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A Mano Imprint Primitivo Appassito 2018 (1x75cl)

Mark Shannon and Elvezia Sbalchiero, the duo behind A Mano, have worked in the wine business for most of their lives. Elvezia is a northern Italian wine marketing expert and Mark is a Californian winemaker. They fell in love with Puglia and, when they decided to start their own label, made it their home. By producing high quality wines, Mark and Elvezia have succeeded in making Primitivo one of Italy's most talked about grape varieties. They pay high prices for the best grapes from 70-100 year old vines and focus solely on quality and a modern style. After over 15 vintages, they are now getting access to some of Salento's best grapes.

The grapes for this wine come from a selection of Mark's four favourite vineyards in the heart of the Primitivo growing region, located in the low hills east of Taranto in Puglia. The region is an old sea bed, full of fossils of clams, oysters and urchins. The altitude is approximately 30-60 metres above sea level and annual rainfall is 35 centimetres. The climate is classically Mediterranean, as Puglia is on a peninsula between the Adriatic and the Ionian seas. The Primitivo vines are quite old; most are the original post phylloxera plantings and range from 70-100 years old. As with most vineyards planted at that time, they are small bush vines called 'alberello' which are non-irrigated and low yielding. The average Primitivo vineyard is quite small, less than half a hectare and the best sites have a crumbly, dark reddish brown soil that resembles instant coffee.

The Primitivo grapes were dried for five weeks. On arrival at the cellars, the grapes were pressed, destemmed and cooled to 18°C and the must was allowed to ferment at its own pace. After racking in mid-November, the wine remained in an underground cement tank where the temperature did not exceed 10°C until bottling under Stelvin closure.

100% Primitivo.

A deeply coloured wine with exuberant perfumes of ripe red and black berry fruits, with notes of spice from the oak ageing. Made in the style of an Amarone, it is concentrated and opulent on the palate, with great balance. It is elegant, velvety and supple, with a long finish.

ABV = 14.5%.

£14.05

Alpha Zeta A Amarone 2016 (1x75cl)

Alpha Zeta was created in 1999 by UK wine importer, David Gleave MW, and New Zealand winemaker, Matt Thomson with this belief in mind. They realised that the key is to marry local grape growers with impeccable winemaking. All Alpha Zeta wines are made from indigenous grape varieties grown in the hills north-east of Verona.  The flavours of the grape shine through in the glass offering great value, quality and balance. Matt works with local Veronese grape growers in hillside vineyards to select parcels of fruit, rather than buying in bulk wine. They have worked together to reduce yields and the grapes are now picked later. In this way, they have been able to improve grape quality and obtain riper flavours.

The vineyards are situated in the hills outside Verona in the Valpantena Valley. Cool currents blow down the valley from the foothills of the Dolomites, which helps to moderate the climate, enabling the grapes to ripen slowly. This helps the grapes to retain their aromatic compounds and acidity. The soil is a mixture of clay and limestone with good drainage. The vineyards are south-facing and therefore warmer than other parts of Valpolicella.

The 2016 harvest was quite similar to 2015, with a cold winter and abundant rainfall. The beginning of the growing season was characterised by the alternation of dry and rainy periods, which allowed for perfect vine development. The following hot and dry summer led to an abundant harvest with healthy grapes.

Selected grapes were picked in mid September and left to dry in specially ventilated rooms until the end of January. During this time the grapes lost about 40% of their natural weight. The grapes were destemmed and crushed at the end of January. Fermentation temperature was between 18°-22°C with daily periodic pumping over, while the length of maceration was 20 days. This Amarone was matured in oak (a mixture of large 'botti' and French oak barriques) for 18 months before bottling.

85% Corvina/Corvinone , 15% Rondinella,

This Amarone is deep and intense on the nose with aromas of dried cherries and blueberries and notes of spiced autumn fruit compote. On the palate it is powerful, with a lovely balance of ripe tannins and spiced, concentrated savoury cherry fruit character. A touch of woodsmoke completes the long finish.

