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Altos Las Hormigas Malbec Clasico 2018 (1x75cl)

Awarded 90 points and Highly Recommended status by Decanter (www.decanter.com) in their July 2020 edition's Weekday Wines (see  blue link below). 

Altos Las Hormigas Malbec Clasico 2018 - July 2020 Decanter review

Altos Las Hormigas is based in Luján de Cuyo, the only officially recognised appellation within Mendoza and one of the region's premium vine growing areas. The estate is known as a Malbec specialist with a reputation as one of the country's top five producers of this particular variety. Alberto Antonini and fellow Tuscan, Antonio Morescalchi, were so impressed with the vineyards in the area around Mendoza, following their first trip to Argentina in 1995, that they persuaded a few friends to join with them in buying this estate. The estate covers 88 hectares with 56 in production.

Most of the fruit for the Clasico is from vineyards in Luján de Cuyo with sandy loam soils. This is supplemented with some fruit from the high altitude vineyards of the Uco Valley, both of which bring different characteristics to the wine. The area has a semi-desert climate with little rainfall and hot days and cool nights. The soils are deep which delays ripening and avoids hydrological stress.

The 2018 vintage can be described as a classic year for Mendoza Malbec. Low rainfall and cool temperatures in the harvest months of February to April gave rise to fruit with optimal ripeness, smooth tannins and fresh natural acid.

Grapes from different vineyards were vinified separately before the final blend was assembled. After a careful double sorting process, the grapes were gently pressed and fermented with indigenous yeasts in order to express the character of each of the selected vineyards. Fermentation took place in stainless steel tanks between 24-28°C for 10 days. Each tank is tasted three times a day to determine what is needed. The wine is then aged for a minimum of nine months in concrete vats.

100% Malbec.

This Malbec is deep violet-red in colour. The nose displays characteristic notes of red fruits, raspberries and freshly picked plums with white pepper. This wine is all about freshness - the palate is supple and juicy, with soft but structured tannins and a long finish.

ABV = 13.5%.

£12.65

Berton Reserve Barossa Shiraz 2017 (1x75cl)

The 2015 vintage was awarded 95 points and a Platinum Best In Show at the Decanter World Wine Awards (www.decanter.com(see blue link below).

Berton Reserve Shiraz 2015 - August 2017 Decanter review

Established by Bob and Cherie Berton in May 1996, Berton Vineyard's estate covers 30 hectares of land located on gently rolling hills at 450 metres above sea level, in a subregion of Eden Valley in South Australia. The superb Reserve Shiraz and Reserve Chardonnay wines are still sourced from this plot. In 2007, Bob purchased the Yenda winery in the heart of the Riverina. This state-of- the-art facility has the capacity to process 20,000 tonnes and enables Berton Vineyard to produce value for money wines which sit alongside their premium single vineyard offerings.

The grapes come from the Barossa Valley, in South Australia. Situated at a latitude of 34° South, the region is made up of rolling hills and valley floors. The growing season often sees hot, warm weather with temperatures of 35°C, which can result in vine stress, helping to concentrate the flavours in the berries. The wide diurnal temperature differences help to retain balancing acidity. Some of the grapes come from Berton's original vineyard in the Eden Valley, where the climate is cooler. The vine age is varied, but all vines have been spur pruned and are generally trained on a single wire cordon trellising system. The vines are planted at approximately 1.8 metres apart with 3.6 metres between the rows, to allow machinery access. The soil styles in the vineyards are varied, ranging from clay, to limestone and sandy soils, with each terroir adding its own characteristic to the final wine.

In 2017, the vineyard saw a wet winter followed by mild summer conditions, which provided the vines with good access to water and a long ripening period. This combination resulted in a great season. Cool nights allowed excellent flavour development in the grapes resulting in wines with concentrated flavours and balancing acidity. Harvesting took place during the last few days of April and first week of May.

The wine was fermented in stainless steel tanks with regular skin submersion in order to extract the required colour and flavour from the grapes. After fermentation, the wine was pressed off into stainless steel tanks where it completed malolactic fermentation in the late autumn. The wine was then racked off into both French and American oak barrels resulting in a rich, spicy complex Shiraz.

Shiraz 100%.

The Reserve Shiraz is deepest dark red with a very youthful and vibrant garnet hue. The aromas are powerful and complex with a wealth of fruit ranging from ripe black cherries and blackberries with hints of eucalypt and spice. The rich and full palate displays soft flavours of plum skin, mulberry and hints of vanilla and blackberry, These abundant flavours are underpinned by fine vanilla from the oak and defined by exciting spicy tannins.

