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DWWAs 2019

Wednesday 14th August

The word has been out for some weeks on the 2019 Decanter World Wine Awards. Since then, we've managed to amass over 50 of the top prizewinners - that's a number that's still growing - and compile them below.

STOP PRESS! 

We have just placed on sale a small allocation of the Best in Show Barolo Sorano (2015) from Claudio Alario... customers who has already reserved bottles will safely get theirs (!) and we have some spare stock to sell, but we recommend fleetness of foot. We also can't stress enough how good the price is on this!

We've just introduced the Platinum-winning classiTaittinger Brut Vintage Champagne 2013 at a market-busting and supermarket-beating £45.95. Available only while stocks last!!

We've sold through the wonderful Larmanela 2016 (a Pic Saint Loup) from Bergerie du Capucin very fast - we're chasing more - but still have supply of the Schistes Dorés 2017 (a Faugères) from Château Grézan. There's an additional page here on these.

Some 16,500(+) wines went under test this year and the whole field has now been rated; you can find the full results here.

Among all the many medals and awards in the big world of wine, these are the ones we most respect and admire. So, we find - based on the demand that follows these announcements - do you, the consumer. 

We put that down to a couple of obvious factors, being:

- the sheer breadth and volume of wines tasted and rated; and

- the meticulous rigour of the judging mechanism.

To whit, in brief:

- each wines is tested by many experienced tasters to produce a clutch of the finest at that stage; these are the Gold medal winners (rated at 95 points or above);

- those Golds are then retested to form a shorter, refined list of the Platinum medals (and Best Value Platinums) on 97 points or more.

- Those Platinums are then all subject to a further re-test to reach a shortlist of the 50 Best In Show wines, these being the very best <0.5% of the field (in the eye of the judges).

There's full detail of that whole mechanism here or for a simple diagram of that mechanism, click the blue link below:

DWWA marks system explained

and also, to see how many winess win the various award levels, try ths one:

Numbers of awards at different levels

Below, we've listed - by award level - what we can offer among the Gold, Platinum and Best In Show prize-winners. At Silver and below, frankly, we haven't bothered. There are so many of these and we invariably find the customer asks him/herself: why would I buy these when I can get those in the upper levels?

The wines appear pictorally at the foot of the page, and you can click to investigate/buy as you feel. Each product page features that wine's DWWA review (taken from the DWWA website or magazine supplement and featuring score and tasting note).

We will sound our usual notes of caution over such reviews. What the judges like may (well) not be what you like. And vice versa. There's a lot of subjectivity in any judging like this. But these top-level wines are invariably very fine and very popular (be aware: UK stocks of some sold through in a few days last year!).

Our other note of caution: be a touch wary of focussing only on the Best In Shows. It's that old The-Best-Is-The-Enemy-Of-The-Good problem (and here, read that as "Very Best" and "Extremely Good"). With 'only' 50 Best In Shows, it's obviously impossible for every region, grape variety, wine style etc to get a look-in, and the margins between 95, 96 and 97 points are very/vanishingly fine indeed. Last year, many of the very most popular wines were 'but' Gold awards (eg the Finca Nueva Rioja, the Amisfield Pinot Noir, the Mar de Frades Albarino). We stress this to the extent that we markedly hesitate to separate out these top three award levels!

We'll be adding to this list as we track down and bring in more winners, so do watch this space!! For example, the Chateau Castera was a late addition last year and (far and away) our most popular DWWA18 wine of all!

For those still looking for winners of the last year (2018)'s DWWAs, click here.

Need even more award winners? See our IWC19 page!

Finally, should you be arriving here only now to find these wines and awards, a little disappointed to find some of the top ones vanished and gone, it's probably because you don't/didn't receive our weekly update(s) that announced (and re-announced) these awards back in May. Don't miss out again... register for our updates here.

 

 

Best In Show

 

 

We've eleven Best(s) in Show...

 

- Exclusive to us and among the most prestigious Bests in Show must be Claudio Alario's Barolo 2015 from the Sorano cru of Serralunga - the only Barolo, the only Piemonte and one of only five Italian wines to win this level of award. We have a limited allocation, and only a little free stock, so this is one to seize upon if Barolo is your thing. 

 

- Exclusive to us, and being re-sought by us again at the end of the vintage, is one of the few affordable French Bests in Show - a Languedoc (Pic St Loup) Syrah - the Larmanela 2016 - ALAS NOW ALL GONE, SEEKING LAST VESTIGES OF MORE - a mighty impressive red of great depth and concentration indeed.

 

- Perhaps the biggest seller of the Bests in Show will be the one New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc in the top rank ... the Villa Maria Single Vineyard Taylor's Pass Sauvignon Blanc 2017. It's all (and more) that you expect of a top NZSB, with great concentration. DOWN TO LAST FEW CASES!

 

- The fastest to sell, however was be the only Tuscan to make the ranks of the Bests in ShowVilla del Cigliano's Chianti Classico Riserva 2016 - ALAS NOW ALL GONE - which "stole the judges hearts" (their words). Supplies are tight (as the vintage is nearly depleted) and this one is limited to 6 bottle per customer, alas. Panic not, however, as we have another (better?) cracking, Platinum medal-winning Chianti Classico to offer!

 

Craggy Range's brilliant Te Kahu 2016 - a fine, ripe and luxurious NZ (Gimblett Gravels) Bordeaux blend - is now only 2-3 weeks away from landing into the UK and we've booked all of the intial block that will land in early September; we are taking orders and most of the allocation is now sold: a few cases remain. For those in more immediate need, we offer the very fine 2015 of this wine.

 

- We've the top-ranking Rioja, the Coto de Imaz Gran Reserva 2012 ... unsurprisingly selling at a serious rate of knots already!

 

- Last year's top rosé is back - the Domaine La Suffrene Bandol - now just as subtle-but-flavoursome in its 2018 incarnation.

 

- Also back again from Greece is the brilliant Semillon/Assyrtiko blend from Ktima Biblia Chora - the Ovilos. It was unspotted by many last year, but those that tried it came back again and again. A brilliant and rare combination, this, of two classy and non-mainstream varieties.

 

- We've the "haunting" (which we take to be good) Cenatiempo Kalimera 2017, made from 100% Biancolella (nope, us neither) and from the volcanic island of Ischia (just off from Naples) - an off-piste selection, maybe, but as Decanter said, it "captivated everyone who tasted it.  A unique, cultural wine of memorable, stealthy charm". One to try, for sure.

 

- And there's classy Tasmanian Chardonnay from the excellent Dawson James - no giveaway, but a brilliant twist on top white Burgundy ... plus top-flight Champagne from Heidsieck.

 

 

Platinum

 

 

There's a good bunch here...

 

Poggio al Sole's Gran Selezione Chianti Classico 2015 - the Casasilia - is quite outstanding and an Exel exclusive at a daft price to bring it to the market. This one, the judges went crackers for.

 

- Stunning, rich French red at a great price? Step right up for Château Grézan's Les Schistes Dorés 2017 from the ever-dependable Faugères appellation in Languedoc - this is every bit as spectacular as the Larmanela above.

 

- We made quite a fuss in April over the release of La Rioja Alta's new Gran Reserva, the Arana (2012). Lo and behold, it's gone and Platinummed in its first year.

 

- SuperTuscan fans, meanwhile, should not miss the institution that is Brancaia's Blu 2015.

 

- (Very) affordable sparkling? Now, there's Cava and there's Cava. The good stuff is amazing and hugely under-valued. Step forward, at just £16.30Pere Ventura's Tresor Cuvée Gran Reserva 2014, a blend based on 40% Chardonnay (perhaps lending it that quality).

 

- Of course, if it just has to be Champagne - and sometimes it does - there's a choice between standout Platinum is Devaux's Cuvée D at under £40 or you can 'go vintage' with Taittinger's Brut Vintage 2013 at a UK-market-busting £45.95 (this will not last long, note).

 

- For even-further-flung fizz, and of the utmost (and vintage) quality - but at an affordable £34 - the always-winning-big-prizes Arras Grand Vintage 2008 from Tasmania is not to be missed.

 

- While Down Under, we regularly make a fuss over the Rieslings of Pauletts from Australia's Clare Valley. The 2012 is their top prize-winner but in dwindling supply; this particular Platinum is alas down to its last 100 bottles or so on these shores (and it's all gone in Oz)... but we've got our name on them. The 2013 scores a Gold, but is a month away.

 

- Greece's Ktima Gerovassiliou are an award machine. Their Estate Estate White Epanomi 2018 is quite brilliant at £15 (the Malagousia 2018 lands a Gold).

 

- Barbaresco? Don't mind if we do. The ever-superb Rabaja (2015 now) from doyen of that DOCG, Bruno Rocca is the 97-pointer here.

 

- And there's an unusual-but-brilliant select parcels Cabernet Franc from Gašper of Slovenia.

 

- There's amazing value to be had with Swartland's Bush Vine Chenin Blanc...

 

- ... and Italian stickiness from Capezzana's Vin Santo and that perennial topper, Donnafugata's Ben Ryé Passito di Pantellaria  (although NB: the DWWA19-winning 2016 vintage has now all gone, and we're onto the 2017 ... but rest assured that vintage will win these awards next year...).

 

- NB: the Esk Valley Winemakers Reserve Chardonnay 2017 sold out almost the day it won the DWWA award, having been heavily depleted across the vintage in winning other awards (eg IWC19).

 

 

Gold

 

 

This is where it becomes the most fun. Truly something for everyone here. <Well, for wine drinkers, anyway>. But where to start?

 

- Oddly, perhaps, with one that's a few weeks away. Decanter have just featured it (more detail here) and if you like the careful marriage of oak and Sauvi Blanc - this - te Pā's Oke 2017 - is definitely for you. It's brilliantly done, and at a staggering price for so well-made a wine (when you compare against comparable oaked NZSBs) <the wine will be with us in early September>.

 

- NZ Pinot Noir tends to be daftly popular on these occasions. See: Wild Earth (of South Island's Central Otago). Super stuff.

 

- Argentine Malbec is very amply represented by Trapiche's Finca Ambrosia 2015.

 

- Is France forgotten? It is not. There's a very fine Premier Cru Chablis from Domaine de Vauroux at a very sensible £23.50, and an unusual red (Pinot Noir) from the Loire's oft-forgotten-but-classy Menetou-Salon appellation.

 

- There's great South African value for Sauvignon Blanc fans  - Strandveld's First Sighting SB 2018

 

- While at the other end of the white wine market (and, naturally, Burgundy), there's 2017 Premier Cru Meursault from the Les Charmes climat from Domaine René Monnier/Xavier Monnot.

 

- If New World Chardonnay is your thing, the ever-consistent Trinity Hill of NI, NZ make a very fine job of their 2017 Gimblett Gravels. Or, switch to Tasmania - especially if the Dawson James above is a bit beyond your pricing - for the equally consistent Josef Chromy Chardonnay 2017.

 

- Big Macedonian red? Tikves's Barovo 2015 (still available) claimed a Platinum last year, and returns for a Gold with the 2016.

 

- Australia? But of course! A <£15 red (GSM) from Dandelion Vineyards - the Menagerie - is very easy drinking, while Jim Barry's Florita Riesling provides some Clare valley opposition to the Pauletts wines we mentioned.

 

- There's an Amarone at a very sensible price from Bertani...

 

- For exquisitely good Old World (German, Rheingau) Riesling, however, Schloss Johannisberg's Silberlack 2017 very much makes the Gold standard.

 

- <Sudden panic>. How did we get this far without another Rioja? Enter, please, Bodegas LAN's boutique (but not boutiquely-priced) Lanciano Reserva 2012.

 

Palmer & Co's superb rosé Champagne is no surprise inclusion here, and very affordable for wines of its class (in both 75cl bottle and magnum);

 

- We finish - for now - and as one should - with stickies and fortifieds. All of the ever-brilliant Vin de ConstanceBarros 10-yo Tawny Port and Sandeman's 20-yo-Tawny, the much-lauded Taylor's Quinta da Vargellas 2014 Port and Morris Old Premium Rare Muscat are back again for top honours this year.

 

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Claudio Alario Sorano Barolo 2015 (1x75cl)

** ORDERS NOW BEING TAKEN **

** WE HAVE A SMALL ALLOCATION OF THIS SUPERB WINE AVAILABLE - WE EXPECT IT TO REACH CUSTOMERS IN THE FIRST WEEK OF SEPTEMBER, MAYBE A FEW DAYS BEFORE. **

Awarded a Platinum & Best in Show medal and 97 points at the 2019 Decanter World Wine Awards (click link for details).

For other 2019 DWWA winners, click here.

The famous and spectacular scenery of the Langhe of Piedmont is the backdrop to the small family business of (now) Claudio Alario, which was founded in the early 1900s. They are located in Diano d’Alba, a small rural village, situated on soft, green hills to the east of the main Barolo zone. For three generations, the business had solely dedicated itself to the care and cultivation of vines and the sale of grapes, and it is only thanks to Claudio that they have - relatively recently - arrived at their own winemaking and bottling of their own wines. In 1988, Claudio, fresh out of oenology college with his degree, set to at producing his own Langhe wines. He/they started by producing only Dolcetto, progressively advancing with Barbera to Nebbiolo, arriving in 1995 at their first Barolo. Their vineyards, situated in the municipalities of Diano d’Alba, Serralunga d’Alba and Verduno, vary in age between 20 and 50 years old; all enjoy particularly privileged exposures.

This Barolo hails from the Serralunga municipality, and is drawn from the Sorano cru which lies at the very north of the crus of that zone (with an exposure to the SW).

Although quite brief, see the link below - a fiche technique/technical note from the winemaker himself - for more details of the winemaking and elevage.

Claudio Alario Sorano Barolo 2015 - fiche technique

Only 4,000 bottles of the 2015 were made.

Tasting note: as the DWWA19 panel said,"This authoritative and complex Barolo is a great harbinger for everything the 2015 vintage holds, as well as being an outstanding representative of its DOCG. It's relatively deep in colour, with lifted, seductive, pristine aromas which suggest roses, threshed grain and straw matting as well as refined plum, redcurrant and pomegranate fruits. It's still deep-textured and detaining, with choice gastronomic tannins, yet the beautifully stewarded fruits are already offering complexity and nuance. Further bottle age will only add to the allusive layers. An effortless classic, into which much effort has doubtless gone". 

£49.95

Bergerie du Capucin Larmanela Rouge, Pic St Loup 2016 (1x75cl)

** AFTER VERY HIGH DEMAND, WE HAVE NOW SOLD OUT OF THIS WINE.

CURRENT INFORMATION IS THAT THERE ARE NO MORE BOTTLES AVAILABLE AT THE PRODUCER (END OF VINTAGE) BUT WE ARE PURSUING IN THE EVENT THAT REMAINING ALLOCATIONS FOR SALE IN OTHER COUNTRIES ARE NOT TAKEN UP.