ABV = 15.0%.

£24.65

Antinori Prunotto Barolo 2015 (1x75cl)

Prunotto was founded in 1904 by Alfredo Prunotto under the name Ai Vini delle Langhe. In 1989, the Marchesi Antinori family began its collaboration with the Prunotto Company, at first handling distribution and later getting directly involved in the production process, maintaining the excellent level of quality which Alfredo Prunotto had always insisted upon.

This wine comes from vineyards in the townships of Monforte, Castiglione Falletto, and Serralunga. The soils from the Tortonian-Messinian period - the so-called “Sant’Agata fossil marls” - are particularly rich in calcareous clays and elements such as magnesium and manganese.

The selected grape bunches were destemmed and pressed. The fermentation with skin contact lasted a total of ten days at maximum temperatures of 30° centigrade (86° Fahrenheit). The malolactic fermentation terminated before the end of the winter. The wine ages for at least 18 months in French oak casks. A further period of bottle ageing in the Prunotto cellars preceded commercial release.

This wine was made using 100% Nebbiolo.

The 2015 Barolo stands on firm ground thanks to the dark and savory qualities that lift heavily from the bouquet. This wine is saturated and rich with dark aromas that are firmly stitched together with spice, licorice and pressed blue flowers. There is power and richness at the deep inner core of this wine. It will unfold and become softer with time (perhaps five years or more). 

ABV = 13.5%. 

£36.90

Bertani Catullo Valpolicella Ripasso Classico Superiore 2016 (1x75cl)

Awarded 91 points and Highly Recommended status by Decanter (www.decanter.com) in their May 2020 edition's panel tasting of Valpolicella Ripassos (see blue link below).

Bertani Catullo Valpolicella Ripasso Classico Superiore 2016 - May 2020 Decanter review

We have created a 3-minute video tasting of this Ripasso.

In 1957, the Bertani family bought the Tenuta Novare, a unique place in the heart of the Valpolicella Classica area. The estate is situated in a green hollow, in a sort of natural amphitheatre, where the vineyards alternate with woods and lush nature. It is an extraordinary land where constant water is guaranteed by 7 natural springs. Amarone Bertani wouldn’t be the authentic and distinctive wine we know today, if this unique place didn’t exist.

Tenuta Novare has a continuous and unusual alternation of soils: clay at the bottom of the valley, calcareous soils rich in iron and manganese and soils rich in basalt, ideal for producing grapes destined to making great red wines.

The mild climate, as shown by the presence of cypresses and olive trees, defines this welcoming and noble profile of Valpolicella.

From this same site, the Catullo Ripasso is produced, an elegant, balanced and harmonious wine with a classic style made with the second fermentation ripasso technique.

70% Corvina Veronese, 20% Corvinone, 10% Rondinella.

For this wine, see the blue link below for the excellent fiche technique/technical note from the winemakers themselves.

Bertani Catullo Valpolicella Ripasso Classico Superiore 2016 - fiche technique

This is a wine of medium body, with gentle spicy notes of vanilla and chocolate and the typical notes of cherry, black cherry and white pepper. On the palate, freshness and drinkability (typical of Valpolicella) combine with a silky tannic structure and an intense aromatic persistence, more typical of Amarone. Fresh, soft and sapid finish.

Exel note: it has a markedly lower residual sugar level than many ripassos.

ABV = 13.0%.

£34.40

Caggiano Taurasi Vigna Macchia dei Gotti DOCG 2015 (1x75cl)

Awarded Tre Bicchieri - 2020 by Gambero Rosso.

The 2013 vintage was awarded 95 points by Decanter (www.decanter.com) in their February 2018 edition review of Italian Icon Wines (see blue link below) ....

Caggiano Taurasi Vigna Macchia dei Gotti 2013 - Feb 2018 Decanter review

... and awarded 93 points by Decanter (www.decanter.com) in their February 2018 Italy supplement article on Aglianico (see blue link below).

