Decanter September

In September's Decanter magazine, some more of the excellent wines that we stock here at Exel Wines have been featured.  Some 23 of our wines are featured this month and all of these - including their Decanter reviews - can be accessed at the foot of this page. Immediately below are four of those to which we are particularly partial and which may even be involved in our weekend plans.

Indeed, you can now search through all of our Decanter-rated wines from the last year (or select -> Wines -> Decanter Recommended on our Home page) - complete with their Decanter reviews - filtering by country, style, price etc. The great majority are available from us at the very best prices anywhere in the UK.

You are always welcome to email us or, if you would prefer to call us to discuss your requirements or seek advice, our telephone number is 01738 493535.

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Modesto Ramognino bought the land at Chateau de Pibarnon in the 1950s to cultivate 3.5 hectares of the 16 hectare estate with Mourvèdre vines. Although the site was arid and primitive with no electricity or running water, it had much potential. This was realised by Henri and Catherine de Saint Victor. In 1978 Henri swapped his career in Pharmaceutical research for winemaking and bought Chateau de Pibarnon after enjoying a bottle of the 1975 with Catherine. They set about upgrading and overhauling the property with great success. The family, alongside their talented team of winemakers and vineyard workers, have gone on to produce some of the most sought-after wines from Bandol and, indeed, in all of France. It is no overstatement to say that Chateau de Pibarnon has become one of the institutions of French wine.

Mourvèdre is a grape often used by Chateauneuf du Pape makers in the Southern Rhone as it brings structure and intensity to the wine. It is also increasing in popularity in Australia and California where it appears in blends with Grenache and Shiraz (often referred to as 'GSMs'). It is a grape that has always flourished in Bandol, producing wines that are 80-100% Mourvèdre - unusual in itself - and noted for their great structure and intense fruit. Chateau Pibarnon is almost invariably 90% Mourvèdre/10% Grenache, as is the case with this 2012 vintage.  In a good year, Mourvèdre wines, and Bandol in particular, have a powerful perfume which is redolent of blackberries. Although ready to drink now, we and Decanter both see this Pibarnon as having the potential to age markedly from vintage, so it is ideal for your cellar. It is a good alternative of comparable quality to lay down instead of more expensive Bordeaux wines. (NB: the Pibarnon white is also outstanding, unusual and a recent 96-point Decanter pick).

 

~93 Decanter Points~
Chateau de Pibarnon 
Bandol Rouge 2012

£29.80

 

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"In Xanadu did Kubla Khan
A stately pleasure-dome decree: 
Where Alph, the sacred river, ran 
Through caverns measureless to man 
Down to a sunless sea."

Lovers of literature will remember Xanadu as Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s mysterious, idyllic, exotic city; home of Kubla Khan. True to its poetic namesake, Xanadu is in an idyllic setting where the now 65 hectares of vines on the original estate flourish in the rich, free draining gravel soils of the Margaret River region. This unique maritime climate enjoys an abundant supply of water and is sheltered by forests of magnificent Marri trees.
 
 
Xanadu is a modern style of Chardonnay which displays classic Margaret River hallmarks. This Chardonnay is oaked both during the fermentation process and whilst maturing on its lees. Whilst this wine, as expected is intense and powerful, it does however retain the fresh zingy fruit character that is the hallmark of many an Australian Chardonnay. This mingles seamlessly with a creaminess and minerality which make this wine tremendously interesting and a great match with meaty fish dishes (halibut, monkfish, tuna, swordfish) or white meat such as chicken and pork as well as lighter game such as guinea fowl.  This wine is drinking very well in its youth but will also lie happily in your cellar / wine rack for many years.
 

 

 
 
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The Quady family's dessert wines are amongst our favourites here at Exel Wines HQ and we are delighted that the team at Decanter would seem to agree with us! Both Elysium and Essensia feature in the September issue as part of an article on California.
 
