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Alter Ribeiro Blanco 2018 (1x75cl)

The 2016 vintage was awarded 90 points and Highly Recommended status by Decanter (www.decanter.com) in their March 2018 edition review of Galician Whites (see blue link below).

Alter Ribeiro Blanco 2016 - March 2018 Decanter review

Alter came highly recommended by Lalo Antón of Izadi. He had admired this small, family-run winery since their first vintage a couple of years ago marked them out as one of the most serious producers in the region. The winery was founded by José Pérez Pousa on the banks of the Miño river in 2014, with the wish to preserve the tradition of their native land, where wine has been produced since the 2nd century BCE. The wine is named ‘alter’ to mean ‘another wine more’ in Latin.

Alter has 24 hectares of its own vineyards, which are divided into 168 small plots planted with native white varieties: Treixadura, Godello and Loureira. The vines are on average 15-30 years old, planted on decomposed granite with sand and clay. The vineyards benefit from a perfect mesoclimate with good diurnal ranges particularly during the growing season ensuring the fruit is able to fully ripen while retaining fresh acidity. All harvesting is done by hand, plot by plot at the perfect moment to ensure optimum level of ripeness which elongates their harvest.

The 2018 vintage was marked by above average rainfall through spring and the beginning of summer which ensured the soil had good water reserves through the hot summer. The growing cycle was a week later than usual and this delay followed through the whole season. This late ripening allowed the fruit to be harvested with a good balance of acidity and sugar.

Each vineyard plot and variety were fermented separately in temperature-controlled stainless steel tanks, the cool ferment retaining the aromatic intensity of the grapes. Following fermentation, the wine was aged on lees for three to four months to add depth before the final blend was assembled. The 2018 is made up of 85% Treixadura, 8% Godello and 7% Loureira.

This wine has a bright straw colour with elegant aromas of white flowers, green apple and grapefruit on the nose. The palate is lively with brisk acidity and flavours of white peach dominating. This is a remarkably balanced and well structured wine with a long finish.

ABV = 12.5%.

£14.65

Bodega Garzon Estate Viognier 2018 (1x75cl)

Bodega Garzón is a family owned winery in Maldonado on the Atlantic coast in southern Uruguay. They pioneered viticulture in this area over 10 years ago, and have since become the standard-bearer for premium wines from Uruguay. In November 2018, their pioneering status was recognised by Wine Enthusiast with the ‘New World Winery of the Year’ award.

The vineyards at Bodega Garzón are a patchwork quilt of 1,150 individual plots of around 0.2 hectares in size, each plot carefully chosen for a specific variety according to its soil and microclimate. The winery is specially designed to operate as sustainably as possible, and is the first winery outside North America to pursue LEED certification (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design). Built on natural terraces, the winery uses cutting-edge technology and operates using a gravity system to ensure quality and energy efficiency at every stage of production.

A relatively mild winter brought forward budbreak by about two weeks. There were average levels of rainfall in spring and early summer, however the drought which followed in January caused a severe water shortage. Therefore the viticultural team used drip irrigation, thus ensuring perfect maturation of the grapes. Despite the water shortage and subsequent irrigation measures, veraison was uniform. Optimum maturation was also aided by cooler nights which are becoming more common in the region. The wines from this vintage, with its early start and generally favourable climatic conditions, are elegant and fruit-forward.

For full details of this unusual but superb wine, we would point you towards Garzon's own, excellent fiche technique/data sheet (click here).

100% Viognier.

This Viognier is rich yet fresh with white peach and floral characters. Elegant but intense on the finish, this wine delights the palate with fresh fruit and complementary minerality.

ABV = 14.5%.

£13.05

Bodega Garzon Reserva Albarino 2018 (1x75cl)

Awarded 91 points and Highly Recommended status by Decanter (www.decanter.com) in their October 2019 edition panel tasting of Alternative South American Whites (see blue link below).

Garzón Reserva Albariño 2018 - October 2019 Decanter review

The 2017 vintage was awarded 91 points and Highly Recommended status by Decanter (www.decanter.com) in their October 2018 edition feature on Uruguay  (see blue link below).