Caggiano Vigna Macchia dei Gotti Taurasi 2013 - Feb 2018 Decanter review

The estate was established in 1990 by Antonio Caggiano with the help of Professor Luigi Moio, who is one of the major experts on Aglianico. Antonio is also a professional and very talented photographer. Antonio used to have a building enterprise and he decided to build a cellar, in 1990, that was supposed to amaze. The cellar, which is hewn in rock and built underground, is really amazing and was completed in 1995. In the meantime vineyards from the finest crus were bought and plots of land were purchased and planted with selected clones of Aglianico. The new part of the cellar with very modern equipment was designed by Pino and Lorella, both architects and son and daughter of Antonio, and was completed in 2008. Pino, who has a real passion for wine, is now at the helm with the support of Antonio.

The estate could potentially produce one million bottles/year, but Antonio and Pino have chosen to keep production at 150,000-160,000 bottles/year. The total vineyard extension is 26 hectares, 23 hectares of Aglianico and 3 hectares of Fiano. The vineyards of Aglianico are all in Contrada Sala. The zone of Contrada Sala is airy, the altitude is 350-450 meters above sea level. The exposure is south-west. The great Aglianico grape finds ideal conditions here. The Fiano vineyards are in Lapio. Vineyards of Greco (located in Tufo) and vineyards of Falanghina (in the area of Benevento) are contracted. Disease and pest control is carried out following a programme of the Campania region for the respect of the environment and for the care of vines. 

For this flagship Taurasi, fermentation is temperature-controlled, in stainless steel.

Intense maceration with the skins and alcoholic fermentation at 28 deg C for 20-25 days in steel. Malolactic fermentation in barriques. The wine matures in French oak (Troncais, Centre and Vosges) barriques for 18 months. Finishing in the bottle for another 18 months.

100% Aglianico.

This is an intense and complex wine with aromas of red berry fruits on the nose and hints of vanilla and licorice appear on the palate along with wild strawberries and cranberries.

ABV = 14.5%

£31.35

Cantina Valle Isarco, Kerner Aristos, Alto Adige 2018 (1x75cl)

** PLEASE NOTE: NOT WITH US UNTIL THE END OF OCTOBER (this wine is nowhere in the UK currently) - A SHORT FURTHER DELAY IS ALWAYS POSSIBLE **

Awarded a Platinum medal, Best In Show medal and 97 points at the 2020 Decanter World Wine Awards (click link for details and review).

For other 2020 DWWA winners, click here.

Located in the Valle Isarco, the most Northerly wine producing area of the majestic mountainous region of Alto Adige. Cantina Valle Isarco is one of the youngest cooperatives here, but has swiftly built a reputation for producing high quality wines of regional distinction. Though the cooperative itself may be young, evidence suggests that Valle Isarco has very old winemaking roots, dating back as far as 500 BC!

The Cantina was founded 1961 by 24 members, at which time it was located in the cellars of Reinthalerhof estate. After a series of unfortunate events, resulting in the devastation of the winery, not once but twice! In 1975 they consolidated their resources to build a brand new, state of the art winery, equipped with the latest technology and modern equipment.

Today the Cantina is made up of 135 members, located across the valley on steep terraced vineyards, ranging from 300m – 950m above sea level. Because of how steep the slopes are, almost all the grapes are hand harvested, ensuring uncompromised quality of fruit. The vignerons benefit from dry, sunny ripening periods and mineral rich soils, ideal conditions for these expressive, aromatic white wines. White wine makes up 95% of their production, working with classic regional varieties such as Kerner, Sylvaner, Pinot Grigio, Pinot Bianco, Müller Thurgau and Gewürztraminer. Although whites are their focus, they have also found success with varietals such as Pinot Noir, Zweigelt, Lagrein and Schiava.