ABV = 14.5%.

£14.25

Berton Reserve Coonawarra Cabernet Sauvignon 2016 (1x75cl)

The 2014 vintage was awarded 96 points and rare Outstanding status by Decanter (www.decanter.com) in their April 2017 edition review of New World Cabernet Sauvignons (see blue link below) in which it emerged as the runaway Number One.

Berton Reserve 2014 - April 2017 Decanter review

Established by Bob and Cherie Berton in May 1996, Berton Vineyard is one of Hallgarten's most important partners. The estate covers 30 hectares of land located on gently rolling hills at 450 metres above sea level, in a subregion of Eden Valley in South Australia. The superb Reserve Shiraz and Reserve Chardonnay wines are still sourced from this plot. In 2007, Bob purchased the Yenda winery in the heart of the Riverina. This state-of- the-art facility has the capacity to process 20,000 tonnes and enables Berton Vineyard to produce value for money wines which sit alongside their premium single vineyard offerings.

Good winter rainfall was a perfect start to the 2016 growing season. Above average temperatures resulted in early budburst with most varieties. The mild to warm and dry conditions continued with good rainfall in both November and December producing ideal conditions for véraison. February saw the arrival of hot dry weather and with no rainfall or disease pressure, ripening accelerated rapidly resulting in an early harvest for the reds. The 2016 reds are stand outs - rich ripe juicy wines with great length and great depth of colour.

The grapes come from two parcels of fruit within the same vineyard, in the prized Terra Rossa region of Coonawarra. One block is on a slightly more elevated area of the vineyard, which produces more subtle fruit characters. The warm days are moderated by off-shore breezes and the rich red loam over free draining limestone soil is the foundations for the Coonawarra's justified reputation for producing premium quality Cabernet Sauvignon grapes.

The grapes were fermented in stainless vertical sweep arm fermenters for 10 days between 22 ° and 28°C on premium French oak until dry. Each parcel of wine was then pressed at 0.5 Baumé through a bag press and clarified via centrifuge into stainless steel storage tanks. The parcels were then transferred into new and old French (90%) and American (10%) oak barrels for 12 months. Only the best parcels were selected and carefully blended to arrive at this exceptional wine.

Cabernet Sauvignon 99%, Shiraz 1%.

This shows intense and generous black fruit aromas with hints of chocolate, eucalyptus and mint. The Reserve Coonawarra Cabernet has an impenetrable black colour with a vibrant garnet hue. The aromas are powerful and complex with a wealth of fruit ranging from ripe blackcurrant and blackberries with hints of nutmeg and cinnamon. The rich and harmonious palate displays abundant flavours of prune, plum jam and mint, underpinned by fine toasty French oak and defined by a soft yet dense tannin profile.

ABV = 14.5%.

£13.75

Bodegas Olarra Cerro Anon Rioja Gran Reserva 2010 (1x75cl)

** ALAS NOW ALL GONE -  WE NOW OFFER THE AWARD-WINNING, HIGHLY-RATED 2011 (click link for product page and here for our comparison of the two vintages). **

Awarded 96 points and Outstanding status by Decanter (www.decanter.com) in their March 2019 edition review of 2010 Riojas (see blue link below).

Bodegas Olarra Cerro Anon Rioja Gran Reserva 2010 - March 2019 Decanter review

"I bought six of these and unfortunately I have given three away to friends. We opened it last night and decanted as per the instructions of your shop staff. The wine is truly spectacular and I am working out how to break in to my friend's flat to steal back the wine I gave him. I have never been moved to comment on a bottle of wine by email. Thank you for the spectacular experience. Another 6 please. I won't be as generous with the next lot!"

- regular (anonymous) Perth customer [who ultimately bought another 12]

In case you missed it reaching this page, here's our article on the Decanter review and this wine.

Bodegas Olarra was created in 1973. Situated on the outskirts of the city of Logroño in Rioja Alta, their winery – a Y-shaped building designed to make optimum use of the space for both production and ageing of the wine – is known as “the Cathedral of La Rioja”. From the beginning, the winery has known how to combine the traditional methods of production and ageing with the most advanced modern techniques of viticulture and vinification. A favourable geographic location, gives the vineyards all the ingredients to produce good fruits. Indeed the clay and chalky soil is watered by the rain and the Ebro river. This area also benefits from warm sunshine and the influence of the Mediterranean and Atlantic coasts. In 1978, Bodegas Olarra achieved their first Gold medal for a Cerro Añon wine in the tenth International Wines and Spirits Competition in the UK. Numerous awards followed from then on, proof of the outstanding quality of their wines.