Garzón Reserva Albariño 2017 - Oct 2018 Decanter review

The 2016 vintage was awarded 95 points and a Platinum Best In Category (Best Central South American White) at the 2017 Decanter World Wine Awards (www.decanter.com): see their August 2017 DWWA supplement (see blue link below).

Garzón Reserva Albariño 2016 - 2017 DWWA Decanter review

Bodega Garzón is a family owned winery in Maldonado on the Atlantic coast in southern Uruguay. They pioneered viticulture in this area over 10 years ago, and have since become the standard-bearer for premium wines from Uruguay. In November 2018, their pioneering status was recognised by Wine Enthusiast with the ‘New World Winery of the Year’ award. The vineyards at Bodega Garzón are a patchwork quilt of 1,150 individual plots of around 0.2 hectares in size, each plot carefully chosen for a specific variety according to its soil and microclimate. The winery is specially designed to operate as sustainably as possible, and is the first winery outside North America to pursue LEED certification (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design). Built on natural terraces, the winery uses cutting-edge technology and operates using a gravity system to ensure quality and energy efficiency at every stage of production.

Located 11 miles from the Atlantic Ocean, the estate has more than 1,000 small vineyard blocks covering hillside slopes, which benefit from varying microclimates, different levels of humidity and an intense canopy management. Well-draining granitic soils and cooling Atlantic breezes allow the grapes to ripen steadily. The vineyards are surrounded by lush forests, palm trees, rocky soils and granite boulders. This single vineyard Tannat comes from a site which is cooler than the other blocks on the estate, with steep slopes, thin soils and excellent drainage thanks to the predominance of ballast in the upper layers.

A relatively mild winter brought forward bud break by about two weeks. There were average levels of rainfall in spring and early summer, however the drought which followed in January caused a severe water shortage. Therefore the viticultural team used drip irrigation, thus ensuring perfect maturation in the grapes. Despite the water shortage and subsequent irrigation measures, veraison was uniform. Optimum maturation was also aided by the cooler nights which are becoming more common in the region. The wines from this vintage, with its early start and generally favourable climatic conditions, are elegant and fruit forward.

The hand-harvested grapes were pressed before being fermented in stainless-steel tanks at a cool 17ºC for two weeks. The wine then spent a further 3-6 months on lees for added complexity.

For full details of this unusual but superb wine, we would point you towards Garzon's own, excellent fiche technique/data sheet (click here).

100% Albariño/Alvarinho.

Pale yellow with a green hue, this Albariño is intense on the nose with peach and citrus aromas. The freshness and minerality on the midpalate is superb, ably supported by a remarkable acidity which frames the juicy fruit on the crisp finish.

ABV = 14.0%.

£15.75

Bodegas Fillaboa, La Fillaboa 1898 Albarino Rias Baixas 2010 (1x75cl)

** ARRIVES ~3rd APRIL - this wine is not in immediate stock **

** SEE PACKAGING NOTE BELOW AND PLEASE INDICATE PREFERRED PACKAGING IN YOUR ORDER (delivery details box). **

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 96 points and Outstanding status by Decanter in their November 2019 edition's Spanish supplement article, Spanish Wines You Should Have In Your Cellar: The Top 24 (see blue link below). This was the highest-scoring of those 24!

 

Bodegas Fillaboa, La Fillaboa 1898 Albarino Rias Baixas 2010 - November 2019 Decanter review 

Fillaboa, meaning “the good daughter” in the Gallego dialect of northwestern Spain, produces some of the rarest and highest quality wine from the ever-more-esteemed DO of Rías Baixas. Bodegas Fillaboa’s estate is focused exclusively on the cultivation of Albariño, the star white wine of the region, famed for its freshness, complexity and compatibility with local seafood. Bodegas Fillaboa is owned by the Masaveu family, which traces its winemaking history back to the 14th century. The family re-invested itself in Galician wine production, culminating with the purchase of Bodegas Fillaboa in Salvaterra de Miño in 1988.

