly 10 hectares which were 'A grade certified' by Australian Certified Organic (ACO). In 2014, her persistence with classic, no-compromise winemaking and a fully integrated organic approach to growing and making sets Mount Horrocks wines apart from the mainstream.
The grapes were hand picked from the Mount Horrocks 'Cordon Cut' vineyard in Auburn, Clare Valley. In the winery, the bunches were gently handled under conditions that ensured the varietal and site-specific flavours in the resultant wine were retained.
‘Cordon Cut’ refers to a unique process which involves cutting the canes when the grapes are ripe, allowing the remaining fruit to concentrate and raisin naturally on the vine. This results in intense flavour and richness. Stephanie's experience came into play once again, as the fermentation of fruit in five separate fermentation vats was halted when she determined the flavour to be right. Considerable residual sugar remained, with 185 grams per litre.
This wine is bright pale gold with floral and citrus Riesling aromas, intense and spicy. Delicious light lemon curd and vanilla notes, distinctive sweet lime and pear juice, at once delicate and intense, sensual on the tongue, long and fine with beautiful balance.
The 2015 vintage was awarded 92 points and Highly Recommended status by Decanter (www.decanter.com) in their September 2017 edition review of Top 40 Californian Wines Under £40 (see blue link below).
Andrew Quady's change of career from making fireworks to making wine produced an explosion of its own kind when he created Essensia from the Orange Muscat grape. It was an instant success and until 1985 he could not make enough to satisfy demand. Now Quady is the foremost American winery specialising entirely in dessert wines and continues to win medals worldwide. In 1975 Quady's first port-like wine was made from Amador County Zinfandel. Now it is made from traditional Portuguese varietals such as Tinta Roriz and Tinta Cao.
In 1983, a nearby grower brought Andrew Quady some Black Muscat grapes that were previously destined for sacramental wine at a local church. When the church ceased operations, the grower was left with truckloads of perfectly ripe grapes. Upon hearing that newcomer Quady had some success with Orange Muscat, he knocked on Quady's door and the rest as they say, is history. The grapes are grown on well drained, alluvial soils.
100% Black Muscat.
The grapes were crushed, chilled and allowed to macerate, in order to extract the desired aromatic and flavour compounds. Fermentation was arrested with a neutral grape brandy. This arrested fermentation preserved the delicate aromas of the fresh, ripe grapes. The wine was then aged for three months in small French oak barrels.
An enticing aroma of water melon and roses combined with spicy strawberry fruit and a hint of caramelised orange, beautifully balanced. Elysium is a brilliant crimson purple colour with aromas of ripe berries, rose petals, strawberries and lychees. The vibrant acidity balances beautifully with the sweetness of this wine making it a very refreshing drop. Serving Suggestion This is excellent served chilled in small glasses with Eton mess, chocolate desserts or blue cheese. Or just pour over ice cream and enjoy!
Awarded 91 points and Highly Recommended status by Decanter (www.decanter.com) in their September 2017 edition review of Top 40 Californian Wines Under £40 (see blue link below).
Quady is the foremost American winery specialising entirely in dessert wines and continues to win medals worldwide. In 1980, Andrew Quady discovered a parcel of underused Orange Muscat grapes in Reedley, California, which led him to make a wine which celebrated the intense aromas and spicy fruit flavours of the grapes. In Italy, the variety is known as Moscato Fior d'Arancio: Orange Blossom Muscat.
Here in California, it is grown in well-drained, alluvial soils, in climatic conditions ideally suited to this variety. The grapes are harvested at optimal maturity once they have reached a very high 22 Brix. The grapes were crushed, chilled and allowed to macerate. Fermentation was arrested with neutral grape brandy, lightly fortifying the wine to 15% alcohol. This arrested fermentation preserves the delicate aromas of the fresh, ripe grapes. The wine was then aged for three months in used, predominantly French, oak barrels.