Grapes for the Gran Reserva are drawn solely from Olarra vineyards; these are located primarily in Rioja Alta, but also in Rioja Alavesa to a lesser extent. Vines in these vineyards are all grown in the traditional way. The average age of the vines is over 30 years. Most of the vineyards sit on a clay-rich soil in Rioja Alta and on limestone-clay soils in Rioja Alavesa.

Harvests took place later than usual in 2010, well into late October, when the fruit was considered to have reached full ripeness; this slower, steadier ripening accounts for much of the quality of this harvest (generally) and the 2010 Gran Reserva (in the specific). Subsequent selection ensured that only grapes in healthy shape made it through to the vinification process. 2010 was a great year in the history of the quality of grapes on the Olarra estate. 

Tempranillo 80%, Mazuelo 10%, Garnacha 5%, Graciano 5%.

Fermentation and maceration lasted for a total of 19 days and were performed in stainless steel vats at a controlled temperature of 28ºC. Later on, the wine was racked into new French (Allier) oak, 225-litre casks/barricas where the malolactic fermentation took place, followed by a stay on the lees for a little over two months, with regular batonnage.

By the end of that winter, the wine was already being racked into new oak barrels, where it remained for a further six months. After this, the rest of the oak ageing - up to the total 27 months - was conducted in different barrels again: Allier and American (Missouri) oak, all with a medium toast, and with different ages spanning from brand new to 5 years. After fining with egg whites, the wine was bottled and stored in Olarra's bottle cellar for 45 months, before it started to be released.

The Gran Reserva 2010 shows a deep red colour with shades of ruby on the rim of the glass. On the nose, at the time of original release, it revealed a delicate balance between ripe red berry aromas and those of spices and smokiness. Over time, this developmental bouquet has grown more complex, showing aromas of leather, tobacco, coffee beans and raisins. On the palate, it is full and round, thanks to its long period in the bottle. Mouthfeel is as firm, elegant and smooth as one should expect from a great Rioja Gran Reserva, with a surprisingly long and fresh finish.

ABV = 14.0% (NB: the figure stated in the Decanter review is incorrect, based on the value stated on the bottle).

£14.95

Carpineto Dogajolo Toscana Rosso 2017

Awarded 89 points and Recommended status by Decanter (www.decanter.com) in their May 2020 edition review of Best High Street Italian Reds (see blue link below).

Carpineto Dogajolo Toscana Rosso 2017 - May 2020 Decanter review

Founded in 1967 by Antonio Zaccheo and Giovanni Sacchet, Carpineto farms 500 hectares of land spread over four estates among Tuscany's most prestigious appellations. The original aim of the producers – to make modern, world-class red wine from the Chianti Classico appellation, has been admirably fulfilled. The Farnito and Dogajolo wines demonstrate the winery’s pioneering approach to making wines from international varieties in Tuscany. Formerly IWSC Italian Wine Producer of the Year, Carpineto was the also the first ever Italian winery to be awarded the IWSC International Winemaker of the Year. Antonio Zaccheo is now assisted by his son Antonio and daughter Francesca, who have both previously worked in the wine trade in the USA. Giovanni Sacchet's daughter, Caterina, joined the Carpineto winemaking team after finishing her viticulture and oenology degree.

This was a unique vintage due to the severe drought that affected the vineyards, which resulted significantly reduced yields and a limited production. The wines show excellent concentration of ripe fruit flavours.

The vines are grown in the heart of Tuscany in sand, clay and limestone soils.

Whole bunches were carefully selected at harvest. The grape varieties were vinified separately, as they reached maturity at different times. Fermentation took place in stainless steel vats at 25°C, followed by 15 to 20 days maceration with frequent aerations, pump overs and punch-downs of the cap for optimal polyphenol extraction. Towards the end of fermentation they were blended and placed in small wooden casks where they slowly completed alcoholic and malolactic fermentation.

Sangiovese 70%, Cabernet Sauvignon 20% and other varieties 10%.

Modern Tuscan style displaying red cherry flavours with a rich mouthfeel, smooth and juicy. An innovative baby Super-Tuscan, Dogajolo combines the power and deep flavours of a young wine, with the elegance and balance from the oak ageing. Full bodied, yet soft on the palate with fruity cherry notes interlaced with coffee, vanilla and spice, this is complex and well-developed. 

ABV = 13.0%.