Today Fillaboa is home to a tasting facility and formidable art collection housed in a 15th century Romanesque castle near the River Miño that forms the border between Spain and northern Portugal. In a region where most wineries make wines from purchased grapes, Fillaboa stands apart for its exclusive use of estate-grown fruit, ensuring quality control and consistency from vine to bottle. The estate’s deep devotion to quality is perfectly reflected in the Selección Finca Monte Alto, one of the very few single-vineyard estate wines produced in Rías Baixas, a racy white wine that sings with granite minerality and showcases Albariño’s quintessential freshness.

For more grape-growing and winemaking detail on this spectacular and award-winning wine, see the blue link below for thefiche technique/technical note from the makers themselves. On one specific point we have been asked by a few customers, the wine now being taken/supplied to customers is from the third batch of the 2010, this having been on the lees for 8 years and bottled in August 2019. It relates to the longer-aged wine discussed in the second Decanter review above.  A fourth batch is impending, bottled in December 2019 (if you would like to/rather try this, please contact mark@exelwines.co.uk).

Bodegas Fillaboa, La Fillaboa 1898 Albarino Rias Baixas 2010 - fiche technique

As the DWWA panel said of it and as our tasting note: "Eight years ageing for this Albariño from the granite-soiled region of Rias Baixas has left the wine a glowing gold in colour with beguilingly developed aromas of nuts, sweet balsam and wet moss on old stones.  The wine is unoaked, so all of that aromatic richness is coming from the fruit itself and time's work on it.  In the mouth, it is rich too, but dryly so, gracious and expansive, and beginning to hint more clearly at ground stone than to the summer fruits and flowers of youth, with that incipient nutty richness providing further complexities.  A blind-tasting puzzle - and a very delicious dinner-party white.  Drink 2019-2021"

ABV = 13.0%.

Note below the packaging options for the product: bottles can be despatched in either format (please state preference in comments box in order). We will seek to despatch at no additional carriage charge, but if the packaging necessitates additional carriage, we will be in contact to cover that. We have priced the wine as competitively as we can, and cannot easily do so and cover unlimited additional carriage!

 

£29.95

Bucci Verdicchio Classico Riserva 2016 (1x75cl)

** THIS WINE IS NOT - REPEAT NOT - HELD IN IMMEDIATE STOCK, UNLIKE ALMOST ALL OTHER WINES ON THE SITE AT PRESENT. IT WILL BE ORDERED FROM THE SUPPLIER ON MONDAY 5th APRIL, AND SHOULD BE WITH CUSTOMERS ON FRIDAY 9th, MAYBE MONDAY 12TH. **

Awarded 96 points and Outstanding status by Decanter (www.decanter.com) in their May 2020 edition expert tasting of Verdicchio (see blue link below).

Bucci Verdicchio Classico Riserva 2016 - May 2020 Decanter review

The Bucci family has been growing grapes in the Marche since the 1700s. Current custodian, Ampelio Bucci has 26 hectares of vineyard on this 400 hectare estate, which is cultivated organically. Of these, 21 hectares are Verdicchio, spread over six separate vineyards. The old vines and low yields give wines of great intensity. Consultant winemaker at Villa Bucci is the legendary enologist Giorgio Grai, who has been there for nearly 30 years. He makes wines for ageing and complexity rather than freshness and simplicity.

The Riserva is only produced in the best vintages, with fruit from the oldest vines (between 40 and 50 years old on average) and the best sites. There are six vineyards with different exposures and elevations to obtain more complexity in the final blend of each wine. Yields are kept low and vineyard management is certified organic with no herbicides or pesticides used. Soils are mainly calcareous (limestone), giving minerality to the wine, with around 30% clay, which retains moisture during the hot summers.

Vinification took place in the underground winery, which is naturally cool so refrigeration is generally not necessary. Vinification took place in stainless steel and Slovenian oak barrels of between 50 and 75 hectolitres, that are approximately 70 years old. Different vineyard parcels were vinified separately, aged for two years and then carefully blended before bottling.

100% Verdicchio.

