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Decanter Sept 2018


 

The September 2018 edition of Decanter (www.decanter.com) - released 27th July - is a big one for us: 30 featured wines, almost all over 90 points, plenty above the Outstanding 95-point threshold and across a number of styles, geographies and articles.

Read on for the full details.

In a hurry just to buy? The full clickable/buyable catalogue of wines from this edition appears at the foot of this page.

For our full compendium of over 300 Decanter-rated wines fom the last two years, please click here.

For September's edition, we're mainly about the white wine blind tasting/panel review... and we know this one will be popular with our Decanter-hound customers. And that's because it's a New Zealand feature: these are always exciting and a severe test of whether our website can cope with the weight of demand.

The review in question is (what Decanter snappily entitle) "NZ's Alternative Whites". Fear not, this is not an excursion into the outer reaches of white wine esoteria and unknown grape varieties (they did Greece last month, after all). Put simply, Decanter mean "NZ whites that aren't Sauvignon Blanc or Chardonnay" (both of which they have reviewed recently). In case it’s not obvious, that's a lot of very fine grape varieties and wine styles indeed: warm-climate varieties from North Island (Viognier, Marsanne, Chenin Blanc, Gewürztraminer) and cool-climate specials from South Island (Pinot Gris, Riesling, Grüner Veltliner .... there's even the odd Albariño).

(map from Decanter)

Of course, these are all grapes more closely and originally associated with places a long way from NZ. However, those of you that have tried NZ versions of the above will know just how excellent they typically are. If there's one thing that characterises NZ wines, their rise to fame/ success and (it logically follows) their popularity with our discerning customer base, it's just how very well they're made. Put another way: while there may be very few bargain offerings (although there's one wee cracker below), one very seldom finds Kiwi Tat. (WSET Diploma candidates will recognise this as the grist of question 2 from June's evil Unit 3 theory paper).

That quality is fully reflected in the panel results. It's rare to see a review that throws forth eight Outstanding/95-point(+) wines (although this one, quite rightly, broke all the records). But that's what we have here. Of those Outstandings, we're delighted to be able to offer five of them, plus another four on 94, 93 or 92 points (and here, in our view, are some really super wines that might get overlooked by the zealous Top Score Hunter) ... making some 18 high-scorers overall. What's more, a good number of these will leave you with change from £15. We're also particularly pleased to see wines and producers that we've long championed (read as: "see, we told you so").

Enough scene-setting: what exactly is all the buzz about? 

In the order they appear in the review:

  • Ata Rangi Lismore Pinot Gris 2017, Martinborough (95 points) - a rich Pinot Gris from one of the Martinborough greats (perhaps most famed for their red Pinots, eg their Crimson, which are ever-popular here). However, stocks in the UK are woefully tight and the vintage is already expired at the winery, so we've had to limit to two bottles per customer, and even these won't last long, alas. However, Pinot Gris is perhaps the best represented variety in the review, and there are plenty of excellent, high-scoring alternatives below, such as...
  • Prophet's Rock Pinot Gris 2015, Central Otago (95 points) - another Pinot Gris gem - and an unusually aromatic one for a grape more famed for its intensity of flavour rather than of aroma - from one of South Island's most exalted boutique/artisan producers (click here for their excellent website and see also their Pinots(s) Noirs). Looking for something to cellar and develop into something really special? This is perhaps the finest contender here (which is not to say you shouldn't drink it when it arrives). If you've any questions over its pedigree, bear in mind that this is one of the matched wines on the degustation menu at Heston Blumenthal’s Michelin three-starred restaurant, The Fat Duck... although the price here is definitely 'a bit less Heston'.

  • Te Kairanga Riesling 2016, Martinborough (95 points) - in a world of very few certainties, this will undoubtedly be the big-seller of this review... not because it's any 'better' than its 95-point peers, but because it's quite incredible value at just £12.50. If there's a wine here on which to Max Out (especially given how very well it will age), it's this one. It's the sister of the Te Kairanga Runholder Pinot Noir which was a Best in Show at last year's DWWAs, and TK's superb Riesling is the stand-out buy of this tasting.

  • The luxury (= pricier) choice is - and the honourable mention for the wackiest label goes to - the Burn Cottage Riesling-Grüner Veltliner 2015 from Central Otago (95 points). At £40+, it won't be for everybody ... but it is £40+ for a very good reason: Burn Cottage's adherence to the very highest vinegrowing and winemaking standards. The result: a wine that very few other producers would dare to grow. Of all the wines in the tasting, this one draws the most respect from the panel, and those seeking a wine that breaks the mould will find what they want with this.
  • Trinity Hill Marsanne-Viognier 2016, Hawke's Bay (95 points) - completing the Outstanding quintet is this fascinating, opulent, Rhône-a-like blend from the reknowned Gimblett Gravels and one of North Island's greats (known best for their Bordeaux blends and Syrahs).  This is a wonderfully rich and full-bodied wine, given the full winemaking treatment (barrel fermentation, lees ageing), yielding a complexity that will only improve with time in the bottle. It's a fairly leftfield inclusion in this line-up (reflecting the very low proliferation into the New World of Marsanne), but is super-worthy or your time.

We'll say it again: we really recommend not focussingly solely on the above five, as to do would be to miss some incredible wines at great prices. The top end of the Highly Recommendeds includes:

  • Millton Te Arai Chenin Blanc 2016 (94 points) and Riverpoint Viognier 2015, both from Gisborne (93 points). We adore Millton's wines: made biodynamically, with great care and in small quantities. They are the very essence of intensity and concentration of flavour. <Indeed, while it doesn't qualify for this review, you really should try their superb Opou Chardonnay>. The Viognier is described by Denise at our shop as "very thought-provoking" ... which is a pretty fair way to assess its impressive body, length and intensity. The Chenin is every bit as exciting. NB, though, that the reviewed 2016 vintage of the Chenin doesn't arrive at the UK importer until early September - we can, for now, only offer joining a waiting list for a few weeks: we'd been expecting it to be in the UK by the time Decanter came to press.

