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Martin Meinert, The Graduate Syrah 2017 (1x75cl)

** SMALL AMOUNT OF STOCK IMMEDIATELY; MORE FIRST WEEK IN OCTOBER! **

Awarded a Gold medal and 95 points at the 2020 Decanter World Wine Awards (click link for details and review).

For other 2020 DWWA winners, click here.

Meinert Wines produces a small and personalised range of wines in limited quantities from both the hillside Devon Crest vineyard outside Stellenbosch as well as a number of vineyard sites across the Cape Winelands. One such wine is the Meinert Sauvignon Blanc sourced from the cool climate region of Elgin, an area also renowned for apples and pears. Each wine is created with much thought and care to ensure uniqueness and individual character.

Meinert's Family Collection wines are unique bottlings from small lots made for family, friends and loyal customers, and one such wine is The Graduate Syrah. While traversing the Cape’s many vineyards in order to find ‘that’ unique vineyard, they by chance, stumbled across gnarled Syrah vines basking in the sea breezes of Hermanus. In true fashion, these grapes are always the last to ripen and when allowed to take their own course, yield an interesting and unique wine. This wine bears testament to not only the graduation of the vines from soil to glass, but also its custodian, Brendan Butler, a Cape Wine Master.

Meinert are not allowed to mention this on the wine’s back label as the SA Wine & Spirit Board prohibits pretension of single vineyard status unless so certified. However, the grapes are sourced from a single Syrah block in the Upper Hemel-en-Aarde overlooking the coast and are farmed with much love and a surgical-precision attention to detail yielding truly remarkable fruit.

The Syrah grapes are always the last come into the cellar, and after careful hand harvesting, the fruit is transported by means of refrigerated truck to the Meinert cellar in Devon Valley. A portion of the fruit is whole-bunch fermented where whole bunches are placed into stainless steel red wine fermenters and covered with de-stemmed and partially-crushed berries. The balance is fermented traditionally following careful destemming and berry sorting. Fermentation took eight days to complete where after the wine was left on its skins for a further 5 days. The individual components are matured for 12 months prior to bottling in a combination of seasoned barrels and Flexcube tanks. Only 3000 bottles were made.

100% Syrah.

With the grapes hanging on the vine late into the harvest season, the tannins are always supple and silky and supported by an elegant fruit profile of blueberry, blackberry, plums and true Syrah pepper tones. A minimalist approach to vinification ensures the ultimate expression of terroir that pairs superbly with venison carpaccio and hearty beef steaks. This wine is ever charming in its youth but will develop further with careful cellaring for the next 8 – 12 years.

ABV = 13.0%.

£18.25

Alpha Zeta A Amarone 2016 (1x75cl)

Alpha Zeta was created in 1999 by UK wine importer, David Gleave MW, and New Zealand winemaker, Matt Thomson with this belief in mind. They realised that the key is to marry local grape growers with impeccable winemaking. All Alpha Zeta wines are made from indigenous grape varieties grown in the hills north-east of Verona.  The flavours of the grape shine through in the glass offering great value, quality and balance. Matt works with local Veronese grape growers in hillside vineyards to select parcels of fruit, rather than buying in bulk wine. They have worked together to reduce yields and the grapes are now picked later. In this way, they have been able to improve grape quality and obtain riper flavours.

The vineyards are situated in the hills outside Verona in the Valpantena Valley. Cool currents blow down the valley from the foothills of the Dolomites, which helps to moderate the climate, enabling the grapes to ripen slowly. This helps the grapes to retain their aromatic compounds and acidity. The soil is a mixture of clay and limestone with good drainage. The vineyards are south-facing and therefore warmer than other parts of Valpolicella.

The 2016 harvest was quite similar to 2015, with a cold winter and abundant rainfall. The beginning of the growing season was characterised by the alternation of dry and rainy periods, which allowed for perfect vine development. The following hot and dry summer led to an abundant harvest with healthy grapes.