An intense, complex and persistent bouquet of apricot compôte and spice with aromas of honey, beeswax, minerals and flint stone. Full bodied and with great depth, the wine finishes with hints of honey and nuts.

ABV = 13.5%.

** THIS WINE IS NOT - REPEAT NOT - HELD IN IMMEDIATE STOCK, UNLIKE ALMOST ALL OTHER WINES ON THE SITE AT PRESENT. IT WILL BE ORDERED FROM THE SUPPLIER ON MONDAY 5th APRIL, AND SHOULD BE WITH CUSTOMERS ON FRIDAY 9th, MAYBE MONDAY 12TH. **

£28.85

Bucci Verdicchio Classico Superiore 2018 (1x75cl)

** THIS WINE IS NOT - REPEAT NOT - HELD IN IMMEDIATE STOCK, UNLIKE ALMOST ALL OTHER WINES ON THE SITE AT PRESENT. IT WILL BE ORDERED FROM THE SUPPLIER ON MONDAY 5th APRIL, AND SHOULD BE WITH CUSTOMERS ON FRIDAY 9th, MAYBE MONDAY 12TH. **

Awarded 95 points and Outstanding status by Decanter (www.decanter.com) in their May 2020 edition expert tasting of Verdicchio (see blue link below).

Bucci Verdicchio Classico Superiore 2018 - May 2020 Decanter review

The Bucci family has been growing grapes in the Marche since the 1700s. Current custodian, Ampelio Bucci has 26 hectares of vineyard on this 400 hectare estate, which is cultivated organically. Of these, 21 hectares are Verdicchio, spread over six separate vineyards. The old vines and low yields give wines of great intensity. Consultant winemaker at Villa Bucci is the legendary enologist Giorgio Grai, who has been there for nearly 30 years. He makes wines for ageing and complexity rather than freshness and simplicity.

The fruit for this wine comes from six vineyards, each with a different exposure and elevation, which contribute to greater complexity in the final blend. Yields are kept low and vineyard management is certified organic, with no herbicides or pesticides used. Soils are mainly calcareous (limestone), lending minerality to the wine, with around 30% clay which retains moisture during the hot summers. The average age of the vines is 35 years.

Vinification took place in the underground winery which is naturally cool so refrigeration is generally not necessary. The must was fermented in both stainless steel and Slavonian oak barrels of between 50 and 75 hectolitres in size and approximately 70 years old. Different vineyard parcels were vinified separately then carefully blended before bottling.

100% Verdicchio.

Golden yellow in colour, this wine has a layered bouquet with notes of vanilla, butterscotch and almonds. Aromas of mimosa and ripe Golden Delicious apples carry through onto the complex palate, which has a fresh finish. A refreshing mineral edge contrasts with ripe, round flavours of wildflower honey.

ABV = 13.5%.

** THIS WINE IS NOT - REPEAT NOT - HELD IN IMMEDIATE STOCK, UNLIKE ALMOST ALL OTHER WINES ON THE SITE AT PRESENT. IT WILL BE ORDERED FROM THE SUPPLIER ON MONDAY 5th APRIL, AND SHOULD BE WITH CUSTOMERS ON FRIDAY 9th, MAYBE MONDAY 12TH. **

£15.45

Ca Dei Frati Lugana I Frati 2018 (1x75cl)

The Dal Cero family has transformed their Cà dei Frati property, situated on the southern shores of Lake Garda, into a model Italian estate over the past two decades. Back in 1987, they had 12 hectares of vineyard but now, following the purchase of a large chunk of prime vineyard in 2008, they have over 140 hectares. This increase in quantity has been matched by an increase in quality, and today they remain the best producer in Lugana. The quality of the wines is attributable directly to Igino Dal Cero's obsession with detail. All their fruit is picked by hand; he ensures there is no skin contact as he wants to retain delicate perfumes and enhance the supple texture; he has changed his mind on malolactic fermentation and now inhibits it in order to give the wine the lift he feels it benefits from; and he is now convinced that ageing on lees from end of fermentation gives him greater richness on the palate and the wonderful flintiness on nose that makes this wine so Burgundian in character.