** SERIOUS BARGAIN ALERT**

  • Saint Clair (Origin) Viognier 2017, Hawke's Bay (92 points) - the 2017 is not yet available in the UK - it's expected here in a few months - but the 2015 is quite excellent and rather benefits from the extra age. What's more - we've been able to negotiate a superb (but temporary) price for this wine, making it, at £11.50 to you, a real steal.

Beyond these, all of the

are 91-pointers and far better than the case-filling status that they may assume in this company.

To wrap up on matters on matters New Zealand, we'd remind that that is a review that excludes Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc. Of course, you, dear Customerneed not exclude them from your buying. Forced to choose just one NZ SB or Chardonnay, we'd go for/advise the DWWA 2018 Best in Show (97 points) Vavasour Sauvignon Blanc 2017 and the Trinity Hills Gimblett Gravels Chardonnay 2016 (92 points in Feb 2018 Decanter, 91 points/Silver at DWWA18).

Elsewhere in the edition, you'll find:

Finally, the Decanter World Wine Award 2018 (DWWA18) winners were announced quite some weeks ago, but it's in this September edition that Decanter bring them to press in a chunky supplement. You'll find our ever-expanding offering (25 wines and growing) of the big award winners here and do note that this selection is subject to constant change as new wines arrive into the UK and others sell through!

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Prophet's Rock Pinot Gris 2015 (1x 75cl)

Awarded 95 points and Outstanding 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)...

Prophet's Rock Pinot Gris 2015 - Sept 2018 Decanter review

... and comments from one particular reviewer...

Prophet's Rock Pinot Gris 2015 - Sept 2018 Decanter review - individual comments

Founded in 1999 by Mike and Angela Mulvey, Prophet’s Rock is one of New Zealand’s most exciting producers, creating premium, artisan wines in Central Otago. Committed to showcasing the characteristics of their vineyard sites in the Pisa and Bendigo sub-regions, their vineyard-focused approach combined with minimal intervention in the winery, is creating world class wines of great structure, elegance and complexity, with considerable ageing potential. Taking its name from a prominent local landmark in Central Otago, named after pioneering goldminer ‘Bob Prophet’, the winery is a beacon of quality winemaking in the region thanks to its world renowned winemaker Paul Pujol. 

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

Prophet's Rock Pinot Gris 2015 - fiche technique

Wonderfully aromatic example of top Pinot Gris. Fantastic fruit and spice aromas, concentrated with a long dry finish. Complex, absolute pleasure and shows what Pinot Gris in Central Otago is capable of.

£24.90

Te Kairanga Riesling 2016 (1x75cl)

Awarded 95 points and Outstanding 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)...

Te Kairanga Riesling 2017 - Sept 2018 Decanter review

Te Kairanga is one of the oldest and best positioned vineyards in Martinborough. Its vineyards are located on free draining land once owned by the founding father of Martinborough, John Martin. In the late 1800s. John Martin laid out the first streets of Martinborough in the pattern of the Union Flag naming them after places he had visited: as a result the best streets to take to reach the Te Kairanga vineyards from the town square include Oxford, Cork, Regent and New York. 

For chief winemaker John Kavanagh there is nothing more important than endeavouring to produce wines that display the characteristics of their vineyard source.  The motto at Te Kairanga is "We strive to ensure that each wine we produce shows a clear sense of place."

Constructed in 2002, the state-of-the-art winery at Te Kairanga is the perfect spot for their estate-grown fruit to become great quality wine. With multiple small fermenters and a mechanical gravity system, the winemaking team can preserve vineyard and varietal integrity by handling the fruit in the gentlest way possible.

This Riesling is a brilliant lime gold colour with aromas of jasmine, meadow flowers, citrus and peaches. Enticing ripe Meyer lemon, floral and mineral flavours lead to a refreshing, zingy finish.

£12.50

Burn Cottage Riesling/Gruner Veltliner 2015 (1x75cl)

Awarded 95 points and Outstanding 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)...

Burn Cottage Riesling/Gruner Veltliner 2015 - Sept 2018 Decanter review

... and comments from two of the reviewers...

Burn Cottage Riesling/Gruner Veltliner 2015 - Sept 2018 Decanter review - individual comments

Burn Cottage refers to the name of a road on which the 24 hectare property sits in Central Otago. The estate was once a sheep paddock until its purchase by Marquis Sauvage in 2002. Marquis brought on board Ted Lemon of Littorai as their winemaker and in 2003, they started planting Pinot Noir. Six years later, they released their first wine.

The Riesling and Grüner Veltliner vines account for just over one hectare of total plantings at Burn Cottage, the only part of the vineyard which is not planted with Pinot Noir. At the time of planting back in 2007, the aspect of this particular plot did not suit Pinot Noir, so they decided to plant these two aromatic white varieties instead. The first crop was harvested in 2014. As with the Pinot Noir, the vines have been cultivated biodynamically from day one, Ted Lemon’s one stipulation for his involvement.

Less rain during winter and a very windy October meant vine growth started off slowly. Some frost fighting was required, however, no damage was sustained. The weather warmed considerably to above average temperatures throughout spring enabling healthy vine growth and a favourably short flowering. Central Otago had fantastic summer weather and very warm nights at times, so the season quickly caught up to normal timing and maturity progressed well. Cooler periods in February did not change the overall flow of the season and harvest took place at the usual time during March and April.

