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%.
The Bianchi family winery was founded in 1928 by Italian immigrant Valentin Bianchi. It now covers 350 hectares of vineyard, situated 750m above sea level in San Rafael, about 240km south of Mendoza city. This is a cooler area than Mendoza's major vineyard areas of Luján de Cuyo and Agrelo because it is further south, which helps the flavours and perfumes develop more gradually, resulting in more aromatic wines. The estate is now run by the third generation of the family and has undergone a gradual transformation in the past few years, modernising both the winery and the vinification processes. Finca Los Primos comprises a range of excellent value varietals. Famiglia Bianchi, Particular and Enzo are each a step up in concentration and depth of fruit, from older and lower yielding vineyards.
The grapes for this wine are grown on the Doña Elsa Estate, situated in Rama Caída, San Rafael, Mendoza at 750 metres above sea level. Rama Caída is among the coolest areas of San Rafael, with sandy calcareous soils of alluvial origin. Harvest took place by hand.
The growing season began warm, then turned and remained cool, producing fresh wines for the 2013 vintage. Much needed spring rains and an absence of a major frost led to a good fruit set as Argentine winemakers reported normal to 25% higher yields. A cold spell hit Mendoza during the middle of March, delaying maturation and picking. The heat returned for harvest from early March to mid-April and as a result, the grapes had high acidity levels and low alcohol.
Bianchi follow the traditional French methods for making Sauternes and other similar dessert wines. After naturally occurring botrytis formed on around 40% of the grapes, the best were selected and picked by hand at the end of May, well after the regular grape harvest. Fermentation was in French oak barrels and continued until the cold winter temperatures stopped the process. In the spring, the fermentation started again, until it finally finished naturally due to the combination of alcohol and naturally high sugar concentration. The wine remained in barrels for 12 months until a blend of the best of the barrels was made just prior to bottling.
90% Semillon, 10% Sauvignon Blanc.
Residual sugar = ~80g/litre (ie sweet but not hugely so).
A rich golden colour with inviting perfumes of honey, citrus rind and stone fruits. Full-bodied, with appealing juicy stone fruits alongside gentle vanilla complexity and lively citrus acidity. Perfectly balanced with a lingering finish.
ABV = 13.5%.
The history of Château Suduiraut, in Sauternes, dates back centuries. After the total destruction of the property by the Duke d'Epernon in the 1600s, 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, it is surrounded by charming gardens designed by Le Nôtre. The quality of this First Classed Growth is the result of the tenacious attention devoted to its crafting from extremely low yields. Castelnau de Suduiraut is the Château’s second wine and no less care is taken in its production
The estate comprises 91 hectares of vines, planted in a gravelly, sandy-clay soil. The gravel captures the sun's heat, thereby helping the grapes to reach maturity more rapidly, contributing to the wine’s opulence. The thin soil retains very little water, resulting in low yields, which concentrates the sugars and flavours in the grapes and forces the vine to draw its nourishment from deep into the soil. The vines are planted at a high vine density of 7,000 vines per hectare and the vines have an average age of 35 years. The vines are grown according to environmentally responsible practices and the estate is certified High Environmental Value (HEV); cultivation practices include short pruning and tilling of the soil. 90% of the Suduiraut vineyard is planted with Sémillon vines and 10% with Sauvignon Blanc. Sémillon is an aromatic grape and when is infected with botrytis or noble rot it has an ample structure on the palate, giving the wine great mellowness and unctuosity. The Sauvignon Blanc when vinified as a dessert wine adds acidity, bringing freshness and aromatic complexity to the blend. The best botrytised bunches are meticulously selected by hand and are naturally high in concentrated sugar suitable for dessert wine.
2013 was a challenging year. Over 500 millimetres of rain fell in six months, coupled with cool temperatures, which hindered the growth of the vines. Cool weather resulted in poor flowering, subsequently affecting yields. Fortunately very warm, dry weather set in from 1st July, the summer conditions were favourable for ripening and the quality at harvest was exceptional.
The fruit was gently pressed and the grape juice was clarified. Fermentation took place with natural yeast in new French oak barrels at controlled temperatures of 20 to 25°C and lasted for three weeks. The wine was aged on its fine lees in French oak barrels for 15 months, of which 20% was new oak. The wine was racked every three months and then underwent a light filtration prior to bottling.
Semillon 96%, Sauvignon Blanc 4%.
Residual sugar = 148g/litre.
2013 is restrained on the nose, but comes into its own after airing with woody, spicy notes enhancing candied fruit. Fresh and silky on the palate, with generous notes of melon, acacia honey and candied citrus through to a taut finish of brown sugar, candied orange and a hint of minerality.
ABV = 13.5%.
