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Dessert Wines

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Anselmi I Capitelli IGT half bottle 2015 (1x 37.5cl)

Since taking over management of his family’s winery in the Soave district of northeast Italy’s Veneto region two decades ago, Roberto Anselmi has been motivated by an emotional and professional commitment to tapping the unrealized potential of the wines he grew up with. This has entailed a significant parting of ways with traditional vineyard and winemaking practices that have historically characterized the Soave district, and given birth to a new generation of north Italian white wines of unprecedented quality, character and finesse.

In the heart of the classic Soave production area, near the towns of Monteforte and Soave in the Foscarino and Zoppega hills, Roberto Anselmi selects the grapes from the vineyards that are identifiable by the adjacent 'capitelli' (chapels) which from experience are the best geographic positions to produce grapes. The terrain is hilly, with southern exposure, and the soils are volcanic in some plots of land, calcareous in others. The vines are very closely pruned, with few fruit bearing buds, and the bunches of grapes are thinned in June.

Ripe bunches are selected and put in a single layer in small cases (plateaux). A second selection of bunches of grapes suitable for drying on mats in a ventilated room is also made. During November bunches show evidence of 'nobile botrytis'. In February, pressing takes place in pneumatic presses and the very sweet must ferments naturally in small oak barriques. At the end of fermentation, after two decantings, the fermented juices continue to age in the same barriques for about 16 months, and from one to three years in bottle before it is ready to drink.

Stunningly rich and complex, packed with apricot, honey and pear flavours with tobacco and cedar notes, it is smooth, subtle and velvety. Heavenly with Creme brulée, cheese cakes, richly flavoured ice creams and sticky toffee puddings.

£20.95

Barbi Vin Santo Doc half bottle 2011 (1x37.5cl)

A symbol of traditional Tuscan hospitality, this wine is nevertheless quite rare, often a real treat. Barbi's Vinsanto maintains the old habit of greeting and honoring guests and friends with something special.

The grapes are collected in mid September and then set to dry on special reed mats locally called “graticci”. Between late December and early January the juice in the grapes is reduced to a very sugary syrup that reaches 18– 19° bé (parameter that indicates the proportion between sugar and water level). At this stage the grapes are softly pressed, then the concentrated must is sealed together with the madre (literally “mother”: natural yeasts produced through decades and always kept alive) in small oaks casks of 1 or 2 hl (caratelli) for at least three years. The caratello is a small wooden container that has always been used in Vinsanto production. Afterwards the wine is separated from the madre and aged again in smaller oak kegs (0.65 hl), before being bottled.

Trebbiano 55%, Malvasia 35%, Sangiovese 10%.

This wine has an amber yellow colour. On the nose it has a delicious and intensively aromatic bouquet with a broad suite of fragrances: raisins, dried and candied fruits, walnuts and a delicate hint of chestnut honey . It shows a finely bilance palate whose sweetness never cloys thanks to fresh acidity and vibrant, long-lasting aromas.

A wine to be sipped and enjoyed slowly, it perfectly matches with cantucci (dry Tuscan almond biscuits), savoury and mature cheeses, liver based cold cuts and pâtè or on its own as a wine to meditate over.

Vin Santo dei Barbi can be kept for decades. In the cellar at Barbi there is a collection of bottles dating back to 1870, although you may not want to wait this long to enjoy it!

£20.00

Bertani Recioto della Valpolicella 2015 (1x50cl)

Bertani produces Recioto with two grapes grown in the hills of the Valpantena, the same varieties used to make Amarone. They use the smallest bunches with the best exposure to the sun, then dried on the traditional “arele”, bamboo racks, for about three months. The typical notes of cherry are brought out by the unusual ageing in cherry wood barrels and eventually become a concentration of morello and sour cherry. Recioto is dense and velvety but never cloying; it leaves the palate clean with an aftertaste of walnuts that makes it unique among sweet wines: sweet, intense red with elegant oak tannins.