Luscious sweet oranges and apricots on the palate with bittersweet orange marmalade notes which balance well with the fresh lemony finish. Excellent served chilled in small glasses with desserts consisting of peach, pear or apricot fruits or pumpkin pie.
The 2016 vintage was awarded 95 points and a Platinum Best In Category (Best New Zealand Sweet) at the Decanter World Wine Awards (www.decanter.com): see their August 2017 DWWA supplement (see blue link below).
Seifried's Edens Road vineyard is situated 12km from the coast and is bordered by the Wairoa River. The 'soil' is a combination of rocks and boulders, which is very hard on the farm equipment, but vital for holding the warmth of Nelson’s sun and for ripening grapes.
The Edens Road vines are grown in an extremely stony area of the vineyard, where water and nutrient levels are low. This helps to restrict the plants vigour and to crop at low levels. To further enhance the aromatics we removed leaves to allow light penetration and air movement around the fruiting zone.
Using 100% Riesling fruit, the grapes were hand-selected at the peak of ripeness with a large portion of the fruit shrivelled and raisined, caused by natural dehydration. The grapes were then gently pressed to release a very concentrated intensely flavoured juice. The grapes were picked, pressed and fermented in batches as grapes were selected during several passes through the vineyard.
The fermentation was initiated immediately and continued for about three weeks. During this time, the ferment parcels were monitored and tasted regularly. The young wine was then blended and stabilised before bottling in August 2016. The residual sugar in the wine is 175g/L.
This wine is suitable for vegans and vegetarians.
“Late-harvested grapes were selectively hand-picked during several passes through the vineyard to select the ripest berries. Intense and luscious tropical fruit, apricot and orange zest flavours with little evidence of botrytis. A deliciously varietal wine that’s sweet but perfectly balanced with tangy acidity.” - 95 Points/5 Stars - Bob Campbell MW
Awarded 93 points and Highly Recommended status by Decanter (www.decanter.com) in their January 2019 edition review of Dessert Wines and Ports (see blue link below).
Awarded a Platinum Medal and 97 points at the 2018 Decanter World Wine Awards (click link for details).
Also awarded 95 points and a Platinum Best In Category (Best New Zealand Sweet) at the Decanter World Wine Awards (www.decanter.com): see their August 2017 DWWA supplement (see blue link below).
This is special stuff. Made with extreme care by Seifried in NZ’s South Island, the Sweet Agnes is pure, late-harvested Riesling: left on the vine, the grapes gain even greater ripeness, lose moisture and so become incredibly sweet (the wine’s sugar content is ~180g/litre). It’s almost amber in colour, and its flavours include lemon sherbet, marmalade, tropical fruits and butterscotch. It’s quite irresistible on its own and delicious with fruity puddings or tangy cheeses (particularly blue cheeses: it really is amazing with these).
To see the winemakers notes on this wine, please click on the blue link below.
Awarded 94 points and Highly Recommended status by Decanter (www.decanter.com) in their May 2017 edition "Steven Spurrier's Fine Wines" column (see blue link below).
Yalumba has been developing its own sustainable viticulture program since the mid 1990s. This starts in the vineyard and extends to every aspect of winemaking, production, packaging and distribution. Many awards and milestones have resulted due to sustainability now being at their core. All Yalumba wines were announced vegetarian and vegan friendly as of 2011. Yalumba is the first wine company in the world to receive the Climate Protection Award from the US Environmental Protection Agency, 2007. Yalumba’s focus on sustainability is all about respecting the natural environment around them. “We’re convinced our efforts in protecting our natural resources reflect in the quality of wines we make,” says fifth-generation Proprietor Robert Hill-Smith. “Quite simply, if we’re to focus on excellence in winemaking, it absolutely requires excellence in environmental management – the two are inseparable."
This wine is 100% Viognier.
To see an excellent information sheet and tasting note for this wine which has been created by the team at Yalumba, please click on the blue link below.