Selected grapes were picked in mid September and left to dry in specially ventilated rooms until the end of January. During this time the grapes lost about 40% of their natural weight. The grapes were destemmed and crushed at the end of January. Fermentation temperature was between 18°-22°C with daily periodic pumping over, while the length of maceration was 20 days. This Amarone was matured in oak (a mixture of large 'botti' and French oak barriques) for 18 months before bottling.

85% Corvina/Corvinone , 15% Rondinella,

This Amarone is deep and intense on the nose with aromas of dried cherries and blueberries and notes of spiced autumn fruit compote. On the palate it is powerful, with a lovely balance of ripe tannins and spiced, concentrated savoury cherry fruit character. A touch of woodsmoke completes the long finish.

ABV = 15.0%.

£24.65

Andeluna Altitud Malbec 2016 (1x75cl)

Awarded 91 points and Highly Recommended status by Decanter (www.decanter.com) in their June 2020 edition's Weekday Wines (see  blue link below). 

Andeluna Altitud Malbec 2016 - June 2020 Decanter review

Founded in 2003, Andeluna is a small boutique winery specialising in premium Bordeaux varietals of world class recognition. The vineyard covers 70 hectares in the beautiful Uco Valley near Tupungato, one of the best subregions of Mendoza. By night you can often see the moon illuminating the magnificent Andes Mountains nearby and the winery has been named after this stunning scene. Situated at an altitude of 1,300 metres, the vineyard produces some of the best fruit in Argentina. Winemaker, Manuel Gonzalez (previously Head Winemaker at Pulenta Estate and Chief Oenologist at Trivento) works alongside Andeluna's wine consultant Hans Vinding Diers to make outstanding wines which have propelled this producer into the global spotlight in a very short space of time. Their Pasionado range is only made in exceptional vintages and rivals some of the great wines of the world.

The result of the El Niño phenomenon in 2016 was relatively high humidity and frequent rains. Fortunately the rocky soils in the vineyard at Gualtallary facilitate drainage of the rainwater and keeps moisture to a minimum, reducing the threat of disease. Vine maturation was delayed by approximately 25 days, due to lower temperatures during the summer, however the lack of rain in March, enabled the grapes to reach good physiological ripeness and harvest took place as usual. Low sugar levels at resulted in wines with lower alcohol levels but plenty of flavour and varietal purity.

The grapes come from the vineyard located in Tupungato, which is situated at an altitude of 1,300 metres above sea level. The area is characterised by its great diurnal temperature swings, which encourages aromatic expression and a great intensity of colour in the wine. The vines are irrigated by a drip-water system that regulates and supplies the exact amount of water that the plant needs. Grown in soils which are predominantly alluvial and sandy, the vines undergo strict canopy management in order to reduce yields.

The clusters were manually selected and underwent pre-fermentation maceration at low temperatures. Fermentation took place with natural yeasts in stainless steel tanks at temperatures maintained at approximately 26°C. The wine was aged in French oak barrels for eight to 12 months, followed by a minimum of six months in bottle, prior to release.

This wine is made using Malbec 100%.

A full flavoured Malbec with intense aromas of red fruits and violets. Sweet fruit on the palate is backed by soft, but high volume tannins which give the wine a long and exquisite finish. Serve with a juicy pan-fried steak, braised lamb shanks or a rich lentil stew.

ABV = 14.0%.

£15.95

Aphros Phaunus Loureiro 2018 (1x75cl)

Awarded 92 points and Highly Recommended status by Decanter (www.decanter.com) in their July 2020 edition article on Orange Wines (see blue link below).

Aphros Phaunus Loureiro 2018 - July 2020 Decanter review

The 2017 vintage (alas, no longer available) was awarded 93 points and Highly Recommended status by Decanter (www.decanter.com) in their September 2019 edition article The Joy of Clay on amphora-produced wines (see blue link below).

Aphros Phaunus Loureiro 2017 - September 2019 Decanter review

Founded in 2002, Aphros is a project designed to combine ecological and economical aspects to create true sustainability. Their belief is that nature and labor should combine in a meaningful way and they seek to capture this through biodynamic viticulture, letting the uniqueness of the land shine through the fruit for inimitable wines. Loureiro and Vinhão have grown in these vineyards for centuries and serve as the reference point for the region.

