Awarded 92 points and Highly Recommended status by Decanter in their December 2019 feature, Weekday Wines (see blue link below).
Cullen Wines is a certified biodynamic, carbon neutral and naturally powered estate, with their philosophy summed up in three simple words; ‘Quality, Integrity and Sustainability’. It is one of the oldest and most awarded family wineries in Wilyabrup, in Western Australia’s famous Margaret River region. First established in 1971 by Dr Kevin and Diana Cullen and now run by their daughter Vanya, the winery has built an outstanding reputation for fine certified biodynamic wines that receive critical national and international acclaim. All wines are produced with grapes grown on the Cullen and adjoining Mangan Estates. Both are certified biodynamic, to allow the soil to be nurtured and the wines to reflect their sense of place.
This wine takes its name from the 'Red Moon' which occurs during a total lunar eclipse when the light filtering through the Earth’s atmosphere dapples the moon in red light. This penumbral lunar eclipse occurred on 11th February 2017 during harvest. The grapes are grown on a single vineyard in the Wilyabrup subregion of the Margaret River. The soils are old, granite and gravely sandy loam, overlaying lateric subsoils. Malbec, Petit Verdot and Merlot are three varieties that are particularly well suited to growing in this area. In the 'Red Moon' wine, the Malbec provides the fruit power and colour, the Petit Verdot the length and texture and the Merlot the structure.
The 2017 harvest was challenging both in the vineyard and the winery. A traditionally wet winter was followed by slightly cooler than average spring and summer temperatures - a cold and stormy October contributing to a slow start in the vineyard. Fine conditions in November with below average rainfall and above average temperatures ensured veraison was only slightly delayed and the slow accumulation of flavour and ripeness ensured the fruit maintained good natural acidity levels. Above average rainfall in March made harvest decisions tricky but below average rainfall and fine weather in April supplied a nice finish for a vintage that has delivered great quality and quantity.
The grapes for this wine were hand harvested, destemmed and vinified with the emphasis on accentuating the fruit character of the grapes. Only wild yeasts were used. The wine was matured for nine months in French oak barriques, 10% of which were new. It received no additives except the requisite sulphur and was not fined.
57% Malbec, 37% Petit Verdot, 6% Merlot.
This wine is medium red in colour with hints of ruby. On the nose, there are plum and cherry aromas that are accompanied by lifted floral notes. The palate has a very attractive blend of juicy dark cherry, blueberry and hints of spice. Well-balanced acidity is backed by fine grained tannins on the long savoury finish.
ABV = 12.0%.
** LIMITED STOCK FOR IMMEDIATE DESPATCH, BUT MORE STOCK AVAILABLE. DO, BY ALL MEANS ORDER MORE THAN SHOWN BELOW; ORDERS (FOR QUANTITIES BEYOND IMMEDIATE STOCK SHOWN) PLACED BY 9 AM ON A MONDAY WILL BE WITH US FOR LUNCHTIME DESPATCH ON THE WEDNESDAY. **
The 2017 vintage was awarded 91 points and Highly Recommended status by Decanter in their June 2019 feature, Weekday Wines (see blue link below).
Domaine Cazes is situated in Rivesaltes in the Roussillon. With 220 hectares of vines planted, Domaine Cazes is the largest certified organic and biodynamic estate in France. It was founded in 1895 by Michel Cazes and the wines are made by the fourth generation of winemakers, headed up by Emmanuel Cazes. The family makes a range of interesting dry wines alongside the regional specialities, Vin Doux Naturels. They took the decision to move to organic and biodynamic viticulture in 1997. Based on their view that the natural environment needs natural preparation, they plough the soils and use only natural ingredients as treatments, arranging their work according to the lunar calendar.
Maison Cazes is set in the sunniest French region. Since the family started farming biodynamically, they have found that the vineyards are healthier and the vines are stronger, with longer roots. Vines grow on clay and limestone soils, covered by galets roulés (the famous 'pudding stones' also found in Châteauneuf-du-Pape). The low-yielding vines are about 30 years old, and produce 30 hectolitres per hectare.
40% Grenache, 40% Syrah, 20% Mourvèdre. The three varieties were 100% de-stemmed and before being put in separate stainless steel vats. Only naturally occurring yeasts were used; no yeast was added to the must. Fermentation was temperature controlled at 28°C. The residual matter was circulated by pump-overs and the sediment was broken up by hand twice a day to extract the best qualities. The wine was macerated for four weeks before pressing after which it underwent malolactic fermentation.
As well as being biodynamic and organic, this wine is suitable for vegans.
The palate is bright with ripe red and black fruit aromas and rich liquorice notes, balanced by delicate tannins. This wine has a remarkable balance, thanks to its good acidity and freshness. Long finish with white pepper flavours.
ABV = 15.0%.
The 2014 vintage was awarded 91 points and Highly Recommended status by Decanter (www.decanter.com) in their April 2018 edition review of 2014 Californian Cabernet Sauvignon (see blue link below).
The yet-to-be-released-in-the-UK 2015 vintage was awarded 90 points and Highly Recommended status by Decanter (www.decanter.com) in their November 2018 edition review of 2015 Californian Cabernet Sauvignon (see blue link below).
Raymond Vineyards, founded in 1970, is one of the Napa Valley’s pioneering estates. The Raymond family arrived in Napa in 1933 and have become deeply connected to the valley’s winemaking origins. In 1970, they established a 36 hectare estate in Rutherford, which now comprises 121 hectares in Rutherford, St. Helena and Jameson Canyon. Raymond’s Rutherford and St. Helena estate vineyards are certified organic and biodynamic; and 100% of the winery’s power comes from renewable solar energy. Five generations of the Raymond family have created a Napa icon, with an enduring reputation for elegant wines with a beautiful balance of finesse, opulence and complexity.
In honour of the Raymond family’s first harvest in 1974, 40 years of exceptional wines are celebrated with the 2014 Napa Valley Reserve Selection Cabernet Sauvignon. The 2014 vintage in Napa Valley was one of the earliest harvested vintages in years. A warm spring led to early bud break and created the perfect environment for flowering and fruit set. With warm days and cool nights, the ideal balance of acidity with optimum, bright fruit flavours was achieved.
The grapes for the Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon were sourced from the vineyards in Rutherford and St. Helena, as well as select nearby growers. The estate vineyards are located on gravelly alluvial fan soils with good drainage, necessary for growing excellent quality Cabernet Sauvignon. The vineyards are diligently monitored throughout the growing season to balance the crop size and quality. Shoot thinning and leaf removal early in the growing season, followed by cluster thinning at véraison, help to achieve evenly ripened grapes with concentrated flavours.
The 2016 vintage across California was a near-perfect growing season. A mild winter and spring led to a steady mild July and August, followed by warm days at the end of the season for the perfect ripeness. With warm days and cool nights in the summer, grape growers were able to maintain ideal acid levels with balanced, concentrated fruit flavors.
This wine spent between 21 and 63 days on the skins, then was aged for 19 months in 100% French oak, of which 30% was new. The balance was aged in twice and thrice used French oak. The final blend includes a small proportion of additional varieties for added depth and complexity. The wine was bottled unfiltered, contributing greater texture and presence to the mid palate.
With inviting aromas of dark spices and currants that mingle with fresh raspberry and blueberry, the round and plush entry is complemented by toasted oak and a fruit compote creating a velvety texture. Flavours of dark berry fruits and spice continue through to the long and rich finish creating a wine of great density.
Cabernet Sauvignon 90%, Petit Verdot 4%, Merlot 3%, Malbec 2% and Petite Sirah 1%
ABV = 15.0%.