The secret to the success of the Cà dei Frati wines is outstanding vineyards. Most producers in the zone overcrop and train the vines high. At Cà dei Frati, the vines are trained low, on single or double Guyot, newer vineyards have a higher density of planting, and yields are well below the average for the zone. This wine is made from grapes grown on 10 to 35 year old vines. In Lugana, the Turbiana grape is grown on the glacial soils just to the south of Lake Garda. The warmer days give wines with more weight and intensity than those from 60 kilometres to the east. The cool nights, thanks to the moderating influence of Lake Garda, ensures the grapes retain aroma and acidity.

The 2018 vintage began with a long period of dry weather. Rainy weather occurred in May and early June. Hot weather in the summer months allowed the grapes to develop normally. Temperatures throughout the summer remained high; in September it rarely went below 30°C. Yields were slightly higher than usual, and the quality of the grapes was very high.

The must was fermented in temperature-controlled stainless-steel tanks to maximise its fresh fruit character. The wine then remained on lees in stainless-steel tanks for six months before spending two months ageing in bottle before release.

100% Turbiana.

Pale yellow in colour with a concentrated but fresh perfume of white flowers, peaches and ripe lemons. On the palate, it has excellent depth and balance, with lovely richness and a crisp, lively finish.

ABV = 13.5%.

£16.75

Caves de l Ormarine Les Prades Picpoul de Pinet 2018 (1x75cl)

The 2017 vintage was Awarded 92 points and Highly Recommended status by Decanter in their April 2019 Panel Tasting on the Picpoul de Pinet (see blue link below).

Caves de l'Ormarine Les Prades Picpoul de Pinet 2017 - April 2019 Decanter review

The grapes used for this wine come from one south-facing vineyard 10-30 metres above sea level in the Languedoc Roussillon region of Southern France. The 30 year old vines are planted on a chalky clay plateaux, rich in Cretaceous limestone and loaded with quartz gravel chippings. Grapes are harvested in September at night to retain freshness and acidity.

Grapes are carefully sorted in both the vineyard and winery, with analysis of ripeness being carried out before picking. At the winery, they are destemmed and crushed, with skin contact for 3-4 hours to draw out the aromatics. After pressing, fermentation lasts 10-15 days at 16°C in cement tanks. The wine remains on its lees for 1 month with twice weekly battonage. Malolactic fermentation is prevented so that the wine can retain its crisp acidity and fresh primary fruit characters. The wine is fined, filtered and bottled and released whilst young and fresh.

The Les Prades Picpoul de Pinet has a clear, brilliant yellow colour with green tints. It has fine fresh, fruity and floral aromas. The aromatic persistance is good with overtones of citrus fruit. The flavours are lively, fresh with lemon and floral touches followed by a light refreshing grapefruit finish. Serve with fresh seafood, grilled fish, salads, or drink on its own as an aperitif.

£11.20

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)

ABV = 13.0%.

£21.85

Charles Smith Kung Fu Girl Riesling 2017 (1x75cl)

Awarded 89 points and Recommended status by Decanter in their January 2020 edition article, Top Washington (State) Buys (see blue link below).

Charles Smith Kung Fu Girl Riesling 2017 - January 2020 Decanter review

As the maker puts it: "It takes an unconventional winemaker to make a totally unexpected dry Riesling. One night, Charles was eating Chinese takeout and watching a fight scene in a notorious martial arts film when he had an idea: a killer white wine made to be paired with Asian food. Just like that, Kung Fu Girl was born. And it’s been kicking ass and taking names ever since".

More traditionally put: This wine is made by Charles Smith, a self–taught winemaker who brings his rock and roll spirit to the vineyards of Walla Walla, Washington. As a romantic young man, Charles Smith moved across the world to Denmark to follow his love for his girlfriend at the time. In Scandinavia, he became a recognized manager for rock bands such as The Raveonettes. While travelling on the road with these bands, he developed his passion for wine. In 1999, he moved back to Washington, opened a wine store and became friendly with a French winemaker, later convincing him to move to Walla Walla to make wine together.