The grapes are sourced from the Lima sub-region and the vines of Casal do Paço are situated in a south facing amphitheater north of the Lima River on gentle slopes with cool Atlantic breezes.

The winemaking is traditional, taking place in the basement beneath the main house. The cave is buried and naturally cool and damp. They once again straddle the line between modern and traditional character with the addition of modern stainless steel equipment and traditional open top lagars, granite stone tanks, for red wine production.

To see an information sheet and tasting note for this wine from Aphros, please click on the blue link below.

Aphros Phaunus Loureiro 2018 - fiche technique

This unique reading of the lively Loureiro grape replaces its usual perfume with earthy, baked apple aromas and adds a fine but grippy seam of tannins into what is a savoury yet quite electrifying wine.

ABV = 11.5%. 

£21.30

Bergerie du Capucin Larmanela blanc 2018 (1x75cl)

** NOW IN STOCK! **

La Bergerie du Capucin (LBdC) extends over more than 15 hectares on Pic Saint Loup land in the communes of Lauret and Valflaunès. For LBdC, wine is a family affair, its beauty and bouquet reflecting the values transmitted from generation to generation. The original Bergerie stands only a few km from the vineyard and modern winery. Jeanne, a beautiful shepherdess on the high plains of the Bergerie du Capucin - inspire their first wine, reminding  of the delicate, round characteristics of our family wines and the hill paths she trod each day.

At up to 650 metres in altitude and ~30 kilometres from the Mediterranean - on the first spurs of the Cevennes and Massif Central - the Pic Saint Loup appellation abounds with the perfume and purity of the most northern (and among the most elevated) of the Languedoc appellations; holm oaks, garrigue scrubland, pines, thyme, laurel and rosemary. Fruit springs to life from the heart of varied soils, chalky-clay on marly sub-soils, and forge their character over contrasting seasons. In winter, the soil receives enough water to balance out the moderately dry summer and the huge - but crucial - swings in temperature between day and night. The exacting and contrasting Pic Saint Loup land, its soil types and climate, are all reflected in the traits of the wines of Pic St-Loup. 

See this excellent article by Andrew Jefford - from Decanter (www.decanter.com) in October 2017 - for far more detail on both Bergerie du Capucin and the Pic St Loup appellation.

For BdC's white rarity and show-stopper, see the blue link below for the fiche technique/technical and tasting note from the team at Bergerie du Capucin.

The Larmanela blanc is released under the banner of IGP of Saint Guilhem le Désert, rather than under an AOP/AOC (the Pic St Loup AOC does not (currently) allow white wines). 

Bergerie du Capucin Larmanela blanc, Pic St Loup - fiche technique

Additional note from discussion with winemaker Guilhem: Elevage in 225-litre barriques. Only 4 barriques are produced each year. Those 4 actual barrels are all from the same cooper, of ages/uses thus: one new, one used-once, one used-twice, one used-thrice. The contents of the four barriques are then blended for the <1000 bottles of Larmanela blanc made each year. 

100% Chardonnay.

ABV = 13.5%.

£24.95

Bergerie du Capucin, Dame Jeanne Rouge, Pic St Loup 2018 (1x75cl)

** NOW IN STOCK! **

"A blend of Syrah with 25 per cent Grenache and 5 per cent Mourvèdre (Exel note: this varies year-to-year, see blend mix below), this is a pure, bright and zesty red blend, entirely aged in tank. There’s a wildflower and thyme sweetness to the aromas, a little meaty richness and a twist of orange peel, too – but everything in moderation and just proportion.  Pure and poised.  91/100" - Andrew Jefford, of the 2015 (see his article linked below).

See here for awards for this wine and also for others from La Bergerie du Capucin.

La Bergerie du Capucin (LBdC) extends over more than 15 hectares on Pic Saint Loup land in the communes of Lauret and Valflaunès. For LBdC, wine is a family affair, its beauty and bouquet reflecting the values transmitted from generation to generation. The original Bergerie stands only a few km from the vineyard and modern winery. Jeanne, a beautiful shepherdess on the high plains of the Bergerie du Capucin - inspire their first wine, reminding  of the delicate, round characteristics of our family wines and the hill paths she trod each day.

