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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

Bodegas Olarra Cerro Anon Rioja Reserva 2016 (1x75cl)

** BACK IN STOCK! **

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.

The 2016 vintage was officially classified as Very Good by the Rioja Control Board (Consejo Regulador).

The fruit for Cerro Añon Reserva comes from Olarra's vineyards in both Rioja Alavesa and Rioja Alta. Average vine age is around 25 years; the soil patterns in the vineyards are a combination of the well-known limestone/clay/alluvial mixes to be found in most of Central Rioja.

Approximately, the mix of grapes for Cerro Añón Reserva 2016 is 90% Tempranillo, 5% Mazuelo and 5% Graciano.

See also the blue link below for Olarra's own fiche technique/technical sheet.

Bodegas Olarra Cerro Anon Rioja Reserva 2016 - fiche technique

At the time of release, this wine showed a bright crimson red colour. On the nose, aromas of sweet ripe fruit and delicate notes of smokiness. On the palate, tastes of cherry, plum and blackberries combined with gentle clean aromas of oak. Elegant mouthfeel, a full body and a fresh and fruity aftertaste. This wine still has plenty of life in it and should drink very well for the next 10-15 years.

ABV = 14.0%.

£12.70

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, Vinha Grande Douro Tinto 2017 (1x75cl)

This producer, founded in 1952, is named after the legendary Porto matriarch Dona Antónia Ferreira. Affectionately nicknamed 'Ferreirinha' by her countrymen, the house pays homage to her memory and was the first house in the region dedicated to making light wines. Purchased by Sogrape in 1987, it has 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 Luís Sottomayor, who restrains the Douro’s natural exuberance to produce wines that have a freshness, like Esteva and Papa Figos, allied to a lovely depth and texture, as with Vinha Grande Tinto and Quinta da Leda.

The selected grape varieties were sourced from the Quinta do Sairrão estate located at a high altitude in the Cima Corgo region. The mountainous vineyards here have schist soils with vines planted either in vertical rows or on traditional patamares (terraces). The selected plots are ideal for optimal maturation thanks to the hot days and cool evenings bringing out the fresh fruit character of the grapes.

Like the rest of Portugal, this region suffered from a severe lack of water throughout the 2017 growing season with high daytime temperatures tempered only by the cooling effect of the high altitude. The harvest was very early and yields were much lower than average. The region suffered a series of wildfires due to the extremely dry conditions and many vineyards were damaged and in some cases, completely destroyed. However, despite the atypical harvest year, the resulting wines have great balance, elegance and concentration.

Grapes selected for the Vinha Grande Tinto went through gentle crushing and destemming prior to temperature controlled fermentation in stainless steel tanks. Long skin contact during fermentation ensured optimal extraction, which was facilitated by pumping over and robotic plunging. Maturation took place for between 12 and 18 months in used French oak barrels. The blend was then selected based on both sensory and technical analyses. The wine was then lightly filtered before bottling. In addition, the wine did not undergo cold stabilisation, which may mean it will have natural sediment in the bottle.

40% Touriga Franca , 25% Touriga Nacional, 25% Tinta Roriz, 10% Tinta Barroca.

This wine has a deep ruby colour and intense aromas of flowers, strawberry and raspberry fruit, a touch of black pepper and well-integrated oak. The voluminous palate has well-integrated acidity, velvety tannins, a delicate minerality and notes of red berries. The finish is elegant and long.

ABV = 14.0%.

£13.35

Cave De Fleurie, Fleurie Millesime 2018 (1x75cl)

This wine comes from the Beaujolais (pronounced Bow-juhlay) region in France. It is a light, fresh and fruity style of wine with lots of juicy, strawberry flavours. Sometimes it is served slightly chilled . Cave de Fleurie dates back to the First World War when the women of the village tended the vines whilst the men were at the front line. The spirit of cooperation between the women led to the formal creation of the cooperative in 1927. Today, the Cave has members across Beaujolais and produces excellent value for money wines.

Gamay 100%.

Fresh, attractive and bright with clean fruit flavours – archetypal Beaujolais, in other words. A striking and vivid red colour with several punnets worth of red berry fruit on the nose and palate. Soft and fresh with light ripe tannins and crisp acidity. 

ABV = 13.0%.

£13.20

Columbia Valley Syrah Chateau Ste Michelle 2017 (1x75cl)

Please click on this link to see a most informative video about this wine which has been made by Ray McKee, red winemaker at Chateau Ste Michelle.

"Great wine can only come from Italy or California" was the misconception Chateau Ste Michelle’s founding fathers set out to prove wrong when they first broke ground and pioneered the Washington wine region, shortly after the repeal of Prohibition in the USA. They have certainly opened our eyes to some of the wonderful wines that Washington State has to offer.  Chateau Ste. Michelle is one of the few premium wineries in the world with two state-of-the-art wineries, one for red and one for white. The whites are made at the Chateau in Woodinville, WA, while the reds are made at their Canoe Ridge Estate winery in Eastern Washington.