The Riesling and Grüner Veltliner were harvested separately at different times and were subsequently crushed, pressed and fermented separately. The Riesling was crushed by foot to soak the berries in juice. The Grüner Veltliner underwent the same methods of production but spent only 48 hours in contact with the skins. Static settling took place overnight and the wines were racked off the gross lees. The wines were fermented in stainless steel vats and rested in old oak barriques for 11 months.

The Grüner Veltliner component in the blend offers attractive aromas of beeswax and white pepper coupled with a zesty lime flower, chamomile and lemon curd from the Riesling. The wine is rich on the palate but is well-balanced with bright acidity. The finish has a lovely energy and lingers on the palate.

£43.40

Trinity Hill Gimblett Gravels Marsanne Viognier 2016 (1x75cl)

Awarded 95 points and Outstanding 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)...

Trinity Hill Gimblett Gravels Marsanne Viognier 2016 - Sept 2018 Decanter review

... and comments from one particular reviewer...

Trinity Hill Gimblett Gravels Marsanne Viognier 2016 - Sept 2018 Decanter review - individual comments

Since its inception in 1993, John Hancock (who has been making wine in New Zealand for over 35 years), in conjunction with his partners Robert and Robyn Wilson, have made Trinity Hill a byword for quality and consistency. Winemaker Warren Gibson has been with Trinity Hill since 1997. He is in charge of the 80 hectares of vineyard owned by Trinity Hill, of which 47 hectares are in the Gimblett Gravels. Trinity Hill wines have an elegance, balance, drinkability and precision of flavour. This estate was one of the first to plant grapes on the Gimblett Gravels in 1993.

The Marsanne and Viognier grapes come from deep, free draining gravel soils in the microclimate of the Gimblett Gravels region. The soils were deposited by the Ngaruroro River as it changed course over many thousands of years. Their low fertility and excellent drainage give small crops of grapes with highly concentrated flavours and aromas.

A late beginning to the 2016 season was followed by a very warm summer and early autumn period. The warm days were also combined with warm night-time temperatures and high humidity, particularly in the second half of March. It was definitely a season to be close and vigilant with the vines.

Hand-harvested fruit was gently whole-bunch pressed and then immediately transferred to barrel. The indigenous fermentation took place in a range of aged French oak barrels but with no new oak component. After ageing on the lees in barrel for 14 months, including malolactic fermentation, the wine was blended and then bottled in July 2016. Barrel fermentation and lees ageing add richness and complexity, however no obvious oak character is sought.

The Viognier provides exotic aromatics of apricot, musk and jasmine and a luscious mouth-feel. Marsanne provides gentle honeysuckle flavours as well as structure and tension to balance the fullness of the Viognier. The exotic nature of this wine makes it a great substitute for Chardonnay or Pinot Gris.

£19.80

Millton Te Arai Chenin Blanc 2016 (1x75cl)

** SEE DELIVERY/AVAILABILITY NOTE BELOW **

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

... and 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. Please note this fiche technique is for the 2016 vintage.

Millton Te Arai Chenin Blanc 2016 – fiche technique

** THIS WINE IS NOT CURRENTLY AVAILABLE AT THE UK IMPORTER AND IS DUE INTO THE UK IN EARLY SEPTEMBER. THE 2015 VINTAGE IS ALREADY DEPLETED.

THERE IS ENOUGH UNCERTAINTY IN THE ARRIVAL DATE THAT WE WOULD PREFER NOT TO SELL THE WINE AT THIS POINT AND RISK DISAPPOINTING CUSTOMERS ON DELIVERY. IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO TAKE SOME OF THIS WINE/VINTAGE, PLEASE EMAIL US ON orders@exelwines.co.uk AND WE WILL NOTIFY YOU OF ITS ARRIVAL NEARER THE TIME.

£17.85

Millton Riverpoint Viognier 2015 (1x75cl)

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.

Millton Riverpoint Viognier 2015 – fiche technique

£16.45

Prophet's Rock Dry Riesling 2014 (1x 75cl)

Awarded 92 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)...

Prophet's Rock Dry Riesling 2014 - Sept 2018 Decanter review

Founded in 1999 by Mike and Angela Mulvey, Prophet’s Rock is one of New Zealand’s most exciting producers, creating premium, artisan wines in Central Otago. Committed to showcasing the characteristics of their vineyard sites in the Pisa and Bendigo sub-regions, their vineyard-focused approach combined with minimal intervention in the winery, is creating world class wines of great structure, elegance and complexity, with considerable ageing potential. Taking its name from a prominent local landmark in Central Otago, named after pioneering goldminer ‘Bob Prophet’, the winery is a beacon of quality winemaking in the region thanks to its world renowned winemaker Paul Pujol. 

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

Prophet's Rock Dry Riesling 2014 - fiche technique

Wonderful aromatics, rich, complex, fresh, sheer pleasure and a fine illustration of what Riesling in Central Otago is capable of.

£25.15

Saint Clair (Origin) Viognier 2015 (1x75cl)

Note on naming: Origin is the new range name for this wine (and its brothers and sisters from other grape varieties) from the 2017 vintage onwards.

The 2017 vintage - yet to reach the UK - was awarded 92 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)...

Saint Clair (Origin) Viognier 2015 - Sept 2018 Decanter review

Neal and Judy Ibbotson were pioneers in the Marlborough wine industry, first planting vineyards in the valley in 1978 and then establishing Saint Clair Family Estate in 1994. They own 160 hectares of vineyard in 10 different Marlborough locations chosen specifically for the attributes of their individual "terroir" and ability to produce top quality grapes. Neal Ibbotson combines his extensive expertise in viticulture with the talent of one of New Zealand's leading winemaking teams led by Hamish Clark. Since 1994, when wines from the first vintage all won medals including gold, the name Saint Clair has been synonymous with quality and its award-winning record continues today. This is a sentiment shared by Bob Campbell MW, who says “Saint Clair now makes the country’s and perhaps the world’s best Sauvignon Blanc”.