IF YOU WOULD LIKE SOME, IN THE EVENT THAT WE CAN OBTAIN IT - we DO stress a slim chance - PLEASE DROP AN EMAIL TO

communications@exelwines.co.uk 

STATING HOW MANY YOU WOULD LIKE (max 8) AND WE WILL CONTACT YOU AS SOON AS WE HAVE WORD.

IN THE MEANTIME, WE HIGHLY RECOMMEND THE PLATINUM-WINNING CHATEAU GRÉZAN SCHISTES DORÉS. **  

Awarded a Platinum & Best in Show medal and 97 points at the 2019 Decanter World Wine Awards (click link for details).

For other 2019 DWWA winners, click here.

La Bergerie du Capucin (LBdC) extends over more than 15 hectares on Pic Saint Loup land in the communes of Lauret and Valflaunès. For LBdC, wine is a family affair, its beauty and bouquet reflecting the values transmitted from generation to generation. The original Bergerie stands only a few km from the vineyard and modern winery. Jeanne, a beautiful shepherdess on the high plains of the Bergerie du Capucin - inspire their first wine, reminding  of the delicate, round characteristics of our family wines and the hill paths she trod each day.

At up to 650 metres in altitude and ~30 kilometres from the Mediterranean - on the first spurs of the Cevennes and Massif Central - the Pic Saint Loup appellation abounds with the perfume and purity of the most northern (and among the most elevated) of the Languedoc appellations; holm oaks, garrigue scrubland, pines, thyme, laurel and rosemary. Fruit springs to life from the heart of varied soils, chalky-clay on marly sub-soils, and forge their character over contrasting seasons. In winter, the soil receives enough water to balance out the moderately dry summer and the huge - but crucial - swings in temperature between day and night. The exacting and contrasting Pic Saint Loup land, its soil types and climate, are all reflected in the traits of the wines of Pic St-Loup. 

See this excellent article by Andrew Jefford - from Decanter (www.decanter.com) in October 2017 - for far more detail on both Bergerie du Capucin and the Pic St Loup appellation.

See blue link below for the fiche technique/technical note from the team at Bergerie du Capucin

Bergerie Du Capucin Larmanela Rouge, Pic St Loup 2016 - fiche technique

Additional note from discussion with winemaker: those barrels are 100% French eco-responsible oak: one-third new, one-third single-use and one-third double-use. 

98% Syrah, 2% Grenache.

For our tasting note, we hand over to the DWWA19 judges:

"Pic St Loup is one of the coolest and wettest zones of Languedoc, which is one reason why it's such a great zone for Syrah; its stony limestone soils, too, privilege the perfumed side of Syrah's character. Roll the two attributes up, and you have the groundwork to create a wine like this: spellbinding Syrah scents in southern French style (forget blackcurrants, think citrus grove perfumes) infusing a wine of huge charm which would most properly be described as a midweight. The acidity is softly supportive, as are the tannins in which you can discern just a little thyme flower perfume; any oak is all but invisible. Gorgeous stuff. Drink 2019-2024".

See also this tasting video (1'18") of the 2015 vintage.

£24.95

Cigliano Chianti Classico Riserva 2016 (1x75cl)

** SADLY, THIS WINE HAS NOW ALL GONE AND NO MORE IS AVALABLE FROM THE PRODUCER - THIS WAS VERY MUCH 'END OF VINTAGE'.

HOWEVER, IF TOP-END, AWARD (DWWA19)-WINNING, CHIANTI CLASSICO IS YOUR DESIRE, WE HEARTILY RECOMMEND THIS (click this link) **

Awarded a Platinum & Best in Show medal and 97 points at the 2019 Decanter World Wine Awards (click link for details).

For other 2019 DWWA winners, click here.

Also awarded 94 points and Highly Recommended status by Decanter in their February 2019 tasting of Chianti Classico new releases (see blue link below).

Cigliano Chianti Classico Riserva 2016 - Feb 2019 Decanter review

The Villa del Cigliano has been in the Antinori family since 1500. The Villa is situated in the Chianti Classico area near the village of San Casciano in Val di Pesa in the Tuscan countryside, 20 km from the center of Florence. It was built in the second half of the 1400s on existing medieval buildings. Alessandro di Niccolò Antinori bought it at the end of that century, and it still belongs to the descendants of Eleonora Antinori. Today, the wine estate is still a family-run business. The company aims year after year to improve the sustainability and the eco-friendliness of the process while making traditional wines, pure expression of the terroir of this specific area of Chianti Classico, San Casciano in Val di Pesa.

The property, situated at an altitude of 300 meters consists of 60 hectares, 25 hectares of which comprise vineyards and the remainder olive trees. The wine production includes: Chianti Classico DOCG (stndard and the Riserva, as here), Vin Santo of the Chianti Classico DOC and extra virgin olive oil.

See blue link below for the fiche technique/technical note on this, the 2016 Riserva, from the winemakers at Villa del Cigliano.

Cigliano Chianti Classico Riserva 2016 - fiche technique

"We saw a huge number of masterfully impressive Tuscan red wines this year, as you can see if you check out our Gold and Platinum winners, yet in the end the wine which stole our judges' hearts was an almost light-bodied, fine-profiled, filigree-textured, ultra-classic Chianti Classico. Don't be misled, though, by that lightness and stealthiness; the quality of its fresh fruits is outstanding, its balance is impeccable and the detail which will come with full articulacy is still a year or two away. Redcurrant and red plum purity and a veil-like subtlety of texture will beckon you on into a bottle that seems hard-wired to its vineyard origin: Tuscan earth juice. Drink 2019-2026" (DWWA19 tasting note/review)

£25.00

Craggy Range Gimblett Gravels Te Kahu 2016 (1x 75cl)

** WE HAVE 120 BOTTLES OF THIS MUCH-AWAITED AWARD WINNER ARRIVING IN EARLY SEPTEMBER: ORDERS ARE FOR THESE BOTTLES. **

** THEY WILL BE THE FIRST AND ONLY BOTTLES INTO THE UK AT THAT STAGE. BEYOND THIS STOCK, IT IS NOT YET CLEAR HOW MUCH MORE WILL BE COMING TO THE UK; IT IS CLEAR THAT IT WILL NOT BE SUFFICIENT FOR THE INTEREST CREATED IN THIS WINE! **

** 12 BOTTLES PER CUSTOMER ONLY. **

** THE 2015 IS AVAILABLE MUCH MORE READILY AND WITHOUT LIMITS! **

** ON A NZ TRANSIT, THERE IS ALWAYS THE POSSIBILITY OF DELAY, SO WE DO STRONGLY ADVISE PLACING THIS WINE ON A SEPARATE, SOLO ORDER. OR, IF YOU DO ORDER WITH OTHER PRODUCTS, MOST PROBABLY TO REACH THE MINIMUM ORDER THRESHOLD, PLEASE NOTE FULLY THAT OTHER PRODUCTS ORDERED WITH THIS ONE WILL NECESSARILY WAIT FOR ITS ARRIVAL, UNLESS WE CAN PART-SHIP YOUR ORDER WITHOUT ENTAILING ADDITIONAL CARRIAGE CHARGES! **

Awarded a Platinum & Best in Show medal and 97 points at the 2019 Decanter World Wine Awards (click link for details).

For other 2019 DWWA winners, click here.

Craggy Range produces a collection of iconic wines from multiple regions in New Zealand. Owner Terry Peabody and his family pursued the single vineyard approach to winemaking, planting on green fields and bare land ensuring a focus on quality from the very beginning. New Zealand, with its diversity of soils types offered the perfect location to plant the vines. From the stony, warm soils of the Gimblett Gravels in Hawke's Bay to the volcanic, clay soils of Te Muna Road in Martinborough these exceptional vineyards produce wines with amazing aromatics, purity and complexity.

Te Kahu means 'the cloak' in Maori and refers to the mist that envelops Giants Winery in the Tukituki Valley. Legend has it that this mist was used to protect a mythical Maori maiden from the sun as she visited her lover Te Mata.

The grapes are completely destemmed before fermentation begins in closed top stainless steel tanks with the yeast being innoculated into the must. The wine then spends 10 months maturing in oak barriques (28% are new) before being fined, filtered and released for sale.  

63% Merlot, 18% Cabernet Sauvignon, 14% Cabernet Franc, 3% Petit Verdot, 2% Malbec.

The Te Kahu is a deep crimson red. It has complex aromatics of ripe plum, a touch of cassis, fresh rosemary and roasted meats. The palate is generous and approachable but also has a high level of sophistication with fine grained tannins enveloping a dense body of succulent black fruits. This wine has the ability to age for around 12 years from vintage.

To see Craggy Range's information sheet for this wine please click on the blue link below.

Craggy Range Gimblett Gravels Te Kahu 2016 - fiche technique

** PLEASE NOTE DELIVERY AND AVAILABILITY DETAILS ABOVE **

£21.50

Villa Maria Single Vineyard Taylors Pass Sauvignon Blanc 2018 (1x 75cl)

Awarded a Platinum & Best in Show medal and 97 points at the 2019 Decanter World Wine Awards (click link for details).

For other 2019 DWWA winners, click here.

"Bright, tangy Sauvignon Blanc with passionfruit, lime zest, green capsicum and gooseberry flavours, plus a suggestion of struck flint reductive character. An appealingly complex and concentrated wine".

95 points, Bob Campbell MW

It is not easy to tell your Dad that you are quitting a career in carpentry to try your hand at making wine. But in 1961, at the age of 21, that's exactly what Sir George Fistonich did. He leased five acres of land from his father, planted one acre with grapes and started making wine under the name 'Villa Maria'. Since those first cuttings took hold in the soil out in Mangere, near Auckland, Sir George has been determined to be at the cutting edge of quality winegrowing.

Sir George Fistonich, Owner and Managing Director "Uppermost in my mind as we grow is that we should maintain the principles with which we started over 50 years ago: the pursuit of quality, innovation and passion for a particular style that is New Zealand. Above all, we want to make wines that everyone can enjoy, everywhere." 

Still 100% New Zealand and family-owned, Villa Maria Estate has gone from strength to strength over the last 50 years and is now distributed in over 50 countries worldwide. Sir George's dedication to quality remains unwavering and as a result, Villa Maria Estate has claimed the title of New Zealand's Most Awarded Winery for over thirty consecutive years.

The picturesque Taylors Pass Vineyard is located on the northern bank of the Awatere River in southern Marlborough. The average vine age is between 12-17 years-old. Sheltered from prevailing cool easterly winds, each terrace of the vineyard has varying soil types, stony gravels are nearest the river, whereas the mid-terrace has silt over gravels and the highest terrace is a deeper silt over clay-papa base. This patchwork of soil types provides the vineyard with dramatically variable ripening patterns, therefore producing a "fruit salad" of pungent Sauvignon Blanc flavours to select from.

Selective harvesting in cool night temperatures.

Fermentation: 100% stainless steel tank fermentation, selected aromatic & textural yeasts.

Maturation: Carefully monitored time on yeast lees to build palate weight and texture.

Fining: Minimal phenolic fining. Filtration: Sterile lenticular filtration.

100% Sauvignon Blanc.

The 2018 Single Vineyard Taylors Pass Sauvignon Blanc has lifted aromatics of fresh garden peas and blackcurrants mingled with herbs such as coriander. On the palate are concentrated flavours of jalapeño and grapefruit, with a punchy finish of lime zest and a hint of gunflint. A key point of interest in this wine is the chalky texture reminiscent of wet river stones.

£15.35

El Coto, Coto de Imaz Rioja Gran Reserva 2012 (1x75cl)

Awarded a Platinum & Best in Show medal and 97 points at the 2019 Decanter World Wine Awards (click link for details).

For other 2019 DWWA winners, click here.

The 2010 vintage was awarded 92 points and Highly Recommended status by Decanter (www.decanter.com) in their March 2017 edition review of Premium Rioja (see blue link below).

Coto De Imaz Gran Reserva 2010 - March 2017 Decanter review

El Coto was founded in 1970 in Rioja Alavesa and has grown from modest beginnings into one of the best known of Rioja producers. Today El Coto has over 700 hectares of vineyard in production across the three Rioja DOCa sub-zones of Rioja Alta, Rioja Baja and Rioja Alavesa. They also source grapes from all three areas, but mostly from Rioja Alavesa. Head winemaker Cesar Fernandez oversees production, starting with hand-picking into 350 kg crates to ensure the grapes arrive at the winery in pristine condition. Modern and intelligently designed, the emphasis in the winery is on temperature control and gentle handling of the grapes.

Grapes for the two Coto de Imaz wines are picked exclusively from El Coto's estate in Cenicero in Rioja Alta, where the soils are limestone and clay.

The 2012 vintage was marked by drought, which had an effect on both grape volume and grape quality in some places, but also resulted in a significant quantity of very high quality wine. Rains in late September had a positive effect on ripening and harvested grapes were well balanced and healthy. The Rioja Control Board/Consejo Regulador rated the 2012 vintage Very Good.

After harvest, only the best grapes were selected for this wine, as the maceration on the skin lasts for three to four weeks. Fermentation took place in stainless steel tanks at 22-27ºC. The wine underwent malolactic fermentation. The resulting wine was then aged in new French and American oak for a minimum of 24 months before bottling.

The Gran Reserva has a brilliant ruby-red colour with tinges of brick red. Mature and elegant, the wine’s rich aromatic complexity is initially subtle, revealing itself more and more as the wine breathes. Toasted oak nuances and coconut give way to notes of leather and damp earth from bottle ageing. On the palate, silky, rounded tannins accompany fresh red berries, dried raisins and spicy notes. This is a complex wine with exceptional concentration and a long finish.

£21.20

Domaine La Suffrene Bandol Rose Tradition 2018 (1x 75cl)

Awarded a Platinum & Best in Show medal and 97 points at the 2019 Decanter World Wine Awards (click link for details).

For other 2019 DWWA winners, click here.

When Cédric Gravier took over the family operation in 1996, the production - which until then had been sent to the winemaking cooperative - received a new lease of life with the addition of a producing cellar. The domaine extends over 60 hectares of the Bandol AOC and includes a number of varied plots, located for the most part in the villages of La Cadière and le Castellet.

This wine (a blend of 40% Mourvèdre, 30% Cinsault, 20% Grenache 20%, 10% Carignan) hails from from a terroir of calcareous clay, typical of Bandol, its quality partially explained by the low yield of just 40 hl/ha.

Harvested during the month of September, in line with the ripeness of each variety. The grapes were selected depending on their condition and underwent skin contact (maceration pelliculaire) at a low temperature before being pressed. The juice, after settling, was placed in a stainless steel vat for a period of 15 days between 18°C and 20°C before racking. The juice was fined in early November then re-racked and assembled in January. The final assemblage is stocked in concrete vats until bottling after filtration from March to July.

This is a Bandol rose of both freshness and subtlety. It has a a clear and shiny robe (salmon-coloured), a delicate nose of candied citrus fruit and spices and a surprisingly full-bodied, balanced and fresh impact on the palate.

£18.05

Ktima Biblia Chora Ovilos Semillion Assyrtiko 2018 (1x75cl)

Awarded a Platinum & Best in Show medal and 97 points at the 2019 Decanter World Wine Awards (click link for details).