 
~92 Decanter Points~

 
 
 
 

 

 
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The other wines that we stock which have been featured in this months Decanter are listed below:
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Fowles Wine Ladies Who Shoot Their Lunch Wild Ferment Chardonnay 2015 (1x 75cl)

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

Ladies Shoot Lunch Chard 2015 - Sept 2017 Decanter review

This 2015 vintage is currently out of stock in the UK, although a new shipment is due in September. We can offer either the 2016 - click here - (very similar, but, we realise, not reviewed by Decanter) or joining a wait list for the arrival of this wait list. If choosing the lattter, please call us on 01738 493535 or email at orders@exelwines.co.uk.

Pale straw in colour. Mineral notes acquiesce to intense aromas of melon, peach and subtle vanilla. The palate is complex and full bodied with balanced oak notes, a wonderfully creamy texture and great length of flavour.

£20.12

Giant Steps `Sexton Vineyard` Chardonnay 2016 (1x75cl)

The 2015 vintage was awarded 93 points and Highly Recommended status by Decanter (www.decanter.com) in their September 2017 edition review of Australian Chardonnay (see blue link below).

Giant Steps Chardonnay 2015 - Sept 2017 Decanter review

Note that this is the 2016 vintage, whereas the September 2017 edition of Decanter reviews the 2015 vintage. Annoyingly, the sole supplier of this wine were already out of stock of the 2015 before the review went to press. We do, however, see the 2015 and 2016 as being of a similar quality (and include the fiches techniques for both wines to allow you to judge).

Secton Giant Steps Chard 2015 fiche technique

Sexton Giant Steps Chard 2016 fiche technique

Giant Steps is a privately owned, estate based, Yarra Valley grower and winemaker that has forged a reputation for delivering some of Australia’s most consistent, over-performing, varietal wines. The Giant Steps Single Vineyard range is produced from the most site-expressive fruit off the best vineyards in great years. Their aim is to express in each wine the character of the site, grape and vintage, and this they achieve by meticulous work in the vineyard and minimum intervention in the winery. Head winemaker Steve Flamsteed and his team are making some of the best wines in Australia from these sites.

Located on the steep north facing slopes of the Warramate Ranges, alongside the vineyards of Yarra Yering and Coldstream Hills, the Sexton vineyard is exposed and demanding. Being well up the slopes between 130 and 210 metres, topsoil is thin and root systems have established themselves in shallow gravelly loams above a tough rocky clay base. Vigour and bunch yields are naturally low in this environment, facilitating a low intervention approach to what is otherwise hand tended viticulture. Organic vineyard management principles are being introduced with the purpose of further distinguishing the site and improving grape and wine quality.

The fruit was hand picked. Upon arrival at the winery, it was lightly pressed to tank and the juice transferred to puncheons with no settling. Fermentation took place with 100% indigenous yeast in 500 litre French puncheons at 18 - 24°C. The lees were stirred twice only between May and June. The wine spent ten months in French puncheons, 20% of which were new. No malolactic fermentation took place. The wine was bottled, unfiltered, by gravity.

Flinty, wet slate aromas combine with notes of melon and honeysuckle on the nose. Lengthy and elegant at the same time, the palate is fuller bodied than the 2015 vinatge, with preserved lemons complementing subtle melon, and a steely character on the long finish.

£27.25

Ocean Eight Verve Chardonnay 2014 (6x75cl)

Awarded 93 points and Highly Recommended status by Decanter (www.decanter.com) in their September 2017 edition review of Australian Chardonnay (see blue link below).

Ocean Eight Verve Chardonnay 2014 - Sept 2017 Decanter review

Owned by the Aylward family - founders of the renowned Kooyong winery- Ocean Eight was established in 2004 in the southern and cooler side of Mornington Peninsula. In their state-of-the-art, temperature controlled, gravity fed winery, winemaker Mike Aylward produces stunning cool climate Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, taking influence from the great old world wine regions of Alsace, Burgundy and Champagne. All the grapes for the Ocean Eight wines are sourced from the family’s 17 hectares of vineyard and their total production each year is just 5,000 cases.