2015 saw very few spring frosts and a hot dry long summer and ripening period. Yields were moderate to low, with great flavour and concentration. Vineyard The grapes for this wine are grown in Saint Clair's vineyard in the Gimblett Gravels region of Hawkes Bay. The 10 year old vines are planted on the stoniest part of the vineyard. These stony soils are vigour moderating free-draining soils, ideal for growing Viognier. The vines are trained using the VSP Guyot system there is reasonably high exposure as a result, reflected in the ripeness of the wine. The grapes are harvested in the cool of the night, preserving the varietal characteristics.

Free run juice was separated from the pressings, with the light pressings blended back in later. Stainless steel fermentation took place, using selected yeast strains to enhance the varietal characters. The wine was left on the yeast lees for a period to increase the texture.

Pale gold colour. A supple and elegant wine displaying prominent stone fruit notes of peach, apricot and almond. Aromas of fragrant blossom flowers and apricot with spice and a long finish. Serving Suggestion The perfect accompaniment to chargrilled chicken and pumpkin risotto.

This wine is suitable for vegetarians.

£11.50

Peregrine Riesling 2014

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)...

Peregrine Riesling 2014 - Sept 2018 Decanter review

Taking a 'hands on' approach to winemaking since 1998, the McLachlan family strive to produce wines that embody the absolute best of Central Otago. "This passion for the land runs in our family, and is a hallmark of Peregrine as a business."

There was a warm early spring, followed by a cooler mid-summer and a warm late summer. The harvest in autumn 2014 was typically settled.

The grapes were picked by hand before some were whole bunch pressed and others were crushed then pressed.  Each batch of grapes was fermented seperately and the wines were blended together following the fermentation.

This Riesling is medium dry in style with flavours of orange blossom and mandarin.It has a lovely balance of sweetness and fresh acidity. It matches well with Pad Thai, pork belly and Asian infused, spicy dishes.  This wine has the structure to be able to age for up to 10 years.

£18.30

Tinpot Hut McKee Vineyard Gruner Veltliner 2016 (1x75cl)

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)...

Tinpot Hut McKee Vineyard Gruner Veltliner 2016 - Sept 2018 Decanter review

Tinpot Hut wines are made primarily from fruit grown on winemaker Fiona Turner's vineyard in Blind River. Fiona, who has worked with Matt Thomson for a number of years, supplements her own grapes with fruit from other growers in Marlborough and Hawkes Bay. The tinpot hut that gave its name to Fiona's wines is an old mustering hut in the remote hills between the Wairau and Awatere Valleys. The huts were used as a base for musterers as they rounded up the sheep that had been in the hills from spring to autumn. The name links Marlborough's past as a sheep farming centre with its current state as one of the world's most dynamic wine regions.

Winemakers Matt Thomson and Fiona Turner were looking for a cool climate variety with striking aromatic qualities supported by firm acid structure to add to the Tinpot Hut range. They soon became convinced of the potential for Grüner Veltliner in Marlborough and convinced two local growers to plant a few rows. The grapes for this single vineyard wine were grown by the McKee family in the Blind River sub-region of the Awatere Valley.

The 2016 growing season was characterised by a dry spring and an unusually warm summer, which promoted vigourous vine growth. Techniques like shoot thinning and bunch removal were used to compensate for this growth and bring the yields into balance, allowing Tinpot Hut to harvest fruit which was intensely concentrated.

Fiona was aiming for an aromatic, fruit forward style with particular emphasis on managing the potentially hard phenolics. The grapes were hand-picked and immediately transported to the winery where they were treated gently with minimal skin contact. Precise press-cuts ensured that only the free run, less phenolic juice was used in the finished wine. After settling, the juice was fermented in stainless steel at cool temperatures to retain fruit character and freshness.

A delicate straw yellow, this wine displays elegant aromas of orange blossom, citrus and stone fruit blended with hints of sweet, floral honeysuckle. Flavours of white peach mingle well with subtle peppery spice notes. Mineral complexity, which is so reflective of the Blind River sub region, gives this wine a clean and crisp appeal. The balance of the fruit, acidity and phenolics work very well together and lead to a long dry finish.

£15.70

Urlar Organic Pinot Gris 2016 (1x75cl)

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 Organic Pinot Gris 2016 - Sept 2018 Decanter review

If farming is in the blood of ex-pat Scot Angus Thomson – he represents the fifth generation of Thomsons to work the land – then so too are wines and spirits. Both grandfathers were in the whisky business, but Angus broke new ground when he, along with wife Davina and their young family, sold the farm in Forres and started a new life in NZ. More than a decade later, the Thomsons have a 31-hectare vineyard at Gladstone, Wairarapa, on the southern coast of North Island, and a range of organic wines showing beautiful varietal expression. The guiding philosophy here is sustainability, in both the environmental and the economic sense, following organic and biodynamic principles in the vineyard. Aptly so, given that ‘Urlar’ means ‘the earth’ in Gaelic. There’s a reminder of home, too, in the herd of Highland cattle grazing the estate. These animals provide the manure for the Thomsons’ biodynamic Preparation 500 compost – and a link to Angus’ farming heritage. 

To preserve the delicate aromatics and fruit character of Pinot Gris, the grapes were hand-harvested in the cool of the early morning. Pressing was whole-bunch, with only the free-run juice and lightest of pressings used to minimise unattractive phenolics. Traditional 100% barrel fermentation in old French oak was employed, with extended lees contact and lees stirring to give the wine''s mid-palate weight, texture and complexity. After a period of 12 months in barrel, the wine was fined using natural products and carefully filtered for bottling.