For other 2019 DWWA winners, click here.

Biblia Chora is the innovative creation of Vangelis Gerovassiliou and Vassilis Tsaktsarlis, two of the most talented winemakers in Greece. The winery was established in 1998 and the privately owned vineyard lies on the cool climate slopes of Mount Pangeon, at Kokkinochori near Kavala. It has been farmed organically since day one. These exceptional, cutting edge wines are some of the best white wines in Greece, which have similarities to very good white Bordeaux – not surprising as Vassilis studied with Denis Dubourdieu; the king of modern white Graves. Vintage 2017 saw a very cold start, with snow and rainfall during the spring months, which built soil water reserves. Warm weather during the summer led to optimal growing and maturation conditions. The white wines are full bodied and have rich varietal aromas with good balancing acidity.

Located in the coastal region of Pangaia, Biblia Chora’s privately owned estate vineyard is situated at 380 metres altitude and extends over 140 hectares. With the striking Paggaio Mountain as the backdrop and the sea breeze coming from the Aegean Sea in front the estate, the vines thrive in this mild, Mediterranean climate which is characterised by mild winters and cool summers. The wide diurnal temperature range encourages a long, slow maturation of the grapes, concentrating the flavours in the berries. The vineyard is cultivated according to strict ecological agricultural standards in order to respect the environment and local flora and fauna. The vines are planted at a density of 4,000 plants per hectare and all the work in the vineyard, such as leaf thinning and the harvest is carried out by hand. The soil is rocky and infertile, with limestone and clay and good levels of drainage.

Assyrtiko 50%, Semillon 50%. The grapes were picked at optimum maturity and then carefully selected. The wine was vinified in the state-of-the-art winery, using modern techniques to ensure the aromatics and varietal flavours were retained. Each variety was vinified separately and then matured in 225-litre French oak barrels for a period of five months, with bâtonnage taking place in the barrel. This wine went through full malolactic fermentation, enhancing the creamy texture.

Enticing aromas of peach, vanilla and flinty notes combine with a vibrant burst of fresh grapefruit. A wonderful weight and creamy texture on the palate with notable minerality, this is a tropical version of a white Graves.

£25.55

Dawson James Tasmania Chardonnay 2015 (1x75cl)

Awarded a Platinum & Best in Show medal and 97 points at the 2019 Decanter World Wine Awards (click link for details).

For other 2019 DWWA winners, click here.

The 2015 vintage was awarded 95 points and Outstanding status by Decanter (www.decanter.com) in their December 2017 edition review of cool-climate Australian Chardonnay (Victoria and Tasmania) (see blue link below).

Dawson James Chardonnay 2016 - December 2017 Decanter review

Dawson & James is the project of Peter Dawson and Tim James, who met in 1976 when they were both working at Hardy & Sons, and where they continued to work alongside each other for 20 years. They have since moved on to different projects, including Willunga 100 in McLaren Vale for Tim, but have collaborated again to produce the Dawson & James wines in Tasmania. Their shared passion for Australian art, farming, camping and gastronomy, as well as their dedication to fine Australian wine, have combined in this exciting project, and the wines are the proof of their winemaking wisdom and enthusiasm. The wines come from the Meadowbank Vineyard, which is located around 60 kilometres north-west of Hobart, an area characterised by rugged topography and the fast flowing, pristine waters of the Derwent river.

The Meadowbank Vineyard is located in the Derwent Valley in southern Tasmania, and was planted in 1989. The site is 70 metres above the river level and the north-easterly aspect gives it optimal sunlight exposure for grape ripening. The soil is a combination of brown sandy loams over structured clays and sandstone rock. It has a devigorating nature, helping the balanced growth and structure of the vines. Vines are trellised to single cordon and managed to one bunch per shoot, and yields are kept at less than six tonnes per hectare.

For this vintage: the vineyard received good rainfall in spring and early summer resulting in good vine health, however inclement weather around fruit set reduced crops. Temperatures throughout ripening were slightly above average but it was a cooler season than the preceding two years with a notable absence of heat spikes.

Grapes were hand picked and wholebunch pressed. Free run juice was transferred to oak sourced from Burgundian cooperages. Primary fermentation in oak, 40% was new oak, was followed by partial malolactic fermentation. The wine remained in oak and on its lees for nine months with fortnightly stirring.

See blue link below for the fiche technique/technical note from the winemakers themselves.

Dawson James Tasmania Chardonnay 2015 - fiche technique

100% Chardonnay.

This Chardonnay has a bright pale yellow colour. The aromas are subtle creamy, nutty and toasty notes derived from barrel fermentation accompanied by zesty lemon pith fruit characters. On the palate, there are intense citrus fruit flavours which are balanced by lively acidity and mineral characters.

£38.15

Cenatiempo Vini d'Ischia Kalimera Biancolella Ischia 2017 (1x 75cl)

Awarded a Platinum & Best in Show medal and 97 points at the 2019 Decanter World Wine Awards (click link for details).

For other 2019 DWWA winners, click here.

As Cenatiempo will tell you, Ischia wine is mountain wine. The vineyards all over the island are influenced by the close proximity to the Tyrrhenian Sea (off the West Coast of Italy, not far from Naples) but also from their elevation – their grapes are grown up to elevations of 600 meters. The winery is run by Pasquale Cenatiempo and his partner, Federica Predoni. They make compelling, focused, mineral-driven wines from the island’s indigenous varieties on the volcanic slopes of Ischia. 

Ischia is situated just off the coast of Naples. Here the soil is volcanic. In fact, the island was formed by a volcano which last erupted in 1302. The winery was founded in 1945 by Pasquale’s father Francesco, who, like Pasquale today, made wine from his own grapes as well as from some of his friends and neighbors throughout the island. Not much has changed over the last 70 years. The wines are still fermented in steel or cement vats with indigenous yeasts and aged in the same vessels. In the vineyards, Cenatiempo farms organically. In fact, for their larger parcels they have begun adapting some biodynamic principles and treatments as well.

Their production is mainly in white wine including a couple of Ischia Bianco blends as well as monovarietal wines of Biancolella and the high-acid, low-octane Forastera. They also make small amounts of red, mainly from Piedirosso, Aglianico and Sciacinosso. The two wines that really illustrate the potential of great winemaking on this small island are the Kalimera Biancolella sourced from an old parcel of Biancolella at high elevation and also the small production Forastera bottling which is more reminiscent of a mountain wine from the north, like a Blanc du Morgex from the Valle d’Aoste, beautifully lean, racy and stony. 

These are small production wines form an artisanal producer making traditional, natural wine from a truly unique terroir of high elevation vineyards and compelling local varieties.

100% Biancolella.

Viticulture: Hand-harvested at the end of October. Practicing (but not certified) organic viticulture. Practicing biodynamic. Hand-harvested at the end of October.

Winemaking: Hand-harvested at the end of October. Vinified in cement. Aged in cement, spending three months on the lees.

"It's made from the indigenous Biancolella grape variety which few of our judges had ever tasted before - but its golden colour, almost spritzy style, haunting aromas of wild flowers and fragrant scented hay, and its mouthfilling, complex flavour which seem to hint at celery and fennel as well as quince and medlar captivated everyone who tasted it.  A unique, cultural wine of memorable, stealthy charm." (DWWA19 panel review)

£21.10

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

Awarded a Platinum & Best in Show medal and 98 points at the 2019 Decanter World Wine Awards (click link for details).

For other 2019 DWWA winners, click here.

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.

£150.15

Poggio al Sole 'Casasilia' Chianti Classico Gran Selezione 2015 (1x75cl)

Awarded a Platinum medal and 97 points at the 2019 Decanter World Wine Awards (click link for details).

For other 2019 DWWA winners, click here.

We also highly recommend the 'everyday' Chianti Classico and Super-Tuscan from Poggio al Sole.

The 2014 vintage was also awarded 95 points and Outstanding status by Decanter (www.decanter.com) in their May 2018 edition review of the top tiers of Chianti Classico (see blue link below).

Poggio Al Sole 'Casasilia' Chianti Classico Gran Selezione 2014 - May 2018 Decanter review

Documents in the archives of the abbey of Badia a Passignano, which owned Poggio al Sole until the 1960s, show that olives and wine were grown there as early as the 12th century. The Davaz family, which acquired Poggio al Sole in 1990, has grown wine in the Bündner Herrschaft in Switzerland since the 1970s. The eighteen contigous hectares of sloping schistose-clay vineyards are among the very highest in Chianti,  and are perfectly sheltered from the Tramontane wind by the surrounding oak forest. Alessandro Masnaghetti, the brilliant taster, journalist, and publisher of Enogea, believes that Poggio al Sole is one of the top three vineyard sites in all Chianti Classico.

The Casasilia - Poggio al Sole's premium Chianti Classico from the top-tier Gran Selezione classification - is ample testament to that.

Here's Poggio al Sole's own data sheet/fiche technique on the Casasilia.

Poggio Al Sole 'Casasilia' Chianti Classico Gran Selezione 2015 - fiche technique

Additionally, the wine is matured in French oak barrels/barriques of 225 litres, 30% of which are made of new oak, the remainder being one-year old barrels. Ageing period is 18 months in barrel + 12 month bottle rest.

100% Sangiovese.

"This wine gushes with aromas of black and red fruits, mint, chalk, dried herbs and the vanilla and spice of high quality oak, which lead on to a full-bodied, yet velvety, palate with finely detailed tannins. It really pulsates with its energy, mesmerising your palate as it swoops by, culminating in a long and elegant finish" (DWWA19 tasting note).

This wine is suitable for vegetarians and vegans.

£29.95

Chateau Grezan Les Schistes Dores, Faugeres 2017 (1x75cl)

Awarded a Platinum medal and 97 points at the 2019 Decanter World Wine Awards (click link for details).

For other 2019 DWWA winners, click here.

The viticultural history of  the Cros-Pujol family began five generations ago, in 1877, on a very small parcel of Carignan between Autignac and Laurens. It was worked with a donkey and a horse, the harvests were vinified at the back of the family home by Jules-Anatole Cros, known as Costant, and his wife Anna, the first winemakers of the family. For the past 30 years, Château Grézan has expressed the very essence of Faugères wines. Produced from selected grapes, the Château Grézan wines combine respect for ancestral wine traditions and an open-mindedness to modernity.

The vineyards of Château Grézan and the Cros-Pujol family now cover nearly 110 hectares in both AOP Faugères and IGP Pays d’Oc. Their grape varieties in AOP Faugères are the classics of the region: Syrah, Grenache, Cinsault, Mourvèdre and Carignan. The Schists Dorés here is (most) unusual in Faugères for its almost exclusive use of Syrah

The soil in Faugères consists essentially of shale(s) - golden and slatey: the forner gives the name to this wine. This stone is characterized by its remarkable capacity to retain water and its ability to store daytime heat and then release it at night. This is how the grapes continue to ripen at night. The climate is Mediterranean with a mountain influence. It is characterized by mild winters with rare frosts and hot and dry summers with infrequent but heavy rainfall.

See blue link below for the fiche technique/technical note on this (highly medalled/awarded) wine from the team at Chateau Grézan.

Chateau Grezan Les Schistes Dorés, Faugeres 2017 - fiche technique

90% Syrah, 10% Mourvèdre.

For our tasting note, we hand over to the DWWA19 judges:

"This is very classy stuff. Blackcurrant jam is the dominant flavour, but is flanked on either side by toasted cinnamon and vanilla, the superlatively integrated oak adding yet another layer to this already complex, ravishing wine. Delicious weight of rounded, brushed cotton tannins, and lush super-ripe black fruits – totally delicious, persistent and racy! Perfect with food".

£18.95

La Rioja Alta Vina Arana Gran Reserva 2012 (1x75cl)

** THE BRAND NEW GRAN RESERVA FROM LA RIOJA ALTA!! **

Awarded a Platinum medal and 97 points at the 2019 Decanter World Wine Awards (click link for details)

For other 2019 DWWA winners, click here.

Awarded 92 points and Highly Recommended status by Decanter (www.decanter.com) in their August 2019 edition's Spurrier's Fine Wine World (see blue link below).

La Rioja Alta Vina Arana Gran Reserva 2012 - August 2019 Decanter review

Quality, elegance, innovation, evolution... They are the pillars on which the five founding families erected La Rioja Alta winery in 1890 and built a way of living, feeling and producing wines of the highest quality that continue to evolve subtly, perfectly adapting to new tastes. This is how the permanent pursuit of excellence started; a pursuit that continues into the 21st century with identical enthusiasm. They draw the best from their winemaking tradition and wisdom — their own cooperage, manual racking, long ageing periods, etc — and combine it with the most modern winemaking technology. Today, La Rioja Alta wines are an international exemplar of the great wines of Rioja.

See blue link below for the excellent fiche technique/technical note from the winemakers at La Rioja Alta.

La Rioja Alta Vina Arana Gran Reserva 2012 - fiche technique

The Arana 2012 is a brand new Gran Reserva from La Rioja Alta to complement its fabled 890 and 904 labels. It is not a rebadge of the Arana Reserva (although LRA have made that trickier to explain by plumping for a name already in use!), using, as it does, a different blend of grape varieties and drawn from different vineyards. The wine was named after one of the families that have long been at the helm of La Rioja Alta, a company founded in 1895. This wine will replace the original Arana Reserva, whose last vintage was 2011, and will only be made in vintages that meet the winemaker’s high standards.  

For a tabulated explanation of how the three LRA Gran Reservas differ, click this link.

For a press story (Drinks Business) of early April 2019 of the release of the new Arana Gran reserva, click this link.

For LRA's marketing presentatation of this new wine, click this link - (**LARGE FILE - may take a while to download**).

Dark-cherry red with a garnet-red rim. High aromatic intensity, with outstanding notes of ripe red fruit, red berries, wild strawberries and plum jam, leading to tertiary aromas from meticulous aging in oak: vanilla, cedar, tobacco, coffee, caramel and sweet patisserie notes. In the mouth, its initial freshness and structure, typical of this brand, predominate. Balanced, with soft, flavoursome tannins. Elegant, complex finish, where the ripe red fruit and balsamic notes provide a splendid end.

** Please note that the gift boxes are no longer available  **

£30.50

Podere di Brancaia Il Blu Rosso di Toscana 2015 (1x75cl)

Awarded a Platinum medal and 97 points at the 2019 Decanter World Wine Awards (click link for details).

For other 2019 DWWA winners, click here.

See blue link below for the fiche technique/technical note from the winemakers at Brancaia.

Podere Di Brancaia Il Blu Rosso Di Toscana 2015 - fiche technique

And see this short video for an introduction to the wines and work of Brancaia.

This beguiling blend lingers and demands time. Intense inky fruits and herbal notes leap from the glass. Morello cherry, some sweet oak and chocolate echo along the finish, guided along by a beam of palate-extending, ringingly ripe acidity. It's a complex and ageworthy wine with immaculate length and balance.