£11.50

Casa Ferreirinha Papa Figos Douro Tinto 2018 (1x75cl)

The 2017 vintage was awarded 95 points, Gold and overall Trophy status (Portuguese Red Trophy and Great Value Red between £8 and £12) at the 2019 IWC (International Wine Challenge) in May 2019 (see blue link below for review and their tasting note).

Papa Figos 2017 - IWC 2019 award and review

This historic producer, founded in 1751, was purchased by Sogrape in 1987.  Today they have 520 hectares of vineyard in the Douro in all of its three sub-regions:  Lower Corgo, Upper Corgo and Douro Superior.  The winemaking is headed up by the talented Luis Sottomayor, who manages to restrain the Douro’s natural exuberance to produce wines that have a freshness, like Estevo and Papa Figos, allied to a wonderful depth and texture, as with Vinha Grande Red and Quinta da Leda.

About 25% of the grapes for Papa Figos come from Casa Ferreirinha's Quinta da Leda estate, and the rest from producers owning north-facing vineyards at relatively high altitudes. The soil in the Duoro Valley is made up of schist - a slate-like metamorphic rock that is rich in nutrients and has useful water retention properties. 

The golden oriole (papa figos in Portuguese) is one of the rarest birds in the Douro region. An attractive, brightly-coloured migratory bird, its uniqueness and rarity make it the perfect inspiration for this lovely wine.

The 2018 vintage saw a cold and dry winter which was followed by an extremely wet spring which replenished water reserves in the soil but also affected flowering and increased disease pressure on the vine. These factors significantly reduced the yield but a hot and dry summer allowed for a balanced maturation and the fruit harvested was of excellent quality

After gentle destemming and crushing, the grapes were transferred to stainless steel tanks. Intense maceration is achieved by pumping over. After maceration, the wine is run off the solids, the free-run wine is kept separate from the press wine. Malolactic fermentation was encouraged in controlled conditions. The blend was selected and remained in stainless tanks throughout the winter. 25% of the total of the blend spent eight months in used French oak barrels, and the final blend was bottled after 12 months.

35% Tinta Roriz, 30% Tinta Barroca, 20% Touriga Franca, 15% Touriga Nacional.

This wine is ruby red in colour with violet nuances. Intensely aromatic with fresh black fruits, red berries, heather, chocolate and balsamic savoury spice on the nose. The spicy red fruit profile follows onto the full bodied palate that balances smooth tannins with well-integrated acidity on the long lasting finish.

ABV = 13.5%.

£11.60

Chateau Saint-Esteve, H de M, Corbieres, 2017 (1x75cl)

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

 

Château Saint-Esteve, H de M, Corbieres, 2017 - April 2020 Decanter review

Situated in the south of France, near the Mediterranean coast, the estate is located in the heart of Corbières, on the terroir of Boutenac, with its clay-limestone soils and round pebbles, in a century-old pine forest. Château Saint-Estève revels in the beauty and the charm of a protected landscape. This is a special place: the estate echoes to singing cicadas in summer, sits among magnificent pine trees and visitors can admire the garrigue, blue sky, protruding rocks and magnificent nature.

Owner Eric Latham has been cultivating the Château's 120 ha of vineyards since 1984. The adventurous and daring spirit of the family, has been strongly influenced by the experiences of their ancestors and their bold lifestyle choices. For example, his great-grand-uncle, Hubert Latham, an aviation pioneer, was known for his attempts to cross the Channel and his rivalry with Louis Blériot. Eric's grand-father, Henry de Monfreid - after whom this wine is named - was a famous adventurer, photographer and writer, native to Corbières and best known for his exploits in the Red Sea.

Carignan and Syrah principally grow on the lands of Saint-Estève; Grenache Noir, Mourvèdre and Cinsault (also varieties of the Corbières appellation) to a lesser extent. Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Caladoc are also present in addition for the production of IGP wines. The red varieties naturally dominate although Grenache Blanc, Chardonnay and Muscat are also grown.

Although the Château itself sits within the Boutenac cru, this wine, the H de M, is drawn from vineyards that lie outwith that demarcation and classes as 'standard' Corbières .

Syrah 60%, Carignan 20%, Grenache 10%, Mourvedre 10%.

For more/full details of this wine, see the blue link below for a detailed data sheet from/by the Château themselves. <NB: an additional precision to information listed there, having checked with the producer is: 50% of the wine is aged in barrels which are 2 to 3 years old.>

Chateau Saint-Esteve, H de M, Corbieres - fiche technique

Garnet colour with ruby glints. Intense nose of ripe fruits (blueberry, blackcurrant), spices and vanilla. In the mouth, cocoa and praline notes. Tannins are silky and round. Carignan brings elegance and freshness to this distinguished wine.