An opulent dry-styled wine with aromas of sweet pear, honeysuckle and stonefruit overlaying a generous mouth feel of great weight and depth. The creamy texture on the palate from the lees stirring provides the backbone to a long and lingering finish. An elegant wine with a beautiful balance that will reward cellaring up to five years.

We like this because it's a great example of a New World Pinot Gris, with oodles of flavour, from an ex-Perthshire acquaintance of ours.

£13.40

Seifried Estate Gruner Veltliner 2017 (1x75cl)

Awarded 90 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)...

Seifried Estate Gruner Veltliner 2017 - Sept 2018 Decanter review

... and comments from one particular reviewer...

Seifried Estate Gruner Veltliner 2017 - Sept 2018 Decanter review - individual comments

‘Seifried’ is the premium label for this estate, with the fruit for these wines grown on established vines, usually in excess of eight years of age. The Seifried wines are often blends of fruit grown on several of the Estate vineyards, enabling production of wines with fantastic depth and complexity. This wine is however a single vineyard wine from the Edens Road Vineyard.

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

Seifried Estate Gruner Veltliner 2017 - fiche technique

£14.70

Yealands Estate Black Label Gruner Veltliner 2017 (1x75cl)

Awarded 90 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)...

Yealands Estate Black Label Gruner Veltliner 2017 - Sept 2018 Decanter review

When Peter Yealands shared his vision to become the world’s most sustainable wine producer, he already knew that the only way to craft truly beautiful, award-winning wines was in partnership with nature, and that compromising his deeply-rooted sustainability values was simply not an option. Today his philosophy holds true and forms the basis of Yealands' approach to winemaking. Peter’s trademark “can do” attitude is the stuff of legend. Happiest working the land at the controls of a bulldozer or digger, Peter has a track record of making pioneering, innovative plans come to fruition.

Seaview Vineyard in the Awatere Valley is exposed to some of the toughest growing conditions in Marlborough; high sunshine and wind, cool nights and low rainfall which produces a smaller, thicker skinned berry with intense fruit flavours. Our parcel of Grüner Veltliner is located on a sheltered north facing slope, on our Seaview vineyard. The soil is predominantly windblown loess.

The fruit was whole bunch pressed into tank to cold settle for 72 hours after which the clear juice was racked carefully, warmed and inoculated with selected yeast. A portion was transferred into 2nd and 3rd year French oak barriques and a 1000 litre French oak oval, to undergo fermentation naturally. Another small portion was fermented in a small concrete egg shaped vessel. All portions remained on lees for three months with twice weekly stirring to build the texture of the wine. The wine was blended, stabilised then filtered prior to bottling.

This Grüner Veltliner shows lifted notes of white pepper, citrus blossom and honey. The palate is rich and multi-layered with complementary savoury notes of pepper and spice, which integrates well with fine mineral acidity. Extremely versatile especially with Asian cuisine, seafood, chicken & pork. This wine is suitable for vegetarians, vegans and gluten free diets.

£13.95

Peregrine Pinot Gris 2016 (1x75cl)

Awarded 89 points and 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)...

Peregrine Pinot Gris 2016 - Sept 2018 Decanter review

Taking a 'hands on' approach to winemaking since 1998, the McLachlan family strive to produce wines that embody the absolute best of Central Otago. "This passion for the land runs in our family, and is a hallmark of Peregrine as a business."

A cool and windy spring with the usual spring frosts, was followed by a hot dry summer. A long autumn with beautiful warm days in 2016 gave lovely extended ripening.

The grapes were hand harvested. The grapes underwent whole bunch fermentation which was done 90% in tank and 10% in older French oak.

Dry in style with lovely texture and fresh flavours of pear, nectarine and ripe citrus. It is perfect with Thai cuisine and dishes with chilli, garlic and ginger flavours.

£18.30

Yealands Estate Black Label PGR 2017 (1x75cl)

Awarded 89 points and 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)...

Yealands Estate Black Label PGR 2017 - Sept 2018 Decanter review

When Peter Yealands shared his vision to become the world’s most sustainable wine producer, he already knew that the only way to craft truly beautiful, award-winning wines was in partnership with nature, and that compromising his deeply-rooted sustainability values was simply not an option. Today his philosophy holds true and forms the basis of Yealands' approach to winemaking. Peter’s trademark “can do” attitude is the stuff of legend. Happiest working the land at the controls of a bulldozer or digger, Peter has a track record of making pioneering, innovative plans come to fruition.

Seaview Vineyard in the Awatere Valley is exposed to some of the toughest growing conditions in Marlborough; high sunshine and wind, cool nights and low rainfall which produces a smaller, thicker skinned berry with intense fruit flavours.  The cool site regularly commences harvest up to one week later than other sub regions of Marlborough. All three aromatic varieties sit on sheltered, north facing slopes. The soil is predominantly wind blown loess. 

Three aromatic parcels; Pinot Gris, Riesling and Gewurztraminer, were selected and harvested together. The fruit was crushed, de-stemmed then gently pressed, with the free run juice going to a stainless tank and the pressings portion going to a 1000L French oak oval and a selection of old French oak barriques. The free run juice in the stainless steel tank was settled for 72hrs and then the clear juice was then racked off to another stainless tank for a long cool fermentation to enhance the pure fruit flavours. The pressings portion in oak went through a natural fermentation and the french oak oval and barrels were stirred twice weekly post fermentation to develop structure and texture. Upon achieving a finely balanced blend, the wine was stabilised and filtered prior to bottling.

Brimming with concentrated notes of lychee and pear, underlying flavours of lime and mandarin and a touch of spice and ginger. The palate shows good fruit concentration, and a wonderful balance between texture, fruit weight and acidity, with a bright citrus finish.  Beautifully matched with all Asian cuisine, seafood, chicken and pork dishes.  This wine is suitable for vegetarians, vegans and gluten free diets.