At up to 650 metres in altitude and ~30 kilometres from the Mediterranean - on the first spurs of the Cevennes and Massif Central - the Pic Saint Loup appellation abounds with the perfume and purity of the most northern (and among the most elevated) of the Languedoc appellations; holm oaks, garrigue scrubland, pines, thyme, laurel and rosemary. Fruit springs to life from the heart of varied soils, chalky-clay on marly sub-soils, and forge their character over contrasting seasons. In winter, the soil receives enough water to balance out the moderately dry summer and the huge - but crucial - swings in temperature between day and night. The exacting and contrasting Pic Saint Loup land, its soil types and climate, are all reflected in the traits of the wines of Pic St-Loup. 

See this excellent article by Andrew Jefford - from Decanter (www.decanter.com) in October 2017 - for far more detail on both Bergerie du Capucin and the Pic St Loup appellation.

For this wine, the Dame Jeanne rouge 2018, see the blue link below for the fiche technique/technical note from Guilhem and the team at Bergerie du Capucin. Lest there be any doubt, the Dame Jeanne is not oak aged.

Bergerie du Capucin Dame Jeanne rouge, Pic St Loup - fiche technique

65% Syrah, 17½% Grenache, 17½% Mourvèdre.

A gentle, sweet encounter with woodland berries and spicy aromas, the red hue of Dame Jeanne exalts the soft, fresh and delicate fragrances of our garrigue scrubland populated by green oaks. Created from the marriage of the three essential Pic Saint Loup grape varieties of Syrah, Grenache and Mourvèdre. This wine is the perfect accompaniment throughout a meal, from white meats to a chocolate dessert.

ABV = 14.5%.

£16.00

Bertani Recioto della Valpolicella 2015 (1x50cl)

Bertani produces Recioto with two grapes grown in the hills of the Valpantena, the same varieties used to make Amarone. They use the smallest bunches with the best exposure to the sun, then dried on the traditional “arele”, bamboo racks, for about three months. The typical notes of cherry are brought out by the unusual ageing in cherry wood barrels and eventually become a concentration of morello and sour cherry. Recioto is dense and velvety but never cloying; it leaves the palate clean with an aftertaste of walnuts that makes it unique among sweet wines: sweet, intense red with elegant oak tannins.

From vineyards in the Valpantena sub-zone to the North of the city of Verona, in the communes of Quinto, Grezzana, and Santa Maria in Stelle. The soils range from calcareous marls in the east to iron-rich calcareous clays in the west. The harvest takes place at the end of September. As only pristine bunches are selected, the harvest is strictly by hand only.

The grapes are taken to the drying rooms where they rest in single-layer crates for about 150 days. Fermentation initially takes place at a very low temperature (4°-5°C) and then reaches 18°C, then it is stopped before all the sugars are transformed into alcohol. Ageing happens in 30-hl cherry wood casks, for about 12 months, followed by a period of at least three months of bottle maturation.

80% Corvina Veronese and 20% Rondinella.

The wine has an intense ruby-red colour, with a multitude of aromas on the nose: from the typical notes of plum, cherry and raspberry to hints of vanilla spice, hay and cocoa. On the palate is full, fragrant and intense. The sugars are not high, leaving a long aftertaste of fruits of the forest, chocolate and liquorice. It goes well with cakes and jam tarts, it is intriguing when paired with young and medium-matured cheeses as well as candied fruit. It also goes tremendously well with chocolate.

ABV = 13.0%.

£23.75

Bethany Old Quarry Fronti 75cl (1x 75cl)

With some of the oldest vines in the Barossa, Bethany Wines has special place in the region’s winemaking story. Johann Gottlob Schrapel and his family arrived from Silesia on the George Washington in 1844. This was just eight years after South Australia was settled. Like many Silesian migrants, they travelled by ox cart to Bethany (Bethanien), and established the Barossa’s first settlement. Johann planted the first vineyard in 1852 from cuttings carried from Europe. He built a wine cellar and had reputation as a winemaker. Despite this our family were grape growers for the next four generations.