Crown Estates of Hungary, formerly the Tokaji Kereskedóház Rt, is the only major wine company in the region in 100% Hungarian ownership. The company owns the unique Museum Cellar where spectacular wines from the very best vintages of the past 100 years are kept in ideal conditions. It owns 80 hectares of vineyard which include the former Royal Estate 'Great First Growth' Szarvas, Király in Mád, and Szentvér in Tolcsva, whose brown forest soils produce wines with high acid and extract which can be kept without deterioration for many years.
King of Wines, Wine of Kings - this is Tokaji Aszú, a rich, honeyed dessert wine balanced with refreshing acidity from the Tokaj-Hegyalia region, made using wine making techniques dating back to 1631. Aszú wines result when, aided by the very specific, humid, climatic conditions of thie region, botrytis concentrates the grape sugars in the hand-picked, raisin-like grapes - Aszú berries.
The 2013 is an excellent vintage for Tokaji after three difficult years.
The wine mostly contains Furmint and Hárslevelű, but has trace amounts of Zéta, Kabar, Kövérszőlő and Yellow Muscat aszú berries. The base wine is made 100% from Furmint. The producer added berries to the fermenting base wine and left them to soak for 24 hours. After pressing it was fermented in tanks. Barrel fermentation takes place in their Szegi cellar where they let the wine age in 136-500 liter barrels for at least 18 months.
Residual sugar = 178g/litre.
A wine with very complex, exquisite aromas it is composed of botrytis from the shrivelled aszú berries and features peach, orange peel, brittle, figs, exotic flowers with a touch of dill at the end. Sampling the wine it has a very clear fruity flavour with orange, quince, pear and apricot notes along with an appearance of white chocolate and vanilla essence. The acids keep the wine round and lengthy. The finish is of a lime-grapefruit aroma that lingers long in the mouth with a mature coffee aftertaste thanks to barrel-aging process. This is a truly fine Tokaj wine with great potential and a long phase of evolution ahead.
ABV = 10.0%.
The large (155-hectare) Mas Amiel estate is the leading independent producer in Maury, a small region within the boundaries of the much larger Rivesaltes appellation. The domaine originated in 1816 when Raymond Amiel won the deeds to the property from the Bishop of Perpignan in a game of cards. At that time there was little viticulture at the estate, but after the Phylloxera epidemic the vineyards were replanted. Financial difficulties ensued, however, and the estate was sold to Charles Dupuy in 1910. Dupuy did much to improve quality at the estate and, in 1997, the domaine was bought by current owner Olivier Decelle.
The elegant Maury Rouge is made from 100% Grenache Noir grapes grown organically on southfacing schist and marne soils from very low yields of 25 hl/ha.
See the blue link below for the excellent fiche technique/technical note from the winemakers themselves.
Residual sugar = ~85g/litre. This is not a full-on dessert wine, a la Tokaji and Sauternes, but does have marked residual sweetness. Great with cheeses and lower-sugar desserts (as below).
A dark ruby-red in the glass with violet tints. Expressive aromas of framboise, cherry and crème-de-cassis. On the palate, smooth and rich with notes of bitter chocolate and spice all backed up with fine tannins. The finish is lengthy with spicy notes. Great with strawberry and basil ice cream, chocolate pound cake or a raspberry galette.
ABV = 16.5%.
Founded in 1873, Dulong has kept its warm family spirit for 130 years. Handed down from father to son over 5 generations, the profession of merchant and grower of Bordeaux wines lies at the heart of the family. Today, the family still demonstrates its exceptional talent for selecting wines and is one of the leading merchants on the Bordeaux market. The energy and experience of the Bordeaux born-and bred family have driven the company’s significant growth and brought it international recognition for the quality of its wines. With its dedicated vinification facility built in 2000, Dulong has invested on a level with its ambition for excellence. Dulong is also one of the sustainable wine growing pioneers in the area, a genuine philosophy also shared by our wine-growing partners.
This is an excellent, affordable Sauternes.
80% Sémilion, 15% Sauvignon, 5% Muscadelle.
See the blue link below for the excellent fiche technique/technical note from the winemakers themselves.
Rich, golden yellow colour with a powerful and racy bouquet of beeswax and honey. Rich, well-balanced and persistent in the mouth with fig and apricot flavours.
ABV = 13.0%.
Patagonia is the most southerly wine producing region of Latin America, lying to the south of Mendoza and las Pampas. With considerable new investment, Argentinian Patagonia is fast emerging as the country`s most exciting cool climate vineyard, making elegant wines with balance and complexity in contrast to the more masculine reds of Mendoza. The region includes two important wine producing provinces, Neuquen to the west, at over 300m altitude beneath the Andes mountains, and the Rio Negro, which follows the long valley of the same name towards the Atlantic Ocean. These are semi arid, alluvial desert vineyards which benefit from constant sun and breezes that help mitigate disease. The vines are able to produce cool-climate varieties including Pinot Noir and Sauvignon Blanc with good aroma and concentration as well as perfect levels of acidity.