ABV = 14.0%.

£14.95

Dandelion Vineyards Menagerie of the Barossa Grenache/Shiraz/Mataro 2017 (1x75cl)

Awarded a Gold medal and 95 points at the 2019 Decanter World Wine Awards (click link for details)

For other 2019 DWWA winners, click here.

Dandelion Vineyards is the venture of self-titled 'typist' Zar Brooks, his winemaking wife Elena and growers Carl Lindner and Brad Rey, with wines made from the Barossa and Eden Valleys, Fleurieu and McLaren Vale. Nick Stock, one of Australia's leading journalists, has described Dandelion as follows: 'Brooks has teamed up with his winemaking wife Elena, a woman whose talents are outweighed only by her tolerance, in an exciting new venture called Dandelion Vineyards. The approach is remarkably simple and sees Elena making wine from a suite of beautiful old vineyards identified by Carl Lindner and Brad Rey across that blessed curve that runs from the Barossa, up through the Eden Valley and Adelaide Hills and down into McLaren Vale.'

At the end of the old vine garden path at Dandelion Vineyards, there is a historic ‘Menagerie’ field blend of three grape varieties, adjoining blocks of Grenache, Shiraz and Mataro at Gomersal in the Barossa.

After hand picking selected bunches of the Menagerie field blend on 22nd April, winemaker Elena Brooks let the whole bunches ferment together in open top fermenters with ambient yeasts. Punching down of the cap took place over 14 days, before basket pressing in old French oak barriques. The wine was then matured for a further 12 months in the oak barrel, before bottling without fining or filtration to capture the vinous essence of the blend.

See also blue link below for the excellent technique/technical note from the winemakers at Dandelion Vineyards..

Dandelion Vineyards Menagerie Of The Barossa Grenache/Shiraz/Mataro 2017 - fiche technique

80% Grenache, 15% Shiraz, 5% Mataro (ie Mourvèdre).

The wine is deep red with youthful violet hues, with a nose that offers an intriguing mix of rose petals and lifted red fruits, berries and a hint of cinnamon and Asian spice. The palate offers wild cherry, damsons and mulberries, coupled with an impressive structure balanced by spicy oak. The wine is opulent, with intense red berries balanced by soft velvety tannins and supple oak.

ABV = 14.5%.

£14.55

Domaine de la Charmoise Marionnet Gamay de Touraine 2019 (1x75cl)

The 2017 vintage was awarded a Gold Medal and 95 points at the 2018 Decanter World Wine Awards (click link for details).

For other 2018 DWWA winners, click here.

The Marionnet family arrived in Soings, in the eastern part of Touraine (30 km south of Blois), in the middle of the last century. Their vineyards were completely replanted and expanded between 1967 and 1978. The total vine area is today some 60 hectares, producing some 400,000 bottles of red and white wines. The cellar is fully equipped with stainless steel vats and modern winemaking technology.

Domaine de la Charmoise is mainly planted with Gamay for red wines and Sauvignon for whites. Gamay covers an area of ​​33 hectares. Average yields are around 55 hl/ha. Sauvignon occupies an area of ​​~20 ha. The soil is of a type locally known as perruche (= parakeet!), composed of flint, clay, silica and gravel. The estate is located at the highest point between the Loire (to the north) and the Cher (to the south). Thanks to its position, the most easterly of Touraine, the domaine benefits from a continental climate conducive to Gamay and Sauvignon. In addition, a favourable microclimate ensures both excellent maturity and good protection against one of the upper Loire's main hazards: spring frosts.

The harvest is entirely picked by hand with great care and this, the domaine tell us, intriguingly, is “almost exclusively by women”. The clusters undergo rigorous selection and a severe sorting if necessary. These are then placed in vats intact for intracellular fermentation/(semi)-carbonic maceration, yielding a most elegant wine with a brilliant ruby ​​red/purple color. On the nose and palate, it's a real explosion of strawberries, raspberries, blackcurrant, kirsch, coffee, and bonbons anglais. It's a "pleasure wine", and - (al)so say the domaine - "a wine for an entire meal" (best served chilled).

This wine is made using 100% Gamay.

ABV = 13.0%.

£13.05

Dona Paula Estate Malbec 2018 (1x75cl)

The 2017 vintage was awarded 89 points and Recommended status by Decanter (www.decanter.com) in their October 2018 edition panel tasting of South American signature grapes (see blue link below). 