£13.25

Framingham Pinot Gris 2016 (1x75cl)

Awarded 88 points and 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)...

Framingham Pinot Gris 2016 - Sept 2018 Decanter review

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

Framingham Pinot Gris 2016 - fiche technique

Rich gold in colour, this wine delights with mellow aromatics, which are reminiscent of pear, apple, quince, dough and cream, with a touch of wood smoke. On the palate, generous flavours of baked apple, quince, cream, nuts and pastry. The intense, complex and rich palate balances acidity with good weight and a silky texture, culminating in a spicy, leesy finish.

£14.50

Charles Heidsieck Brut Reserve half bottle (1x37.5cl)

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 Brut Reserve - Sept 2018 Decanter review

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.

£22.65

Charles Heidsieck Rosé Millésimé 2005 (1x75cl)

Awarded 92 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 Rosé Millésimé 2005 - Sept 2018 Decanter review

The 2005 harvest in Champagne was particularly successful due to a cold, dry winter, an early heat wave in June that promoted  flowering, a reasonable amount of rainfall in the summer and, finally, a return to high temperatures in early September, ideal for ripening the grapes.

The  first grapes were brought in on 9 September. The weather was magnificent, cool, dry and sunny. Cool nights helped to boost the level of sugar in the grapes. Thanks to the heat and rain, grapes were plump, heavier than average and showed an exemplary level of sugar with a potential alcohol level of about 10%. In addition to these promising points, excellent acidity ensured perfect balance and very promising ageing potential for this vintage. First tastings reveal exceptional chardonnays, and subtle and aromatic pinots noirs.

The 2005 Rosé took its time to mature: thanks to the sunlight during the year, it developed a generous angular structure that, over the years, became full-bodied and radiant. After more than 10 years on the lees, the wine has today fulfilled its promise, redolent and powerful with excellent ageing potential.

The 2005 Rosé Millésimé has an elegant pearly pink colour with a delicate, joyful effervescence. The nose initially offers a deep and powerful luxuriance with notes of kirsch and exceptionally ripe cherries,  fleshy plums, pomegranates and cranberries. Rich, radiant and generous, this cornucopia of ripe fruit introduces a universe redolent with pastry, with the notes of brioche and fresh butter that characterise the spirit of this vintage. On the palate there are subtle flavours of candied grapefruit and warm underbrush. Unbridled and indulgent, the wine is luxurious, with a powerful palate and terrific breadth. The palate thrills to the full body and long-lasting aromatic persistence.

£87.00

Charles Heidsieck Blanc de Blancs NV (1x75cl)

Awarded 94 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 Blanc De Blancs NV - Sept 2018 Decanter review

Charles Heidsieck is one of the most admired Champagne houses thanks to the unrivalled and consistently high quality of its wines. Founded in 1851 by the man who would become known as ‘Champagne Charlie’, this family-owned house is the smallest of the Grandes Marques. Their size, and commitment to excellence, has been underpinned by a winemaking team that between them have been named 'Sparkling Winemaker of the Year' at the International Wine Challenge 15 times.

Charles Heidsieck Blanc de Blancs combines several of the best Chardonnay crus from three Champagne sub regions. It is made from a majority of crus from the Côte des Blancs (Oger, Vertus), completed by the Montagne de Reims (Villers-Marmery, Trépail, Vaudemange) and the very special cru of Montgueux in the northern part of the Aube, near Troyes.

After the first fermentation, the wines were racked to separate the lees and then underwent malolactic fermentation to soften the natural acidity and to enrich their texture. This 100% Chardonnay blend comprises 25% reserve wines with an average age of five years. All the reserve wines were aged in stainless steel vats on their fine lees. In order to achieve depth and complexity required by the house style, the Blanc de Blancs was aged for four years in Charles Heidsieck’s chalk cellars (The Crayeres), much longer than the legal requirement of 15 months.

Charles Heidsieck Blanc de Blancs is a pale, crystalline gold colour. The nose is characterised by aromas of mature Chardonnay; white peach, candied citrus with notes of lime, honeysuckle and fresh hazelnuts giving way to subtle hints of tangerine and lemon. On the palate, the Blanc de Blancs bears all the hallmarks of a Charles Heidsieck Champagne: boldness, generosity and elegance. Embracing yet light, it displays appealing mineral, slightly salty, iodine notes, and has a silky, creamy texture – unexpected from a Chardonnay – that leaves a lasting impression.

£57.70

Charles Heidsieck Brut Reserve NV (1x75cl)

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 Brut Reserve - Sept 2018 Decanter review

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.

£39.60

Charles Heidsieck Blanc des Millenaires 1995 (1x 75cl)

Awarded 95 points and Outstanding status by Decanter (www.decanter.com) in their September 2018 edition producer profile of Charles Heidsieck (see blue link below)...

Charles Heidsieck Blanc Des Millenaires 1995 - Sept 2018 Decanter review

Awarded 96 points and a Platinum Best In Show at the Decanter World Wine Awards (www.decanter.com): see their August 2017 DWWA supplement (see blue link below).

Heidsieck Blanc des Millenaires 1995 - August 2017 Decanter review

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.

The 1995 Blanc des Millénaires is a blend of Chardonnay from five crus: Cramant for complexity and ageability, Avize for verve and minerality, Oger for creaminess and weight, Mesnil-sur-Oger for balance and Vertus for floral freshness.

1995 was a fresh and balanced vintage, producing wines of excellent ageing potential. Generally good conditions throughout summer and autumn meant grapes were harvested in prime condition. It was the first universally declared vintage since 1990.

After fermentation, the wine is racked to separate the lees and then undergoes malolactic fermentation to soften the natural acidity. After blending the different crus, the wine is bottled and selected yeast added for the second fermentation. The bottles are placed in the cellar at a temperature of 10°C, and aged for at least 15 years before release.