The must was cold fermented, slowly over a period of four to six weeks in order to maximise the aromatic expression. The wine was then pressed and gravity fed directly into old oak barrels of six to eight years, in the underground barrel room. The wine spent 11 months in oak prior to bottling. 

Leading the way for the new generation Australian Chardonnay, the name Verve encapsulates its style. A vibrant perfume of Granny Smith apple, honeysuckle blossom and lime zest is mirrored on the palate. Low alcohol thanks to the early pick style and a mouthwatering finish.

£156.00

Shaw + Smith Lenswood Chardonnay 2015 (1x75cl)

The 2014 vintage was awarded 94 points and Highly Recommended status by Decanter (www.decanter.com) in their September 2017 edition review of Australian Chardonnay (see blue link below).

Lenswood Chardonnay 2014 - Sept 2017 Decanter review

This is the 2015 vintage as the UK sole supplier was sold out of the 2014 even before the review went to press. However, we include the supplier's fiches techniques for the two vintages: a quick study will indicate the 2015 apparently to have been a superior vintage, but we will leave you to decide!

Lenswood Chardonnay 2014 fiche technique

Lenswood Chardonnay 2015 fiche technique

Established in 1989 by Martin Shaw and Michael Hill Smith, Shaw + Smith's aim is to make contemporary, high quality wines that stand among the best of their type in Australia. The wines are made exclusively from fruit grown in the Adelaide Hills, one of Australia's coolest and most exciting regions.

Sourced exclusively from Block 4 at Shaw + Smith's picturesque Lenswood property. The vineyard is mature (planted in 1999) and reaches 500 metres above sea level. The site has always shown potential for a single site wine and in 2014 the ambition was realised with the first release. This followed significant investments to improve the vineyard since its acquisition by Shaw + Smith in 2012.

Bunches were chilled overnight, whole-bunch pressed, then fermented in new and used French oak puncheons. This was followed by a further 10 months in barrel with gentle stirring and minimal working.

An elegant single vineyard Chardonnay, with aromas of blossom, grapefruit and white peach complemented by notes of brioche. The palate is long and flavoursome, with good mid-palate texture and bright acidity to balance the intensity of fruit.

 

£38.75

Tolpuddle Vineyard Chardonnay 2014 (1x 75cl)

Awarded 96 points and rare Outstanding status by Decanter (www.decanter.com) in their September 2017 edition review of Australian Chardonnay (see blue link below).

Tolpuddle Chardonnay 2014 - Sept 2017 Decanter review

The Tolpuddle Vineyard was purchased by Michael Hill Smith MW and Martin Shaw in 2011. First planted in 1988 by Tony Jordan and Garry Crittenden with Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, it has since established a reputation for growing exceptional quality grapes. The vineyard took its name from the Tolpuddle Martyrs, who were transported to Australia in 1834 for starting an agrarian union. The leader of the group, George Loveless, served part of his sentence working on a property near Richmond called GlenAyr, part of which is now the Tolpuddle vineyard.

The 20-hectare, north-east facing vineyard is located in the Coal River Valley, which is in a rain shadow, so is dry but cold. The dry climate ensures there is very low disease pressure, which in turn means that grapes can be left on the vines for longer to ensure they ripen fully. The soil is light silica over sandstone and of moderate vigour, ensuring well-balanced vines. In 2006 the vineyard won the inaugural Tasmanian Vineyard of the Year award, reflecting the performance of this unique and distinguished site.

The grapes were all hand-picked, whole-bunch pressed, and fermented in French oak barriques, of which one third were new. The wine spent eight months in barrel with gentle stirring as required, then a further two months in tank on lees prior to bottling. Minimal malolactic fermentation was pursued.

An intensely aromatic nose that shows lemon peel, white blossom, wet stone and a captivating struck match note. Thrilling natural acidity courses through the palate with concentrated lemon barley, grapefruit and biscuit elements contributing weight to the body. There is intensity but also plenty of texture and verve, as well as a long finish.