Dona Paula Estate Malbec 2017 - Oct 2018 Decanter review

Doña Paula is a leading, modern winery at the forefront of exploring and investing in new, high quality wine regions in Argentina. Established in 1997, they own all of their vineyards covering 700 hectares. These vineyard sites are located in the best subregions within Mendoza including Ugarteche, Altamira, Gualtallary and Tupungato. The vineyards have always been cultivated using sustainable methods, maximising the true expression of terroir. Continuous innovation in vineyard management ensures Doña Paula produces top quality wines from one year to the next.

The grapes were sourced from two of Dona Paula's best estate vineyards: Finca Alluvia in Gualtallary, situated at 1,350 metres above sea level and Finca Los Indios, located in Altamira, Uco Valley at an altitude of 1,100 metres. The soils are stony in the first location and sandy loam in the second, but both have a high calcareous content. This Malbec displays the characteristics of its cool climate origins and the wide diurnal temperature differences. The daily diurnal temperature range is excellent for the production of quality grapes; the nightly cooling-off extends the ripening period, allowing the grapes to develop rich varietal characteristics while retaining balancing acidity. The vines are grown on espaliers, using drip irrigation and the vineyards are cultivated using sustainable agricultural practices.

2018 saw a return to higher yields, after the low yielding vintages of 2016 and 2017. Doña Paula had a record harvest in 2018, with the highest average in the province. The growing season was dry, with very low rainfall and average temperatures, which resulted in fruit with optimal ripeness. 2018 is being hailed as a classic year for Mendoza.

The grapes were hand-picked, prior to a gentle destemming without crushing the berries. A cold, pre-fermentation maceration was carried out. Fermentation took place at low temperatures, followed by a post-fermentation maceration of 15 to 20 days, extracting colour, flavour and fine tannins. The wine was then racked to first, second and third-use French oak barrels for a period of 12 months.

100% Malbec.

Intense violet in colour, this estate Malbec has enticing aromas of plums, black cherries, liquorice and spice, backed by subtle mineral and graphite notes. Great balance and freshness on the palate, with a deep concentration of ripe fruit, soft tannins and a persistent finish.

ABV = 14.0%.

£12.40

Journeys End The Pastors Blend Cabernet Merlot 2018 (1x75cl)

Awarded 92 points and Highly Recommended status by Decanter (www.decanter.com) in their April 2020 edition expert tasting of Global Bordeaux blends (see blue link below).

Journeys End The Pastors Blend Cabernet Merlot 2018 - April 2020 Decanter review

Among the long rolling south-facing slopes of the Stellenbosch winelands, caressed by cool coastal breezes, lies the boutique winery and vineyard, Journey’s End. With only a handful of premium, hand-crafted wines produced here, the focus is very much on quality. In 1995 the Gabb family (originally from Shropshire, UK) took control of this picturesque wine farm surrounded by 20 ha of gorgeous vineyards. They have invested heavily in both the vineyards and the winery since then – with the estate growing to 120 ha by July 2011. The family’s philosophy is one of minimum intervention. The aim of which is to create top-quality, single-vineyard and appellation wines that intricately integrate the tension between remaining true to the terroir, and finding their own unique expression of it.

The Gabb family invest in the community by helping the local church and working closely with the Pastors.

The grapes were handpicked early in the morning and stored in the cold room overnight. They were hand sorted and destemmed before being pumped into stainless steel tanks for fermentation. The grapes underwent a 72-hour cold soak before the temperature was lifted to stimulate fermentation and the Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Cabernet Franc juice was separately inoculated. The fermentation lasted 12 days. A one week extended maceration ensured suitable extraction of tannins giving the wine structure. All cultivars were matured separately and then subjected to a 14 month barrelling period (second and third fill French oak barrels) before being blended, fined, stabilized and bottled.

This wine is a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon 60%, Merlot 29% and Cabernet Franc 11%.

This old World style red blend displays rich dark red fruit aromas including blackcurrant and ripe cherries. These aromas are also experienced on the palate and are accompanied by sweet tobacco and Christmas cake characters. This wine has a well-integrated tannic structure showing elegance and lengthy finish.

ABV = 13.5%.

£13.40

Muriel Fincas de la Villa Rioja Reserva 2015 (1x75cl)

** HEAPS MORE STOCK JUST ARRIVED! **

Awarded 93 points and Highly Recommended status by Decanter (www.decanter.com) in their March 2020 edition panel tasting of Affordable Rioja (see blue link below).

