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Ata Rangi Lismore Pinot Gris 2017 (1x 75cl)

Awarded 94 points and Highly Recommended status by Decanter (www.decanter.com) in their January 2019 edition article: The Most Exciting Wines of 2018 (see blue link below)

Ata Rangi Lismore Pinot Gris 2017 - January 2019 Decanter review

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)...

Ata Rangi Lismore Pinot Gris 2017 - Sept 2018 Decanter review

Ata Rangi is owned and run by Clive Paton and his wife Phyll, together with Clive's sister Alison and winemaker Helen Masters. Clive planted the bare, stony five hectare home paddock at the edge of Martinborough in 1980 and, in doing so, was one of a handful of people who pioneered grape growing in the area. Renowned for their Pinot Noir, which is consistently ranked as one of New Zealand's best, Ata Rangi also produces a range of white wines including Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc.

The Pinot Gris grapes come from the Lismore Vineyard at the edge of the Martinborough Terrace and achieve their optimum flavour profile towards the end of the growing season. As a result, the team harvests this varietal fairly late to obtain a wine closer to the richer style of Pinot Gris produced in Alsace, rather than the leaner, bone-dry style of Pinot Grigio common in much of northern Italy. The vines were planted in 1996.

The 2017 growing season was uniquely cool, leading to small bunches and low yields. Luckily, this cool weather reduced disease pressure so fruit remained healthy right up until harvest.

Fruit was hand picked and whole bunch pressed in a Willmes membrane press. The resulting juice was then cold settled, inoculated with yeast and fermented in temperature-controlled stainless steel tanks at temperatures of 14-18°C. 20% of the wine was fermented in three year old 500 litre oak puncheons to give extra weight and complexity to the final blend. In both cases, the wine was left on lees for several months. No malolactic fermentation was allowed to take place to retain a crisp, balancing acidity.

Up-front aromas in this Pinot Gris are reminiscent of fresh cut pear, custard, pecans and lychees. The palate is creamy, with flavours of fresh walnut and a hint of smoke. On the long finish, the wine shows complexity and will develop with bottle age.

£23.15

Bodegas Olarra Cerro Anon Rioja Reserva 2014 (1x75cl)

Bodegas Olarra was created in 1973. Situated on the outskirts of the city of Logroño in Rioja Alta, their winery – a Y-shaped building designed to make optimum use of the space for both production and ageing of the wine – is known as “the Cathedral of La Rioja”. From the beginning, the winery has known how to combine the traditional methods of production and ageing with the most advanced modern techniques of viticulture and vinification. A favourable geographic location, gives the vineyards all the ingredients to produce good fruits. Indeed the clay and chalky soil is watered by the rain and the Ebro river. This area also benefits from warm sunshine and the influence of the Mediterranean and Atlantic coasts. In 1978, Bodegas Olarra achieved their first Gold medal for a Cerro Añon wine in the tenth International Wines and Spirits Competition in the UK. Numerous awards followed from then on, proof of the outstanding quality of their wines.

Officially classified as Good by the Rioja Control Board (Consejo Regulador), the 2014 vintage followed a year when the weather was good in spring and most of summer, but turned wet towards the end of harvest. The fruit for Cerro Añon Reserva comes from Olarra's vineyards in both Rioja Alavesa and Rioja Alta. Average vine age is around 25 years; the soil patterns in the vineyards are a combination of the well-known limestone/clay/alluvial mixes to be found in most of Central Rioja.

Approximately, the mix of grapes for Cerro Añón Reserva 2014 is 90% Tempranillo, 5% Mazuelo and 5% Graciano.

Harvests took place at the end of September, with a good ripeness level (both phenolic and alcoholic); Olarra  managed to harvest most of the grapes intended for use before the weather took a turn for the worse.

Maceration time was 18 days with daily pumping over in stainless steel vats at a controlled temperature of 29ºC. Half of the wine underwent malolactic fermentation in new 225-litre French and American oak casks, while the other half saw malolactic in concrete tanks.

Barrel ageing was carried out in 225-litre oak casks/barricas, of which 65% were made of American wood, the rest being French Allier oak. This lasted for 20 months with regular racking. The barrels were aged from brand new to 7 years of age. Once fining and bottling were finished, the wine remained in the bottle cellar for 18 months before the start of release.