100% Syrah.

To read Chateau Ste Michelle's excellent tasting note and information on this wine please click on the blue link below.

Chateau Ste Michelle Columbia Valley Syrah 2017 - fiche technique

ABV = 13.5%.

£14.20

Darenberg The High Trellis Cabernet Sauvignon 2016 (1x75cl)

Family owned d’Arenberg is located in the breath-taking McLaren Vale in South Australia and produces an enviable range of wines. From humble beginnings, these wines quickly gained cult status amongst imbibers and judges alike – it’s a deft combination of winemaking tradition and vinous innovation. A tall order for some, but one that d’Arenberg takes in their stride as they continue to push the boundaries and get under the skin of each individual vineyard in order to get the best from the vines. This is backed up by an engaging consumer-friendly approach to the ‘deadly serious fun’ of wine.

D'Arenberg's own tasting notes for this wine are excellent, so please click the blue link below to see all this wine's details.

100% Cabernet Sauvignon.

d'Arenberg The High Trellis Cabernet Sauvignon 2016 – fiche technique

ABV = 14.5%.

£14.35 £11.40

Domaine Cazes, Cotes du Roussillon Rouge John Wine 2018 (1x75cl)

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%.

£14.65

Finca Las Moras Reserve Malbec 2018 (1x75cl)

We supply a good few restaurants around Perthshire and this Malbec went onto their racks (and off them again) faster than anything else. The Argentine Malbec surge remains the red “thing of the moment”. But there are many poor versions out there, especially at low prices: we’ve found (and rejected) a good many that are awkwardly metallic, too jammy and gum-coatingly tannic. The Las Moras gets it just right, and has duly won a hatful of awards. The higher altitude of its vines means fruitiness (red berries and plums) without jamminess; the high sunshine means ripeness without harsh tannins. This one works well with so many foods yet doesn’t rely on food to be at its best. Seriously recommended.

The first premium winery in the San Juan region of Argentina, Finca Las Moras was established after the restructure of the vineyards by viticulturalist Richard Smart in 1993 and takes its name from the mulberry trees that border the estate. Situated to the north of Mendoza, with some vineyards at altitudes of over 1,300m, this region has figuratively, if not literally, been in the shadow of its better known neighbour. Finca Las Moras is an innovative winery pursuing a philosophy of ‘wines in harmony with the earth’, respecting their Argentinian roots whilst utilising modern technology.

100% Malbec.

A soft, medium to full bodied wine with a ripe red fruit flavour and an elegant touch of smoke and vanilla from its contact with wood. This wine is an ideal complement to red roasted meat and pasta dishes with tomato sauce.

ABV = 13.5%.

£10.30

Fowles Wine Are You Game? Shiraz 2015 (1x75cl)

The Fowles family are what you could affectionately call a wild bunch! At Fowles, they are a motley crew of raconteurs and entrepreneurs, auctioneers, law men, farmers, hunters and wine makers. From the frontier land, their forefathers (and mothers) founded what is now Bendigo Bank. Since then, they've gone wild, settling into a life on the land. Vigneron, hunter and farmer, Matt Fowles raises the bar, swapping the vitriol of the courtroom for the vineyards of the Strathbogie Ranges. Matt leads a team of characters making wine with character.

Fowles Wine own and manage 360 acres of vines across two vineyards called Upton Run and Billi's in the Strathbogie Ranges. The rugged and beautiful Strathbogie Ranges are located an hour and a half drive northeast of Melbourne. It is here, in vineyards peppered with massive ancient granite boulders, at elevations between 430 and 550 metres above sea level that the vines from which they source Strathbogie fruit grow. The style and character of Fowles Wine reflects their cool climate location. The white wines have great fruit intensity, minerality and are light and fresh, while the red wines are highly perfumed, intensely coloured and powerful, yet restrained and elegant.

~90% Shiraz, 6% Grenache, ~4% Viognier.

To see the winemakers' excellent notes (technical and tasting) on this wine, please click the blue link below.

Fowles Wine - Are You Game? Shiraz 2015 - fiche technique

ABV = 14.5%.

£12.75

Kilikanoon Killerman's Run Cabernet Sauvignon 2015 (1x75cl)

Mr Killerman, as a young Mort Mitchell, of Kilikanoon, called him, lived alone in a humble tin shed in the hills behind the Kilikanoon Cellar Door. Entirely self-sufficient, he grew his own fruit and vegetables and roamed the valley for his meals with rabbits being his favourite gourmet treat. Mort grew to know and respect this man of the bush, learning the secrets of the land and how to become one with the environment. The Killerman's Run range of approachable wines showcases the distinguished and varied terroir of the Clare Valley and the Kilikanoon philosophy of uncompromised quality and consistency.