In 1981, fifth generation brothers Robert and Geoff established Bethany Wines. They built a winery in the quarry where the early pioneers had hewn stone for their homes. They crushed 2 tonnes of Shiraz and Riesling, launching the next chapter of the Schrapel wine story. The early 1980s were tough for Barossa grape growers. A glut followed a red wine boom and grape prices fell below production cost. The State Government wanted growers to pull out old Shiraz and Grenache vines. They encouraged growers to plant new varieties or leave the industry. Fortunately, the brothers chose to establish a tradition of winemaking from this undervalued yet irreplaceable resource of old vineyards.

Almost 40 years on, Bethany Wines are a vibrant family company that plays a significant role in the Barossa community. Tania Schrapel continues the legacy of the business, sharing the same passion for the vineyards, for crafting fine wines, and for the future working alongside her father, Geoff and Uncle, Robert.

The unique Old Quarry Fronti is a blend of aged white wines picked from ancient bush vines grown on Betany's Homestead and Quarry vineyards. Predominately Muscat a Petit Grains, Muscadelle and Semillon, with a little Pedro Ximenez, the grapes are harvested late in the season to achieve rich and intense flavours. Fortified with brandy spirits, these individual wines are aged for an average of 6 years in oak casks. 

The fruit is handpicked late in the season when fully ripened at 15 to 17 Baume. The juice colour of the late harvested grapes is a rich golden amber that is evident in the finished product. The grapes are crushed and left together with the skins for 3 or 4 days before pressing. Fermentation is initiated until the right baume is reached and then the wine is fortified with brandy spirit and transferred in old oak barrels to mature for an average of six years before bottling.

The grapes are sourced from the Homestead Vineyards in Bethany and are some of the oldest vines on the estate. The Barossa was well known in earlier years for its fortified wines and the older plantings reflect their popularity in that era. The vines are trained on a single wire, hand pruned in the winter and the grapes are harvested late in the season as the vine’s leaves are turning their autumn colours. Due to their age, the vines are very low yielding and this adds to the intensity of flavours.

Residual sugar = ~70g/litre.

The finished wine is deep golden, amber colour and displays a rich, fragrant nose of orange marmalade, hints of honey and treacle. The full bodied and lingering velvety palate create this deliciously rich and smooth fortified wine.

ABV = 18.5%

£15.00

Bodega Garzon Reserva Albarino 2019 (1x75cl)

Awarded 90 points and Highly Recommended status by Decanter in their October 2020 article South American Whites: A New Era (see blue link below).

Bodega Garzon Reserva Albarino 2019 - October 2020 Decanter review

The 2018 vintage was awarded 91 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).

Garzón Reserva Albariño 2018 - October 2019 Decanter review

The 2017 vintage was awarded 91 points and Highly Recommended status by Decanter (www.decanter.com) in their October 2018 edition feature on Uruguay  (see blue link below).

Garzón Reserva Albariño 2017 - Oct 2018 Decanter review

The 2016 vintage was awarded 95 points and a Platinum Best In Category (Best Central South American White) at the 2017 Decanter World Wine Awards (www.decanter.com): see their August 2017 DWWA supplement (see blue link below).

Garzón Reserva Albariño 2016 - 2017 DWWA Decanter review

Bodega Garzón is a family owned winery in Maldonado on the Atlantic coast in southern Uruguay. They pioneered viticulture in this area over 10 years ago, and have since become the standard-bearer for premium wines from Uruguay. In November 2018, their pioneering status was recognised by Wine Enthusiast with the ‘New World Winery of the Year’ award. The vineyards at Bodega Garzón are a patchwork quilt of 1,150 individual plots of around 0.2 hectares in size, each plot carefully chosen for a specific variety according to its soil and microclimate. The winery is specially designed to operate as sustainably as possible, and is the first winery outside North America to pursue LEED certification (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design). Built on natural terraces, the winery uses cutting-edge technology and operates using a gravity system to ensure quality and energy efficiency at every stage of production.