Exceptional. This displays all the noble characteristics of mature Chardonnay and its incredible potential for ageing. Pale gold colour with pale green hues. The bouquet is balanced with a richness and distinct pastry aromas expressing full buttery notes, intense cinnamon and vanilla spice. Silky notes of candied apricots, quince and dried fruits, hazelnuts and almonds.

£114.30

Charles Heidsieck Blanc des Millenaires 2004 (1x 75cl)

Awarded 96 points and Outstanding status by Decanter (www.decanter.com) in their September 2018 edition producer profile of Charles Heidsieck (see blue link below)...

Charles Heidsieck Blanc Des Millenaires 2004 - Sept 2018 Decanter review

Charles Heidsieck is one of the most admired Champagne houses thanks to the unrivalled and consistently high quality of its wines. Founded in 1851 by the man who would become known as ‘Champagne Charlie’, this family-owned house is the smallest of the Grandes Marques. Their size, and commitment to excellence, has been underpinned by a winemaking team that between them have been named 'Sparkling Winemaker of the Year' at the International Wine Challenge 15 times.

Only Chardonnay is used in the blend of this exceptionally textured cuvée. The grapes are grown on vineyards found with five major Crus from the Côte des Blancs, meticulously chosen for their ability to evolve as well as for their ability to express their full richness once fully mature: Oger for its unctuousness and structure, Mesnil-sur-Oger for balance, Avize for its minerality, Cramant for its complexity and Vertus for its freshness and floral notes.

2004 was an exceptional vintage for quality and quantity. Wines from this vintage are structured, well-balanced and have exceeded all expectations.

In the 19th century, convinced that they would be an ideal place to age wine, Charles Heidsieck decided to purchase chalk cellars dating back to Gallo-Roman times, located in the historic heart of Reims. This audacious decision turned out to be a stroke of genius since these cellars proved to be a peaceful haven where the humidity and 10°C temperature remain constant. An extraordinary ageing period of almost 11 years, gives this 100% Chardonnay cuvée an unparallelled complexity and texture.

On the nose, the Blanc des Millénaires 2004 opens with elegant notes of lemon, apple blossoms, salted butter and almonds along with a toasted, buttery nuance of crème anglaise. The palate is full of fresh citrus flavours giving the wine a taut crispness. Still youthful and taut with an elegant mousse.

£123.80

Pierre Sourdais Chinon Tradition Organic 2017 (1x75cl)

Awarded 91 points and Highly Recommended status by Decanter (www.decanter.com) in their September 2018 edition panel tasting of Loire Reds (see blue link below)

Pierre Sourdais Chinon Tradition Organic 2017 - Sept 2018 Decanter review

Pierre Sourdais has built a reputation for the consistently high quality of his Chinon. With a plethora of different soil types on his 25-hectare property from which to choose his fruit, Pierre is able to produce wines of great character year in, year out. The Chinon Tradition, recently certified organic, is soft and supple, with ripe tannins and an elegant finish – a classic expression of Cabernet Franc.

After a manual harvesting of the grapes, the vinification takes place over 3 weeks at a controlled temperature of 25 to 30 °C. Daily pumping over promotes the alcoholic fermentation and allows for an optimal expression of the structure of the wine. The malolactic fermentation is carried out before ageing. After a few months of maturing in vats, a light filtration will be carried out before bottling in September.

This wine finds its balance from the diversity of its origins. There are subtle aromas of minerality, with a hint of flint that make the wine's complexity very attractive and enticing. The flavours are typical of this style of wine - ripe fruit and candied fruit mingle perfectly with the minerality.  It has an elegant finish and is a truly remarkable Chinon. This wine can keep for up to 8 years but is also delicious whilst young.

This wine is suitable for vegetarians and vegans.

£13.20

Ottella Le Creete 2017 (1x75cl)

Awarded 90 points and Highly Recommended status by Decanter (www.decanter.com) in their September 2018 edition regional profile of Lugana (in Veneto) (see blue link below)

Ottella Le Creete 2017 - Sept 2018 Decanter review

The challenge that Lodovico, Francesco and Michele Montresor decided to take on in Lugana was based on the firm conviction that gifted, high-class wines from quality strains must be recognisable from the way they are produced. This is their basis for the creation of conceptually modern wines with absolute respect for the vital combination of soil and vine.

Trebbiano di Lugana is known locally as “Turbiana”. It is genetically similar to Verdicchio, according to many experts, but in phenological, agronomical and enological terms, it stands apart. Recent studies at Milan University confirmed that the genome of “Trebbiano di Lugana” has characteristics that cannot be attributed to other Trebbiani.

Please click the blue link below to see tasting notes and information on this wine.

Ottella Le Creete - fiche technique

£20.05

Ca Dei Frati Lugana Brolettino 2015 (1x 75cl)

The 2016 vintage (not yet on UK release, alas) was awarded 91 points and Highly Recommended status by Decanter (www.decanter.com) in their September 2018 edition regional profile of Lugana (in Veneto) (see blue link below)

Ca Dei Frati Lugana Brolettino 2015 - Sept 2018 Decanter review

The Dal Cero family has transformed their Cà dei Frati property, situated on the southern shores of Lake Garda, into a model Italian estate over the past two decades. Back in 1987, they had 12 hectares of vineyard but now, following the purchase of a large chunk of prime vineyard in 2008, they have over 160 hectares. This increase in quantity has been matched by an increase in quality and today they remain the best producer in Lugana.

The secret to the success of the Ca' dei Frati wines is the outstanding vineyards. Most producers in the zone crop at high levels and train the vines high. At Ca' dei Frati, the vines are trained low, newer vineyards have a higher density of planting and yields are well below the average for the area. All grapes are grown in Ca' dei Frati's own vineyards, which are located on the south banks of Lake Garda, near the town of Sirmione. The vines from which 'Brolettino' is made were planted in 1971, with clay soils. The training system is single and double Guyot and the yield is eight tonnes per hectare.