These lands are magical - they hide astonishing mysteries! When construction began to build the winery, a dinosaur was unearthed and in tribute to this 75 million-year-old giant, the name Saurus was given in tribute. Alpataco is a tyre puncturing shrub commonly found in the Monte Desert, which lies southeast of the Atacama Desert in Chile, north of the larger Patagonian Desert, and east of the Andes. Located at 39 degrees S in San Patricio del Chanar near Neuquen the Schroeder vineyards are planted on gravelly soils and combined with warm days and cool nights provide near perfect conditions for grape cultivation. This is a distinguished range of wines with intense aromas and elegant tannins, well structured and with the best characteristics of each vintage.
100% Pinot Noir.
- Grapes were concentrated and raisined in the sun to create sufficient ripeness for a naturally sweet wine (there is no fortification; this is not a VDN or similar).
- Picked by hand in 18kg boxes. Double hand selection of bunches on a vibratory table.
- Cold maceration of 36 hours with addition of dry ice and carbonic snow.
- Alcoholic fermentation of 20 days at 23ºC in stainless steel tanks with selected yeasts. Second maceration of 7 days at low temperature with submerged cap.
- Malolactic fermentation induced with lactic bacteria in new French oak casks.
- 100% aged 18 months in new French oak casks.
- 62g/litre residual sugar (RS).
- 12,000 bottles produced in this vintage.
Tasting note: Red-purple hues in the glass. The wine has a floral aroma of violets combined with red fruits such as plums and cherries on the nose. The palate is sweet and soft with with opulent dark chocolate notes and a velvety mouth feel. Well structured with very fine and sweet tannins and a balanced acidity.
ABV = 15.0%.
The name of Lenz Moser is inextricably linked with wine-growing in Austria. The current Lenz Moser estate winery in Rohrendorf near Krems, first mentioned in an official document as early as 1040, is considered the Point of departure for significant Impulses aimed at preserving Austrian wine culture. For example, the "Lenz Moser high Training System" was invented here, which revolutionised viticulture in the 50´s. Lenz Moser cooperates exclusively with winegrowers and wine-making collectives from the winegrowing regions of Lower Austria and Burgenland. This helps ensure that every Lenz Moser wine originates only from Austrian terroirs. They always take the view that the first step toward good quality is taken during grape growing in the vineyard. They are able to do this as they have been maintaining long-term relationships with their partner winegrowers over several decades.
Lenz Moser invests a lot of time and money in research, development, and technical equipment. They focus on gentle, efficient processing methods, always having one objective in mind: the production of high-value wines at reasonable prices.
Blend of Sämling 88 and Chardonnay.
Gold color. Aromas and flavors of honey, golden raisins, candied apricots, and orange blossoms with a fruity sweet medium body and a medium-long finish with notes of spiced apple and pear, peach cobbler, and vanilla buttercream on panettone. A vibrant flavor-packed dessert wine that is sure to be a hit.
This is a dessert wine - residual sugar is around 110g/litre.
ABV = 10.0%.
The 2015 vintage was awarded 91 points and Highly Recommended status by Decanter (www.decanter.com) in their September 2017 edition review of Top 40 Californian Wines Under £40 (see blue link below).
Andrew Quady's change of career from making fireworks to making wine produced an explosion of its own kind when he created Essensia from the Orange Muscat grape. It was an instant success and until 1985 he could not make enough to satisfy demand. Now Quady is the foremost American winery specialising entirely in dessert wines and continues to win medals worldwide. In 1975 Quady's first port-like wine was made from Amador County Zinfandel. Now it is made from traditional Portuguese varietals such as Tinta Roriz and Tinta Cao.
In 1980 Andrew Quady discovered a parcel of underused Orange Muscat grapes in Reedley, California, which led him to make a wine which celebrated the intense aromas and spicy fruit flavours of the grapes. In Italy, the variety is known as Moscato Fior d'Arancio: Orange Blossom Muscat. In Reedley, California, it is grown in well drained, alluvial soils, in climatic conditions ideally suited to this variety. The grapes are harvested at optimal maturity and once they have reached 22 Brix.
The Orange Muscat grapes were crushed, chilled and allowed to macerate. Fermentation was arrested with neutral grape brandy. This arrested fermentation preserves the delicate aromas of the fresh, ripe grapes. Therefore, the wine is lightly fortified to about 15% alcohol and aged for three months in used, predominantly French oak barrels.
Orange Muscat 100%.
Residual sugar = 162g/litre.
Vibrant orange in colour, this wine delivers luscious sweet oranges and apricots on the palate. The bittersweet orange marmalade notes balance well with the zesty citric acidity.
ABV = 15.0%.
Awarded 93 points and Highly Recommended status by Decanter (www.decanter.com) in their January 2019 edition review of Dessert Wines and Ports (see blue link below).