Located 11 miles from the Atlantic Ocean, the estate has more than 1,000 small vineyard blocks covering hillside slopes, which benefit from varying microclimates, different levels of humidity and an intense canopy management. Well-draining granitic soils and cooling Atlantic breezes allow the grapes to ripen steadily. The vineyards are surrounded by lush forests, palm trees, rocky soils and granite boulders. This single vineyard Tannat comes from a site which is cooler than the other blocks on the estate, with steep slopes, thin soils and excellent drainage thanks to the predominance of ballast in the upper layers.

The 2019 vintage began with a cold winter. During spring there was abundant rainfall and warm temperatures, which resulted in homogenous budbreak and flowering. Disease threat posed by heavy December and January rainfall was minimised by cool Atlantic ocean breezes that swept through the vineyards. Low temperatures at the end of February and March ensured steady ripening and good levels of natural acidity in the grapes.

The hand-harvested grapes were pressed before being fermented in stainless-steel tanks at a cool 17ºC for two weeks. The wine then spent a further 3-6 months on lees for added complexity.

For full details of this unusual but superb wine, we would point you towards Garzon's own, excellent fiche technique/data sheet (click here).

100% Albariño/Alvarinho.

Pale yellow with a green hue, this Albariño is intense on the nose with peach and citrus aromas. The freshness and minerality on the midpalate is superb, ably supported by a remarkable acidity which frames the juicy fruit on the crisp finish.

ABV = 13.5%.

£15.75

Bodega Garzon Tannat Reserva 2018 (1x75cl)

** THIS WINE IS HELD IN NO OR LOW STOCK (SEE AMOUNT HELD BELOW) BUT MORE IS QUICKLY BROUGHT IN TO ORDER. ORDERS PLACED BY 9am EACH MONDAY WILL BE WITH US FOR DESPATCH ON THE THURSDAY. **

Awarded 92 points and Highly Recommended status by Decanter in their October 2020 article, Uruguay - What Next? by Tim Atkin MW (see blue link below).

Bodega Garzon Tannat Reserva 2018 - October 2020 Decanter review

Bodega Garzón is a family owned winery in Maldonado on the Atlantic coast in southern Uruguay. They pioneered viticulture in this area over 10 years ago, and have since become the standard-bearer for premium wines from Uruguay. In November 2018, their pioneering status was recognised by Wine Enthusiast with the ‘New World Winery of the Year’ award. The vineyards at Bodega Garzón are a patchwork quilt of 1,150 individual plots of around 0.2 hectares in size, each plot carefully chosen for a specific variety according to its soil and microclimate. The winery is specially designed to operate as sustainably as possible, and is the first winery outside North America to pursue LEED certification (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design). Built on natural terraces, the winery uses cutting-edge technology and operates using a gravity system to ensure quality and energy efficiency at every stage of production.

Located 11 miles from the Atlantic Ocean, the estate has more than 1,000 small vineyard blocks covering hillside slopes, which benefit from varying microclimates, different levels of humidity and an intense canopy management. Well-draining granitic soils and cooling Atlantic breezes allow the grapes to ripen steadily. The vineyards are surrounded by lush forests, palm trees, rocky soils and granite boulders. This single vineyard Tannat comes from a site which is cooler than the other blocks on the estate, with steep slopes, thin soils and excellent drainage thanks to the predominance of ballast in the upper layers.

Average seasonal temperatures meant bud burst and fruit set occurred between September and December. However, strong spring winds meant work had to be undertaken in the vineyard to tie the shoots to their trellises to prevent damage. The hard work continued as rains between December and January threatened the vines and careful canopy management became necessary. Summer was dry and hot, and drip irrigation was necessary. The leaves were left untrimmed to serve as sun protection for the grapes. Late rains at the end of March brought forward the end of harvest. The wines from 2017 are characterised by elegant acidity and freshness.

Please click the blue link below to see a tasting note and more information about this wine, which has been written by the winemakers at Garzon. 