From vineyards in the Valpantena sub-zone to the North of the city of Verona, in the communes of Quinto, Grezzana, and Santa Maria in Stelle. The soils range from calcareous marls in the east to iron-rich calcareous clays in the west. The harvest takes place at the end of September. As only pristine bunches are selected, the harvest is strictly by hand only.

The grapes are taken to the drying rooms where they rest in single-layer crates for about 150 days. Fermentation initially takes place at a very low temperature (4°-5°C) and then reaches 18°C, then it is stopped before all the sugars are transformed into alcohol. Ageing happens in 30-hl cherry wood casks, for about 12 months, followed by a period of at least three months of bottle maturation.

80% Corvina Veronese and 20% Rondinella.

The wine has an intense ruby-red colour, with a multitude of aromas on the nose: from the typical notes of plum, cherry and raspberry to hints of vanilla spice, hay and cocoa. On the palate is full, fragrant and intense. The sugars are not high, leaving a long aftertaste of fruits of the forest, chocolate and liquorice. It goes well with cakes and jam tarts, it is intriguing when paired with young and medium-matured cheeses as well as candied fruit. It also goes tremendously well with chocolate.

ABV = 13.0%.

£23.75

Bertani Recioto della Valpolicella 2017 (1x50cl)

Bertani produces Recioto with two grapes grown in the hills of the Valpantena, the same varieties used to make Amarone. They use the smallest bunches with the best exposure to the sun, then dried on the traditional “arele”, bamboo racks, for about three months. The typical notes of cherry are brought out by the unusual ageing in cherry wood barrels and eventually become a concentration of morello and sour cherry. Recioto is dense and velvety but never cloying; it leaves the palate clean with an aftertaste of walnuts that makes it unique among sweet wines: sweet, intense red with elegant oak tannins.

From vineyards in the Valpantena sub-zone to the North of the city of Verona, in the communes of Quinto, Grezzana, and Santa Maria in Stelle. The soils range from calcareous marls in the east to iron-rich calcareous clays in the west. The harvest takes place at the end of September. As only pristine bunches are selected, the harvest is strictly by hand only.

The grapes are taken to the drying rooms where they rest in single-layer crates for about 150 days. Fermentation initially takes place at a very low temperature (4°-5°C) and then reaches 18°C, then it is stopped before all the sugars are transformed into alcohol. Ageing happens in 30-hl cherry wood casks, for about 12 months, followed by a period of at least three months of bottle maturation.

80% Corvina Veronese and 20% Rondinella.

The wine has an intense ruby-red colour, with a multitude of aromas on the nose: from the typical notes of plum, cherry and raspberry to hints of vanilla spice, hay and cocoa. On the palate is full, fragrant and intense. The sugars are not high, leaving a long aftertaste of fruits of the forest, chocolate and liquorice. It goes well with cakes and jam tarts, it is intriguing when paired with young and medium-matured cheeses as well as candied fruit. It also goes tremendously well with chocolate.

ABV = 13.0%.

£23.75

Berton Reserve Botrytis Semillon 2017 (1x37.5cl)

Established by Bob and Cherie Berton in May 1996, Berton Vineyard is one of Hallgarten's most important partners. The estate covers 30 hectares of land located on gently rolling hills at 450 metres above sea level, in a subregion of Eden Valley in South Australia. The superb Reserve Shiraz and Reserve Chardonnay wines are still sourced from this plot. In 2007, Bob purchased the Yenda winery in the heart of the Riverina. This state-of- the-art facility has the capacity to process 20,000 tonnes and enables Berton Vineyard to produce value for money wines which sit alongside their premium single vineyard offerings.

Rain is essential for the Botrytis process and fortunately during the growing season of 2017 plenty of rain fell, allowing for the botrytis growth.