At the time of release, this wine showed as a bright crimson red in colour. On the nose, aromas of sweet ripe fruit and delicate notes of smokiness very much remain today. On the palate, tastes of cherry, plum and blackberries combine with a gentle, clean aroma of oak. The Reserva 2014 has a most elegant mouthfeel, a full body and a fresh and fully fruity aftertaste. This wine is full of life (when compared with many Reservas) and should drink very well for the next 10-15 years.

£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 2015.

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.

£43.55

Grosset Polish Hill Clare Valley Riesling 2018 (1x75cl)

The 2017 vintage was awarded 95 points and Outstanding status by Decanter (www.decanter.com) in their April 2018 edition review of Australian Riesling  (see blue link below) .

Grosset Polish Hill Clare Valley Riesling 2017 - April 2018 Decanter review

Jeffrey Grosset established his winery in 1981 in the historic township of Auburn, Clare Valley, 100 kilometres north of Adelaide. The winery is stylish and functional and reflects the attention to detail that extends to the Grosset estate-owned vineyards and winemaking. Jeff is best known for his Rieslings which have shown a consistency of style and quality, making this one of Australia’s greatest wineries. By combining a disciplined approach and decades of experience, Grosset consistently achieves the purest expression of variety and place.

The eight hectare Polish Hill vineyard (ACO certified organic) is planted at 460 metres altitude and just five kilometres from Springvale. The low fertility soils of this hard rock site are composed of silt and shallow shales over a thin crust of clay and gravel. The vines have to work harder than those at Springvale and so produce small, thick skinned berries with bunches weighing just 100 grams.

The 2018 vintage was very dry, with less than average rainfall. The dry conditions meant that the vines struggled to ripen resulting in smaller berries and yields. With every vintage, it becomes clear that the vines have a unique resilience to changing seasonal conditions. The grapes harvested were in pristine condition resulting in fresh, vibrant and well-balanced wines.

The organic grapes were hand harvested between 5th - 9th March and delivered promptly to the winery in small parcels, where they were crushed and destemmed. The fruit was then gently pressed and settled in tank for five days at 0°C. Only the free run juice was used. A small proportion was whole-bunch pressed. Six separate ferments took place according to clone and vine age before blending and bottling.

The 2018 has aromas of lavender, herbs, lime and a hint of chalk. Framed by a pure natural acidity, the concentrated palate is pure lime juice and lemon pith with a characteristic shaley minerality. Tight, fine and steely with a long, bone dry finish.

To see an informative information sheet, tasting note and reviews for this wine, please click on the blue link below.

Grosset Polish Hill Clare Valley Riesling 2018 - fiche technique

£30.55

Peter Lehmann Hill & Valley Eden Valley Riesling 2016 (1x75cl)

The 2015 vintage was awarded 95 points and Outstanding status by Decanter (www.decanter.com) in their April 2018 edition review of Australian Riesling  (see blue link below). This vintage has now just depleted (it's amazing it lasted as long as it did), but the 2016 seems equally excellent!

Peter Lehmann H&V Riesling 2015 - April 2018 Decanter review

Peter Lehmann, with 33 vintages already under his belt, started his own winery in 1979, partly as a means of helping with the glut of grapes then afflicting the Barossa. "I'll take your grapes and turn them into wine," he told the desperate growers, many of them conservative farmers of Silesian descent who regarded their old vines as part of their patrimony. "But I'll only be able to pay you when I sell the wine." They gratefully accepted. Without this deal, it is widely thought that the Barossa would have lost a huge chunk of its old vines. The 'Hill & Valley' wines are made from fruit selected, often from single vineyards, in the Barossa Valley and from the higher reaches of the adjacent Eden Valley.

The grapes were sourced from John and Liz Stanton and Mark and Deborah Petney's vineyards on the Eastern slopes of Eden Valley. This east-facing side is particularly cool as it lies over 400m above sea level on acidic sandy soils, ideal for enhancing the natural acid balance of an exceptional Riesling.

The fruit was picked early, crushed, chilled and the juice immediately separated from the skins to enhance delicacy. Following cold fermentation in stainless steel tanks, the wine was clarified and bottled.

Early picking has produced a fresh, lively Riesling with a delicate green tinge and hints of freshly picked limes. The palate shows great fruit purity with a refreshingly crisp, dry finish. It is a wine that can be drunk now or aged with confidence for a few years where it will develop the complexity expected of a top flight Eden Valley Riesling.

£13.65

Millton Te Arai Chenin Blanc 2016 (1x75cl)

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

£18.40
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