Cantina Valle Isarco’s wines display beautiful freshness, minerality and regional typicity, their entry level range offers fantastic value for money. Their premium Aristos range uses top quality grapes from across the Valley to produce wines with brilliant focus, strong character, depth and elegance.

Strict controls, from pruning to ripeness, and the selection of exceptionally good-quality grapes are the criteria allowing the production of this fantastic Kerner wine, with its intense fruitiness and robust and expressive body. The Aristos line is characterized by wines made from lower yields and select vineyards with mature vines and careful selection process. The Kerner Aristos is made from grapes grown at 700m-800m altitude on nutrient-poor, shallow top soils and minerals such as quartz.

100% Kerner.

For this wine, see the blue link below for the fiche technique/technical and tasting note from the winemakers themselves. This is for the new 2019 vintage (not in UK or rated by DWWA), but the details are fundamentally the same.

Cantina Valle Isarco, Kerner Aristos, Alto Adige 2018 - fiche technique

This is an aromatic white wine with a signficant structure.

** PLEASE NOTE: NOT WITH US UNTIL THE END OF OCTOBER (this wine is nowhere in the UK currently) - A SHORT FURTHER DELAY IS ALWAYS POSSIBLE **

£23.50

Carpineto Dogajolo Toscana Rosso 2017

Awarded 89 points and Recommended status by Decanter (www.decanter.com) in their May 2020 edition review of Best High Street Italian Reds (see blue link below).

Carpineto Dogajolo Toscana Rosso 2017 - May 2020 Decanter review

Founded in 1967 by Antonio Zaccheo and Giovanni Sacchet, Carpineto farms 500 hectares of land spread over four estates among Tuscany's most prestigious appellations. The original aim of the producers – to make modern, world-class red wine from the Chianti Classico appellation, has been admirably fulfilled. The Farnito and Dogajolo wines demonstrate the winery’s pioneering approach to making wines from international varieties in Tuscany. Formerly IWSC Italian Wine Producer of the Year, Carpineto was the also the first ever Italian winery to be awarded the IWSC International Winemaker of the Year. Antonio Zaccheo is now assisted by his son Antonio and daughter Francesca, who have both previously worked in the wine trade in the USA. Giovanni Sacchet's daughter, Caterina, joined the Carpineto winemaking team after finishing her viticulture and oenology degree.

This was a unique vintage due to the severe drought that affected the vineyards, which resulted significantly reduced yields and a limited production. The wines show excellent concentration of ripe fruit flavours.

The vines are grown in the heart of Tuscany in sand, clay and limestone soils.

Whole bunches were carefully selected at harvest. The grape varieties were vinified separately, as they reached maturity at different times. Fermentation took place in stainless steel vats at 25°C, followed by 15 to 20 days maceration with frequent aerations, pump overs and punch-downs of the cap for optimal polyphenol extraction. Towards the end of fermentation they were blended and placed in small wooden casks where they slowly completed alcoholic and malolactic fermentation.

Sangiovese 70%, Cabernet Sauvignon 20% and other varieties 10%.

Modern Tuscan style displaying red cherry flavours with a rich mouthfeel, smooth and juicy. An innovative baby Super-Tuscan, Dogajolo combines the power and deep flavours of a young wine, with the elegance and balance from the oak ageing. Full bodied, yet soft on the palate with fruity cherry notes interlaced with coffee, vanilla and spice, this is complex and well-developed. 

ABV = 13.0%.

£11.50

Caruso & Minini, Terre di Giumara, Frappato / Nerello Mascalese 2018 (1x75cl)

This wine, despite its low price, comes in for a glowing review from the team at Jancis Robinson's Purple Pages (www.JancisRobinson.com) - reviewer Tamlyn Currie - in September 2020.

The overall article appears here (unusually free to all readers) and the short-form review of the wine (it scores 16.5/20, a good score indeed for wines three of four times the price) can be found by clicking the blue link immediately below.