The Griffith area is internationally renowned for producing some of the best botrytis-affected wines. The fruit is left on the vine for a significantly longer time than other Semillon to encourage the growth of botrytis, which desiccates the skin allowing the moisture to evaporate. The berries are harvested at optimum maturity. The vine age is varied, but all vines have been spur pruned and are generally trained on a single wire cordon trellising system. The soil types in the vineyards are varied, with each adding its own characteristic to the resulting wine.

Harvested in early May, the sweet shrivelled fruit was left on skins overnight in a bag press to allow maximum flavour and sugar extraction before being pressed. The juice was then clarified and filtered before the start of fermentation. Fermentation lasted for four weeks and when half of the sugar had been converted to alcohol, fermentation was arrested by chilling to 3°C. Once clarified, the wine underwent 12 months oak maturation before being prepared for bottling. 

Semillon 100%.

A luscious wine with intense and layered aromas of orange rind, apricot and honey. The vibrant palate delights with notes of orange, grapefruit, butterscotch and biscotti which carry through to a beautifully balanced and persistent finish.

ABV = 11.5%.

£11.05

Capezzana Vin Santo (Riserva) di Carmignano half bottle 2011 (1x37.5cl)

Awarded a Platinum medal and 96 points at the 2019 Decanter World Wine Awards (click link for details)

For other 2019 DWWA winners, click here.

The Capezzana estate, 24 kilometres north west of Florence, is owned by the Contini Bonacossi family. The younger generation is now firmly in charge of the estate's 100 hectares of vineyard, with daughter Benedetta Contini Bonacossi as winemaker and Francesco Bernabei as consultant winemaker. The wines and the olive oil have an elegance which marks this estate out from the crowd.

The grapes for the Vin Santo are grown on various vineyards on the 104 hectare estate. These vineyards face east, are around 150-200 metres above sea level and have schistous-clay soils. They are currently being converted to organic production.

The 2011 vintage had a slow start, with veraison occurring two weeks later than usual, with a cool spring and frequent showers. The lower than average temperatures for the time of year continued until July and up until this point, the vintage could easily have been considered a cool one. However, from mid-August through to the beginning of September, high pressure over the African continent brought temperatures well above 38°C. Fortunately the vines were able to access sufficient water reserves to avoid stress.

The grapes were dried on cane mats in a well ventilated loft until February. After pressing, the must fermented very slowly in small chestnut and cherry casks for at least four years. The casks are known as 'caratelli' and vary between 50, 70, 100 and 200 litres in capacity. The must underwent successive fermentations and clarifications with natural changes in temperature. Final yields were very low, often only a quarter or a fifth of the original grape weight. After ageing for five years in small chestnut and cherry casks, the wine remained in bottle for at least three months before release.

90% Trebbiano, 10% San Colombano.

This Vin Santo has an intense golden yellow colour and displays concentrated perfumes on the nose of dried fruit, candied apricot and orange peel, as well as floral nuances of yellow flowers. Rich and intensely sweet on the palate, it has dried apricot and fig flavours which are balanced by a lovely touch of freshness. The finish is very long and spicy.

ABV = 14.0%.

£37.75

Castelnau de Suduiraut, Sauternes, 2013 (1x37.5cl)

The history of Château Suduiraut, in Sauternes, goes back centuries. After the total destruction of the property by the Duke d'Epernon in the 1600's, Count Blaise de Suduiraut replanted the vineyard and restored the estate to its former glory. The château is a superb example of 18th century architecture. Aristocratic, classical, and bright in style, the Château is surrounded by charming gardens designed by Le Nôtre. The quality of this First Classed Growth is the result of the unflagging attention devoted to its crafting. Extremely low yields foster the concentration of sugars. Each vat is stringently selected. Castelnau de Suduiraut is their second wine and no less care is taken in its production.

