Awarded 93 points and Highly Recommended status by Decanter (www.decanter.com) in their December 2017 edition review of Margaret River (Australia) (see blue link below).
Cape Mentelle takes a minimal approach towards this classic Margaret River blend. The aim is to preserve as much fruit intensity and regional character as possible, whilst providing a full flavoured distinctive white wine. The style accentuates the fresh fruit characters of both varieties with the added complexity and palate weight offered by a small portion of barrel fermentation.
The fruit comes from the perfectly suited cooler southern half of the Margaret River region, from their three vineyards of the Wallcliffe-Trinders, Crossroads and Chapman Brook. The typical soils of these vineyards are geologically ancient, free draining, sandy loams with a high percentage of lateritic gravel. The vines are vertically trained, spur or cane pruned and canopy manipulations are frequent to allow good air flow and dappled sunlight on the fruit.
When harvesting Sauvignon Blanc and Semillon the emphasis is placed on capturing vibrant fresh flavours with clean acidity. Fruit is harvested at night to take advantage of the cooler temperatures. Extended fermentation takes place at very low temperature in stainless steel tanks with about 8% of the blend fermented in new oak barriques. The 2016 blend was assembled after four months on lees; the team decided to preserve the exceptional vinosity and perfect texture by bottling the wine unfined in July 2016.
The nose on this wine has varietal Sauvignon notes revolving around cassis buds, juniper berries and cracked black pepper. It then opens to complex fruit ranging from zesty white grapefruit to hints of lychees, lifted by ethereal floral notes of jasmine and passion fruit flower. The palate is juicy clean, slightly saline, on notes of passionfruit and citrus. The fresh pithy acidity and mineral character, reminiscent of fine absinthe, fresh ginger and gentian bitters give the wine a lot of vinosity and personality, well balanced by the honey notes and creamy texture of the Semillon and showing exceptional length.
This wine goes well with crab cakes, fresh oysters au naturel and warm bruschetta with fresh buffalo mozzarella amongst many other dishes. Because of the wine's strong personality, it will allow a bold marriage with cheeses, especially well-aged, slightly crystallized ones such as a mature Parmigiano-Reggiano.
Pale gold with lime green hues. Fragrant clover blossom, lemon curd, Nashi pear and stone-fruit aromas are elevated by notes of freshly cut meadow, biscuit and lanolin. Rich citrus, lemon butter and stone-fruit flavours are balanced with elegant and pure acidity, carrying the complex mid-palate along a clean and fine finish with excellent length.
ABV = 12.0%.
The 2017 vintage (not yet UK-available) was awarded 90 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).
Humberto Canale was a pioneering engineer who played a significant role in developing agriculture in Patagonia; he founded and built the winery in 1909 in the heart of the Rio Negro province. Four generations later, Guillermo Barzi Canale has succesfully managed the Humberto Canale winery through its 100th vintage and developed the established vineyards and winery practices to fit the requirements of a new millenium. With a cooler climate than Mendoza, Patagonia lends itself well to aromatic wines with excellent, naturally balancing acidity. Pinot Noir and Merlot flourish here, and their Sauvignon Blanc is unparalleled within Argentina.
The grapes for this Sémillon are harvested in early March; they are carefully harvested by hand, immediately sent to the bodega, just 1 km from the vineyard, in small containers. The grapes arrive at the point of optimum health and ripeness; they are stemmed before the liquid phase of the solids is separated by pressing. The liquid obtained is transferred to vessels (20% of which are new oak) of 9,000 litres' capacity where fermentation occurs at 15-16 deg C for some 15 days. Once the alcoholic fermentation has finished, the wine is racked to other inert vessels (no wood - the only oak use is in fermentation) where the clarification and stabilization processes are started to be bottled.
Yellow/gold in color with greenish reflections, typical of young Semillon. Intense aromas of white fruits and fresh herbs; it has a characteristic Sémillon nose - slightly waxy, with hints of honey and chamomile, all surrounded in gentle coconut milk and vanilla. In the mouth, it feels unctuous, soft and harmonious. Balanced acidity and sugar (2.5 g/litre). Great varietal tipicity, elegant and complex. Ideally paired with steamed or grilled fish, salads and seafood.
ABV = 13.0%.