£33.45

Château de Grand Pre Fleurie 2015 (6x75cl)

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

Grand Pre Fleurie 2015 - Sept 2017 Decanter review

A robust and concentrated wine with a floral bouquet of violets and wild spicy strawberries aromas combined with liquorice

The Château de Grand Pré comprises a beautiful 18th-Century castle complete with vaulted cellars, a lieu-dit vineyard and an eight-hectare family domaine in the Beaujolais region. The winery is located in the heart of Fleurie where they own six hectares of vineyards, with a further two hectares in the village of Morgon. 

A modern and organic approach is employed, tending the vines with a complete respect for the environment and using sustainable techniques. The estate has been certified Organic since 2012. These are wines of purity and precision, a true expression of their Beaujolais terroir. Fleurie is one of the 10 Beaujolais Crus and is famous for the elegance and finesse of its wines, which is closely linked to the (shattered) pink granite soils.

The Château de Grand Pré prunes their vines very precisely into the traditional gobelet shape and undertakes a green harvest encouraging concentration in the berries. As the vines are more than 30 years old, the yields are very low, at approximately 40 hl/ ha. The granitic soils in the vineyard impart a mineral characteristic to the final wine. The harvest was carefully selected by hand. Carbonic maceration of the grapes - 100% Gamay - took place for 10 to 15 days, a slow process in order to gently extract the complexity of aromas. No sulphites were added during the vinification process and only minimal sulphur was added at bottling. A natural yeast fermentation took place at controlled temperatures. The wine was then aged for several months in small barrels and demimuids of 500 litres.

This is a very elegant wine with a floral bouquet of violets and roses, leading through to velvety palate of wild strawberries combined with a hint of liquorice and spice. A wonderful accompaniment to grilled meat, poultry, charcuterie, red fruit desserts and fresh cheeses. 

£91.80

Chateau De Pierreux Brouilly 2015 (1x 75cl)

Awarded 89 points and Recommended status by Decanter (www.decanter.com) in their September 2017 edition review of Beaujolais Crus (see blue link below).

Pierreux Brouilly 2015 - Sept 2017 Decanter review

Brilliant colour with deep purple nuances. Fine, elegant nose with floral notes of iris, violet and peony. Soft and round on the palate with lovely length revealing floral and dark berry flavours of blueberry and blackcurrant.

£14.81

Domaine Jean Foillard Morgon Classique 2015 (6x75cl)

Awarded 87 points and Recommended status by Decanter (www.decanter.com) in their September 2017 edition review of Beaujolais Crus (see blue link below).

Foillard Morgon Classique 2015 - Sept 2017 Decanter review

Jean Foillard and is universally recognised as one of the very best Beaujolais producers and is one of the band of 4 of Morgon with Guy Breton, Jean-Paul Thevenet and Marcel Lapierre, who are all adepts of the works of Jules Chauvet on non sulphured vinification.  Jean met Jules Chauvet early in his career and became an un-official member of “La Bande a Marcel”.  Chauvet’s mantra was that winemaking should be a natural process.  He felt that great winemaking started in the vineyard with vigorous canopy management, absolutely no use of chemicals on the vines, low or no use of sulphur etc.  To Jean, this all made sense and he’s remained true to these philosophies ever since. 

The colour is on the dark side of cloudy ruby red, whilst aromas boom happily out of the glass, notably kirsch, rhubarb and sweet blackberries; there’s a more fugitive bouquet of warm earth, stones and dried spice evolving into dark chocolate and cinnamon.  It is extremely refreshing, bright sweet fruit is complemented by a smooth, silky tannic structure, somehow immediate and pleasing yet subtle and complex.

£99.30

Domaine Jean Foillard Morgon, Cote Du Py 2015 (6x75cl)

Awarded 89 points and Recommended status by Decanter (www.decanter.com) in their September 2017 edition review of Beaujolais Crus (see blue link below).