£40.80

Champagne Taittinger Brut Vintage 2013 (1x75cl)

Awarded a Platinum medal and 97 points at the 2019 Decanter World Wine Awards (click link for details).

For other 2019 DWWA winners, click here.

Taittinger remains one of the few Champagne Houses to remain owned and actively managed by the family named on the label. Its origins date back to 1734 when the original house was founded by Jacques Fourneaux. The Taittinger link was established in 1931 when Pierre Taittinger, the founder of today's company acquired the House. Pierre had spent much time in the Champagne region when serving in the 1st world war as a young cavalry officer. Stationed at the Château de la Marquetterie, he fell in love with this remarkable property and its vineyards and eventually purchased the company.Today, the Reims-based House is headed up by Pierre's grandson, Pierre-Emmanuel Taittinger, his son, Clovis and daughter, Vitalie, both of whom are actively involved in the day to day running of this thriving family Champagne House.

Taittinger's home is situated above miles of chalk tunnels and cellars. These 4th-Century UNESCO listed cellars once belonged to the Benedictine monks of the abbey of St Nicaise and are perfect for the slow ageing process required for great Champagne. The hallmark of the Taittinger Champagnes is the high percentage of Chardonnay used in their winemaking which can be anything from 40% in the Brut Réserve Non Vintage to 100% in the prestigious Comtes de Champagne Blanc de Blancs. This Chardonnay dominance provides for a style of elegance, delicacy and finesse which is recognised worldwide and has earned the House many accolades and awards over the years. Today it is served in over 140 countries worldwide and made recent history by becoming the first Champagne house to purchase land in England to ultimately produce a premium English Sparkling Wine. 

Taittinger produces a Vintage Champagne only when the harvest has been of exceptional quality. Made from first press wines the wine is only released after several years of cellar ageing, allowing the aromas to mature slowly and the length and complexity of the wine to develop. Winemaking The Taittinger Brut Vintage comprises only wines from the first press with a blend of 50% Chardonnay and 50% Pinot Noir. The Grands Crus make up a significant proportion at 70% while the other selected villages are all classified as Premiers Crus. A 5-year long ageing period in the cellars unlocks its full potential.

The year 2013 stands out for a winter where temperatures fell below the ten-year average with periods of snow and freezing. Spring persisted with cool temperatures and was marked by heavy rainfall. Flowering began in July. An extremely sunny and particularly hot summer helped the vines to offset any delay. Harvest began on October 1st for the Chardonnays. Maturity at harvest was very satisfying. The Chardonnays combined notes of white flowers with citrus. They were powerful, structured and well-rounded with excellent length.The Pinots Noirs were complex, using floral aromas with white, yellow and red fruit.

Residual sugar: 9g/litre.

A vivacious, fresh nose offers aromas of hawthorn, grapefruit and pear. The palate is crisp and wonderfully precise. Marked by citrus fruit, it offers an excellent balance of structure and finesse. The complex finish is elegant and long.

£45.95

Pere Ventura Tresor Cuvee Gran Reserva Cava 2014 (1x75cl)

This wine was, until very recently, known as (the) Maria del Mar Gran Reserva Cava (2014), and has since - mid-vintage! - been rebranded/renamed as above. Should you have any doubts on this (we did!), do compare the two data sheets - before and after - at the foot of this page!

Awarded a Platinum medal and 97 points at the 2019 Decanter World Wine Awards (click link for details).

For other 2019 DWWA winners, click here.

Also awarded (under its former name) 91 points and Highly Recommended status by Decanter (www.decanter.com) in their December 2018 edition feature on Quality Cava (see blue link below).

Pere Ventura Maria Del Mar Gran Reserva Cava 2014 - December 2018 Decanter review

The family-based Pere Ventura Family Wine Estates produces and markets its own wines and cavas (sparkling wines), which are known worldwide for their great quality and prestige. The company works hard every day to guarantee excellence both in the winery and in its wines. The company’s maxim is to remain true to its principles, to its sales commitments and to fulfill all the duties and business challenges the twenty-first century throws at it.

See blue link below for the excellent fiche technique / technical and tasting note from the winemakers at Pere Ventura.

Pere Ventura Tresor Cuvee Gran Reserva 2014 - fiche technique

and that when under its former name (noting the identicality!)

Pere Ventura Cuvée Maria del Mar Gran Reserva 2014 - fiche technique

NB: giftbox shown on the data sheet not available!

£16.30

Devaux D De Devaux La Cuvee NV (1x 75cl)

Awarded a Platinum medal and 97 points at the 2019 Decanter World Wine Awards (click link for details).

For other 2019 DWWA winners, click here.

Devaux is a boutique Champagne brand located in Bar-sur-Seine in the southerly Aube region of Champagne, some 60km north of Burgundy. Thanks to this favourable southerly location, Devaux is a Pinot Noir and rosé specialist. The house was founded in 1846, and was family owned for generations. In 1987, in the absence of a family heir, ownership was passed to a united group of winegrower families, known today as the "Groupe Vinicole Champagne Devaux". Thanks to being owned by these growers, Devaux can boast total control over its grape supply which is a rarity in Champagne, a region where growers traditionally sell to the houses who control the brands.

The "D Collection" wines are Devaux's very best. The grapes come from highly select, sustainably farmed parcels across 50 hectares. The majority of the vineyards are situated in the Aube on Kimmeridgian limestone-clay soils. This continental location, on the slopes of the Côte des Bars, is important; it gives the Pinot Noir richness on the nose and a long finish, while retaining finesse. The Chardonnay in the blend is grown on the fine chalky soils of the Côte des Blancs, Vitry and Montgueux ("the Meursault of Champagne") to give liveliness and elegance.

90% of the base wines are fermented in stainless steel, with 10% fermented in 300 litre barrels. This is followed by partial malolactic fermentation. The blend comprises 40% reserve wines (50% for the magnum), a quarter of which are from two perpetual soleras: a Chardonnay solera and a Cuvée D solera that have been going since 1995 and 2002 respectively. The remaining reserve wines are aged in large oak casks. Following bottling, the liqueur de tirage is added and the wine has a slow second fermentation in bottle and extended ageing on its lees for over 60 months (the legal minimum is 15 months). This results in a wine with a finer, more persistent mousse and greater potential for complexity. After disgorgement, the wine receives a light Brut dosage of 7g/l.

60% Pinot Noir, 40% Chardonnay.

The Cuvée D is rich and intense, with lively acidity bringing balance, freshness and minerality. As James Halliday describes, "there is a plethora of spiced, dried and fresh fruits, balance and freshness provided by a surge of citrussy acidity on the finish. And aftertaste." The Pinot Noir gives body and length to the wine, while the Chardonnay adds elegance and finesse.

£39.25

House of Arras, Grand Vintage Brut, Tasmania 2008 (1x 75cl)

Awarded a Platinum medal and 97 points at the 2019 Decanter World Wine Awards (click link for details).

For other 2019 DWWA winners, click here.

Awarded 97 points and Outstanding status by Decanter (www.decanter.com) in their August 2019 edition article on Australian (and especially Tasmanian) Fizz (see blue link below).

House Of Arras, Grand Vintage Brut, Tasmania 2008 - August 2019 Decanter review

Aditionally, the 2007 vintage was awarded 93 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)....

House of Arras, Grand Vintage Brut, Tasmania 2007 - January 2019 Decanter review

... and 95 points and Outstanding status by Decanter (www.decanter.com) in their November 2017 edition feature on Tasmania (see blue link below).

Arras Grand Vintage 2007 - November 2017 Decanter review

Ed Carr, the man behind Arras, has been making sparkling wines in Australia since 1986 and for the Hardy's group since 1994. He was one of the first winemakers to see the potential Tasmanian fruit had for producing world class sparkling wine and has been producing Arras solely with Tasmanian fruit since the 1998 vintage. Much to the horror of the accountants, however, he has insisted on ageing the wines on lees for over six years prior to release, something that increases both their cost and complexity.

For more than a decade, the House of Arras team has been identifying and developing the ideal vineyard sites for world class sparkling wine, which led them to call the ancient soils and cold climate of Tasmania home. Its climate is significantly cooler than the mainland, with long summer daylight and maritime influences, which are ideal conditions for long, slow and consistent fruit development. The House of Arras sources fruit from many outstanding vineyards in southern Tasmania and the south-east coast. Each location bestows its own nuances of character on Chardonnay and Pinot Noir fruit.

Fruit for this wine was hand-picked from cold climate Tasmanian vineyards prior to gentle whole bunch pressing, from which only free run juice was collected. Primary fermentation was undertaken on light lees, followed by 100% malolactic fermentation. Once clarified, the wines were judiciously blended to style, bottled as tirage and matured in cool, dark storage for a minimum of eight years before disgorgement.

The appearance is crystal clear with an ultrafine and persistent bead, medium straw with a bright yellow gold lustre. The bouquet expresses enticing aromas of grapefruit, jasmine flowers, sea brine and lychee. The palate has great elegance and poise with complex nuances of exotic spice, truffle, meringue and naural yogurt.

£36.05

Pauletts Aged Release Polish Hill River Riesling 2012 (1x75cl)

** ONLY ~80 BOTTLES REMAIN UNTIL END OF VINTAGE ON UK STOCKS **

Awarded a Platinum medal and 97 points at the 2019 Decanter World Wine Awards (click link for details).

For other 2019 DWWA winners, click here.

The 2010 vintage of this wine was a huge hit when it featured in Decanter (www.decanter.com) recently, being awarded 96 points and Outstanding status by Decanter (www.decanter.com) in their April 2018 edition review of Australian Rieslings. The 2014 vintage scored 98 points and was rated Outstanding (see blue links below).

Pauletts (Aged Release) Polish Hill River Riesling 2010 - April 2018 Decanter review

Pauletts Polish Hill River Riesling 2014 - April 2018 Decanter review

See also here for Decanter's assessment of Australian Riesling vintages (click blue link below).

Decanter Australian vintage summary

And, for extra info, here's Paulett's own data sheet/fiche technique on the 2012 (published before being badged as an Aged Release, but exactly (and we mean exactly) the same wine!).

Pauletts Polish Hill River Riesling 2012 - fiche technique

Clare Valley is one of Australia`s oldest wine regions and is probably best known for its Riesling wines. Polish Hill River is a sub-region one and a half hours drive north from Adelaide. Named after the Polish settlers of the mid 1800s, the clim2ate is ideal for premium grape growing with a combination of consistently good winter rains, hot summers tempered by cool nights and a long ripening period.

Pauletts' reputation for producing wines of finesse, elegance and intensity is justly deserved with consistent skill and care from vintage to vintage. Neil Paulett graduated from the Roseworthy oenology course in the early 1970s and spent a further ten years honing his winemaking skills at Penfolds before buying his own property in the Clare Valley. Located some 90 minutes north of Adelaide,this lovely property now extends to 150 hectares with 47 planted with vines. Since the first vintage in 1983 there have been many accolades both at home and internationally. These wines are a true reflection of the region and are of outstanding quality.

Neil Paulett holds back a small parcel of Riesling from the most successful vintages for an extended maturation in the winery`s cellar. After 7 years, this (bone-)dry Riesling has blossomed into an expressive golden wine, with a nose of lemon zest and acacia with hints of honey and toast but with an underlining crispness. Citrus flavours of lime are evident and with a delightful freshness and acidity through to the finish.

This wine is superb with oysters and prawns or spicy Asian dishes.

£15.90

Ktima Gerovassiliou Estate White Epanomi 2018 (1x75cl)

Awarded a Platinum medal and 97 points at the 2019 Decanter World Wine Awards (click link for details)

For other 2019 DWWA winners, click here.

Ktima Gerovassiliou is the brainchild of Evangelos Gerovassiliou. He initiated the revival of the family vineyard by planting the nearly extinct Malagousia in 1981. This state of the art winery is now surrounded by 74 hectares of meticulously well cared vineyards on the slopes of Epanomi. Ktima Gerovassiliou guarantees consistent, high quality wines of international acclaim every year and his Malagousia remains the benchmark to this day.

2018 was characterised by being a premature (and overall a dry) year. A mild winter resulted in early budbreak – approximately 12 days earlier than usual. March and April were very dry, with April having unseasonably higher temperatures than usual, favouring early maturation. Temperatures cooled a little in the early summer and June saw warm, drought conditions which continued throughout the summer. The resulting fruit had enhanced primary flavours and exceptional phenolic ripeness .

At Ktima Gerovassiliou, the single, private 74-hectare vineyard is cultivated with great care and enthusiasm, which leads to constant research and experimentation with Greek and international varieties. New technological advances blend well with tradition throughout the vine growing and vinification processes to produce high quality wines that carry all the distinct characteristics of the terroir of Epanomi. The climate is Mediterranean with mild winters and hot summers, tempered by sea breezes. The vineyard is surrounded on three sides by the sea, which is three kilometres away, while its west side faces the Thermaic Gulf, Mount Olympus and the beaches of Pieria. The vines are grown in soils which are mainly sandy with a few clayey substrates and calcareous rocks. It is rich in sea fossils, as the surrounding hilly area was formed by sea deposits.

The Assyrtiko (pronounced Ah-SEER-tee-koe) and Malagousia (Mah-lah-gou-ZYA) grapes underwent skin contact maceration to extract aromas. Fermentation followed in stainless steel at controlled temperatures of between 18-20°C; and partly in new French oak. The wine was clarified by gravity and then matured on the lees for several months with bâtonnage. Gently fined prior to bottling.

Assyrtiko 50%, Malagousia 50%.

Exotic fruit flavours combine with hints of orange, jasmine, herbs and a touch of lemon. Lively, attractive and vivacious. Expressive aromas of exotic fruits combined with hints of pepper, orange, jasmine, orange, melon and a touch of lemon. Beautifully refined on the palate which is characterised by richness, harmony and a bright lemony finish. A terrific companion for Asian cuisine, fresh shellfish, creamy-sauce based pasta dishes, appetisers and salads with Greek Feta.

This wine is suitable for vegans and vegetarians.

£15.05

Bruno Rocca Barbaresco Rabaja 2015 (1x 75cl)

Awarded a Platinum medal and 97 points at the 2019 Decanter World Wine Awards (click link for details)

For other 2019 DWWA winners, click here.

The Rocca family originates from Barbaresco. Bruno Rocca took charge of the family business when his father died in 1978, and decided that all the wine produced by the estate would from then on be sold in bottle. The family now has 15 hectares of vineyards. Stylistically, Bruno is a consummate modernist, making wines with great intensity of fruit while retaining the structure and elegance of the Langhe at its best.

Purchased by Bruno Rocca's father, this vineyard is in the Rabajà Cru, in the village of Barbaresco. It was planted in 1964 and completed in 1978. The land planted solely with Nebbiolo has a south-westerly exposure and is a mixture of tufaceous clay, marl and limestone. The vineyard is steep and is situated at an altitude of about 300 metres above sea level. The vines are approximately 50-60 years old.