Garzon Tannat Reserva 2018 - fiche technique

100% Tannat.

ABV = 14.5%.

£15.70

Bodegas Benito Urbina Gran Reserva 2004 (1x75cl)

Bodegas Urbina is a winery which has been in the Urbina family for four generations since 1870. The present winery was designed, built and run by the family in 1986 and was created to facilitate producing fine wines.  Urbina has 75 hectares of vineyards located at two main vineyard sites - the first is at Cuzcurrita de Rio Turon, a well-known area for producing Riojas capable of ageing for many years and the others are at Uruñuela, in the heart of the Rioja DOC, which consistently produces wines of great quality and body. The grapes used are from vines aged over 20 years old. The vines are grown in accordance with traditional practices, no herbicides and limited use of pesticides and fungicides. 

Urbina Gran Reserva is a blend of mainly Tempranillo with some Graciano and Mazuelo.

This wine comes from the best grapes from the Estate, all from vines over 40 years old. The wine making team is headed by Pedro Urbina. The wine is undergoes fermentation at 28C followed by a period of maceration of 28 days. The wine is aged for a minimum of 36 months in oak casks with a further 48 months in bottle before release. Only indigenous yeasts are used.

The Urbina Gran Reserva has a splendid ripe, complex nose, is reddish-garnet in colour with harmonious and well-balanced oak and fruit tannins.  It also displays intense rich fruit, great finesse and velvet smoothness on the palate.  It goes perfectly with slow roasted lamb shoulder or with game - particularly duck and pheasant.

ABV = 14.0%.

£23.90

Bodegas Benito Urbina Urbina Seleccion 1999 (1x 75cl)

Bodegas Urbina is a small family-owned and run Rioja producer located in the Rioja Alta sub-region of Rioja, Spain. This Single Estate winery was founded in 1870 and is currently run by fourth generation winemaker Pedro Urbina Jr. The Urbina Estate comprises of some 75 hectares (182) of vineyards planted with 65 hectares of Tempranillo and 10 hectares composed of Graciano, Mazuelo and the white grape variety Viura. The vineyards are located at Cuzcurrita de Rio Tiron at the north western edge of the Rioja DOC and at Urunuela in the heart of the appellation. Cuzcurrita has some of the highest vineyards in the DOC, this means that it is a relatively cool climate growing area compared with other parts of Rioja. The wines from Cuzcurrita tend to have characteristics suitable for great ageing, whilst those from Urunuela produce consistent and fuller bodied wines.

This wine was made using 95 % Tempranillo and 5 % Mazuelo y Graciano.

Please take a look at a superb snippet of information about this wine from the winemakers themselves by clicking on the blue link below.

Bodegas Benito Urbina Seleccion 1999 - fiche technique

ABV = 13.5%.

£17.55

Bodegas Brisas Altos de Jose Ignacio Reserva Tannat 2017 (1x75cl)

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

Altos De Jose Ignacio Reserva Tannat 2017 - October 2019 Decanter review

The 2018 vintage (not yet here) was awarded 89 points and Recommended status by Decanter (www.decanter.com) in their April 2020 South American supplement article, Sustainable Uruguay.

Bodegas Brisas Altos De Jose Ignacio Reserva Tannat 2018 - April 2020 Decanter review

Altos de Jose Ignacio is nestled in Uruguay’s Maldonado region, an oasis of magical beaches and small villages on the Atlantic coast. Next to the idyllic fishing town of Jose Ignacio, the vines are tempered by cooling ocean breezes, creating the perfect combination of countryside and ocean. This unique terroir and maritime climate is ideal for making premium wines with a rare freshness and purity.

A small, family-run business, Altos de Jose Ignacio had its first commercial harvest in 2015. In typical Uruguayan fashion, the wines are created without the addition of any chemicals. The characteristics of the terroir display beautifully throughout their range, a source of endless pride for winemaker German Bruzzone.  

For this wine, see the blue link below for the fiche technique/technical note from the winemakers themselves.

Altos de Jose Ignacio Reserva Tannat 2017 - fiche technique

(as can be seen from the data sheet, this wine is 'incredibly similar to' the more expensive Garzon Reserva Tannat...)