Charles Smith Kung Fu Girl Riesling grapes comes from Evergreen Vineyard vines, where they stretch across the steep cliffs overlooking the Colombia River. This makes for ideal Riesling growing conditions that rival those in Germany. This wine is made from 100% Riesling grapes, carefully cultivated and pressed at the winery. The wine is barrel-aged for only 2 months (using the sur lie method, ie leaving the wine on its fine lees). Charles Smith Kung Fu Girl Riesling is crafted to be approachable and ready to drink the day you buy it.

The wine is a party in a glass. Young and fun, bright balance and tropical fruit notes make this an easy introduction to the world of Riesling. White stone fruit, apricot and white peach aromas with honeysuckle undertones make it a stand out. These flavours are balanced with elements of lime zest, citrus blossom and a floral hint of jasmine.

This wine would pair well with any number of foods. It can very easily be enjoyed on its own but Charles Smith Kung Fu Girl Riesling is a match made in heaven with Korean BBQ, spicy curry any kind of Thai food and sushi. Snow crab, lobster, prawns, roasted chicken or grilled salmon would also pair well.

100% Riesling.

Residual sugar = 1.4g/litre (ie bone dry).

To see an information sheet and tasting note for this wine from the team at Charles Smith Wines, please click on the blue link below.

Charles Smith Kung Fu Girl Riesling 2017 - fiche technique

ABV = 12.0%.

£16.05

Chateau Grezan Chardonnay 2019 (1x75cl)

** NOW BACK IN STOCK! **

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. 

This Chardonnay is released as IGP Pays d'Oc. Although grown on land within Faugères, Chardonnay lies outwith the varieties allowed for white Faugères, hence the broader IGP classification.

See blue link below for the fiche technique/technical note on this wine from the team at Chateau Grézan (the sheet notably omits that the wine is left on its fine lees for some months after fermentation to increase body, complexity and longevity).

Chateau Grézan Chardonnay - fiche technique

100% Chardonnay.

Surprising vivacity and freshness for a Chardonnay from the South of France, but with some real tropical warmth, too. Subtle aromas of exotic fruits (some say kiwi fruit), ripe citrus (esp orange and grapefruit) and pineapple. On the palate, it further reveals these cirus and tropical flavours with the additional tastes of dry fruits and hazelnuts.

£10.95

Dawson & James 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.

Also 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 2015 - 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.

ABV = 12.2%.

£38.15

De Wetshof Estate Bon Vallon Chardonnay 2019 (1x75cl)

Top 15 award in the Chardonnay du Monde 2019 championship (out of 696 Chardonnays tasted).

"Classic varietal warmth and freshness - benchmark Chardonnay scents, perfect for blind tasting practice. Apple, lemon, melon, peach, crème anglaise: fresh and appetising. Fresh, bright, vivid and juicy on the palate; satisfying mid-palate fullness and roundness of contour, with clean fruit definition. Fruits are a little more tropical on the palate than on the nose. A delicious varietal wine". Andrew Jefford, Decanter, Aug 2015 (of the 2014 vintage).

The name De Wetshof has been synonymous with the production of fine wines in South Africa since the 1970’s. As the first registered wine estate in the Robertson Wine Valley, De Wetshof has become known internationally as South Africa’s eminent Chardonnay House due to the pioneering role it played in introducing this noble Burgundian grape to the country. The De Wet family’s winemaking heritage can, however, be traced back to 1694 when the first De Wets arrived at the Cape and immediately made a mark on the South African wine industry. Today, De Wetshof is one of the few third generation wine estates in South Africa. Here Danie de Wet, proprietor and cellarmaster, is assisted by sons Johann (viticulture and marketing) and Peter (winemaker). 