Muriel Fincas de la Villa Rioja Reserva 2015 - March 2020 Decanter review

Founded in 1982, when Julian Murua Entrena revived his father, Jose Murua’s winery, which dates back to 1926 in the heart of the Rioja Alavesa (one of the three sub-regions that make up Spain’s Rioja appellation). The cellars are in the quaint, historic village of Elciego, which is renowned for being surrounded by some of the best “terrior” in Rioja. The name “Muriel” comes from the combination of the family name, Murua, the region, Rioja, and the name of the town itself, Elciego.

Today, Julian and his son Javier run the winery with the mission to meld the long-held winemaking traditions of the region with new technologies and techniques in order to make wines that express the “best qualities” of the grapes coming from these fertile Riojan vineyards. Like most of red wines in the region, all Bodegas Muriel wines are 100% Tempranillo, the “signature” grape of the region.  Due to the special micro-climate of the region, there is a triple influence from the Mediterranean, Continental and Atlantic climates, which helps the vines produce very aromatic and elegant wines, whose main characteristic is the potential to age.

Located in Rioja Alavesa (Elciego), the vineyard is grown using both trellised and traditional gobelet-pruned system on very poor calcareous soil with a clay loam texture.

The fermentation and maceration process is carried out over 20 days in stainless steel vats. The daily pumping over routine allows an optimal extraction of colour and tannins. The aging process lasts for 24 months, including three rackings in 225-litre American and French oak barrels (50% of each type; 30% of the barrels are new). The wine matures in the bottle for another 12 months before it is released to the market.

100% Tempranillo.

For a little more detail, see the blue link below for the excellent technical note from the winemakers themselves.

Muriel Fincas de la Villa Reserva 2015 - fiche technique

Classic ruby red with hints of a light brick red colour. Very complex and intense aroma, with fine scents of aging which are assembled perfectly: vanilla, spices and herbs. Very ripe fruit recollections appear. In the palate, it is a finely balanced wine, with a polished and elegant body, with a long and pleasant aftertaste. Matches especially well with roasted lamb, cutlets barbequed on vine shoots, fish in sauce recipes, as well as smoked and cured cheese. Excellent wine to accompany chocolate desserts.

ABV = 13.0%.

£12.50

Pauletts Polish Hill River Cabernet Merlot 2016 (1x75cl)

Awarded 94 points and Highly Recommended status by Decanter (www.decanter.com) in their April 2020 edition expert tasting of Global Bordeaux blends (see blue link below).

 Pauletts Polish Hill River Cabernet Merlot 2016 - April 2020 Decanter review

Click here for a ~3-minute video tasting of this wine with Exel Wines!

Clare Valley is one of Australia`s oldest wine regions and is probably best known for its Riesling wines. Polish Hill River is a sub-region one and a half hours drive north from Adelaide. Named after the Polish settlers of the mid 1800s, the climate is ideal for premium grape growing with a combination of consistently good winter rains, hot summers tempered by cool nights and a long ripening period.

Pauletts' reputation for producing wines of finesse, elegance and intensity is justly deserved with consistent skill and care from vintage to vintage. Neil Paulett graduated from the Roseworthy oenology course in the early 1970s and spent a further ten years honing his winemaking skills at Penfolds before buying his own property in the Clare Valley. Located some 90 minutes north of Adelaide, this lovely property now extends to 150 hectares with 47 planted with vines. Since the first vintage in 1983 there have been many accolades both at home and internationally. These wines are a true reflection of the region and are of outstanding quality.

For this, their (red) Bordeaux blend, here's Pauletts' own data sheet/fiche technique:

Paulett Polish Hill River Cabernet Merlot 2016 - fiche technique

This Cabernet-dominated Bordeaux blend shows the depth and intensity gained from a cool micro-climate. A fruit-driven wine which is rich and spicy with truffle and vanilla on the nose. The palate is beautifully balanced and packed with sweet cherry, plum, blackcurrant and liquorice. Subtle oak ageing adds to this superbly structured wine with supple tannins and a long, intense and satisfying finish.

Cabernet Sauvignon 70%, Merlot 30%.

ABV = 14.9%.

£14.30

Perez Cruz Reserva Cabernet Sauvignon 2017 (1x75cl)

The 2015 vintage was awarded 92 points and Highly Recommended status by Decanter (www.decanter.com) in their December 2018 feature, Weekday Wines (see blue link below)....

Perez Cruz Reserva Cabernet Sauvignon 2015 - December 2018 Decanter review

... and was also awarded 95 points and a Platinum Best In Category (Best Chilean Red Bordeaux Varietals) at the Decanter World Wine Awards (www.decanter.com): see their August 2017 DWWA supplement (see blue link below).

