Bigi’s first headquarters was in the former Franciscan monastery of La Trinità in Orvieto, but this was confiscated by the Italian state in 1870! Today they are based in their modern cellars at Ponte Giulio at the foot of the lofty walls of the old and ancient town. The winery with its avant-garde vinification equipment and collection of casks and barrels marries perfectly the modern technical production requirement with age-old tradition.
The signature wine of Orvieto, this wine is produced from hilly vineyards in the Classic DOC zone, enjoying clayey soil and southwest exposure. Vineyards have been cultivated in Umbria, “the green heart of Italy” and a crossroads between the north and the south, between the Adriatic and Tyrrhenian Seas, since Etruscan times. When one speaks of Orvieto, one thinks of a beautiful walled city built on a tuffstone mound by the Etruscans, and known in the Roman era as Urbs Vetus (old city) - but also of the prized white Umbrian wine of which Bigi has been a leading producer for many years.
Orvieto Amabiles are richer than the dry Secco wines and could be described as medium-dry. Don’t let this put you off as this is an ideal bar wine; gentle and soft on the palate with subtle peach and almond fruit and enough freshness to carry that enticing sweet edge. Made from a combination of Trebbiano Toscano (Procanico), Verdello, Grechetto, Malvasia and Drupeggio grapes.
50% Trebbiano, 20% Grechetto, 10% Malvasia Bianca, 10% Verdello, 10% Drupeggio.
The fermentation of wine is stopped before all its sugars are transformed into alcohol, yielding a medium, off-dry taste. The residual sugar level is ~27g/litre, making it classically off-dry.
Fermented and aged in stainless steel. This wine offers a floral bouquet of hawthorn blossom with hints of musk and almond. Dry and full-bodied on the palate, Bigi Orvieto Classico has a lively flavour with a unique aftertaste of white peaches and bitter almonds.
ABV = 12.0%.
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.
Viticulture: Hand-harvested at the end of October. Practicing (but not certified) organic viticulture. Practicing biodynamic. Hand-harvested at the end of October.
Winemaking: 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 of the 2017)
ABV = 13.0%.
** IN STOCK FIRST WEEK OF OCTOBER - ARRIVING INTO UK NOW **
Awarded a Gold medal and 95 points at the 2020 Decanter World Wine Awards (click link for details and review).
The Esporão project began in the Alentejo from an irrepressible desire to make the finest wines. This is the basis of everything they do. Part of the Alentejo’s montado ecosystem (cork oak forests), in Portugal, Herdade do Esporão has extraordinary conditions for agriculture – large thermal amplitudes, poor and various soils and extraordinary biodiversity that helps them produce in balance with the environment. With 691.9 hectares of vineyards, olive groves and other crops, they grow using organic methods.
Antao Vaz, 35%, Roupeiro 30%, Arinto 35%.
Please click the blue link below to see an excellent and informative tasting note / information sheet about this wine from the winemakers at Esporao.
ABV = 13.5%.
** AT THE TIME THIS APPEARED IN DECANTER, THERE WERE BARELY A FEW CASES LEFT IN THE UK AT THE IMPORTER. WE BOUGHT THE LOT. THEY HAVE NOW ALL GONE. THE 2019 VINTAGE IS ALSO AVAILABLE AND IS EXCELLENT! **
Awarded 94 points and Highly Recommended status by Decanter (www.decanter.com) in their July 2020 edition article on Orange Wines (see blue link below).
Herdade do Rocim is an estate located between Vidigueira and Cuba, in the Lower Alentejo. It comprises 120 hectares, 70 of which are made up of vineyards and 10 hectares of olive trees. Since its inception in 2000, Herdade do Rocim has invested heavily in the vineyards, replanting vines and introducing new varieties. They are pioneers in ‘amphora wines’, following the ancient traditions of vinification in pots known as ‘Tahla’. The vineyard is cultivated manually and minimal intervention is used in the cellar, to produce fresh, elegant and mineral wines. In 2018, Herdade do Rocim was awarded Best Wine Producer by Revista de Vinhos.
Herdade do Rocim is associated with the Sustainable Program of the Alentejo Viticulture. This wine is made from organically grown grapes; 70% of the vineyard is certified and the remaining 30% is in conversion. The estate is situated on the Vidigueira fault, a 30 mile long east-west facing escarpment which rises to 420 metres. The fault significantly influences the climate, trapping the cool, humid Atlantic winds, so despite its southern location it is one of the most temperate sub regions in the Alentejo. These cooling and humid influences descend at night, creating diurnal temperature differences which extend the ripening period; with the warm days concentrating the flavours in the grapes, while balancing natural acidity is retained during the cool nights. The soils are of granitic and schistous origin. The grapes for this wine come from very old vineyards, made up of ancient, native varieties. The fruit was manually harvested at optimal maturity.
Antão Vaz 40%, Manteúdo 20%, Perrum 20% and Rabo de Ovelha 20%.
This naturally vinified wine is golden in colour with a complex bouquet of smoky, spicy and herbal aromas enveloping the fruit. Grapefruit flavours are accompanied by a hint of tomato plant on the firm, dry and textured palate. Long and mineral finish with a touch of salinity.
ABV = 12.0%.
** SERIOUSLY RARE AND EXCLUSIVE - this wine is normally only a cellar-door exclusive at the Forrester winery and has never made it to to the UK (beyond grey imports). **
** SORRY - OUR ALLOCATION OF THIS WINE HAS NOW BEEN FULLY RESERVED BY EXEL CUSTOMERS - NONE REMAINS! **
Situated on the slopes of the Helderberg Mountain, in the heart of South Africa's most famous wine region Stellenbosch, Ken Forrester's vineyards are commonly referred to as the home of Chenin Blanc and other premium award-winning wines. Over the years, this range of top quality wines has received massive national and international acclaim with literally hundreds of awards and accolades. The wines are broadly available in reputable restaurants and exported around the globe. Ken Forrester’s philosophy has always been to create a range of handcrafted, individually made wines that suitably complement a wide variety of food styles and provide excellent value.
Ken's Rousanne is another serious statement - like the Gypsy and the Three Halves - to his commitment to a Stellenbosch-isation of the great grapes of the Rhone Valley. It is one of his few and rare Cellar Exclusives. It sits in Ken's Barrel Selection wines just below the Icons (FMC, Gypsy, T Noble) and above his Reserve Range. It's nominally on the same level as the Three Halves, but we'd argue it's a notch above (and the Three Halves is itself quite some wine).
There is only a limited quantity of this gorgeous and most sensuous white wine. The older large barrels have added richness and texture without any hint of flab.
For full details, see blue link below for the fiche technique/technical note from Ken.
Elegant, rich restrained, hints of lime blossom, soft on the palate with a gentle structure, this classic Rhone grape thrives in the Mediterranean climate here at The Cape of Good Hope. As the IWSC said of the 2015 vintage, "Sundried orchard fruit, creamy lees with terrific oak and acid balance. Full-bodied, mouthfilling and rounded with great restraint and elegance. Long gentle spice farewell."
Of that same vintage, Richard Hemming, for www.JancisRobinson.com wrote, "White fruit, fennel and aniseed giving complexity, a nicely integrated acidic lift and lots of cereal, oaty flavour on the finish".
This wine whilst perfectly accessible in youth will reward good cellaring and keeping for up to 10 years.
A classic wine; perfect with smoked fish or chicken, anchovies on the grill or even a tangy Caesar salad.
ABV = 13.5%.
** SEE AVAILABILITY AND ORDERING INSTRUCTIONS ABOVE. **