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2016 Gravestone Sauvignon Semillon, Man O War (1x 75cl)

Taking it’s name from the fluted basalt boulders that solemnly surround the volcanic hilltop vineyards, Gravestone is the finest blend of Sauvignon Blanc and Sémillon from each vintage.

Vintage 2016 began with a settled and dry Spring resulting in great flowering and a corresponding excellent fruit set. The settled weather continued up to the New Year when wet weather patterns became prevalent which continued into the harvest months. Careful attention to detail in the vineyard paid off with astonishing fruit quality across all varieties in what was undoubtedly a most challenging year.

The Sauvignon blanc was hand harvested off a number of hilltop blocks and given extended skin contact before pressing and ‘wild’ fermentation on juice lees in barrel. The Sémillon was gently pressed and clarified before fermentation in old seasoned barrels. Fermentation in oak barrels and puncheons by wild yeast gives a more rounded, silky texture to the wine.Following fermentation the wines stayed on lees for 6 months in tank and barrel before blending. The final blend consisting of 65% Sauvignon Blanc and 35% Sémillon was transferred to tank to ‘marry’ for 3 months before bottling.

The wine exhibits aromatics of guava, gooseberry and nettles with undertones of lychee and chalk dust some flinty sulphide notes. The palate is fresh with vibrant acidity balanced by weight and texture from the barrel fermentation and a long persistent finish.

£16.60

Ata Rangi Craighall Chardonnay 2015 (1x 75cl)

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

The Ata Rangi vineyards are situated in Wairarapa, just north of Wellington. Craighall is located directly opposite the main Ata Rangi home block. The 30 year old Mendoza clone of Chardonnay vines, with their characteristic 'hen and chicken' fruit set, are always low yielding. Soils here comprise a thin layer of well-drained alluvial soil deposited on what was the original course of the river as it flowed east to the Pacific Ocean.

A fabulous summer in 2015 provided excellent conditions for ripening grapes across the country, resulting in vibrant, fruit driven wines. Yields were 27% down on the record 2014 vintage. Despite the excellent summer, the cool spring weather contributed to the marked reduction in the crop. Fruit was harvested between the 25th and 29th of March.

Hand-picked fruit was whole bunch pressed in a Willmes membrane press. Unsettled juice was fully barrel-fermented in Burgundy barriques, of which 25% was new oak, using indigenous yeasts. Fermentation took place between 15-20°C. The lees were stirred during this time in all barrels and partial malolactic fermentation occurred. The wine was aged in barrel on the lees for 12 months before bottling in July 2016.

A very alluring, restrained nose of citrus, white-flesh nectarine and citrus blossom leads onto a tight, fine palate with a subtly chalky texture. With no one, single flavour dominating, the 2015 is an intriguing, very complex and very complete Chardonnay with fabulous flow and persistence. Fully barrel fermented with 'wild' indigenous yeasts, this exceptional release has excellent cellaring potential.

£29.40

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

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

This is a very classic Pinot Gris originally influenced by the style of wines from Alsace but developed over the years into their own, uniquely Martinborough style. The vines from which this wine was produced are now 22 years old. With roots that have driven metres deep into the gravels, they consistently deliver fruit with heightened texture and flavour.

Fruit was hand-picked and whole bunch pressed in a Willmes membrane press. The resulting juice was then cold settled, inoculated and fermented in temperature controlled stainless steel tanks at temperatures of 14-18°C. 20% of the wine was fermented in three year old 500 litre oak puncheons to give extra weight and complexity to the final blend. In both cases, the wine was left on lees for several months. No malolactic fermentation was allowed to take place. The wine was bottled in August 2016.

The up-front aromas evoke fresh cut pear, custard, pecans and lychees. The palate offers a creamy entry, with concentration and texture. The finish is long, dry and imbued with the flavour of fresh walnut and a hint of smoke. With just a few grams of residual sugar, Pinot Gris is a delicious stand-alone aperitif. It is also one of our favourite food and wine matching choices, especially for anything with heady spice and/or challenging flavours. The wine shows complexity and will benefit from bottle age.

£23.00

Ata Rangi Sauvignon Blanc 2017 (1x 75cl)

The 2016 vintage was awarded 90 points and Highly Recommended status by Decanter (www.decanter.com) in their August 2017 edition review of New Zealand Sauvignon Blancs (see blue link below).