Perez Cruz Reserva Cab Sauv 2015 - August 2017 Decanter review

See blue link below for the fiche technique/technical note from that vintage (2016 sheet expected soon) from the winemakers themselves.

Perez Cruz Reserva Cabernet Sauvignon 2015 - fiche technique

Perez Cruz is a family owned boutique winery located in the Alto Maipo. Their estate covers 250 hectres of vines planted in one of the most sought-after areas for growing premium Cabernet Sauvignon. This red wine specialist also produces small parcels of Syrah, Cot (Malbec), Carmenère and Petit Verdot. From the first vintage in 2002, President Andres Perez Cruz has seen the estate's speciality red wine amass an impressive array of awards and gold medals. Their eco-friendly winery was built by award winning architect Jose Cruz Ovalle, to fulfil the technical objective of fine wine production. Its wooden roof and natural light allow thermal isolation and free air flow circulation, making it one of the most unique wineries in the world.

The Liguai Estate is located in the Maipo Andes sub-region and is nestled against the mountain foothills at between 1450 and 1700 feet elevation. Trained on Double Guyot systems with drip irrigation, the vines yield 3.12 tonnes per acre. The rocky soils are of both alluvial and colluvial origins. The cooling influences of the mountain air, along with the Pacific Ocean breezes ensure a long ripening season. Harvested by hand, the grapes are picked once they have reached the perfect ripeness of tannins and flavours.

The grapes were carefully selected. Each block was fermented individually so it could reveal its unique characteristics of every corner of the vineyard. The grapes were gently crushed and macerated at cool temperatures in stainless steel tanks. The skins were pumped over the must during fermentation extracting colour, flavours and fine tannins providing structure in the final wine. The wine was then macerated for a period of 24 days. Ageing took place in American and French oak barrels for a minimum of 12 months.

Cabernet Sauvignon 91%, Syrah 4%, Carmenère 3%, Petit Verdot 2%.

Intense blackcurrant and eucalyptus scents on the nose are echoed on the palate, combined with rich jammy fruits, velvety smooth tannins and a long, intense finish.

ABV = 13.5%.

£11.95

Vina Echeverria Gran Reserva Pinot Noir 2017 (1x75cl)

Awarded 93 points and Highly Recommended status by Decanter (www.decanter.com) in their October 2019 edition panel tasting of Chilean Pinot Noir (see blue link below).

Viña Echeverria Gran Reserva Pinot Noir 2017 - October 2019 Decanter review

Viña Echeverría is a family-run estate winery, owned and managed by the Echeverría family. Established in 1930, but with an agricultural heritage going back to the 1700s, Viña Echeverría is as much today, as always, driven by a shared passion for winemaking and an uncompromising search for excellence. Viña Echeverría combines nearly a century of viticulture and winemaking experience with a modern state-of-the-art winery, to produce a range of over 20 quality wines from nine different grape varieties. It has recently been awarded its Sustainable Winery status by Wines of Chile, as well as its ISO9000 certification.

The vineyard is located in the Casablanca Valley, a cool-climate coastal region close to the Pacific Ocean approximately 47 miles north of Santiago. The proximity to the sea results in a Mediterranean climate, with pronounced maritime influence. The cooling sea breezes from the cold Humboldt stream, tempers the heat of the warm, sunny days and creates cool foggy mornings, ideal for top quality Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. The soils are clay and sandy soils, which provide good drainage. Careful pruning ensures the correct balance between canopy and fruit.

The 2017 harvest was characterised by high temperatures throughout the ripening period from véraison onwards and late rainfall during spring. The temperatures were warm and favourable during flowering. The warm average temperatures allowed for a high accumulation of sugars in the berries which resulted in earlier harvest than usual, by one to two weeks. The red wines achieved soft tannins, good colour and a great aromatic expression.

Cold pre-fermentation maceration took place at 5°C for four to five days, in order to extract colour and primary aromas. Fermentation lasted for 10 to 12 days at temperatures of 26° to 29°C in stainless steel tanks, with selected yeasts. Post fermentation maceration lasted for five days, then 100% of the wine went through malolactic fermentation. 75% of the wine was aged in French oak barrels for six months, adding oak complexity to the final blend.

100% Pinot Noir.

This elegant Pinot Noir combines aromas of strawberries, black cherries and raspberries with hints of chocolate and mocha. The palate is round and soft, with refreshing acidity and balanced fruit. Works well with earthy flavours such as mushrooms and truffles, grilled meats - pheasant or a rack of lamb. Try with oily fish such as salmon and tuna.

ABV = 13.5%.

£10.60
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