Foillard Cote du Puy 2015 - Sept 2017 Decanter review

Jean Foillard and is universally recognised as one of the very best Beaujolais producers and is one of the band of 4 of Morgon with Guy Breton, Jean-Paul Thevenet and Marcel Lapierre, who are all adepts of the works of Jules Chauvet on non sulphured vinification.  Jean met Jules Chauvet early in his career and became an un-official member of “La Bande a Marcel”.  Chauvet’s mantra was that winemaking should be a natural process.  He felt that great winemaking started in the vineyard with vigorous canopy management, absolutely no use of chemicals on the vines, low or no use of sulphur etc.  To Jean, this all made sense and he’s remained true to these philosophies ever since. 

The fabled Côte du Py is a climat of the Morgon Appellation where the vineyards grow on slopes with crumbly schists soil that give Gamay a unique expression. The hill is actually an extinct volcano, with lots of different types of soils depending of the plots. If the appellation of Morgon is known for one thing, it would have to be the soil. Crumbling granite and ancient schist are trademarks of the regions soil, even sandstone makes an appearance to enhance vines with a perfumed edge.

The wine stems from from vines of 30 to 70 years in age. Absolutely no use of chemicals is made on the vines and there is no use of sulphur (save for a tiny amount at bottling). After fermentation, wine is racked into old oak foudres and casks, where it stays on its fine lees before a final blend and bottling (6-9 months).

Clear, medium ruby core with light cherry rim.  Wonderfully fresh, pure aromas of cherry and blackberry, ripe strawberry and rose blossom with light spice after tones.  Moderately intense and youthful flavours on the palate mimick the nose with particular emphasis on candied berry notes but with a distinct minerally, earthy backbone and soft, silky tannins. 

£147.60

Moulin-a-Vent 'Cuvee 1903' Vielles Vignes Domaine Yohan Lardy 2014 (1x75cl)

Awarded 87 points and Recommended status by Decanter (www.decanter.com) in their September 2017 edition review of Beaujolais Crus (see blue link below).

Lardy Vielles Vignes 2015 - Sept 2017 Decanter review

£22.00

Moulin-a-Vent 'Les Michelons' Domaine Yohan Lardy 2015 (1x75cl)

Awarded 88 points and Recommended status by Decanter (www.decanter.com) in their September 2017 edition review of Beaujolais Crus (see blue link below).

Lardy Michelons 2015 - Sept 2017 Decanter review

At only 27 years of age, Yohan Lardy is one of the new wave, terroir-focussed producers in Beaujolais. Yohan grew up in Fleurie and first learned about winemaking from his father. He has since spent time making wine in Chile and Oregon, before returning to his native France in 2011.

This wine stems from a tiny block of just 2 hectares of old vines - planted in 1950 and 1911 - in the prestigious climat called Les Michelons in Moulin-à-Vent.  The vines are located in a single clos surrounded by a stone wall and poppy flowers.

"The wine is still young with crisp red fruits and tense tannins. It is a structured wine, firm with a dry core and still developing its fruitiness. It will need to age a while yet, so drink from 2018" (winemag).

£15.85

Olivier Ravier Fleurie 2015 (6x75cl)

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

Olivier Ravier Fleurie 2015 - Sept 2017 Decanter review

With over 42 years experience, Olivier Ravier is one of the most iconic and respected winemakers in Beaujolais. He is a former President of the Beaujolais growers association and has been appointed as an expert at the National Institute of the French wines appellation by the French government. His in-depth knowledge of the region, its climate, and the Gamay variety, is second-to-none. Living in the heart of the Fleurie appellation, he produces wines which overflow with typicity from the Beaujolais terroir.

Vintage 2015 was a truly great vintage for Beaujolais and resulted in wines that were rich, opulent, generous and perfectly balanced. The intense heat and historic levels of sunshine allowed the Beaujolais vineyards to maintain conditions that were practically perfect. The grapes finished ripening in excellent conditions, thanks to intermittent showers in August. Complete phenolic maturity was attained and the alcohol levels were naturally high. Such remarkable maturities have not been seen within living memory in Beaujolais. It is nevertheless a vintage that has remained beautifully fresh.