Ata Rangi SB 2016 - August 2017 Decanter review

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

The Ata Rangi vineyards are situated in Martinborough, to the north of Wellington. The grapes for this wine come from Waiora, Walnut Ridge, Hau Ariki Marae and Southdowns Estate. Vineyard husbandry is important to Ata Rangi, including leaf plucking to keep the canopies open. Naturally low yields, older vines, small canopies and judicious, labour-intensive hand picking of the entire crop are all factors in producing this uniquely Martinborough style of Sauvignon Blanc. Lean, stony soils are low in vigour and fertility. The vineyards are in conversion to organic certification and are accredited as 100% sustainable.

Fruit was hand-picked and crushed with around half given a few hours of cold soak skin-contact before draining and pressing. Four separate ferment components make up the final wine. A small portion of de-stemmed whole berries were loaded into a super-sized oak barrel where the juice fermented in contact with the berry skins. Adding further complexity and savoury notes, around 30% was fermented in neutral oak barrels.

The on-skins component has highlighted beautiful citrus florals, with a hint of fresh fennel and lime zest. The wine has an impressive textural quality with mouth-watering drive and a tight, flinty, satisfyingly long finish.

£16.05

Carrick Chardonnay 2016 (1x75cl)

Awarded 90 points and Highly Recommended status by Decanter (www.decanter.com) in their February 2018 edition review of New Zealand Chardonnay (see blue link below).

Carrick Bannockburn Central Otago - February 2018 Decanter review

It’s 20 years now since Steve and Barbara Green established the first of Carrick’s vineyard plantings on the Cairnmuir terraces at Bannockburn in Central Otago, extending the estate four years later. What was at the time a tangle of wild thyme and briar roses has become one of the region’s most successful producers. Francis Hutt wisely spent a year in the vineyards with viticulturist Blair Deaker before taking over as Carrick’s winemaker in 2011. A devotee of organic and biodynamic wines, he took particular pride in taking charge of Carrick’s first organic bottlings in 2012. Meanwhile, Steve Green somehow combines the roles of owner, general manager, assistant winemaker, marketer and overseas traveller with a position on the board of Wine New Zealand.

After gentle whole-bunch pressing, the chardonnay juice was gravity feed into French oak barrels, (10% new) with a high grape solids content to add interest and texture. All lots were fermented with indigenous yeast and the barrels were stirred daily during fermentation then left to rest and settle over the winter months.

Tropical fruits along with the cool climate attributes of Central Otago combine to make a truly amazing Chardonnay that could rival anything else in the world. It is a flinty elegant wine with good structure and balance. Barrel fermented in French oak.

Perfect with seafood and white meat dishes like chicken pie, prawn linguine and dover sole.

£17.15

Felton Road Block 1 Riesling 2016 (1x75cl)

Awarded 93 points and Highly Recommended status by Decanter (www.decanter.com) in their January 2018 edition article: The Most Exciting Wines of 2017 (see blue link below).

Felton Rd Block 1 Riesling 2016 - January 2018 Decanter review

Beginning with meticulous site selection and vineyard design started in 1991, Felton Road's story is one of refusal to compromise. A strict 100% estate policy with fully organic and biodynamic viticulture (Demeter certified) ensures that our fruit arrives at the winery as pure as it can be, while our entire estate comes as close to true sustainability as is possible. A commitment to hands off winemaking: gravity flow, wild yeasts, wild malo, an avoidance of fining and filtration all help preserve the wine's expression of its terroir. The result is Riesling, Chardonnay and Pinot Noir which accurately express the authenticity and complexity of our unique vineyards.

Felton Road farms four properties totaling 32 ha in the Bannockburn sub-region of Central Otago. Block 1 is a north facing slope immediately west of Block 3 on The Elms vineyard.  Meticulous summer management of a single vertical shoot positioned (VSP) canopy ensures even and early fruit maturity. Shoot thinning, shoot positioning, leaf plucking, bunch thinning and harvest are all carried out by hand to ensure optimum quality fruit. Cover crops are planted between rows to assist in vine balance and to improve soil health and general biodiversity

Riesling from Block 1 was carefully hand-picked followed by whole bunch pressing. The juice was settled overnight followed by a 3 week fermentation with indigenous yeasts. The fermentation was stopped by chilling to balance the high natural acidity with residual sweetness of 67g/L, resulting in the low alcohol of 9.0%. The wine rested on fine lees with minimal processing before bottling in mid-September to highlight the delicate Riesling characters.