The very wet winter of 2015 enabled vines to access considerable deep-seated water reserves during the spring, facilitating budding and flowering which lasted until the beginning of June. The particularly favourable climate during the summer ensured that all subsequent phenological stages, from fruit set to maturity, developed evenly. The hot temperatures in July were mitigated by some timely thunderstorms, while a sunny and quite breezy August allowed the grapes to reach a perfect phenolic ripeness. Harvest throughout September and the first week of October was facilitated by numerous sunny days, interspersed with sporadic rainfall. 2015 promises to be a memorable vintage with wines exhibiting balance, great structure and intense aromas.

Fermentation took place in temperature-controlled stainless steel tanks before being transferred to small 225 litre barriques for 10 months. Malolactic fermentation was allowed to take place in a selected number of barrels. The wine then aged in bottle for three months before release.

Pale golden in colour, this wine opens with aromas of stone fruits and a touch of vanilla spice from the oak ageing. The palate has rich peach characters, with a creamy, honeyed texture lifted by stony minerality. Intense and concentrated through to the fresh finish.

£20.20

De Martino Viejas Tinajas Cinsault 2015 (6x 75cl)

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

De Martino Viejas Tinajas Cinsault 2015 - April 2017 Decanter review

The De Martino family came from Italy in 1934 and settled in Chile in the Maipo valley. From the beginning, they specialised mainly in creating wines from Bordeaux grape varieties. In 1996, the family decided to label and export Chile's first Carmenere from the renowned vineyard of Alto de Piedras. Today, the winery combines the experience of the family's third generation - represented by Pietro, Marco and Remo De Martino - with the dynamism and vision of the already-incorporated fourth generation, where Marco Antonio and Sebastián De Martino, together with the winemakers Marcelo Retamal and Eduardo Jordán, are leading the winery's new projects.

De Martino resurrects an old winemaking tradition of using large earthenware jars, known as amphorae or tinajas, that is deeply rooted in rural Chilean winemaking culture to create this all-natural wine. The fruit is cultivated from an unirrigated vineyard in the heart of the coastal mountain region of the Itata Valley located 400 kilometers south of Santiago and 22 kilometers from the Pacific Ocean. Viejas Tinajas, meaning “old amphorae,” is fermented and aged in 100-year-old amphorae that have been rescued by the De Martino family.  The winery does not intervene or disrupt the process at all.  A lovely fresh nose of red currant jam and violets is well defined. The palate is medium in body with crisp red currant and dark cherry accented by touches of fig and marmalade.

£95.05

Outer Limits by Montes Old Roots Itata Cinsault 2016 (1x75cl)

Awarded 90 points and Highly Recommended status by Decanter (www.decanter.com) in their September 2018 edition review of Cinsault by Alistair Cooper MW (see blue link below)

Outer Limits By Montes Old Roots Itata Cinsault 2016 - Sept 2018 Decanter review

Montes was established in 1988 by Aurelio Montes, Douglas Murray, Alfredo Vidaurre and Pedro Grand, with the aim to produce the best wines in Chile from the best regions. We have long admired Montes and what they have done for Chilean wine over the past three decades. Their wines are consistently good because they are meticulous throughout the entire production process. The Outer Limits wines were born out of Aurelio Montes' desire to push Chilean viticulture in a new direction. Due to the balance and concentration in the Outer Limits wines, they can be enjoyed now or allowed to age for a few years, rewarding with a wonderfully complex bouquet.

The Cinsault vineyards are located in the Bularco sector of the Itata Valley in southern Chile. It was here that the first vines in Chile were planted nearly 500 years ago.

Upon arrival at the winery, the fruit was crushed and pressed before fermentation took place in open-top fermenters. The wine was then aged in third-use barrels for four months and lightly filtered prior to bottling.

The Outer Limits Cinsault has a lively ruby red colour. The nose shows an ample blend of fresh red and blue berries, hints of caramel, candied apples, sweet spices, floral notes and a subtle touch of tobacco. Smooth on the palate with light tannins, a delicate body and a juicy, fresh finish.

£15.10

Rioja Organza Blanco Reserva, Sierra Cantabria 2016 (1x75cl)

Awarded 92 points and Highly Recommended status by Decanter (www.decanter.com) in their September 2018 edition expert review of white Rioja (see blue link below)...

Rioja Organza Blanco Reserva, Sierra Cantabria 2016 - Sept 2018 Decanter review

Founded in 1957 by Guillermo Eguren, Sierra Cantabria is nestled in the heart of San Vicente de la Sonsierra, a town of great winemaking tradition, situated in a unique location between the River Ebro and the Sierra Cantabria mountain range. The Sierra Cantabria mountain range (1,200 m. of altitude) and the river Ebro (350 m.), create a special microclimate with Mediterranean and Continental characteristics - providing mild winters and gentle summers- unique for vine cultivation. Everything in the vineyard is done with respect for the environment as well as following the biorhythms of the plant. 

The grapes are harvested by hand with only the best quality grapes making it into the winery.  Further selection then happens in the winery using a sorting table.  The must is cold soaked for 14 hours prior to fermentation. It is fermented in new French oak barrels from the Vosgues area. The temperature is controlled between 14 and 16º C. This wine is fermented only using indigenous yeast selected from their vineyards.  The wine is aged for 11 months on its fine lees, with batonnage taking place twice a week during the first six months. 

The Organza Blanco 2016 is bright gold in colour. It offers a nose of tropical fruit, minerality and sweet spices. Wild herbs, beeswax, grapefruit and nutmeg spice combine appealingly on the palate here.

£18.75
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