After a snowy winter, spring of 2015 was warm leading to early budbreak. The summer was one of the hottest and driest of the last 20 years. The harvest started in the first part of September, around two weeks earlier than usual. The grapes harvested were very ripe and healthy. The weather during the harvest was consistently sunny and rather hot for September.

Fermentation took place in stainless steel tanks at 30°C and lasted 20 to 25 days. The wine was aged for 12 months in 225 litre French oak barrels (Allier, medium toast) and another 12 months in large oak barrels.

100% Nebbiolo.

Garnet in colour, this intensely perfumed wine has floral aromas of violets and rosehips, a hint of butter and red fruit notes of raspberry and cherry. These aromas follow onto the palate which is warm and mouthfilling, framed by broad Nebbiolo tannins that have been softened by the warm autumn. Elegant and long.

This wine is suitable for vegans and vegetarians.

£75.15

Swartland Winery Bush Vine Chenin Blanc 2017 (1x 75cl)

Awarded a Platinum medal and 97 points at the 2019 Decanter World Wine Awards (click link for details).

For other 2019 DWWA winners, click here.

Big open skies, arid deserts, the vast flowing landscape, with its unforgiving climate and rugged bush vines, this is wild country, this is Swartland. The contrast with manicured Constantia and oh-so-cool Stellenbosch couldn't be greater. But right now, Swartland is the most exciting wine region in South Africa. A new wave of winemakers are making ground-breaking wines from Rhône varietals and it is part of a revolution that has got everybody talking. The Swartland Winery is producing iconic and award winning wines in this fashionable and dynamic region, so we have joined forces with them to create a unique, distinctive and expressive wine range that has been masterfully blended for the UK palate. We think something this good, is definitely worth talking about!

The 2017 vintage was characterised by extreme drought but very little disease pressure which resulted in very healthy grapes and low yields. The wines from 2017 are complex with concentrated flavour profiles.

The Swartland name originates from a description of the indigenous renosterbos or rhino bush, which appears to turn black, ("Swart" in Afrikaans), during the summer months. This hot, dry climate has an average temperature range of 25°C to 35°C and an annual rainfall of 450 mm and 600mm, but the altitude of these vineyards creates a cool oasis in this arid landscape. Minimal intervention and environmentally friendly farming practices are paramount. The soil types vary, but Malmesbury Shale dominates, with small patches of granite and Table Mountain sandstone. The gravel substructure of the soil promotes good moisture retention, essential in this hot, dry climate. The grapes came from a single vineyard, from 100% bush vines with an age range of between 25 to 30 years.

The berries were harvested at optimal phenolic ripeness. An extended skin contact was applied and fermentation took place at 13°C. The wine underwent an extended fine lees contact, following fermentation. The wine was aged in second and third fill French oak barrels for a period of six months, prior to being filtered and bottled.

Chenin Blanc 100%.

A full flavoured and classic Chenin Blanc with rich aromas of lemon, apple and vanilla wafer over a creamy texture. Forthcoming aromas of dried fruit, peach, apricot and citrus hints follow through on to a creamy palate. A crisp, well balanced and intense wine, with dried fruit, almond and citrus flavours underpinned by beautifully integrated oak and a creamy finish.

This wine is suitable for vegans and vegetarians.

£13.70

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

£37.75

Gasper Cabernet Franc 2017 (1x75cl)

Awarded a Platinum medal and 97 points at the 2019 Decanter World Wine Awards (click link for details).

For other 2019 DWWA winners, click here.

Gašper is located in Goriška Brda, which makes up the two thirds of Collio stretching into Slovenia from Friuli-Venezia Giulia in north-eastern Italy. Goriška Brda has a climate ideally suited to viticulture, with its proximity to both the Adriatic Sea and the Alps providing dry, warm summers with cooling breezes during the crucial ripening period. The Gašper wine estate is a joint venture between a local cooperative and the Čarman family, who have been in the wine and hospitality business for over 50 years. At the helm of the cellar is Darinko Ribolica, a respected oenologist from Goriška Brda. He uses Slovenia’s local varieties, deeply rooted in Germanic, Slavic and Roman cultural influences, to create wines in a modern, fresh style.

The Gašper vineyards are between 10 and 25 years old, and characterised by ‘opoka’ marl soil and excellent sun exposure on terraced, hillside rows. There is also the benefit of altitude, ranging from 80-200 metres above sea level, which helps the grapes retain acidity and aromatics. Vines are single Guyot trained and planted at a density of 4,000 to 5,000 per hectare. All picking is done by hand and by cooperative partners, family members and friends, which allows for a careful selection of fruit that enhances the quality of the final wine.

Gašper believes that Cabernet Franc is one of most suitable red varieties for the Goriška Brda terroir. here, it shows and develops great red fruit character, freshness and ripe, soft tannins.

Variety: 100% Cabernet Franc.

Vinification and fermentation: in large 4000-litre oak casks at 16-20°C.

Maturation: 1 year in used French 225-litre oak barrels + 1 year in large, used Slovenian oak barrels.

Aromatic, perfumed nose of red and dark fruit with notes of capsicum and black pepper. The wine has lovely, supple tannins and great structure, with a long, consistent finish. Impressive.

£32.30

Donnafugata Ben Rye Passito di Pantelleria 2017 - half bottle (1x37.5cl)

Awarded a Platinum medal and 98 points at the 2019 Decanter World Wine Awards (click link for details)

For other 2019 DWWA winners, click here.

The 2016 vintage was awarded 97 points and Outstanding status by Decanter (www.decanter.com) in their May 2019 article  on producer Donnafugata (see blue link below).

Donnafugata, Ben Rye 2016 - May 2019 Decanter review

This wine was also awarded a Platinum Medal, 97 points and Best in Show status at the 2018 Decanter World Wine Awards (click link for details).

For other 2018 DWWA winners, click here.

The Rallo family has made wine in Marsala since 1851 and their ancient cellars tunnel beneath the city. They were one of the first families to begin making high quality table wine when sales of traditional Marsala started to decline, launching the Donnafugata label in 1983 and championing the potential of the region's native varieties. Today, Donnafugata has three estates in Sicily. Donnafugata means 'fleeing woman' and is a reference to Queen Maria Carolina, who escaped the court of Naples in the early 19th Century with her husband, Ferdinand IV of Bourbon, when Napoleon's troops arrived. The couple took refuge in Sicily at the Santa Margherita Belice palace, also the favourite residence of celebrated writer Giuseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa and depicted on the 'Mille e Una Notte' label.

Brilliant amber in colour, Ben Ryé is wonderfully fresh and complex. The bouquet is intense and fragrant - aromas of apricots and candied citrus zest combine with notes of Mediterranean thyme and rosemary. The palate is well-defined and intense, with pleasant sweetness well balanced by fresh acidity and great minerality. The finish is long and persistent - a captivating Passito di Pantelleria.

To see an excellent information sheet and tasting note for this wine produced by the team at Donnafugata, please click on the blue link below.

Donnafugata Ben Ryé 2016 - fiche technique

£33.00

Donnafugata Ben Rye Passito Di Pantelleria 2017 (1x75cl)

The 2016 vintage was awarded a Platinum medal and 98 points at the 2019 Decanter World Wine Awards (click link for details)

For other 2019 DWWA winners, click here.

The 2016 vintage was awarded 97 points and Outstanding status by Decanter (www.decanter.com) in their May 2019 article  on producer Donnafugata (see blue link below).

Donnafugata, Ben Rye 2016 - May 2019 Decanter review

The wine (2015, this time) was also awarded a Platinum Medal, 97 points and Best in Show status at the 2018 Decanter World Wine Awards (click link for details).

NB: the 2017 is doubtless as good - it just has yet to be put before judges! The 2016 is still available in half-bottles.

The Rallo family has made wine in Marsala since 1851 and their ancient cellars tunnel beneath the city. They were one of the first families to begin making high quality table wine when sales of traditional Marsala started to decline, launching the Donnafugata label in 1983 and championing the potential of the region's native varieties. Today, Donnafugata has three estates in Sicily. Donnafugata means 'fleeing woman' and is a reference to Queen Maria Carolina, who escaped the court of Naples in the early 19th Century with her husband, Ferdinand IV of Bourbon, when Napoleon's troops arrived. The couple took refuge in Sicily at the Santa Margherita Belice palace, also the favourite residence of celebrated writer Giuseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa and depicted on the 'Mille e Una Notte' label.

Brilliant amber in colour, Ben Ryé is wonderfully fresh and complex. The bouquet is intense and fragrant - aromas of apricots and candied citrus zest combine with notes of Mediterranean thyme and rosemary. The palate is well-defined and intense, with pleasant sweetness well balanced by fresh acidity and great minerality. The finish is long and persistent - a captivating Passito di Pantelleria.

To see an excellent information sheet and tasting note for this wine produced by the team at Donnafugata, please click on the blue link below.

Donnafugata Ben Ryé 2016 - fiche technique

£61.90

te Pa Oke Sauvignon Blanc 2017 (1x75cl)

** SOLELY AVAILABLE FROM EXEL WINES!! **

** THIS WINE HAS JUST (15 Aug) LANDED IN THE UK, IS CLEARING CUSTOMS AND WILL BE WITH (UK) CUSTOMERS BY 1st SEPTEMBER, PERHAPS EARLIER! **

** OTHER PRODUCTS ORDERED WITH THIS ONE WILL NECESSARILY WAIT FOR ITS ARRIVAL, UNLESS WE CAN PART-SHIP YOUR ORDER WITHOUT ENTAILING ADDITIONAL CARRIAGE CHARGES! **

Awarded a Gold medal and 95 points at the 2019 Decanter World Wine Awards (click link for details)

For other 2019 DWWA winners, click here.

Also awarded 95 points and Outstanding status by Decanter in their July 2019 panel tasting of Oaked New Zealand Sauvignon Blancs (see blue link below).

te Pa Sauvignon Blanc Oke 2017 - July 2019 Decanter review

And if you missed it in arriving here, here's our review of that Decanter panel test and the wines that scored well.

Based in the Marlborough Region, te Pā has a history stemming back almost 800 years. Set up by the MacDonald family whose Maori lineage goes back to 1350, the te Pā estate spreads over 400 hectares of vineyards in Marlborough’s Wairau and Awatere regions.

Nestled between the Wairau River and the azure waters of the Cook Strait, te Pā’s home block vineyard at the Wairau Bar is as majestic as it is productive. Thanks to a unique microclimate, the fruit parcels from this vineyard have a soft acidity, pungent aromatics, and complex, ripe flavour profiles.

te Pā Family Vineyards grow Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Gris, Chardonnay and Pinot Noir and their wines have won international acclaim under the expert supervision of Chief Winemaker Sam Bennett. Sam’s international experience has been in the cool climate regions of Tasmania, Oregon and Burgundy. He’s honed his Kiwi winemaking skills at wineries including Craggy Range in Hawke’s Bay and Marisco and Highfield in Marlborough. These roles have seen Sam work with great fruit from a diverse range of regions stretching from Hawke’s Bay to Martinborough, Marlborough, Nelson and Central Otago.

The fruit for this wine was sourced from select blocks in the lower Wairau Valley. These block have been historically the most intensely flavoured and balanced in the vineyard. Careful canopy and yield management was used to accentuate these positive characteristics. The fruit was hand-harvested and whole bunch pressed to give some beautiful pristine juice to work with. This was dropped to a mix of new and older French barrels without settling and left to allow the indigenous yeast to start the ferments. A selection of the best barrels occurred in October, when the wine was blended and then dropped back to barrel for another 2 months to allow the different components to integrate and evolve.

For more detail, see the blue link below for the excellent fiche technique/technical note from the team at te Pā.

Te Pa Sauvignon Blanc Oke 2017 - fiche technique

100% Sauvignon Blanc.

The high quality of the fruit, combined with the gentle and respectful approach in the winery has resulted in a wine with an intriguing combination of poise and elegance, balanced by an intense and complex flavour profile. Aromatically the wine gives impressions of grapefruit, citrus blossom, ripe stonefruit and flint. The palate is weighty with stonefruit and citrus pith to the fore. The fruit is supported by spice and toasted nuts, a hint of toffee and refreshing acidity.

** IMPORTANT! PLEASE SEE DELIVERY AND AVAILABILITY NOTES AT THE TOP OF THIS PAGE! **

£15.50

Bodegas LAN Vina Lanciano Rioja Reserva 2012 (1x75cl)

Awarded a Gold medal and 95 points at the 2019 Decanter World Wine Awards (click link for details)

For other 2019 DWWA winners, click here.

Bodegas LAN is located in the heart of Rioja Alta. Founded in 1972, Bodegas LAN was named after the initials of the three provinces in the Rioja Designation of Origin: Logroño (now La Rioja), Álava and Navarra. María Barua has been the head winemaker and technical director since 2002. She brings both scientific expertise, with an academic background in chemistry in addition to her oenology degree, and local knowledge, being born, raised and educated in Rioja. She and her young and energetic team focus not only on understanding the technical details of winemaking, but also on ‘expressing the virtues of the land’.

Named after the vineyard it comes from, Viña Lanciano captures the essence of the land and the river around it. The Viña Lanciano vineyard is arguably among Rioja's most spectacular vineyards. Surrounded by a meander of the Ebro river, Viña Lanciano has 72 hectares. These are divided into 24 plots of vines aged up to an average of 60 years, planted on poor, stony soils. Protected from the winds and cold weather by the Sierra Cantabria, and by proximity to the river, the estate follows sustainable viticulture practices in search of balance, reinforcing the plants’ natural defences and providing a suitable environment that favours aeration and optimum sunshine exposure for the grapes. The resulting grapes are fantastically concentrated with complex phenolics.

The wine was fermented in small stainless steel tanks with a long maceration, including daily pump-overs to extract colour, tannin and flavour. Malolactic fermentation occurred in 225-litre French oak barriques. The wine was aged for a total of 36 months. This included 18 months in oak - 12 months in French (Tronçais) oak and six months in Russian Caucasus barrels. This was followed by 18 months of rounding in the bottle prior to release.

85% Tempranillo, 10% Graciano. 5% Mazuelo (Carignan). 

Bright crimson with purple hues. Elegant aromas of ripe red and black fruits, liquorice, sweet spice and pastries combined with the minerality characteristic of all the wines from the Viña Lanciano estate. The bouquet is girdled with hints of forest shrub (rockrose) and other balsamic aromas (mint, fennel…). Its attack is silky and elegant, showcasing fruit again on the palate as well as sweet and finely integrated tannins. Very persistent, its finish is pleasant and savory. A remarkable wine from Rioja able to boast of the region’s characteristic elegance and finesse.

£23.70

Terroir Series Finca Ambrosia, Trapiche 2015 (1x75cl)

Awarded a Gold medal and 95 points at the 2019 Decanter World Wine Awards (click link for details).

For other 2019 DWWA winners, click here.