Awarded 95 points and Outstanding status by Decanter (www.decanter.com) in their October 2019 edition article on South American Old Vines (see blue link below)... and
... awarded 91 points and Highly Recommended status by Decanter (www.decanter.com) in that same edition's panel tasting of Alternative South American Whites (see blue link below).
The 2016 vintage was awarded 95 points and Outstanding status status by Decanter (www.decanter.com) in their July 2018 edition article on Argentinian whites (see blue link below)....
... and 95 points and Outstanding status by Decanter (www.decanter.com) in their October 2017 edition article on South America's Top Ten Winemakers (see blue link below).
Matias Riccitelli is the son of renowned winemaker Jorge Riccitelli. Having worked at some of the most prestigious wineries in Argentina and several vintages around the world, Matias used his experience, knowledge and passion and set up his own winery in 2009. His vineyards cover 50 hectares located in three selected sites within the premium growing region of Lujan de Cuyo, Mendoza. This is a young and dynamic project in which Matias is seeking to express the full potential of Argentine terroir.
This Sémillon was sourced from forgotten vines that are over 50 years old. These old vineyards are located in Río Negro in Patagonia, at an altitude of 400 metres above sea level on the 39° latitude south. Sunlight exposure is more intense than northern areas, but at this latitude the nights are much colder. This 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 grapes were harvested at perfect maturity levels and then underwent a skin maceration of 12 hours at 10°C. Fermentation took place at temperatures of between 14 to16°C. Maturation lasted for eight months with 50% aged in French oak barrels and 50% in small concrete eggs.
It has all the seriousness, subtleness, elegance and nuances that old Sémillon is capable of. This is not explosive or showy, it's a little restrained. A Sémillon that is beautifully textured with great acidity and a long, moreish finish.
ABV = 12.5%.
Awarded 93 points and Highly Recommended status by Decanter in their June 2019 feature, Weekday Wines (see blue link below).
Mount Horrocks Wines is run by proprietor/winemaker Stephanie Toole. Stephanie restricts production to approximately 3,500 cases per annum in order to achieve her aims of quality and single vineyard expression. Stephanie describes her wines as 'essentially hand made food wines with an emphasis on structure as well as generous fruit flavours'. All grapes are 100% estate grown from three separate vineyard sites totalling nearly 10 hectares which, in 2014, were 'A grade certified' by Australian Certified Organic (ACO). Her persistence with classic, no-compromise winemaking and a fully integrated organic approach to growing and making sets Mount Horrocks wines apart from the mainstream.
The 2017 harvest was later than previous years, after a cool and slightly wetter summer and growing period. The grapes were hand harvested in the cool of the morning, when the grapes were in pristine condition.
100% estate-grown and certified organic, the grapes are carefully hand-harvested in the cool of the morning and sent straight to the winery where they are destemmed, crushed and gently pressed. The free-run juice is isolated and settled prior to fermenting in French oak barriques, one-third of which are new.
Each barrel is stirred weekly for three months then left on gross lees for a total of nine months when Stephanie conducts a series of tastings to determine the final blend. Once assembled it is bottled without fining.
Very pale white gold. Dried wildflower and lightly stewed apple over nuanced spicy oak. Crisp, lightly savoury, lemony Semillon with texture and length. Layered and flavoursome yet relatively light and bright for what is a wood-aged white, the pristine fruit shining through on the finish, balanced by chalky acidity. Sips nicely on its own but truly shines with grilled white fish or poultry. Worth cellaring through to 2028.
ABV = 12.5%.
Viña Valdivieso dates back to 1879 when Alberto Valdivieso founded Champagne Valdivieso, the first company in Chile and South America to make sparkling wine. More than a hundred years later in the late 1980s, the company expanded in a new direction when it began commercial production of still wines - as Viña Valdivieso – at their Curicó Valley winery in Lontué. Valdivieso wines have since had a very successful career, triumphing in major world markets and achieving the highest honours in international competitions. These achievements are not an objective in themselves, but rather the result of the search for superior quality wines that are both distinctive and attractive.
Please click the blue link below to see an excellent information sheet from Valdivieso themselves.
Lovely honeyed grapefruit with candied lemon on the nose. Very intense on the palate with natural fruit sweetness and vibrant acidity.
ABV = 11.0%.