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2017 Esporao Reserva White (1x 75cl)

The Esporão project began in the Alentejo from an irrepressible desire to make the finest wines. This is the basis of everything they do. Part of the Alentejo’s montado ecosystem (cork oak forests), in Portugal, Herdade do Esporão has extraordinary conditions for agriculture – large thermal amplitudes, poor and various soils and extraordinary biodiversity that helps them produce in balance with the environment. With 691.9 hectares of vineyards, olive groves and other crops, they grow using organic methods .

Please click the blue link below to see an excellent and informative tasting note / information sheet about this wine from the winemakers at Esporao.

Esporão Reserva White 2017 - fiche technique  

£14.50

Altos Las Hormigas Terroir Lujan de Cuyo Malbec 2016 (1x75cl)

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.

Fruit is sourced from the oldest part of the Uco Valley – vineyards in the sub-region of La Consulta and two areas in Tupungato. The soils are gravelly and alluvial. Vines are planted at high density to balance growth in low vigour, nutrient-poor soils.

2016 began with an unusually cool and rainy spring with temperatures well below average Mendoza standards. This caused some difficulties during flowering and fruit set and led to lower than normal yields. Nevertheless, this reduction in quantity meant that the grapes which did successfully ripen were very high in quality and incredibly concentrated in flavour.

Grapes were harvested by hand and carefully sorted. The grapes were then released by gravity into small concrete tanks where fermentation took place using native yeasts, at controlled temperatures of 24-28°C for 12 days. The wine spent 12 months in the concrete tanks, and a further 12 months ageing in bottle.

This wine is bright violet in colour, with ruby red hues. On the nose, there are aromas of plums with soft mineral notes and a hint of mint and herbs. On the palate, it is well balanced with firm tannins and a long, vibrant finish.

£17.30

Bianchi `Famiglia Bianchi` Organic Malbec 2014 (1x75cl)

The Bianchi family winery was founded in 1928 by Italian immigrant Valentin Bianchi. It now covers 350 hectares of vineyard, situated 750 metres above sea level in San Rafael, about 240km south of Mendoza city. This is a cooler area than Mendoza's major vineyard areas of Luján de Cuyo and Agrelo because it is further south, which helps the flavours and perfumes develop more gradually, resulting in more aromatic wines. The estate is now run by the third generation of the family and has undergone a gradual transformation in the past few years, modernising both the winery and the vinification processes. Finca Los Primos comprises a range of excellent value varietals. Famiglia Bianchi, Particular and Enzo are each a step up in concentration and depth of fruit, from older and lower yielding vineyards.

The grapes for this wine come primarily from the Doña Elsa Estate, situated in Rama Caída, San Rafael, Mendoza, around 760m above sea level. It is an ideal climate for the Malbec grape because of the warm days and cool nights that are typical of the area. The soil is sand and limestone.

Spring 2014 began with uneven budding in some areas, resulting in fewer grapes than the previous year. A late frost in November was followed by a fairly warm and dry December and January, giving excellent health to the vineyards. However, February was very rainy, with an average of 140 mm that month, more than half of the average yearly rainfall. Though March was much drier, there were some intense rains. The mean temperatures dropped significantly in February and especially in March.

The grapes were hand picked, then fermented at temperatures not exceeding 30ºC, with gentle and frequent pumping over for a period of 21 days to ensure good extraction of colour and ripe tannins. The wine was then aged for 12 months in French oak (75%) and American oak (25%) barriques of which 33% were new, 33% were one year old and 33% were two years old, before bottling.

Intense ruby with a glint of violet. Raspberry aromas mix with prunes, spices, tobacco and subtle mocha notes. Full-bodied and smooth on the palate with rounded tannins. Coffee and bitter chocolate from the oak ageing add complexity to the mature red fruit character on the long, well-balanced finish.

£15.40

Blanc Vi Natural Tinto Organic, Viticultor Celler 9+ 2016 - No Added Sulphites (1x75cl)

(Be in no doubt: despite the name on the label, this is a (very) red wine - see below).

The vines that are used to make this wine are small and different. Some face the sea, others don’t. The soil is different from one row to another in the vineyard, but overall they are poor soils. They prune in green to reduce production and get more concentration and better maturity of the grapes. The area has a strong effect from the “marinada” (Mediterranean wind), reducing the temperature and preventing it from climbing above 31-32 ºC on the hottest days of the summer.

In the cellar, winemaking is carried out in small lots. Underground cement vats are used for the fermentation and keep the wine at a cool temperature. Separate vinifications are carried out on each variety, these being blended before bottling. Only natural yeasts are used to make this wine.  

As they don't add anything besides the grapes, this is why it is termed blanc, even if it is a red wine. Only the cleanest and healthiest grapes can be used for a natural wine.

Medium red colour with orange tones. An open, inviting nose with red ripe fruit, liquorice, Mediterranean aromatic plants with some subtle mature notes. These continue onto the palate, complimented by some minerality. It has a really soft, gentle juicy texture, making it very easy-drinking. This wine is a great match for pork.

£12.60

Bucci Verdicchio Classico Riserva 2015 (1x75cl)

The 2014 vintage was Awarded 95 points by Decanter (www.decanter.com) in their February 2018 edition review of Italian Icon Wines (see blue link below).