The history of Trapiche begins in 1883, in a small vineyard called El Trapiche, in the district of Godoy Cruz, Mendoza, where the grapes for the first fine wines were grown. With more than 130 years of experience, Trapiche has earned its place as a pioneering brand in the introduction of French vines, the production of varietal wines, the import of French oak barrels and the use of stainless steel tanks. Led by Daniel Pi, their Director of Winemaking, Trapiche's winemaking team permanently strives to improve winemaking practices by exchanging experience and knowledge with winemakers from other wine producing countries such as France, the US, Australia and New Zealand. It is in this way that Trapiche has become Argentina's largest fine wine exporter.

Hand harvested with bunch selection followed by destemmind and individual berry selection. Fermentation with wild yeasts and maceration in small concrete vats for 25 days at 23-25ºC folllowed by a natural malolactic fermentation.

Aged 18 months in 100% new French oak barrels.

100% Malbec.

With a deep red color and ruby ​​sparkles, this Malbec gives intense aromas of black fruits with smoked and menthol notes. Aromas spiced with graphite and liquor are also appreciated in this wine. The palate is fruity and mineral, with a persistent finish.

£26.95

Wild Earth Pinot Noir 2016 (1x 75cl)

Awarded a Gold medal and 95 points at the 2019 Decanter World Wine Awards (click link for details)

For other 2019 DWWA winners, click here.

Other awards and reviews

Platinum BEST IN SHOW, 97 points, Decanter Asia Wine Awards 2018
Gold - Royal Easter Show Wine Awards 2019
Gold - Sydney International Wine Competition, Nov 2018
Silver - International Wine and Spirit Competition, UK, 2018
Silver - International Wine Challenge, London UK, 2019
5 Stars, Winestate’s May June 2019 
5 Stars, 18.5-/20 - Raymond Chan Wine Reviews, Nov 2018
5 Stars, 95 points - Sam Kim, Wine Orbit, Nov 2018
4.5 Stars, 94 points - Bob Campbell MW, Aug 2018
4 Stars - Wine NZ Magazine March 2019

See blue link below for the excellent fiche technique/technical note from the team at Wild Earth.

Wild Earth Pinot Noir 2016 - fiche technique

Wild Earth founder Quintin Quider is an expatriate Californian who has spent many years living on the South Island. He has gathered a small, dedicated team to produce his Wild Earth range in Central Otago. Established in 1998, Wild Earth Wines owns 35 hectares of vineyards in two of the region's finest locations - at the end of Felton Road overlooking the Kawarau River and in the North Lowburn district beneath the imposing Pisa Range.

The grapes for this single-vineyard wine come from the Terraces vineyard in Felton Road, Bannockburn which is planted with predominantly Dijon clones (777,115 ,114 and 667).

The grapes were hand harvested at optimal ripeness from early to mid-April. Six separate ferments went into the blend, which used on average 25% whole clusters with a total time on skins between three and four weeks to boost the tannic structure and aromatics of the wine. The wine was aged in fine-grained French oak: 22% in new oak, 40% one-year-old and 38% in 1-to-5-year-old barriques for approximately 11 months.

A bright garnet colour with aromas of sweet cherry, raspberry, cedar, wild thyme, and mushroom. Powerful yet elegant, this Pinot Noir has red and black berry, wild herb and distinctive earthy flavours complementing a richly textured palate. Silky and seamless with vibrant fruit, enticing layers, and a serious structure with so much finesse. Harmonious and rich, this Pinot Noir is drinking beautifully as a young wine and should continue to show its beauty for 10-12 years.

£21.20

Tikves Barovo Tikvesh Povardarje Macedonia, 2016 (1x 75cl)

Awarded a Gold medal and 95 points at the 2019 Decanter World Wine Awards (click link for details).

For other 2019 DWWA winners, click here.

See this link for a(n albeit promotional) article on Tikves from Decanter, November 2018

Every wine tells a story about the synergy between the soil, sun, grapes and the country of its origin. The Tikveš Winery has been narrating the Republic of Macedonia’s story as a winemaking country since 1885. However, the Republic of Macedonia remains one of Europe’s last undiscovered wine countries: it is a natural paradise of vineyards, mountains, lakes and rivers, with a climate perfectly suited to producing quality grapes. Located in the Tikveš region of central Macedonia, the Tikveš estate sustainably cultivates indigenous varieties such as Smederevka, Vranec and Kratoshija. The grapes are vinified in the state-of-the-art cellar equipped with the latest technology under the watchful eye of illustrious consultant oenologist Philippe Cambie, resulting in a series of authentic and characterful wines.

Grapes: Kratoshija 65%, Vranec 35%, being a blend of two indigenous varieties. Kratoshiya (pronounced krat-oss-SHEE-yah) has the same genetic origins as the Italian Primitivo variety. Vranec (pronounced VRANash) translates as 'black stallion' and wine made from this grape variety is associated with strength and opulence. The double Guyot trained vines are grown in a hilly plot with a south eastern orientation. Planted in well drained volcanic soils, the roots extend to a depth of 1.2 metres, where the soil is enriched with carbonates, minerals. This complex nutrition level imparts richness to the resulting wines. The vines are green harvested before véraison in order to further concentrate the flavours within the grapes. Harvest is undertaken manually, in order to ensure the grapes are picked at their optimum maturity.

The grapes were cooled for 12 hours, then destemmed, crushed and cold macerated for three days. Vinification took place over the course of 25 days, with regular pumping-over taking place in order to extract the desired levels of tannins, colour and flavours. Pressing took place in a pneumatic press which was followed by malolactic fermentation. 80% of the wine was aged in new French oak barrels for 15 months, followed by a minimum of six months bottle ageing.

A warm and savoury wine showing raisined black fruits complemented by dark chocolate and elegant toasty oak flavours.

Complex and elegant aromas of blackberries, plums and cherries combine with subtle hints of vanilla and toasty notes. Beautifully textured with a mouth-filling palate of ripe berried fruits against a mineral backdrop and a long lasting finish.

Thsi wine is suitable for vegetarians and vegans.

£18.30

Andeluna Pasionado Cabernet Franc 2015 (1x75cl)

The forthcoming 2016 vintage was awarded a Gold medal and 96 points at the 2019 Decanter World Wine Awards (click link for details).

For other 2019 DWWA winners, click here.

Awarded 93 points and Highly Recommended status by Decanter in their June 2019 panel tasting of South American Icon Wines (see blue link below).

Andeluna Pasionado Cabernet Franc 2015 - June 2019 Decanter review

Founded in 2003, Andeluna is a small boutique winery specialising in premium Bordeaux varietals of world class recognition. The vineyard covers 70 hectares in the beautiful Uco Valley near Tupungato, one of the best subregions of Mendoza. By night you can often see the moon illuminating the magnificent Andes Mountains nearby and the winery has been named after this stunning scene. Situated at an altitude of 1,300 metres, the vineyard produces some of the best fruit in Argentina. Winemaker, Manuel Gonzalez (previously Head Winemaker at Pulenta Estate and Chief Oenologist at Trivento) works alongside Andeluna's wine consultant Hans Vinding Diers to make outstanding wines which have propelled this producer into the global spotlight in a very short space of time. Their Pasionado range is only made in exceptional vintages and rivals some of the great wines of the world.

A warm winter was followed by a perfectly cool summer and between 10 to 50 per cent more rain than usual in the early autumn harvest months. In the Andeluna vineyards, the sloped stony soils and phenomenal drainage allowed the rain to have a mostly destressing effect on the vines, resulting in an incredible balance of flavours. The Malbec in parcels with stony and limestone soils were undisputed superstars. Due to the warm winter, the 2015 harvest was between 10 and 15 days earlier than usual.

The grapes come from vineyards located in Gualtallary in Tupungato at an altitude of 1,300 metres above sea level. The vines are irrigated by a drip-water system that regulates and supplies the exact amount of water that the plant needs. The vineyard soils are alluvial, sandy and permeable.

This wine is 100% Cabernet Franc.

The grapes were hand-picked in the cool of dawn in April, when they had reached full polyphenolic maturity. The berries were manually selected and the best berries underwent cold pre- fermentation maceration. Fermentation took place with natural yeasts in stainless steel tanks at controlled temperatures of 26°C. The wine was aged in used French oak barrels ( 60% second passage, 40% third passage) for a period of 12 months and then cellared in bottles for a minimum of eight months prior to its release. 

Intense aromas fill the glass, with deep red fruits and a remarkable presence of red bell pepper, fennel, mint, anise, eucalyptus and basil. A structured, full bodied wine, with rounded tannins which result in a pleasant and persistent finish. 

Serve with full bodied meats as steak or lamb. Decant and serve at 16°C.

£31.50

Josef Chromy Chardonnay 2017 (1x75cl)

Awarded a Gold medal and 95 points at the 2019 Decanter World Wine Awards (click link for details).

For other 2019 DWWA winners, click here.

At 76, when most people would be thinking about easing up, Joe launched Josef Chromy Wines in December 2007. In just over 4 years, Josef Chromy Wines made an impressive impact on the Australian wine industry. 

Josef Chromy's winemaking style is founded on producing wines that show a true ‘sense of place’ and celebrate the individual characteristics of each unique vintage. To ensure the integrity and delicate characteristics of the fruit, the grapes are received and vinified in Tasmania’s most advanced winery with emphasis on the wine being an expression of its terrior.

In all of their wines balance is the ultimate focus, striving to marry fruit, natural acidity, structure, tannin and texture. The use of state-of-the-art technology for traditional winemaking techniques enables a gentle, minimal intervention approach which allows the subtle and delicate flavours of the cool climate vineyard to be expressed to their full potential.

Please click on the blue link below to see the winemaker's notes on this wine.

Joseph Chromy Chardonnay 2017 - fiche technique

Citrus zest, tropical lime and white stonefruit aromas with underlying hints of toast and walnut. The palate shows elegant primary citrus fruit flavours of lemon and grapefruit, underpinned by sweet, creamy macdamia nut notes and hints of oatmeal. The palate is structured and balanced, with juicy lees complexity and toasty undertones. Fresh, natural acidity gives focus and length.

£21.50

Trinity Hill Gimblett Gravels Chardonnay 2017 (1x75cl)

Awarded a Gold medal and 95 points at the 2019 Decanter World Wine Awards (click link for details)

For other 2019 DWWA winners, click here.

Since its inception in 1993, partners John Hancock, who has been making wine in New Zealand for over 35 years, and Robert and Robyn Wilson, owners of The Bleeding Heart and The Don in London, have made Trinity Hill a byword for quality and consistency. Winemaker Warren Gibson has been with Trinity Hill since 1997. He is also in charge of the 80 hectares of vineyard owned by Trinity Hill, of which 47 are in the Gimblett Gravels.

The Gimblett Gravels, planted on the former bed of the Ngaruroro River, is now a highly sought after sub-region renowned for the quality of its wines. The 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 Gimblett Gravels winegrowing area is a small sub-region in the Hawkes Bay, defined by a very unique stony soil type. This wine is sourced from Estate grown grapes in the Tin Shed and Winery vineyards.

2017 was a remarkable vintage in Hawkes Bay. A moderate spring with low frost risk and generally good flowering led to an extremely dry and warm summer, recording above average temperatures in January and February before rainy weather came in late February followed by humid conditions with heavy rainfall from March to May.

Hand-harvested fruit was gently pressed and fermented with indigenous yeast in 500-litre French oak puncheons. The wild yeast helped to add complexity and texture. Malolactic fermentation was encouraged to soften acidity and give further richness. The wine was aged for 11 months in large 500-litre puncheons (of which 40% were new). This was followed by a further four months in tank on lees. 

The wine has flavours of citrus, white flowers and ripe grapefruit. The style is mid-weight with elegant oak providing texture and lingering flavours of cashew, roasted almond and gun flint. The structure has a tight shape with the finesse and concentration that are hallmarks of Trinity Hill Chardonnay. It displays delicacy but richness and the beautifully linear acidity makes it a fantastic match with food.

£22.10

Domaine De Vauroux Chablis 1er Cru Montee de Tonnerre 2017 (1x75cl)

Awarded a Gold medal and 95 points at the 2019 Decanter World Wine Awards (click link for details)

For other 2019 DWWA winners, click here.

Domaine de Vauroux was founded in 1956 by the Tricon family. Today, grapes are sourced from 27 hectares of vineyards on the warmer slopes, selecting sites with the best concentrations of Kimmeridgian clay, which helps drainage, reducing yields and increasing the quality of the grapes. Current owner, Olivier Tricon, has taken the domaine forward in leaps and bounds, receiving shining reviews for his Premier Cru Montée de Tonnerre. 

This is a wonderful Chablis Premier Cru, which has a complex, mineral flavour and citrus fruit hints. It is has long lasting taste. Thanks to its high acidity it has good potential for ageing.

This wine is 100% Chardonnay.

See blue link below for a fiche technique / technical note from the winemakers at Domaine de Vauroux.

Domaine de Vauroux Chablis 1er Cru 'Montee de Tonnerre' - fiche technique

£23.50

Domaines Minchin, La Tour Saint Martin Pommerais Menetou-Salon 2017 (1x 75cl)

Awarded a Gold medal and 95 points at the 2019 Decanter World Wine Awards (click link for details)

For other 2019 DWWA winners, click here.

Domaines Minchin is located in the heart of the Loire Valley. Having studied oenology at Beaune and Dijon, Bertrand Minchin acquired his first vineyards in the village of Morogues over 20 years ago, planting them with eight hectares of Sauvignon Blanc and seven of Pinot Noir. Today with an established reputation for quality, the estate has doubled in size to 17 hectares in Menetou-Salon and a further 14 in Valençay. The modern winery incorporates the latest technology and Bertrand is hand-crafting wines that are easily on a par with the finest Sancerre.

The grapes come from a single vineyard ‘Pommerais’ in the appellation of Menetou Salon, which is situated in the eastern part of the Loire Valley. Domaines Minchin is certified by Haute Valeur Environmentale and the vineyards are managed according to a strict sustainable philosophy, known as lutte raisonnée. The vineyard is planted with grass, and the soil is tilled and worked to ensure the health and vigour of the vine, while encouraging beneficial biodiversity. Debudding takes place in spring along with careful canopy management in summer, including thinning, which encourages the grapes to reach optimal ripeness and concentrates the flavours in the berries.

The Loire Valley vines enjoyed excellent heath throughout the season. 2017 was characterised by an early harvest, which took place two weeks earlier than average, under ideal weather conditions. Frost in April impacted some areas resulting in lower yields; however the excellent quality of the grapes harvested shows good levels of maturity and flavour concentration.

The grapes were harvested by hand at optimum maturity, destemmed and crushed by pneumatic press. Fermentation was carried out in temperature controlled tanks. Following fermentation, the wine was aged on its lees in oak vats for eight months; of which 80% spent its maturation in cone-shaped oak tanks, and the remaining 20% was in oak barrels.

100% Pinot Noir.

A silky smooth Pinot Noir with beautiful balance. Rich and complex aromas of deep red cherries and wild strawberries are underpinned by mineral notes and a hint of liquorice. Silky smooth on the palate, with delicate fruity notes enveloped in a beautifully balanced structure.

This wine is suitable for vegetarians and vegans.