The grapes were pressed and the grape juice was clarified. Fermentation took place in new French oak barrels at controlled temperatures of 24°C and lasted for three weeks. The wine was aged in French oak barrels for 16 months, of which 10% was new oak, 20% was one year old oak and 70% was two year old oak. The wine was racked every three months and then underwent a light filtration prior to bottling.

Semillon 98%, Sauvignon Blanc 2%.

This elegantly rich wine shows orange peel and mineral notes on the nose. The palate is full bodied with almonds, spice, honey and candied fruits through to a lovely, lingering finish

ABV = 13.5%.

£15.50

Chambers Rosewood Rutherglen Muscat NV (1x37.5cl)

Awarded 93 points and Highly Recommended status by Decanter (www.decanter.com) in their August 2018 edition's "Weekday Wines (25 under £25)" (see blue link below)...

Chambers Rosewood Rutherglen Muscat NV - August 2018 Decanter review

The 6th generation of the Chambers family to make wine in the Rosewood winery, Stephen, took over the winemaking in 2001. This venerable winery, started in 1858 by William Chambers, is one of the most fabled in Rutherglen. This charming, northeastern Victorian town, the sort of place that time forgot, still speaks of the gold rush that led to the town's foundation, and the development of the wine industry, in the 1850s. 

The vineyards are located on the fringes of the Rutherglen Township, slightly to the North West, where Chambers produce drier style Muscats which express rose petal characters. The vines are hand pruned to a rod and spur system which allows each vine to be viewed on an individual basis. The trellising system is a single wire with a sprawling canopy.

Harvest of the grapes for this wine commences once the fruit reaches a ripeness of 16 Baumé. At this stage the grapes will have some variation throughout the bunches, with some being plump, while others showing signs of grape shrivel. Once a parcel of grape is harvested, it is destemmed and the must placed into a closed stainless steel fermentation tank. The amount of fermentation is dependent upon the final baumé level of the parcel, and it occurs around 24 hours after harvest and a soak on skins. Once fermentation has commenced and the sugar level has fallen to between 14 and 15 baumé the grapes are pressed with the fermenting juice and fortified with neutral grape wine spirit (95.8 to 96.2%). The resultant wine is then settled in stainless steel tanks and then racked into old oak casks, which range in size between 220 to 5500 litres. The wines are kept as single vintage and vineyard parcels until blending.

100% Muscat à Petits Grains Rouge.

The Rutherglen Muscat is typically tawny red in colour with aromas of rose petals, raisins and dried fruit. These characters carry through to the palate, balanced with fresh acidity. The wine is unctuous and rich yet zesty and balanced.

ABV = 18.0%.

£12.10

Chateau Climens Barsac 2015 (1x37.5cl)

An incredible mosaic of contrasting yet complementary elements, combining great concentration (mostly wonderfully perfumed) with beautifully unctuous textures and complex fruit flavours, often very honeyed; all marked by a glorious freshness and purity.

Semillon 100%.

ABV = 14.0%.

£39.15

Chateau Climens Cypres de Climens Barsac 2014 (1x37.5cl)

A first growth/Premier Cru Sauternes since 1855, Château Climens has long been called the Lord of Barsac or Yquem of Barsac due to the incomparable elegance and freshness of its wines. Climens’ strong personality is derived above all from its unique limestone terroir and the unfailing professionalism of successive winemaking teams. Lucien Lurton, an emblematic winegrowing figure, purchased Chateau Climens in 1971. The estate was taken over by his youngest daughter in 1992. Assisted by her team, Bérénice Lurton manages Climens with the respect and tenacity it takes to make the most of this unique terroir. It is in this spirit that the estate has been entirely cultivated according to biodynamic principles since 2010.

Harvesting at Climens is extremely delicate. An experienced team sorts out and gathers only the grapes affected by the famous botrytis noble rot. Wine processing is done in barrels in order to intensify each batch’s complexity and balance before proceeding to a very meticulous combination. Maturing continues for 18 months in barrels renewed (ie new French oak) by 35 to 60% each vintage.