Caruso & Minini, Terre di Giumara, Frappato/Nerello Mascalese 2018 - JancisRobinson.com review Sept 20 

 

Caruso & Minini are a part of the wave of revival in Sicilian wine. Smaller wineries have sprung up in the past decade with private investment and a strong interest in the potential of the native grapes from Sicily. One example is Caruso & Minini. When Mario Manini met Stefano Caruso it sparked a long-held dream to produce a wine in the historical winemaking region of Marsala in Western Sicily. The Terre di Giumara range focuses on these unique and delicious Sicilian grapes. 

This wine is a blend of Frappato and Nerello Mascalese (the makers do not specify the relative proportions, but it would surprise us if this were not ~50/50).

To see an information and tasting sheet for this wine that has been prepared by the team at Caruso & Minini, please click on the blue link below.

Caruso & Minini Terre di Giumara Frappato Nerello Mascalese - fiche technique

The wine has a aromas and flavours of jammy red fruits, summer herbs and a touch of violet. On the palate it is rich, yet refreshing. For a more colourful and dynamic tasting note, do see the Jancis article/review above! Of previous vintages, Decanter have said, "Fermented in stainless steel, with a third then racked into oak tonneaux for eight months. A light, fresh cherry character fills the glass, with darker fruit following on behind. In the mouth, there's a wonderfully sweet, fresh strawberry and baked red fruit flavour profile, framed by a touch of wood and peppery spice. Great with duck".

ABV = 13.5%.

£9.25

Cascina Val Del Prete Vigna di Lino (Roero DOCG) 2016 (1x75cl)

** IN STOCK **

The 2016 Roero Vigna di Lino offers a broader, richer expression of Nebbiolo from Roero. Dark fruit, leather, menthol and spice all flesh out in striking, beautifully layered wine that dazzles from the very first taste. The purity of the flavors is just remarkable. There is a bit of oak influence that gives the wine an element of raciness. I do wonder what a more transparent expression of Nebbiolo might be like here, but there is no denying the beauty of what is in the glass. 93 points.” Antonio Galloni

Here's our video tasting here of this wine, which follows that for a rare Emilia-Romagna Sangiovese.

Cascina Val del Prete - or valley of the priest - takes its name from the exiled Bishop of Asti who lived there in 1850. In 1977 Bartolomeo Roagna and his wife Carolina bought the farm Val del Prete where they had worked as sharecroppers. Their first task was  to replace some grain and fruit with vines. The grapes are planted on south-facing slopes in a splendid natural amphitheater. Over the years, they have increased the area under vine to 27 acres. Their son, Mario, has entered the family business and now takes care of the vineyards. Cascina Val del Prete continues to be well received due to Mario’s commitment to great wine.

The Roero is situated in the north-eastern most part of the province of Cuneo and it owes its name to an ancient family that held the district, a hilly area, as a feudal possession. The sandy soil of the Roero hills yields an intense red wine, bearing the district’s name, that differs from the other great Piedmontese wines in that it quickly attains good balance while the others require aging. The wine was created through the tenacity of the producers and their stubbornness and diligence in identifying the areas with exposures and soils best suited to vines.

Mario Roagna is one of Roero’s rising winemakers. In a certain sense, his story is symbolic of a territory that has grown and asserted itself as one of winning quality. His philosophy is to plant only native grape varieties such as Arneis, Barbera and Nebbiolo and to let the characteristics of the terroir speak through the wine. Farming is done biodynamically and the estate has converted to organic farming. Fermentation in the cellars is spontaneous with indigenous yeasts.

The Vigna di Lino vineyard extends for about 3 acres on the left bank of the Tanaro river in the commune of Priocca. It lies at around 250m above sea level and enjoys an exposure to the south. The vines are 30+ years old with a density of 2,300 vines per acre.

The harvest is made by hand at the end of October to ensure optimum physiological ripeness of the late-ripening Nebbiolo. 