The Robertson Valley is characterised by cold winters and sunny summers, with an average annual rainfall of 350 – 400mm. In summer a fresh southerly breeze has a cooling effect on the vineyards, allowing the grapes to ripen evenly and in perfect balance. Nights are chilly and during summer months a mist often shrouds the vineyards until late morning. The dry climate and bracing breeze keep pests to a minimum, resulting in sparse spraying programmes. Soils rich in limestone and broken mountain rock on De Wetshof’s site-specific vineyards allow this wine to emit optimum varietal expression. 

Age of the vines: 10-20 years. 

The grapes are picked in the coolness of morning, and the emphasis is on capturing the natural complexities of the Chardonnay grape immediately for the making of this unwooded wine.

Once de-stemming, pressing and overnight settling are complete, the juice is racked-off from the sediment and pumped into stainless steel tanks for the alcohol fermentation. After fermentation the wine is left on the less under controlled temperatures. Weekly stirring of the lees ensures maximum flavours are released into the wine until ready for bottling.

Ageing potential: 6–12 years (say the producer; we think a little less, but there are marked parallels with the ageability of Chablis).

100% Chardonnay.

Danie de Wet pioneered this noble cultivar in South Africa and this Chardonnay is a fresh and expressive, unwooded version. Bon Vallon has a brisk and clean freshness leading into a wide spectrum of classic flavours including citrus, wild flowers and grilled nuts, with a nuanced minerality on the aftertaste. The nose is delicate with aromas of lemon, honeysuckle blossom and peach. The wine was matured on its lees to produce a vibrant, lemony dry wine with a yeasty and delicate nutty finish.

ABV = 13.5%.

£11.70

Gasper Pinot Grigio 2018 (1x75cl)

The 2017 vintage was awarded a Gold Medal and 96 points at the 2018 Decanter World Wine Awards (click link for details).

For other 2018 DWWA winners, click here.

Gasper 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 Gasper wine estate is a joint venture between a local cooperative and the Carman 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 to create wines in a modern, fresh style.

The grapes for this wine are grown at altitudes ranging between 80-200 metres above sea level. The vineyards are terraced and face south-west, east and south. The climate here is sub-Mediterranean and experiences a mixture of warm sea air and the influence of cold winds from the Alps.

2018 was a wonderful vintage with no hail or frost experienced, resulting in a very successful harvest. A rainy spring led to an early summer and temperatures were warm and not excessively hot. Conditions at harvest time were ideal with warm, dry days and cool nights.

Fruit was pressed in a pneumatic press and then fermented and matured in stainless steel tanks. No malolactic fermentation was allowed to take place to preserve the freshness and fruit character of the grapes.

100% Pinot Grigio/Pinot Gris.

Residual Sugar = 3.7g/litre.

The wine is straw yellow in colour with a subtle shade of pink. The nose is reminiscent of pear, grapefruit, pineapple and cinnamon. Well balanced, this medium-bodied Pinot Grigio has a lovely richness, with a silky finish and citrus aromas.

ABV = 14.0%.

£13.70

Hamelin Bay Five Ashes Chardonnay 2017 (1x 75cl)

The Hamelin Bay winery is located at Karridale in the southern point of the region within a few miles of the ocean. The 63-acre Five Ashes vineyard is located on well drained gravel soils and faces north across the valley to gain the suns warmth in this cool region. The wines themselves are an expression of the natural beauty and uniqueness of the area, the fruit ripens with an intensity of flavour and richness of character. Owned by the Drake-Brockman family, who have a long association with the area, they have in recent years, achieved great recognition and awards for their range of outstanding wines.

Barrel fermented and then matured for 10 months in new, one- and two-year-old French oak barriques with fortnightly battonage.

This cool climate Chardonnay has aromas of peach, pear and dried banana preceding a lovely toasty and complex palate. It is a full flavoured creamy Chardonnay created to be similar to a Burgundian wine. Fermented and aged on its lees, the stone fruit and toasted palate - flavours of ripe peach, nectarine, orange blossom, cashew, vanilla bean and nougat - is balanced with crisp citrus acidity.  The integrated oak creates a luxurious mouthfeel which leads onto a butterscotch finish. Enjoy with spicy Asian dishes, scallops or lobster thermidor and chicken chasseur.

£18.90
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