The Cypres de Climens is the Château's second wine, and represents the de facto grand vin in years when Château Climens proper is not made. In either instance, it represents a superb exprerssion of the Château's  art.

Produced from 100% Semillon, this second wine of Climens shows lively character. Ample acidity lifts the honeyed finish packed with pretty stone fruit, white flowers, and acacia honey notes. Approachable in its youth, pair with a hot, buttered lobster roll or bring with duck liver pate to a picnic.

Residual sugar ~140g/litre.

Aromatic nose with vanilla hints, aromas of candied yellow fruits, apricot, honey. Mellow, ripe and fresh in the mouth.

ABV = 13.5%.

£20.45

Chateau Delmond, Sauternes, 2015 (1x75cl)

Jean-Christophe Barbe studied at the University of Bordeaux and did his thesis on 'pourriture noble', or noble rot, the botrytis that makes Sauternes so special. Today, he instructs the youth of Bordeaux in winemaking while running the family property, Château Laville, in Sauternes. Château Delmond is the second wine of Château Laville.

Jean-Christophe Barbe's vineyards are located in the commune of Preignac. He has 13 hectares which all qualify for Sauternes status. The average age of the vines is 30 years. Château Delmond, however, is made from slightly younger vines, resulting in a fresher, lighter style, yet with the complexity and luscious feel of good Sauternes. The soils are mainly gravel and calcareous gravel.

The 2015 vintage saw perfect conditions for the development of noble rot. A generous flowering and warm, dry early spring was followed by a slightly cooler, damper August. The cool nights and rainfall experienced in late Autumn precipitated a very early start to the development of botrytis and brought balance to the grapes.

The grapes were harvested in separate 'passes' through the vineyard and pressed in the pneumatic and vertical hydraulic press. The alcoholic fermentation took place at a temperature of 20-22°C. The wine was aged in tank for 18 months prior to bottling and because the fruit was so clean, it was bottled with a relatively low level of free SO2 (40 mg/litre).

95% Semillon, 5% Sauvignon Blanc.

This Sauternes is pale gold in colour with fresh floral and stone fruit aromas on the nose. Apricot, honey and peach mix with citrus peel and creamy flavours on the palate. It is medium to full bodied with refreshing acidity to balance the lingering sweet finish.

ABV = 13.5%.

£22.70

Chateau Delmond, Sauternes, 2016 (1x37.5cl)

Jean-Christophe Barbe studied at the University of Bordeaux and did his thesis on 'pourriture noble', or noble rot, the botrytis that makes Sauternes so special. Today, he instructs the youth of Bordeaux in winemaking while running the family property, Château Laville, in Sauternes. Château Delmond is the second wine of Château Laville.

Jean-Christophe Barbe's vineyards are located in the commune of Preignac. He has 13 hectares which all qualify for Sauternes status. The average age of the vines is 30 years. Château Delmond, however, is made from slightly younger vines, resulting in a fresher, lighter style, yet with the complexity and luscious feel of good Sauternes. The soils are mainly gravel and calcareous gravel.

The grapes were harvested in separate tris (passes) through the vineyard and pressed in the pneumatic and vertical hydraulic press. The alcoholic fermentation took place at a temperature of 20-22°C. The wine was aged in tank for 18 months prior to bottling and because the fruit was so clean, it was bottled with a relatively low level of free SO2 (40 mg/litre).

95% Semillon, 5% Sauvignon Blanc.

This Sauternes is pale gold in colour with fresh floral and stone fruit aromas on the nose. Apricot, honey and peach mix with citrus peel and creamy flavours on the palate. It is medium to full bodied with refreshing acidity to balance the lingering sweet finish.

ABV = 13.5%.