A 25-day maceration and fermentation in stainless steel tanks with 6-7 daily pump-overs. Racking into French oak barrels where the malolactic fermentation takes place. Ageing for 16 months in used French oak barriques and then 8 months in-bottle.

Annual production is just 4,500 bottles.

100% Nebbiolo. 

A red wine of great structure. Ruby red color with garnet hues developing with age. Elegant tannins and notes of blackberries, mushrooms and roses. This can (and will) age for years. Pairs well with roast lamb, game and dry cheeses.

ABV = 15.0%.

£23.50

Cenatiempo Per e Palummo Ischia DOC 2018 (1x75cl)

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. 

Sites located on different sides of the island of Ischia at elevations ranging from 50-450 m ASL with diverse exposures.

Vines are guyot, sapling, and spur-pruned cordon trained: All grapes are hand-harvested in October.

Grapes are macerated for 4-6 days and fermented in stainless steel tank under temperature control using indeginous yeasts, with minimal use of sulphites and minimal intervention.

Aged 4 months on the lees in concrete and stainless steel followed by 1 month bottle ageing in the cellar prior to release.

100% Per e' Palummo.

Ruby colour, very bright. On the nose a mix of red fruit, strawberry and red berries with hints of violets and spices. On the palate it is dry and clean with a refreshing and pleasant character.

ABV = 13.0%.

£16.00

Chiara Condello Romagna Sangiovese Predappio (normale) 2017 (1x75cl)

** NOW IN STOCK. **

For the curious, interested and time-rich, see this excellent webinar/tasting with Chiara Condello from May 2020.

Here's our video tasting here of the 2016, which was combined with one for a rare Roero DOCG Nebbiolo.

"Notes of spicy cherry, wild berries and purple flowers lift from Chiara Condello’s 2017 Romagna Sangiovese Predappio, followed by hints of white pepper and animal musk. On the palate, silky textures soothe the senses, ushering in ripe red and hints of blue fruit laced with saline-minerals, which create a tactile expression. The finish is long and fresh, revealing a hint of sour melon that mixes with the residual acids to create a sweet and sour effect. While the 2016 might color a little more within the classic lines and last a bit longer in the cellar, this 2017 is perfectly balanced, fruit-forward and ready to give a lot of pleasure". Eric Guido, Vinous.

Chiara Condello is a young winemaker located in the town of Predappio in Emilia-Romagna, specifically Romagna. Chiara owns 7 hectares of land, 4.8 of which are planted to Sangiovese; the rest are split between woods and olive trees.  Her family also makes wine in Predappio under their own label called Condè, but Chiara works in her own way, with her own vineyards and own cellar.  Her first vintage was 2015, and in short time she’s combined her bright-eyed enthusiasm with a clear vision of what her Sangiovese should be.

Romagna is no stranger to Sangiovese; many ampelographers believe it originates here and not in Tuscany. Predappio is one of twelve villages that give their names to Sangiovese subzones authorized as of the 2011 vintage. It is located in the foothills of the Apennines, and is characterized by a sedimentary soil called spungone, which is relatively young (three million years old, from the Pliocene epoch).  It contains abundant, intact shells of marine life, often quite large, and is chunky and porous, held together by a calcareous sandstone 'cement'.

A Romagna Sangiovese with an authorized subzone on the label must be 95% Sangiovese, with lower yields and more stringent ageing requirements compared to a regular Romagna Sangiovese.  Chiara’s two wines—a normale (this wine) and a Riserva called Le Lucciole (an emerging superstar wine retailing at ~£60 and on strict allocation) - are both 100% Sangiovese and go above and beyond what is required by the appellation.  Farming is organic, making use of cover crops and the occasional application of horse manure. In the cellar, Chiara draws inspiration from the late Giulio Gambelli, often using open-top fermenters with extended maceration (sometimes with whole clusters), and a preference for ageing in large neutral vessels.