This wine is 100% Tannat.

A juicy, full-bodied wine. Rich purple in colour with very fresh aromas reminiscent of red and black fruits such as plums and raspberries, with a delicate spicy nose. In the mouth, it presents a strong personality. Its mature tannins and minerality transform it into a wine with great soil identity.

ABV = 14.5%.

£15.55

Bodegas Fillaboa, Seleccion Finca Monte Alto Albarino, Rias Baixas 2016 (1x75cl)

** IN STOCK! **

Awarded 95 points and a Gold medal at the 2018 Decanter World Wine Awards (for this, the 2016 vintage) - click link below for that review.

Bodegas Fillaboa Seleccion Finca Monte Alto Albarino 2016 - DWWA18 review 

Rather wowed as we were by this wine, we at Exel have also recorded a video tasting of the Monte Alto 16.

Fillaboa, meaning “the good daughter” in the Gallego dialect of northwestern Spain, produces some of the rarest and highest quality wine from the ever-more-esteemed DO of Rías Baixas. Bodegas Fillaboa’s estate is focused exclusively on the cultivation of Albariño, the star white wine of the region, famed for its freshness, complexity and compatibility with local seafood. Bodegas Fillaboa is owned by the Masaveu family, which traces its winemaking history back to the 14th century. The family re-invested itself in Galician wine production, culminating with the purchase of Bodegas Fillaboa in Salvaterra de Miño in 1988.

Today Fillaboa is home to a tasting facility and formidable art collection housed in a 15th century Romanesque castle near the River Miño that forms the border between Spain and northern Portugal. In a region where most wineries make wines from purchased grapes, Fillaboa stands apart for its exclusive use of estate-grown fruit, ensuring quality control and consistency from vine to bottle. 

The estate’s deep devotion to quality is perfectly reflected in this wine, the Selección Finca Monte Alto, one of the very few single-vineyard estate wines produced in Rías Baixas, a racy white wine that sings with granite minerality and showcases Albariño’s quintessential freshness.

Selección Finca Monte Alto is crafted with grapes from our Monte Alto plot. This emblematic plot lies at 150 m above sea level on 6.7 hectares of land. Only around 10,000 bottle are produced, depending on the vintage. The vineyard is around 28 years old and the vines grow on a trellising structure; the soil has a sandy loam texture with a lot of pebbles due to its proximity to the Miño River.

For more detail on the wine and winemaking, see the days sheet from Fillaboa below (click link).

Bodegas Fillaboa, Seleccion Finca Monte Alto Albarino 2016 - fiche technique

Albarino 100%.

It is a very aromatic wine, with great structure; smooth, soft and delicate on the palate. It has high aromatic intensity, notes of ripe fruits, apple and citrus fruits. Reminiscent of bakery products, brioche and subtle toasty notes which begin to emerge over time in the bottle (see also video tasting above).

ABV = 13.5%.

£18.95

Bodegas Olarra Cerro Anon Rioja Gran Reserva 2011 (1x75cl)

** NOW IN STOCK ** 

Awarded 95 points and Gold status at the 2019 IWC (International Wine Challenge) in May 2019.

Bodegas Olarra Cerro Anon Rioja Gran Reserva 2011 - IWC 2019 Decanter review

The 2010 vintage was famously 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

Of the 2010: "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 of the 2010 and and the Cerro Añon Gran Reserva overall.

Crucially, you may wish to know how the 2010 and the 2011 compare; customers of the 2010 are naturally asking, "is it as good?We carried out our own tasting and assessment and you can find the results here.

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.

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 winter, the wine was 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 29 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 43 months, before it started to be released.

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

Bodegas Olarra Cerro Anon Rioja Gran Reserva 2011 - fiche technique

The Gran Reserva 2011 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 predominantly black fruit and ripe red berry aromas, and those of cedarwood, spices and smokiness. Over time, this developmental bouquet has grown more complex, showing aromas of leather, tobacco, coffee beans and prunes. 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%.

£15.50
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