£17.90

Strandveld Vineyards First Sighting Sauvignon Blanc 2018 (1x75cl)

Awarded a Gold medal and 95 points at the 2019 Decanter World Wine Awards (click link for details)

For other 2019 DWWA winners, click here.

Nestled between Elim and Cape Agulhas, and just 9km from the sea, lies the secluded Strandveld Vineyards. This wind-swept winery derives its name from the belt of land which spans the tempestuous tip of Africa’s southernmost coastline. At almost 35 degrees below the equator, this part of the Cape is characterised by severe winds, billowing mist and below average temperatures. A unique combination of maritime climate and diverse soil types work together to create the terroir which distinguishes the wines of Strandveld Vineyards.

See blue link below for the fiche technique/technical note from the winemakers a Strandveld.

Strandveld Vineyards First Sighting Sauvignon Blanc 2018 - fiche technique

87% Sauvignon Blanc, 13% Semillon.

Genuine lively fresh nettle and elderflower aromas. Very typical and expressive wine with cool climate Sauvignon notes. Wonderful balance to the fresh, powerful palate.

£11.45

Dandelion Vineyards Menagerie of the Barossa Grenache/Shiraz/Mataro 2017 (1x75cl)

Awarded a Gold medal and 95 points at the 2019 Decanter World Wine Awards (click link for details)

For other 2019 DWWA winners, click here.

Dandelion Vineyards is the venture of self-titled 'typist' Zar Brooks, his winemaking wife Elena and growers Carl Lindner and Brad Rey, with wines made from the Barossa and Eden Valleys, Fleurieu and McLaren Vale. Nick Stock, one of Australia's leading journalists, has described Dandelion as follows: 'Brooks has teamed up with his winemaking wife Elena, a woman whose talents are outweighed only by her tolerance, in an exciting new venture called Dandelion Vineyards. The approach is remarkably simple and sees Elena making wine from a suite of beautiful old vineyards identified by Carl Lindner and Brad Rey across that blessed curve that runs from the Barossa, up through the Eden Valley and Adelaide Hills and down into McLaren Vale.'

At the end of the old vine garden path at Dandelion Vineyards, there is a historic ‘Menagerie’ field blend of three grape varieties, adjoining blocks of Grenache, Shiraz and Mataro at Gomersal in the Barossa.

After hand picking selected bunches of the Menagerie field blend on 22nd April, winemaker Elena Brooks let the whole bunches ferment together in open top fermenters with ambient yeasts. Punching down of the cap took place over 14 days, before basket pressing in old French oak barriques. The wine was then matured for a further 12 months in the oak barrel, before bottling without fining or filtration to capture the vinous essence of the blend.

See also blue link below for the excellent technique/technical note from the winemakers at Dandelion Vineyards..

Dandelion Vineyards Menagerie Of The Barossa Grenache/Shiraz/Mataro 2017 - fiche technique

80% Grenache, 15% Shiraz, 5% Mataro (ie Mourvèdre).

The wine is deep red with youthful violet hues, with a nose that offers an intriguing mix of rose petals and lifted red fruits, berries and a hint of cinnamon and Asian spice. The palate offers wild cherry, damsons and mulberries, coupled with an impressive structure balanced by spicy oak. The wine is opulent, with intense red berries balanced by soft velvety tannins and supple oak.

£14.55

Jim Barry Wines The Florita, Clare Valley, Riesling 2016

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

For other 2019 DWWA winners, click here.

Certain names resonate strongly within Australian wine history and Jim Barry is one of them. It was Jim Barry’s drive that helped shape South Australia’s Clare Valley as a benchmark producer of world class Riesling and cemented it as one of Australia’s premier wine regions. Jim was the first qualified winemaker in the Clare Valley, graduating with a degree in oenology from the prestigious Roseworthy Agricultural College in 1947. Founded in 1959, Jim Barry Wines is still family owned, with three generations of Roseworthy graduates. Jim’s son Peter became managing director in 1985 and today Peter’s children Tom, Sam and Olivia are the winemaker, commercial manager and brand ambassador respectively. Voted ‘Winery of the Year’ by Matthew Jukes they produce highly acclaimed and award-winning wines.

2016 was an early, condensed and exciting vintage. Good levels of rain fell during the winter, which built the soil’s water reserves. A very dry, hot spring followed and flowering occurred early. The dry, warm weather continued throughout the ripening period and into the harvest, resulting in healthy grapes of excellent quality.

The famed Florita Vineyard is synonymous with the classic grape variety and was planted with Riesling grapes by Leo Buring in 1962. In 1986, the Barry family acquired the 32 hectare property. Florita' is Spanish for 'little flower' and the first release of this micro-batch of premium Riesling was in 2004; it was the fruit of years of patience. Individual rows are selected where the terra rossa and loam soils barely cover the deep limestone below and the vines deliver a wonderful elegance. The Clare Valley climate is continental, with a high diurnal temperature difference. The cool nights allow the Riesling vines to preserve the crisp natural acidity and delicate flavours.

The grapes were hand-harvested in the cool of the night and meticulously sorted to remove any damaged or sunburnt fruit. The fruit was chilled to 6°C before being destemmed and pressed. After cold settling, the juice was racked off of its solids. Cool fermentation took place with selected yeasts at temperatures of 14-16°C and lasted for two to three weeks. The Jim Barry Riesling wine is made following the philosophy of minimal intervention, allowing the wine to reflect its distinctive origins. 

Riesling 100%.

A wine of immense purity and drive that is bursting with intense aromas of rose water, lime and hints of freshly-cut pear. The tightly-wound palate delivers laser-focussed acidity and crisp lime juice at its core and shows all the hallmarks of a youthful but restrained Florita Riesling. Pure with a long, citrus finish.

£27.00

Pauletts Aged Release Polish Hill River Riesling 2013 (1x75cl)

Awarded a Gold medal and 95 points at the 2019 Decanter World Wine Awards (click link for details).

For other 2019 DWWA winners, click here.

The 2010 vintage of this wine was a huge hit when it featured in Decanter (www.decanter.com) recently, being awarded 96 points and Outstanding status by Decanter (www.decanter.com) in their April 2018 edition review of Australian Rieslings. The 2014 vintage scored 98 points and was rated Outstanding (see blue links below).

Pauletts (Aged Release) Polish Hill River Riesling 2010 - April 2018 Decanter review

Pauletts Polish Hill River Riesling 2014 - April 2018 Decanter review

See also here for Decanter's assessment of Australian Riesling vintages (click blue link below).

Decanter Australian vintage summary

And, for extra info, here's Paulett's own data sheet/fiche technique.

Pauletts Polish Hill River Riesling 2013 - fiche technique

Clare Valley is one of Australia`s oldest wine regions and is probably best known for its Riesling wines. Polish Hill River is a sub-region one and a half hours drive north from Adelaide. Named after the Polish settlers of the mid 1800s, the clim2ate is ideal for premium grape growing with a combination of consistently good winter rains, hot summers tempered by cool nights and a long ripening period.

Pauletts' reputation for producing wines of finesse, elegance and intensity is justly deserved with consistent skill and care from vintage to vintage. Neil Paulett graduated from the Roseworthy oenology course in the early 1970s and spent a further ten years honing his winemaking skills at Penfolds before buying his own property in the Clare Valley. Located some 90 minutes north of Adelaide,this lovely property now extends to 150 hectares with 47 planted with vines. Since the first vintage in 1983 there have been many accolades both at home and internationally. These wines are a true reflection of the region and are of outstanding quality.

Neil Paulett holds back a small parcel of Riesling from the most successful vintages for an extended maturation in the winery`s cellar. After 5 years this dry Riesling has blossomed into an expressive golden wine, with a nose of lemon zest and acacia with hints of honey and toast but with an underlining crispness. Citrus flavours of lime are evident and with a delightful freshness and acidity through to the finish.

This wine is superb with oysters and prawns or spicy Asian dishes.

£15.90

Bertani Amarone Valpantena DOCG, 2016 (1x75cl)

Awarded a Gold medal and 95 points at the 2019 Decanter World Wine Awards (click link for details)

For other 2019 DWWA winners, click here.

This wine comes from the hills of the Valpantena, the only 'cru' subzone in the Valpolicella area. Bertani’s traditional devotion to producing Amarone is also found in this wine, a modern and balanced Amarone, but still authentic and rich in body. New fermentation technology and drying methods give balance and elegance to the wine’s exuberant fruity notes, blackberry flavour, hints of mint, sweet cherry and spicy notes that are typical of this valley

The vines are vertical-trellised and Guyot-trained, with a planting density of 5000 vines /ha. Production area is he Valpantena hills, north of Verona. The soils are calcareous-marl in the east and calcareous-clay in the west, rich in iron.

The harvest is done by hand and starts in the middle of September. The best grapes are selected so that only the healthiest and ripest bunches are sent to the drying rooms of the winery in Grezzana, where they are laid out in single-layer crates. In mid-January, the grapes are destemmed and crushed, then fermentation starts, at first at a temperature of 4°-5°C, which then reaches 22°C in the final stages.

Part-aged in Slavonian oak barrels with an average capacity of 25 hl, and a small part in barriques for about 30 months. Bottling is followed by at least six months of maturation.

80% Corvina Veronese and 20% Rondinella.

An intense red colour with purplish highlights. On the nose, marked and intense aromas of very ripe cherries, sour cherries, fruits of the forest, spicy and nutty notes typical of the Valpantena. Good follow-through of red fruits on the palate, with supple tannins to give depth. It is a full-bodied wine, best suited to rich dishes, mature cheeses and strong-flavoured meats.

£31.35

Domaine René Monnier (Xavier Monnot), Meursault 1er Cru Les Charmes 2017 (1x75cl)

The wine submitted to DWWA19 was under the label of Domaine Xavier Monnot, being the name of René Monnier’s grandson (see text below), who is now winemaker there. This wine we list appears under the original Domaine René Monnier label. The domaine trades under both names. The Xavier Monnot label is hard to find in the UK.

 

We have checked - exhaustively - with the domaine, and they have confirmed that the two wines are identical, being from one single bottling run under two different labels.

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

For other 2019 DWWA winners, click here.

Domaine René Monnier is a leading and sought-after producer situated in the heart of Meursault. With over 18 hectares of vineyard in the most prestigious crus of the Côte de Beaune, Domaine René Monnier is one of the largest privately-owned domaines in the region. Founded in 1723, the domaine is now in the hands of the tenth generation, with all the wines being skilfully made by Xavier Monnot. Domaine René Monnier's white wines are fresh and stylish avoiding an excessive use of oak, while the reds are the epitome of fine Burgundy demonstrating the balanced, silky style of this house.

The 2017 vintage in Burgundy enjoyed favourable weather conditions throughout the growing period. The season was marked by an alternation of warm and sunny days, with rainy and overcast days, which allowed the grapes to ripen gradually. The harvest produced homogeneous results with good quality berries and wonderful balance between sugar and acidity. The 2017 is a very good vintage with excellent aging potential.

The grapes come from 50-year-old vines grown in the Premier Cru vineyard of Les Charmes, which is located on the lower slope of the Cote d'Or at the southern end of the village. The gentle gradient exposes the vines to the morning sunlight, but shelters them from the brighter afternoon sun. The influence of this warmer and cooler microclimate encourages a long, slow ripening period, helping the grapes to retain acidity as they develop rich flavour complexity. The René Monnier vineyards are farmed according to la lutte raisonnée, using sustainable agricultural methods, reducing the use of chemicals in order to respect the land and its environment. The soils in the vineyard are limestone mixed with marl, retaining moisture in dry weather, but also offering good drainage in cooler weather.

Traditional Burgundian vinification techniques were employed. Fermentation took place in French oak barrels, of which 30% were new. The wine went through malolactic fermentation resulting in a rounder palate. Ageing took place in the French oak barrels for a period of 14 months. The wine underwent delicate bâtonnage (or lees stirring), imparting texture and a richer complexity to this stunning cuvée. The wine was lightly fined and filtered before being estate bottled by gravity.

Chardonnay 100%.

A rich and softly textured wine with a good depth and beautiful integration of toasty oak with rich, elegantly styled fruit and a balanced acidity through to a wonderful long, opulent finish.

£63.85

Ktima Gerovassiliou Epanomi Malagousia 2018

Awarded a Gold medal and 95 points at the 2019 Decanter World Wine Awards (click link for details)

For other 2019 DWWA winners, click here.

Ktima Gerovassiliou is the brainchild of Evangelos Gerovassiliou. He initiated the revival of the family vineyard by planting the nearly extinct Malagousia in 1981. This state of the art winery is now surrounded by 74 hectares of meticulously well-cared vineyards on the slopes of Epanomi. Ktima Gerovassiliou guarantees consistent, high quality wines of international acclaim every year and his Malagousia remains the benchmark to this day.

At Ktima Gerovassiliou, the single, private vineyard is cultivated with great care and enthusiasm, which leads to constant research and experimentation with Greek and international varieties. New technological advances blend well with tradition throughout the vine growing and vinification processes to produce high quality wines that carry all the distinct characteristics of the terroir of Epanomi. The climate in the region of Epanomi is Mediterranean with mild winters and hot summers, tempered by sea breezes. The vineyard is surrounded on three sides by the sea, which is three kilometres away, while its west side faces the Thermaic Gulf, Mount Olympus and the beaches of Pieria. The vines are grown in soils which are mainly sandy with a few clayey substrates and calcareous rocks. It is rich in sea fossils, as the surrounding hilly area was formed by sea deposits.

The Malagousia (pronounced Mah-lah-gou-ZYA) grapes were macerated on the skins to extract the desired level of aromatics. Part of the must was fermented in stainless steel at controlled temperatures of between 18 to 20°C; and part was vinified in seasoned French oak. Clarification took place by gravity. The wine was then matured on the lees for a few months with regular lees stirring or bâtonnage, prior to being fined with bentonite.

Malagousia 100%.

Wonderfully expressive and complex aromas of white pear, mango and lemon zest combine with floral hints. Delightful and refreshing on the palate, it is rich and harmonious with a spicy, mouthwatering finish with a delicious flinty, mineral character.  A perfect match for Mediterranean dishes, seafood, Thai-spiced grilled swordfish, orzo cauliflower salad or fried courgette blossoms.

This wine is suitable for vegans and vegetarians. 

£15.75

Furst von Metternich Schloss Johannisberg Riesling Silberlack Rheingau 2017 (1x 75cl)

Awarded a Gold medal and 95 points at the 2019 Decanter World Wine Awards (click link for details)

For other 2019 DWWA winners, click here.

Awarded 94 points and Highly Recommended status by Decanter (www.decanter.com) in August 2018 (see blue link below)

Furst Von Metternich Schloss Johannisberg Riesling Silberlack Rheingau 2017 - July 2018 Decanter review

The legendary Schloss Johannisberg is steeped in history. The vineyards were planted on the orders of the Roman Emperor Charlemagne. Planted solely with Riesling grapes in 1720, Schloss Johannisberg was the world's first Riesling Estate and plays a significant part in wine history. It was here in 1775 that the Spätlese quality was discovered using late picked grapes suffering from "noble rot". Following this discovery, in 1787 the estate gave Auslese, Beerenauslese and Trockenbeerenauslese to the wine world. Schloss Johannisberg is a single vineyard designation in its own right and one of a handful of German vineyards that does not have to display a village name on the label.