This wine: Harvested late September/early October 2017 (earlier than in 2016; crop riper earlier). 100% Sangiovese from three vineyards parcels between 150m and 350m above sea level, with a north/northeast exposure.  One is clay-limestone, one is red clay with high spungone content, and the last is clay-limestone with veins of spungone. The vines are approximately 40 years old. The grapes were partially destemmed but not crushed, leaving whole berries intact. Fermentation was spontaneous in small stainless steel tanks (with temperature control), and open-top tronconic wood vats and tonneaux. Macerations lasted 15-25 days. Ageing was for one year in used 3500-litre Slavonian oak botti plus 6 months in bottle. Unfined and unfiltered.

Annual production is just 12,000 bottles.

Organically produced.

Exel tasting note: Clear (in that way Sangiovese is), with a bright ruby colour. The Predappio has an intense, seriously fruity nose: classic (and very ripe) red cherries, married with blacker-than-usual fruits for Sangiovese – most notably, blackberries and black cherries. There’s florality and complexity here: hints of violets and rose allied with soft, sweet vanilla tones from the oak. Very balanced in the mouth with silky tannins and beautiful acidity; long and elegant. This is ripe, rich and sumptuous for a Sangiovese, reflecting the warmth of the vineyards. This is thus a more easy-drinking (and ready-to-drink) style of Sangiovese, with acidity and tannins tamed (a little) more than usual, yet lacking neither in complexity or the ability to age (easily five years, and probably ten).

How does the 2017 differ from the 2016? As per Vinous's note at the top of this page, it's softereasier and more voluptuous (the 2017, that is). 2017 was a very hot vintage throughout Italy. It imposed a challenge on all top-end wine producers in crafting elegant, balanced wines. What the 2017 normale/Predappio lacks in elegance and multi-layered structure, it more than makes up for immediacy and approachability ... and this was already an approachable Sangiovese. It is very more-ish and a highly enjoyable glass of red wine (and that is to undersing its praises). Note that these are not shorthand terms for a wine that is 'too hot' - Chiara has managed to tame the heat and make a very well-balanced and excellent Sangiovese, espeially at this rice-point, but it inherently darker, blacker, riper and softer in nature than the 2016.

ABV = 14.0%.

£17.25

Dea del Mare Montepulciano d'Abbruzzo 2018 (1x75cl)

Montepulciano grown on the rugged slopes of the Abruzzo hills gives a deep, rich style of wine. The bouquet and palate are both rich in blackberry flavours, with hints of spice. 

Montepulciano 100%.

ABV = 12.50%.

£7.75

Fatalone Primitivo Gioia Del Colle Riserva Speciale 2017 (1x75cl)

Fatalone are a small, historic, family winery. In the late 19th Century, ancestor Petrera Nicola decided to build his home within the winery and chose the hill called Spinomarino, for its lofty, well-aired and sunny position, among the best in the entire area of Gaudella (south-eastern area of Gioia del Colle) to grow Primitivo grapes. Fatalone's tradition of artisan vine-dressers can be traced back to that time. The land was cleared, with the trees replanted in another area of the property, and cisterns were dug out to ensure an adequate water supply. The excavated stones were used to build the ancient farm or Masseria. A triangle, carved on the highest stone of the building and used as a symbol for the winery, defines the farm as the oldest historical building in the countryside and as a cartographic point of reference. Nicola Petrera’s passion for Primitivo grapes has been handed down from father to son along with the following words: “Who loves and respects Nature, loves God and himself”.

In 1988, inside the small cellar dug out within the rocks, the first bottle of Primitivo DOC Gioia del Colle marked Fatalone (vintage 1987) was born. The brand name of the wine originated with Filippo Petrera (2nd generation), Nicola’s son, who was, in his time, nicknamed Il Fatalone. It quickly caught on becoming the family nickname. Fatalone translates literally into “Lady Killer” or “one who can boast to be an irresistible seducer of women” much like the legendary Don Juan. Filippo Petrera lived until the age of 98, metaphorically speaking between Bacchus and Venus, having breakfast every morning till his last day with half a litre of Primitivo and half a litre of fresh milk.