The average age of the vines is over 40 years and these old, gnarled gobelet styled vines sit in granitic and sandy soils. This Fleurie (100% Gamay) was vinified in the traditional way, with a semi-carbonic maceration lasting for eight to twelve days. The fermentation was temperature- controlled throughout. Following the fermentation, it underwent a malolactic fermentation, resulting in a softer style of wine.

This is an elegant, quintessential Fleurie with subtle floral aromas with subtle floral aromas, well flavoured and with a meaty character.. The palate is full of finesse, with a rich and silky texture and an attractive hint of bitter cocoa on the finish.

£76.05

Henry Fessy Morgon 2015 (1x 75cl)

Awarded 87 points and Recommended status by Decanter (www.decanter.com) in their September 2017 edition review of Beaujolais Crus (see blue link below).

Fessy Morgon 2015 - Sept 2017 Decanter review

Morgon is the second-largest of the Beaujolais crus (after Brouilly) and lies in/around one village only. Here, Gamay produces generous, robust wines which are fruit-forward with notes of cherry, kirsch and apricot. With a good cellaring potential Morgon comes close to a Burgundian Pinot Noir.

The wine has an intense and deep colour. The nose is open with lovely aromas of cherry stones, fresh fruits, such as strawberry and raspberry. In the mouth, it expresses a great concentration and fruity notes, and is round and supple with silky tannins. On the finish, delicate notes of nutmeg appear. Excellent with roasts, charcuterie, meat dishes with wine sauces, wild game with mushrooms and rich cheese.

 

£15.00

Rioja Organza Blanco Reserva, Vinedos de Sierra Cantabria 2015 (1x75cl)

Awarded 92 points and Highly Recommended status by Decanter (www.decanter.com) in their September 2017 review of Sparkling Wine (alternatives) (see blue link below).

Sierra Cantabria Organza Blanco Reserva 2015 - Sept 2017 Decanter review

Bright gold. It offers a nose of tropical fruit, minerality and sweet spices. Wild herbs, beeswax, grapefruit and nutmeg spice combine appealingly on the palate here.

£18.30

Cuvée Vaux Dt.Sekt Brut 2014 (1x75cl)

Awarded 91 points and Highly Recommended status by Decanter (www.decanter.com) in their September 2017 edition review of Sparkling Wine (alternatives) (see blue link below).

Schloss Vaux Sekt 2014 - Sept 2017 Decanter review

Sophisticated marriage of creamy Pinot body with vivid Riesling refreshment. Fruity and rounded with attractive citrus fruit, grapey richness and a hint of melon.

£21.69

Domaine Les Tres Cantous Plageoles Mauzac Nature 2015 (6x75cl)

Awarded 92 points and Highly Recommended status by Decanter (www.decanter.com) in their September 2017 edition review of Sparkling Wine (alternatives) (see blue link below).

Plageoles Mauzac Nature - Sept 2017 Decanter review

Bernard Plageoles is continuing the work of his father Robert, an outspoken advocate for natural wines with a centuries old approach to winemaking. Robert researched and replanted over a dozen varieties (7 in the Mauzac family alone) indigenous to Gaillac that had all but vanished. The Plageoles are one of the oldest winemaking families in the AOC and they are thoroughly invested in retaining the traditions and quality for which this oft-overlooked AOC is now receiving well-deserved praise.

The terroir in Gaillac is made up of clay, limestone, sand and silex soils. 

This sparkling wine is made of 100% Mauzac Rose by the (unusual) gaillacoise method or methode rurale. This technique involves a single fermentation, without any additional sugar being introduced. The fermentation is stopped by a series of rackings and the wine is bottled before all of the sugar is converted into alcohol.  The residual sweetness, therefore, comes entirely from the grapes. After several months, the residual natural sugar starts to re-ferment and this produces the sparkle or bubbles. his process requires great skill to achieve and is more difficult than the methode champenoise, which can involve the addition of extra sugar to produce the bubbles. The Gaillac process produces a wine of great originality.

Fine and delicate effervescence. Attractive nose of white flower (acacia), pollen, white pear and apples Crisp attack on the palate, yet filling out to become supple and fine with floral notes. Organic and suitable for vegetarians and vegans.