Awarded a Platinum Medal and 97 points at the 2018 Decanter World Wine Awards (click link for details).
Also awarded 95 points and a Platinum Best In Category (Best New Zealand Sweet) at the Decanter World Wine Awards (www.decanter.com): see their August 2017 DWWA supplement (see blue link below).
When Hermann Seifried and his New Zealand wife Agnes first planted grapes in the Moutere Valley near Nelson, Seifried has grown to become one of New Zealand’s most sustainable family-owned wineries. With 14 vinifera varieties, on two hectares of land, they began the South Island’s modern commercial wine industry. Hermann and Agnes were true pioneers, experimenting with what classical European varieties may do well in this untested climate and terroir. Today it has grown from very modest beginnings to become one of New Zealand’s most sustainable wineries, producing the very best Nelson has to offer. The site that Herman and Agnes chose for their new vineyards was perfect in terms of location. It is surrounded by mountains to the east, west and south (Richmond and Western Ranges) and the Tasman Sea to the north, which moderates the temperate climate throughout the year. The sunshine here was also a real drawcard, with an average of over 2,400 hours of sunshine a year, earning Nelson its reputation as the ‘Sunshine Capital of New Zealand’. 1976 was the first harvest with five distinctive varietal wines being made - Riesling, Sylvaner, Chardonnay, Müller-Thurgau and Refosco.
This, the Sweet Agnes, is special stuff. Made with extreme care by Seifried in NZ’s South Island, the Sweet Agnes is pure, late-harvested Riesling: left on the vine, the grapes gain even greater ripeness, lose moisture and so become incredibly sweet (the wine’s sugar content is ~180g/litre). It’s almost amber in colour, and its flavours include lemon sherbet, marmalade, tropical fruits and butterscotch. It’s quite irresistible on its own and delicious with fruity puddings or tangy cheeses (particularly blue cheeses: it really is amazing with these).
Residual sugar = 175g/litre - this is seriously sweet.
To see the winemakers notes on this wine, please click on the blue link below.
ABV = 10.5%.
See blue link below for the fiche technique/technical note from the producer.
Susana Balbo is an icon of the Argentinian wine industry, she has been working in the trade for over 30 years and finally founded her own winery, Dominio del Plata, in 1999. Today it is a family affair with her winemaker son, Joseph, and daughter, Ana, working on the business side of the business. The winery, with its modern technology and equipment, in combination with precision viticulture and sustainable agriculture produces very high quality wines. Each grape variety is harvested manually and vinified to show the full varietal expression but with unique and individual styles.
The sweetness in the Susana Balbo Late Harvest Malbec is produced, as the name suggests, by leaving the grapes on the vine for as long as possible so they can become very ripe indeed. The almost-arid climate and altitude (1000m) of the vineyards in Alto Agrelo, Lujan de Coyu, Mendoza mean that fungal infestations are very seldom a problem. At harvest, the late harvest Malbec grapes are very ripe and raisined, they are hand-harvested, destemmed, gently crushed and then fermented in stainless steel tanks. The fermenting wine undergoes daily pumping over as well as delestages (racks-and-returns) three times a day. The wine is left on the skins for 35 days and undergoes malolactic fermentation. Finally the wine is aged for 18 months in 100% new French oak barrels.
Residual sugar is 60.5 g/litre - ie sweet, but lightly and not cloyingly so.
Dark ruby coloured, it offers a complex bouquet of cloves, cinnamon, tobacco and black cherries. On the palate, layers of ripe red fruits are combined with notes of dark chocolate and slight anise, leading to an amazingly long finish.
ABV = 11.5%.
Hopler are an Austrian, family owned, winery located south-east of Vienna in Burgenland. Founded by Jost Hopler in the 1980's, his son Christof is now winemaker and runs the everyday operations of the winery. Their 50ha of vineyards lie in the Leithaberg Hills on the shores of Lake Neusiedl. This unique location enables us to produce a wide range of wines: 55% white wine, 40% red and 5% dessert wine.
Hoepler wines have a clear signature. They tend to be delicate, elegant and high in minerality. They are excellent to drink on their own but versatile when it comes to food and wine pairing.
A unique wine made from fully matured grapes which are left on the vine until they reached a temperature of at least -8°C. The water in the grapes forms ice crystals, and after gentle pressing the remaining concentrate is made into an exceptional wine with elegant sweetness balanced by refreshing acidity.
80% Grüner Veltliner, 20% Muskat Ottonel.
Residual sugar = 149 g/litre.
Amber in colour. The nose is dominated with delicate spicy aromas alongside hints of date and caramel. There are smokey elements on the palate which give way to hints of tobacco and honey.
Hopler Eiswein is a delicious wine to accompany various fruits and pastries but can also be enjoyed on its own.
ABV = 11.5%.