Killerman's Run Cabernet has been crafted through careful fruit selection, traditional winemaking techniques, sixteen months maturation in new and seasoned French oak hogsheads and bottling unfiltered to fully enhance the wines character and appeal.

A Cabernet displaying youthful crimson hues. Alluring notes of dark cherries, liquorice and mint chocolate flavours combine on the nose, beautifully intertwined with subtle hints of French oak spice. The palate is densely layered and textural in style, yet surprisingly elegance and lengthy. The dark cherry and mint chocolate flavours from the nose carry over to the palate, nicely complemented by the fine tannins and good structural, natural acidity. Perfect accompaniment to a roast beef, Yorkshire pudding and all the trimmings. Will cellar well for at least 10 years.

Cabernet Sauvignon 100%.

ABV = 14.0%.

£14.10

Kozlovic Teran 2018 (1x75cl)

The Kozlović family have been making wine in the Istrian region of Croatia since 1904. The region borders Friuli and the wines, food and people have a real connection with their Italian neighbours. The winery is run by Gianfranco and Antonella Kozlović and they currently cultivate 25 hectares of vineyard. Gianfranco is a perfectionist and he is constantly striving to improve his wine. He takes a modern approach to winemaking and produces seriously good wines.

The Zmergo vineyards are situated at an altitude of 240 metres above sea level and have a southerly orientation to maximise the vine's exposure to the sun. The vines have an average age of 31 years and are grown in soils that are composed of flysch, limestone and clay. The Teran variety is characterised by high acidity and low tannins and makes wonderfully refreshing wines. The grapes are hand-harvested at optimum maturity.

The grapes were carefully sorted and underwent 10 days’ maceration, with fermentation taking place in stainless steel vats at controlled temperatures. The wine was then matured in wooden barrels of 30 hectolitres for eight months, prior to bottling.

100% Teran.

Fresh and intense aromas of raspberry, blueberry and strawberry are complemented by hints of pepper and herbaceous notes. Bright and vibrant with silky tannins.

Teran is ideally served with lasagne, pasta with meatballs and a tomato based sauce, or grilled pork, lamb and game.

ABV = 13.0%.

£12.85

Moulin Des Chenes Lirac 2016 (1x75cl)

Laurent and Julien Bréchet have long admired the potential of Lirac, in the Southern Rhône; when the owner of the Moulin des Chênes vineyard retired, they jumped at the chance to take over the vinegrowing there. Lirac lies to the west, across the river from Châteauneuf-du-Pape. It is a Rhône Cru, with a heritage of vinegrowing that is just as long as its easterly neighbour, although with mixed fortunes in comparison. Quality was varied in the past, but with the arrival of a younger generation of growers and more modern technology, the potential of Lirac has been realised. The Bréchet brothers have 16 hectares of vines in total there.

Conditions for Lirac are similar to Châteauneuf-du-Pape: both are Mediterranean in climate with over 2500 hours of sunlight per year and a dry growing season that ensures consistently ripe, flavoursome wines. Both have predominantly stony soils (Lirac also has the large pebbles or galets roulés of its neighbour) supported by red clay underneath. The Mistral wind keeps the crop healthy and concentrates flavours in the berries.

2016 was an excellent vintage. Low rainfall throughout the growing season produced smaller berries with less juice, but this led to great intensity of flavour in the wines. Both spring and summer were warm and dry, with budburst and flowering occurring in nearly ideal conditions. The hot and dry conditions persisted during the ripening period, but cool nights helped mitigate the effects of the heat and the grapes were harvested when they had reached optimum levels of ripeness.

The berries were destemmed and crushed and then fermented in stainless steel vats at 25°C. The wine was kept on skins for 15 days with daily pumping over and rack and returns to ensure good colour and flavour extraction from the grapes. Part of the wine underwent malolactic fermentation in barrel and part in tank. After that, the wine was aged in underground concrete vats for 10 months before bottling.

37% Cinsault, 36% Syrah/Shiraz, 16% Grenache/Garnacha, 11% Mourvèdre.

Deep crimson in colour, with notes of strawberries and blackberries. On the palate, the wine has a velvety mouthfeel and fresh acidity. Redcurrant flavours continue through the mouthwatering finish.

ABV = 14.0%.

£13.95

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

Pauletts Polish Hill River Shiraz 2016 (1x75cl)

Click this link for a video tasting of all three of the Pauletts Semillon, Chardonnay and Shiraz.

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 Shiraz, here's Pauletts' own data sheet/fiche technique:

Paulett Polish Hill River Shiraz 2016 - fiche technique

Shiraz 100%.

A typical jammy, spicy Shiraz from Australia, with aromas of blackberry, plum and chocolate which are given an element of spice from 18 months maturation in American oak barrel. It is a powerful Shiraz, richly flavoured with candied fruits, blackcurransts, black cherries, game and spicy white pepper with mineral nuances. Well structured with sweet, supple tannins, long and satisfying on the finish.

ABV = 14.8%.

£14.30
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