£112.50

Langlois-Chateau Cremant De Loire Brut NV (1x 75cl)

Awarded 92 points and Highly Recommended status by Decanter (www.decanter.com) in their September 2017 edition review of Sparkling Wine (alternatives) (see blue link below).

Langlois-Chateau Brut CdL NV - Sept 2017 Decanter review

Vibrant and racy fruit, bready yeast flavours and zesty appley freshness is accompanied by the waxed-lemon flavours of Chenin Blanc - a variety so clearly suited for sparkling production due to its fine acidity. The addition of 20% Chardonnay gives fruitiness, body and depth.

LIMITED STOCK ONLY - WHEN THE DISPLAYED QUANTITIES HAVE SOLD, WE CAN ALAS OBTAIN NO MORE!

£13.26

Wente Morning Fog Chardonnay 2016 (1x75cl)

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).

Wente Morning Fog Chardonnay 2016 - Sept 2017 Decanter review

The Morning Fog Chardonnay is named for the morning coastal fog pushed by Pacific wind streams into the bowl of the San Francisco Bay and lured inland by Livermore Valley’s unique EastWest orientation. This daily phenomenon moderates the climate to produce excellent, beautifully balanced Chardonnay.

Planted on various Wente clones, each vineyard block is farmed and harvested separately which maximizes quality and adds an elegant complexity to the wine. Nearly 80% of the Chardonnay vineyards in California are planted with the Wente clone. An almost microscopic proportion - less then 2% - of Gewurztraminer is also used.

This wine is fermented in 50% neutral American oak barrels and 50% in stainless steel tanks. The oak provides hints of vanilla and enhances the mouthfeel; the steel preserves the naturally vibrant fruit flavors inherent in this Chardonnay. The barrel fermented portion was aged sur lie (on its lees/fermenting yeast) for 5 months; batonnage, the art of stirring the barrels, was performed monthly. This adds a creamy note to the wine and greatly enhances the texture. From the remaining 50% stainless steel portion, half was aged on its lees for 5 months, while the other half was racked clean to preserve the fresh fruit character.

Bright, crisp flavors of pear, melon, citrus and green apple are balanced by subtle hints of toasty oak and vanilla from the barrel aging. With mouth-filling body, lingering minerality and balanced acidity, this wine delivers a long, refreshing finish.

£15.35

Kozlovic Malvasia 2015 (1x 75cl)

Awarded 90 points and Highly Recommended status by Decanter (www.decanter.com) in their September 2017 edition's "Weekday Wines" (under £25) column (see blue link below).

Kozlovic Malvasia 2015 - Sept 2017 Decanter review

Crisp, zesty wine with high-ish acidity, with complex nose and palate of melon, citrus fruits and flowers. Dry and intense on the palate, with both savoury and mineral flavours. There is a touch of bitterness on the finish, adding to its appeal with food.

£12.18

G.D. Vajra Barolo Bricco Delle Viole 2013 (1x 75cl)

Awarded 97 points and rare Outstanding status by Decanter (www.decanter.com) in their September 2017 edition "Steven Spurrier's Fine Wines" column (see blue link below).

GD Vajra BdV Barolo 2013 - Sept 2017 Decanter review

Deep ruby with a touch of garnet on the rim.  This is classic Vajra, with lovely perfumes of dried rose petals, orange peel and violets.  On the palate, there is plenty of fine grained, ripe, tannin in the characteristic Nebbiolo style, and lots of elegant, dark cherry fruit with savoury notes adding more depth.  Long and perfumed on the finish.

NOTE: THIS WINE IS NOT YET AVAILABLE IN THE UK AND WILL NOT BE UNTIL THE SOLE SUPPLIER HAS DEPLETED STOCKS OF THE PREVIOUS VINTAGE (estimated late September). However, we hold a waiting list for this Barolo: you may join it (no payment required at this stage) by emailing us on orders@exelwines.co.uk or by calling us on 01738 493535.

£51.31
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