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%.
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.
This wine is from a terroir of clay-limestone with some schistose materials as well as siliceous pebble. Soil perfectly suited for the production of high quality wines.
A minimalist work in term of winemaking. The maceration is gently managed around 25°C, with 1 or 2 pump-overs per day. After 10 days the tank is emptied, and presses are kept separate to avoid any bacterial contamination. The wine is stored in a full tank for malolactic fermentation.
50% Syrah, 40% Grenache, 10% Mourvèdre.
ABV = 13.5%.
James Millton is a living legend in the New Zealand wine scene. A pioneer of organic and biodynamic winemaking, he has ploughed his own furrow for three decades, quietly convinced that his sustainable approach to viticulture and winemaking was the only way to progress.
The Millton winery's own tasting notes for this wine are excellent, so please click the blue link below to see all this wine's details.
100% Pinot Noir.
ABV = 13.0%.
** THIS IS AN ADVANCE (pseudo-en-primeur) OFFERING OF THE SOON-TO-BE-RELEASED 2018 VINTAGE. **
** WE HAVE TAKEN A SMALL AMOUNT OF FREE STOCK AND THESE BOTTLES ARE AVAILABLE BELOW. **
** WINES WILL BE DELIVERED IN EARLY OCTOBER.**
"Gentle notes of crushed stone accent red-currant fruit on the nose of the 2018 Cornas Domaine de Saint Pierre. There's a sense of tension in this medium to full-bodied wine, which walks a tightrope of ripeness to yield a wine that's velvety and rich yet fresh and vibrant on the finish. 92-94 points." Joe Czerwinski, Wine Advocate, December 2019
“The 2018 Cornas Domaine de Saint Pierre could turn out to be a real superstar, and it’s an incredibly impressive barrel sample. Lots of dark berry fruits, toasted spice, and cured meat notes give way to a full-bodied Cornas that has ripe tannins, subtle background oak, and a great finish. 92-95 points". Jeb Dunnuck, December 2019
Jaboulet produces some of the world's greatest wines in the Rhone Valley, with Hermitage La Chapelle being its most famous wine. It was for many years run by Gérard Jaboulet, who was one of the great ambassadors for Rhône wines, tirelessly travelling the world and spreading the Gospel according to the Holy Grail of Hermitage. He died suddenly in 1997 and the firm has been run by Philippe & Jacques Jaboulet, until 2006 when the real estate entrepreneur Jean-Jacques Frey purchased the wine company.
The Frey family has of long standing in the Champagne region and are owners of Château La Lagune in Bordeaux. Jacques and Nicolas Frey are now involved in the day-to-day running of the Maison Jaboulet, while Caroline Frey (pictured right), the eldest daughter, is at the helm of the wine-making team. Under Caroline’s leadership, in 2006, the vineyards earned Sustainable Farming status while Jaboulet's winegrowing is in the course of conversion towards biodynamic certification.
Jaboulet produces wine from 26 different appellations in the Rhône. On the right-bank of the Rhone, the vineyard sits on the Eastern slopes of the Massif Central in Cornas, which means ‘burnt earth’ in old Celtic. The abrupt, south-facing slopes form a natural amphitheatre that protects the vines from cold winds. Cornas’ vineyards are very old, dating from ancient times. The first terraces and chaillées (walls) were likely made by Romans. Legend has it that Charlemagne himself tasted the wine when travelling through Cornas in the year 840 and liked it so much that he had some sent on to his residence in Aix-la-Chapelle. Owned by Domaines Paul Jaboulet Aine since 1996, the first vintage of this cuvée is 1996. This estate is located on the top of the hill, near the little chapel of Saint-Pierre. The estate represents 3.9 ha on very steep graphite south-facing slopes.
The autumn of 2017 was exceptionally dry. Winter 2017-18 was moderately watered and did not fully offset the water deficit. The winter season was very cool, temperatures returned to normal at the beginning of April resulting in later budburst. The whole spring was regularly and correctly watered. Temperatures remained and sometimes were above normal. These alternating hot and rainy periods led to very rapid growth of the vine. Phenology progressed very quickly and the season became early. At the beginning of July, temperatures were getting hotter/ the sanitary state of the vineyard was excellent, berries were juicy, well inflated and often larger than last year. The few rains in August allowed to unlock the situation and the harvest of September took place in a summer atmosphere under particularly heavy heat.
Grapes were hand-picked, sorted on the plot, in small crates. The vatting period lasted around 4 weeks with gentle extractions. Aged in French oak barrels (20% new).
See the link below for more details of the wine and winemaking from Jaboulet themselves.
For tasting notes, we refer you to the reviews above.
ABV = 13.5% (estimated, not known until bottled).