£13.75

Chateau Laville Sauternes 2013 (1x75cl)

The 14 hectare Château Laville in Sauternes is Jean-Christophe Barbe's family property. Jean-Christophe is also a Professor of Oenology at the University of Bordeaux, where his particular area of expertise is 'noble rot' which, as a producer of Sauternes, he has had plenty of opportunity to study at first hand. A frequent recipient of awards, including several golds and most recently a DWWA Trophy, Laville Sauternes is one of our best kept secrets.

Chateau Laville has 14 hectares of vineyard in Sauternes, in the commune of Preignac, on gravel soils underpinned with limestone. The best plots are used to make the Grand Vin of Laville. The vines are approximately 35 years old. As with Delmond, Jean-Christophe passes through the vineyard five times to ensure that only the most botrytis-ravaged, or nobly rotten, grapes are selected.

The grapes were pressed using pneumatic and vertical hydraulic presses. Fermentation took place at 20-22°C, in temperature controlled stainless steel tanks. The wine was subsequently aged in new 400 litre French oak casks for 30 months.

85% Semillon, 12% Sauvignon Blanc, 3% Muscadelle.

A bright, golden wine that opens with intense aromas of candied fruits, honey and spice. Rich and unctuous on the palate, it retains lovely delicacy and is perfectly balanced. The fresh, long finish has a lively citrus twist to round it off.

ABV = 13.0%.

£32.40

Corte Giara Recioto Della Valpolicella 2017 (1x50cl)

Corte Giara is the negociant label of Allegrini. The wines are made by Allegrini from fruit brought in from outside their own vineyards. They have a similar stamp of quality that sets them apart from most of the Veronese wines produced at this level.

The vineyards are situated in the hilly areas of the Valpolicella DOC, at an altitude of 240 metres above sea level. The vineyards face south-east and are based on chalky and clay soils.The vines are trained according to the traditional arbour training system with a density of 3,000 vines per hectare. They are on average 27 years old and are pruned with 18-20 buds per vine.

The vineyards used for this wine completely escaped the frost and hailstorms which affected others in the area. While rainfall was lower than normal, the vines were still able to develop regularly. The dry and breezy weather, alongside the wide variations in day and night temperatures in the final few weeks of ripening, provided ideal conditions for this harvest.

The selected bunches were harvested by hand and the grapes were left to dry for four months in a humidity-controlled drying centre, where they lost about 50% of their original weight. De-stalking and then soft crushing of the grapes took place in late January/early February. Fermentation took place in temperature controlled stainless steel tanks at 8-22°C for 22-24 days with daily periodic pump-overs. The wine was aged for five months in temperature controlled stainless steel tanks, 15 months in oak (half in large Slavonian oak barrels, half in second use barriques) and a further six months in bottle.

70% Corvina/Corvinone, 30% Rondinella.

Ruby red in colour. The intense nose is bursting with red fruits and aromatic herbs. On the palate, the wine is succulent and beautifully balanced. Its sweetness is never cloying due to an elegant, crisp acidity that makes for easy drinking and a long, satisfying finish.

ABV = 13.0%.

£24.40

Darenberg The Noble Mud Pie 2017 (1x37.5cl)

Family owned d’Arenberg is located in the breath-taking McLaren Vale in South Australia and produces an enviable range of wines. From humble beginnings, these wines quickly gained cult status amongst imbibers and judges alike – it’s a deft combination of winemaking tradition and vinous innovation. A tall order for some, but one that d’Arenberg takes in their stride as they continue to push the boundaries and get under the skin of each individual vineyard in order to get the best from the vines. This is backed up by an engaging consumer-friendly approach to the ‘deadly serious fun’ of wine.

Viognier 56%, Sauvignon Blanc 28%, Semillon 10%, Pinot Gris 6%.

Residual sugar = 197 g/litre.

D'Arenberg's own tasting notes for this wine are excellent, so please click the blue link below to see all this wine's details.

D'Arenberg The Noble Mud Pie 2017 - fiche technique

ABV = 11.8%.

£12.05
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