The south-facing vineyard is steep, with a 45° gradient and climbs from 114 metres above sea level to 181 metres. The forest on the top of the Taunus protects the vineyard from cold winds from the north, while in the south, the Rhine lays like a lake in front of the estate. The 50° parallel runs directly through the vineyard and the unique soil formation of Taunus quartz, topped with loam and rich loess, is perfect for minerally Rieslings, retaining both moisture and heat.

The grapes were handpicked from the steep, south facing slopes of Domaine Schloss Joahnnisberg in the Rheingau. These were pressed in whole clusters and fermented in old oak barrels for a period of six weeks. The wine was then left on its lees for seven months, adding complexity and weight to the wine.

This deep lemon yellow wine shows complex aromas of peaches and apricots, complemented by lemon, lavender, a hint of smoky minerality and an elegant spiciness in the background. Concentrated on the palate, with a mouthwatering acidity and a long, clean finish. 

£46.65

Palmer & Co Rose Reserve NV (1x75cl)

Awarded a Gold medal and 95 points at the 2019 Decanter World Wine Awards (click link for details)

For other 2019 DWWA winners, click here.

Founded in 1947 and historically established in Reims, Palmer & Co is a premium and on-trade exclusive Champagne House with over 200 hectares of vineyards classified as Grand and Premier Crus in the Montagne de Reims area. The Palmer & Co wines mature in a maze of deep chalky galleries, remaining in contact with the lees for at least four years for Palmer Brut ReserChampagne Palmer & Co. boasts over 70 years of history and heritage and is known internationally for its highly acclaimed portfolio, prestigious vineyard holdings and exceptional wine quality. Champagne Palmer & Co. is known best for its Brut Reserve, Rosé Reserve, Blanc de Blancs and Vintage offerings.

Palmer & Co has here created a rosé Champagne of exceptional fruitiness, reflecting the House’s celebrated expertise in the vinification of red wines. A sumptuous solera of Pinot Noir, over 35 years old, lies at the heart of the Palmer & Co Rosé Reserve blend. Palmer & Co is one of the rare Champagne houses to have adapted this well-known technique, often used for Spanish wines, for the creation of its Champagnes. Each year, Palmer & Co adds wines from the new harvest to compensate for the wine drawn off. This ‘perpetual reserve’ forms an extraordinary library expressing a unique combination of red fruit and spice aromas and flavours.

"Our Pinot Noir solera lends those delicately spicy notes to our rosé Champagne, making it absolutely irresistible. The blend is eternally self-perpetuating, with the older wine educating the new and the new nourishing the old. The principle is simple but requires great rigour during the vinification process". Xavier Berdin, Cellar Master

See blue link below for the fiche technique/technical note from Palmer & Co (grape varieties, ageing, dosage etc).

Palmer & Co Rose Reserve NV - fiche technique

Irresistibly attractive, an intense nose is dominated by the zesty aromas of wild strawberries combined with lively, ethereal notes of red- and black-currants overlaying a delicately spicy vanilla and cinnamon base. Delightfully fresh to the palate, its fine bubbles are invigorated by a discreet touch of tannin, with the same very charming and fruity elegance.

£35.35

Palmer & Co Rose Reserve NV magnum (1x1.5L)

Awarded a Gold medal and 95 points at the 2019 Decanter World Wine Awards (click link for details)

For other 2019 DWWA winners, click here.

Founded in 1947 and historically established in Reims, Palmer & Co is a premium and on-trade exclusive Champagne House with over 200 hectares of vineyards classified as Grand and Premier Crus in the Montagne de Reims area. The Palmer & Co wines mature in a maze of deep chalky galleries, remaining in contact with the lees for at least four years for Palmer Brut ReserChampagne Palmer & Co. boasts over 70 years of history and heritage and is known internationally for its highly acclaimed portfolio, prestigious vineyard holdings and exceptional wine quality. Champagne Palmer & Co. is known best for its Brut Reserve, Rosé Reserve, Blanc de Blancs and Vintage offerings.

Palmer & Co has here created a rosé Champagne of exceptional fruitiness, reflecting the House’s celebrated expertise in the vinification of red wines. A sumptuous solera of Pinot Noir, over 35 years old, lies at the heart of the Palmer & Co Rosé Reserve blend. Palmer & Co is one of the rare Champagne houses to have adapted this well-known technique, often used for Spanish wines, for the creation of its Champagnes. Each year, Palmer & Co adds wines from the new harvest to compensate for the wine drawn off. This ‘perpetual reserve’ forms an extraordinary library expressing a unique combination of red fruit and spice aromas and flavours.

"Our Pinot Noir solera lends those delicately spicy notes to our rosé Champagne, making it absolutely irresistible. The blend is eternally self-perpetuating, with the older wine educating the new and the new nourishing the old. The principle is simple but requires great rigour during the vinification process". Xavier Berdin, Cellar Master

See blue link below for the fiche technique/technical note from Palmer & Co (grape varieties, ageing, dosage etc).

Palmer & Co Rose Reserve NV - fiche technique

Irresistibly attractive, an intense nose is dominated by the zesty aromas of wild strawberries combined with lively, ethereal notes of red- and black-currants overlaying a delicately spicy vanilla and cinnamon base. Delightfully fresh to the palate, its fine bubbles are invigorated by a discreet touch of tannin, with the same very charming and fruity elegance.

£76.15

Taylor's Quinta de Vargellas 2004 (1x 75cl)

Awarded a Gold medal and 95 points at the 2019 Decanter World Wine Awards (click link for details)

For other 2019 DWWA winners, click here.

Awarded 94 points and Highly Recomended status by Decanter (www.decanter.com) in their January 2019 edition review of Dessert Wines and Ports (see blue link below) ...

Taylor's Quinta de Vargellas 2004 - January 2019 Decanter review

... and further endorsed in the same edition by a 93-point review in a review of Festive Wines (see blue link below).

Taylor's Quinta de Vargellas 2004 - January 2019 Decanter review

See blue link below for the fiche technique/technical note from the UK importer.

Taylor's Quinta de Vargellas 2004 - fiche technique

The 2003/2004 winter was very dry, having only rained 1/3 of the quantity registered the previous winter. The lack of water during the early part of the growing season led to very little pressure from disease. Our concern in July was mainly one of doubting the vines capacity to ripen the grapes due to the drastic shortage of water. The vintage stood out for the perfect weather conditions for the whole period. The young Ports showed good structure with very fresh berry fruit aromas, resulting from the cooler than normal ripening period.

Powerful, pungent, aromatic nose with ripe, rich, juicy, berry fruit aromas; overlaid with wonderful characteristic floral notes. This wine has a bouquet with great depth and layers of intense fresh fruit. On the palate, the freshness of berry fruit continues, combining with rich chocolate and liquorice flavours of equal intensity. The tannins are firm but well integrated, resulting in a beautifully structured and balanced wine. Texturally the wine is smooth and silky, leaving one with the sensation of a well crafted, stylish, extremely elegant wine.

£27.30

Klein Constantia Vin de Constance 2015 (1x50cl)

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

For other 2019 DWWA winners, click here.

Awarded 98 points and Exceptional status by Decanter (www.decanter.com) in their January 2019 edition review of Dessert Wines and Ports (see blue link below).

Klein Constantia Vin de Constance 2015 - January 2019 Decanter review

Even better than the 2014 release - and that was a spectacular sweet wine - the 2015 Vin de Constance is one of the greatest ever vintages of this iconic sticky. More Barsac than Sauternes in terms of weight, it’s fresh and refined, a bit like the 2012, with citrus and orange zest balancing the 172 grams of sugar. The oak is perfectly judged; the length and freshness, things of wonder". 98 points, Tim Atkin, South Africa Report 2018

See blue link below for the fiche technique/technical note from the UK importer.

Klein Constantia Vin de Constance 2015 - fiche technique ...

... and this detailed information pack on the wine and this vintage ...

... and (perhaps best of all) this video for more details on the wine.

Golden hued, deep amber in appearance. First nose is of freshly dried pineapples with hints of vanilla and roasted almonds. Heady woodspice scents intermingle with fresh mandarin, lemongrass and mango. The seamless palate is elegantly structured, with ripe tropical flavours of mango. and pineapple. Raisined Muscat flavours provide concentrated acidity and a piercing lift to the seemingly endless finish. Will mature for at least a further 25 years.

£49.95

Barros 10 Year Old Tawny Port (1x75cl)

Awarded a Gold medal and 95 points at the 2019 Decanter World Wine Awards (click link for details)

For other 2019 DWWA winners, click here.

Awarded a Gold medal and 95 points at the 2018 Decanter World Wine Awards (click link for details).

For other 2018 DWWA winners, click here.

Awarded 92 points and Highly Recommended status by Decanter (www.decanter.com) in their January 2018 edition panel review of Tawny Port (see blue link below).

Sogevinus Barros 10yo Tawny - January 2018 Decanter review

Having celebrated their 100th year of trading in 2013, Barros Port is undoubtedly one of the most prestigious companies producing and trading in Port. Much of their success comes from Colheita Ports - old Tawnies from a single year matured in cask for a minimum period of seven years.

Hand-harvested at their best moment, the grapes are destemmed, crushed and vinified in a careful maceration with extraction of colour, tannins and pellicle aromas, complemented by permanent pumping-over during fermentation. This process takes place in vats at a controlled temperature between 28-30ºC. At this phase grape brandy is added, creating a fortified wine. A wine of an exceptional quality, obtained by the selection of several harvests. It is matured in wood for variable periods of time and  the age mentioned on the label is an average age of the different wines used in blending this port. This is instrumental in the wine expressing its character which is influenced by the ageing in oak casks.

With a brown-tawny colour, the nose is dense with dried fruit aromas, with delicate vanilla and chocolate notes. The soft and silky texture and the subtle nuances of wood are balanced by a fresh acidity which culminates with a long and elegant finish.

When served slightly chilled, it is the ideal choice to serve with appetizers like strong cheeses. The velvety texture and the  aromatic expressions stand-out remarkably with main courses with dried fruits. Irresistible with pate as well as aubergine and nuts. Wonderful choice to serve with a myriad of delicious caramel brownies, chocolate and pistachio pavê and nuts crostini with goats cheese.

£21.75

Sandeman 20 Year Old Tawny Port (1x75cl)

Awarded a Gold medal and 95 points at the 2019 Decanter World Wine Awards (click link for details)

For other 2019 DWWA winners, click here.

There are few more iconic images in the world of wine than the ‘Don’, the logo created for the Sandeman family in 1928 by George Massiot Brown. The cape was modelled on the attire worn by university students in Porto, while the wide-brimmed hat was a nod to the family’s presence in Jerez. Today, the wines are good enough to be every bit as famous as the image of the Don. Since Sogrape bought Sandeman from Seagram in 2002, the major investment that has taken place in the vineyards and the winemaking has seen them rise to the top of the tree in Port. The production of Port – especially Tawny – requires patience and a long-term vision.

The soil in the Douro Valley is made up of schist - a slate-like metamorphic rock that is rich in nutrients has useful water retention properties. The vines are grown on terraces cut into the steep hillsides of the Douro Valley. The terraces are walled with cut schist to prevent erosion, otherwise torrential rains would wash loose stones down the slopes and into the river. Each terrace can hold up to three rows of vines.

Grapes for Sandeman ports are hand-picked and harvest timing is decided according to the style intended. For tawnies, grapes are picked with an acidity structure which emphasises freshness in the final bottled wine, as this is crucial for creating balance in wood-aged styles. They are also more delicate and aromatic than the grapes used for bottle-aged ports (e.g., late bottled vintage and vintage styles). The grapes are destemmed and crushed before fermentation at controlled temperatures, with skin maceration to extract tannin, colour and flavour. For tawny styles, this process is done in overhead stainless steel fermentation vessels with punch downs and pumping over, unlike for bottle-aged styles ports which are fermented in shallow granite lagares. The moment of fortification with a neutral grape spirit is chosen by the winemaker following strict control of fermentation temperatures and must densities according to the vine variety, maturation stage and the final sweetness required. After the harvest, the wines remain in the Douro until the following spring, when they are taken to Vila Nova de Gaia and enter Sandeman's centuries-old lodges for ageing in small, used oak barrels. Over the years, the wines selected for this 20 Year Old Tawny are carefully tasted, analysed and racked from lees. The final blend results from a selection of wines of between 15-40 years of age, masterfully blended to maintain consistency and character.

Rich tawny in colour with hints of brick. The palate expresses a rich and elegant combination of flavours - dried apricots, honey, roasted nuts, spices and vanilla. This is an endlessly complex wine that unfolds smoothly and develops in the mouth. The finish is exceptionally concentrated and long-lasting. Serve this chilled in a proper wine glass to allow the perfumes to express themselves.

£32.55

Morris Old Premium Rare Liqueur Muscat (1x50cl)

Awarded a Platinum Medal and 97 points at the 2018 Decanter World Wine Awards (click link for details).

For other 2018 DWWA winners, click here.

For over 155 years, the Morris family have earned their position as one of the most prominent winemaking families in Australia, with their name being synonymous with ‘Liqueur Muscat’ for many years. Today, David Morris, the fifth generation of the family to run the winery, ensures the Morris name remains one of Australia’s most respected.

Located in the Rutherglen region of North-East Victoria, the Morris of Rutherglen have 80 hectares of easterly facing vineyards which are planted on red loam over red/yellow poldzotic clay soils. The red loam helps produce red wines with greater flavour and richness. The vineyards gently slope, with the earlier budburst varieties being planted on the higher slopes and the later budburst varieties on the lower slopes (175m in altitude). The vines are grown on a single wire trellis 900mm high and are hand-pruned using the rod and spur method, whilst only being reliant on natural rainfall. This produces lower-cropping vines that offer fruit of high sugar levels and concentrated flavours.

95% Muscat à Petit Grains. Grapes were selected for harvesting between 15 to 16 Baumé. In the winery, they were crushed and allowed to start fermentation. The fruit had considerable hang time on the vine allowing for high sugar levels and intense flavours to develop. Once the desired baume level was reached, pressing occurred, and a high strength neutral spirit was added to arrest fermentation, before being transferred into casks for maturation. Only the best wines from the best vintages were chosen to blend the Old Premium Rare Muscat; a true art of balancing very old and much younger material.

The older vines impart intense, concentrated and luscious flavours with aged complexity to this wine. These are complimented by fresh fruit characters from the younger wines. In the glass, the wine is a dark olive brown with a green tinge on the rim. An intense bouquet of raisin fruit and soft woody characters delight the nose. The palate shows great depth, length and complexity with rich and luscious flavours of sweet spices, dried raisins and Christmas pudding.

£78.00
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