Ripe stone fruits, peach and honeydew melon are married to an aromatic infusion of fennel, lemongrass and ginger with distinct florality. The wave of sweet fruit builds in power to reveal an exotic midpalate richness. Although sweet up front, the inviting and fruit-laden mouthfeel is illuminated by a crisp and mineral finish. Surprisingly refreshing with an engaging, lingering intensity and impeccable balance.

£26.89

Framingham Pinot Gris 2016 (1x75cl)

Rich gold in colour, this wine delights with mellow aromatics, which are reminiscent of pear, apple, quince, dough and cream, with a touch of wood smoke. On the palate, generous flavours of baked apple, quince, cream, nuts and pastry. The intense, complex and rich palate balances acidity with good weight and a silky texture, culminating in a spicy, leesy finish.

£14.50

Frostpocket Sauvignon Blanc 2016 (1x75cl)

Deliciously crisp and fresh, packed full of vibrant and long lasting lime, gooseberry and tropical fruit flavours.  Try this with Asian fish dishes like scallops or prawns in spicy sauces such as thai green curries. Grilled squids or swordfish as well as goat cheese salads. It works well with herbs such as dill, basil and coriander.

£9.70

Frostpocket Sauvignon Blanc 2017 (1x75cl)

Deliciously crisp and fresh, packed full of vibrant and long lasting lime, gooseberry and tropical fruit flavours.  Try this with Asian fish dishes like scallops or prawns in spicy sauces such as thai green curries. Grilled squids or swordfish as well as goat cheese salads. It works well with herbs such as dill, basil and coriander.

£9.70

Greywacke Chardonnay 2014 (1x75cl)

This wine was awarded 89 points and Highly Recommended status in Decanter's February 2018 review of New Zealand Chardonnay. They say "An elegant Chardonnay beaming with tropical fruit, pineapple, ginger and creme brulee sprinkled with toasted hazelnuts, finishing with a warm lick."

Greywacke was created in 2009 by Kevin Judd, chief winemaker at Cloudy Bay from its inception for 25 years and instrumental in the international recognition which Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc enjoys now. The name 'Greywacke' was adopted by Kevin for his first Marlborough vineyard located in Rapaura in recognition of the high prevalence of rounded greywacke river stones in the soils of the vineyard, a sedimentary rock which is widely found in Marlborough. Kevin Judd is also New Zealand's finest wine photographer and has recently published a book 'The Landscape of New Zealand Wine'.

The grapes for this wine are primarily sourced from the low-yielding Mendoza clone, known for its concentration of flavour and crisp acidity; the balance were from Clone 95. The majority of the fruit was sourced from the lower reaches of the Brancott Valley and Fairhall, grown in gravelly, clay-loam soils, the remainder coming from Rapaura, grown in young alluvial soils containing high proportions of New Zealand’s ubiquitous greywacke river stones. All vineyards were trained on a two-cane VSP trellis.

The vineyards were hand-picked separately at high ripeness levels and fruit was whole bunch pressed. The resulting juice was lightly settled and racked to French oak barriques (20% new).The juice underwent spontaneous indigenous yeast fermentation, the final phase continuing for many months. The wine received occasional lees stirring and underwent a complete malolactic fermentation. It was transferred out of oak after 18 months and bottled in December 2015.

A deliciously rich amalgam of pink grapefruit, figs and baked apples intertwine with more savoury characters redolent of meadow hay, toasted hazelnuts and buttered brioche. This grapefruit and nutty savouriness pervades the crisp, dry palate, while the power and concentration of the Mendoza clone creates an extraordinarily long finish that lingers and lingers.

£24.90

Greywacke Marlborough Riesling 2015 (1x 75cl)

Greywacke was created in 2009 by Kevin Judd who was the chief winemaker at Cloudy Bay for 25 years. The name 'Greywacke' was adopted by Kevin for his first Marlborough vineyard located in Rapaura in recognition of the high prevalence of rounded greywacke river stones in the soils of the vineyard, a sedimentary rock which is widely found in Marlborough. Kevin Judd is also New Zealand's finest wine photographer and has recently published a book 'The Landscape of New Zealand Wine'.