In 1987, Fatalone were the first winery to produce and bottle the Gioia del Colle DOC. Primitivo as a single varietal wine. Their winery, with its strict family management, has always practiced organic farming; since 2000, they have been Certified Organic by the Institute for Ecology and Ethics Certification (ICEA).

For this wine, there is spontaneous fermentation of the must in contact with the skin for 240-300 hours at controlled temperature and just with autochthonous yeasts. Open-cycle process with frequent pumping of the must over the pomace. Natural malolactic fermentation. No addition of sulphites during the whole vinification process.  Only after the end of the malolactic, re-integration of the sulphites lost during the vinification steps to restore the initial natural value.

This wine spends 12 months in stainless steel tanks, 12 months in Slavonic oak 750-liter-casks with the application of music therapy to optimize the spontaneous microxigenation process and improve the fining of the wine, 6 months in bottle.

100% Primitivo.

Ruby red intense colour with slight burgundy hues. Scent typical of very ripe fruits and slightly toasted wood and spices, with some balsamic notes. Full bodied, rich in minerality and freshness, balanced smooth taste of black sour cherry and plum tending to velvety with ripe fruity notes of blackberry and mulberry, and spices like clove and cacao. The feature that makes our natural authentic Primitivo of Gioia del Colle unique is the toasted almond aftertaste.

This wine is best when served with strong flavoured dishes like pasta with rich sauces, roasted beef, game, grilled meat as well as fish and aged cheese. The Riserva is also particularly fine with dark chocolate sweets.

ABV = 15.5%.

£16.55

Fico Grande, Sangiovese di Romagna Poderi dal Nespoli 2018 (1x75cl)

Poderi dal Nespoli is located in the southern part of Emilia-Romagna, where the Tuscan Apennines connect to the Adriatic Coast. A family-run estate now in its fourth generation, the Ravaioli family established the winery in 1929, and today they run the estate with the same passion and love for the land.

This single estate winery successfully blends classic Italian grape varieties Sangiovese and Trebbiano, with international varieties Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay. Combining traditional winemaking techniques with innovation and state-of-the-art equipment in the winery, the wines of Poderi dal Nespoli are great examples of the rich, food-friendly wines of this classic region.

Sangiovese 100%.

This is a soft and supple wine from Emilia-Romagna. It carries lovely red fruit characteristics and a hint of spice and pepper, followed by long, smooth tannins.

ABV = 13.0%. 

£7.20

Francesco Candido La Carta Salice Salentino Riserva 2016 (1x75cl)

An Exel Wines Perth shop favourite!!

Alessandro Candido’s range is perhaps the most diverse and innovative to be found in Puglia, yet the wines continue to offer unbeatable value-for-money. The climate is Mediterranean with low rainfall, and ripening takes place slowly due to the striking contrast between day and night-time temperatures, resulting in a strong development of aromas, richness and concentration. This historic, family-owned property continues to amaze under the guiding hand of one of Italy’s top winemakers, Donato Lanati.

The must is fermented on the skins at a controlled temperature for about five days. After alcoholic and malolactic fermentation have taken place in stainless steel tanks, the wine is matured in large oak casks.

For this wine, see the blue link below for the excellent fiche technique/technical note from the winemakers themselves.

Francesco Candido La Carta Salice Salentino Riserva 2016 - fiche technique

95% Negroamaro, 5% Malvasia Nera.

This wine is a delightful ruby colour which develops hints of orange on the rim with maturity. The nose has an ethereal bouquet and distinctive aromas of cocoa and leather. On the palate, it has a pleasant enveloping structure with the typical rich and warm black fruit notes well combined with the typical French oak aromas.

ABV = 13.5%.

£11.90
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