The fruit for this wine was grown at the organically-farmed Ashmore Vineyard in Fairhall, adjacent to the mouth of the Brancott Valley on gravelly clay-loam soils, conditions more typical of the Southern Valleys than the Wairau plains. The 17 year old vines were trained on a two cane VSP (vertical shoot positioning) trellis and careful shoot and bunch thinning was carried out. All Greywacke wines are produced from vineyards that are accredited to the Sustainable Winegrowing New Zealand (SWNZ) program and most of the vineyards are in conversion to become certified organic.

The grapes were hand-picked at moderate ripeness levels and were whole bunch pressed using a very low maceration press cycle. The resulting juice was cold-settled, then racked to fermentation vessels. Half of the juice was inoculated in a stainless steel tank using cultured yeast and the balance was filled into old French oak barriques where it was allowed to undergo spontaneous indigenous yeast fermentation. Towards the end of fermentation all the wine was transferred to a stainless steel tank where the fermentation was stopped, retaining 20 g/l residual sugar. The blended wine was then put in old barrels where it remained on yeast lees for a further five months before bottling in December.

A virtual fruit salad of mandarin segments, white fleshed peaches and crisp apples, sprinkled with lemon blossom and a dollop of honey. A lively, aromatic off-dry style that delivers a sherbet-like balance of bright, natural acidity and a subliminal touch of sweetness.

£17.75

Greywacke Pinot Gris 2015 (1x 75cl)

Greywacke was created in 2009 by Kevin Judd, chief winemaker at Cloudy Bay from its inception for 25 years and instrumental in the international recognition which Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc enjoys now. The name 'Greywacke' was adopted by Kevin for his first Marlborough vineyard located in Rapaura in recognition of the high prevalence of rounded greywacke river stones in the soils of the vineyard, a sedimentary rock which is widely found in Marlborough. Kevin Judd is also New Zealand's finest wine photographer and has recently published a book 'The Landscape of New Zealand Wine'.

Much of the fruit is from the Selection Ovaille and Mission clones grown at Wrekin Terrace Vineyard in the Brancott Valley, a valley floor site on gravelly clay-loam soils typical of the Southern Valleys. A smaller parcel of the newly released Entav 52 clone (known for its small bunch and berry size) was grown at Riverbrook Vineyard in Rapaura, in young alluvial soils containing high proportions of greywacke river stones. The vines were trained on a two-cane VSP (vertical shoot positioning) trellis and crop thinning is carried out to target a modest yield of 7.5 T/Ha.

Warm spring weather created early flowering and early ripening. The vines were very low yielding, with smaller berries than usual, which led to increased concentration and quality in the 2015 wines.

The three clones were hand-picked separately at high ripeness levels and whole bunch pressed using very low maceration press cycles. The resulting juice was cold settled then racked to fermentation vessels. Most of the juice was allowed to undergo spontaneous indigenous yeast fermentation in old French oak barriques and the balance was fermented in stainless steel tanks using cultured yeast. The fermentations were stopped to achieve an average of 8g/l residual sugar. The barrel fermented components remained in oak for seven months during which time a portion underwent malolactic fermentation. All the batches were kept on lees in stainless steel tanks for a further six months and the wine was then blended and bottled mid-2016.

An autumnal bake-up of soft sweet figs, poached pears and quince, scented with a hint of mulling spices and almond crumble. An opulently ripe expression of the Pinot Gris grape with great texture and a luscious off-dry richness that finishes crisply with considerable power and length.

£17.75

Greywacke Sauvignon Blanc 2017 (1x75cl)

Awarded 92 points and Highly Recommended status by Decanter (www.decanter.com) in their May 2018 column, "Weekday Wines" (see blue link below).

Greywacke Sauvignon Blanc 2017 - May 2018 Decanter review

A refreshing sorbet-like medley of fresh lychee, grapefruit and honeydew melon laced with flinty minerality and finished with an infusion of mandarin and lime zest. A lively, invigorating wine with persistent grapefruit flavours and a steely blackcurrant tang. Crisp with a long, enduring finish.  

£16.45
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