Bucci Verdicchio Classico Riserva 2014 - Feb 2018 Decanter review

The Bucci family has been growing grapes in the Marche since the 1700s. Current custodian, Ampelio Bucci has 26 hectares of vineyard on this 400 hectare estate, which is cultivated organically. Of these, 21 hectares are Verdicchio, spread over six separate vineyards. The old vines and low yields give wines of great intensity. Consultant winemaker at Villa Bucci is the legendary enologist Giorgio Grai, who has been there for nearly 30 years. He makes wines for ageing and complexity rather than freshness and simplicity.

The Riserva is only produced in the best vintages, with fruit from the oldest vines (between 40 and 50 years old on average) and the best sites. There are six vineyards with different exposures and elevations to obtain more complexity in the final blend of each wine. Yields are kept low and vineyard management is certified organic with no herbicides or pesticides used. Soils are mainly calcareous (limestone), giving minerality to the wine, with around 30% clay, which retains moisture during the hot summers.

The 2015 summer in the Marche was warm and sunny, with a great deal of heat in August. Some light rainfall helped to balance the growth cycle, creating healthy and well-balanced grapes.

Vinification took place in the underground winery, which is naturally cool so refrigeration is generally not necessary. Vinification took place in stainless steel and Slovenian oak barrels of between 50 and 75 hectolitres, that are approximately 70 years old. Different vineyard parcels were vinified separately, aged for two years and then carefully blended before bottling.

An intense, complex and persistent bouquet of apricot compôte and spice with aromas of honey, beeswax, minerals and flint stone. Full bodied and with great depth, the wine finishes with hints of honey and nuts.

£28.45

Bucci Verdicchio Classico Superiore 2017 (1x75cl)

The Bucci family has been growing grapes in the Marche since the 1700s. Current custodian, Ampelio Bucci has 26 hectares of vineyard on this 400 hectare estate, which is cultivated organically. Of these, 21 hectares are Verdicchio, spread over six separate vineyards. The old vines and low yields give wines of great intensity. Consultant winemaker at Villa Bucci is the legendary enologist Giorgio Grai, who has been there for nearly 30 years. He makes wines for ageing and complexity rather than freshness and simplicity.

The fruit for this wine comes from six vineyards, each with a different exposure and elevation, which contribute to greater complexity in the final blend. Yields are kept low and vineyard management is certified organic, with no herbicides or pesticides used. Soils are mainly calcareous (limestone), lending minerality to the wine, with around 30% clay which retains moisture during the hot summers. The average age of the vines is 35 years.

2017 presented some challenges for winemakers in the Marche. Spring frost affected bud growth, while the hot weather that followed during the summer months caused hydric stress. Nevertheless, Bucci has been able to make wines which are complex and show good acidity.

Vinification took place in the underground winery which is naturally cool so refrigeration is generally not necessary. The must was fermented in both stainless steel and Slavonian oak barrels of between 50 and 75 hectolitres in size and approximately 70 years old. Different vineyard parcels were vinified separately then carefully blended before bottling.

Golden yellow in colour, this wine has a layered bouquet with notes of vanilla, butterscotch and almonds. Aromas of mimosa and ripe Golden Delicious apples carry through onto the complex palate, which has a fresh finish. A refreshing mineral edge contrasts with ripe, round flavours of wildflower honey.

£15.25

Buitenverwachting Sauvignon Blanc 2017 (1x75cl)

The wine has a pale lemon yellow colour and a bouquet reminiscent of green figs with hints of gooseberries and an intrusion of green peppers. The wine is dry, full bodied and has a long lingering finish.
 

£11.05

Cambridge Road Syrah 2011 (1x 75cl)

From a biodynamic vineyard in Martinborough, this Syrah is a ripe and smooth wine with black cherry and plum flavours and a touch of peppery spice and tar.

£34.85

Cambridge Road Syrah 2015 (1x75cl)

From a biodynamic vineyard in Martinborough, this Syrah is a ripe and smooth wine with black cherry and plum flavours and a touch of peppery spice and tar.

£42.45

Capezzana Carmignano `Villa di Capezzana` 2015 (1x 75cl)

Awarded 95 points and Outstanding status by Decanter (www.decanter.com) in their February 2019 Claret Alternatives article; (see blue link below)

Tenuta di Capezzana, Villa di Capezzana 2015 - February 2019 Decanter review

The Capezzana estate, 24 kilometres north west of Florence, is owned by the Contini Bonacossi family. The younger generation is now firmly in charge of the estate's 100 hectares of vineyard, with daughter Benedetta Contini Bonacossi as winemaker and Francesco Bernabei as consultant winemaker. The wines and the olive oil have an elegance which marks this estate out from the crowd.

Grapes are grown on the estate's 104 hectares of vineyard which have been converted to organic production. Vines are situated at approximately 150-200 metres above sea level, facing south, south-east and south-west. Soils are schistous clay with limestone.

Lower temperatures in April 2015 delayed budding by about 10 days. A warm spring was followed by a hot summer with little rain. Luckily the month of September was perfect with the right amount of rain and the right atmospheric humidity. This largely contributed to an extremely healthy crop with excellent maturation throughout.

75% Sangiovese, 15% Cabernet Sauvignon, 5% Canaiolo, 5% Cabernet Franc.

Fermentation took place in stainless steel tanks for 25 days at temperatures between 18-25°C. At the end of the alcoholic fermentation the wine was put in French oak for the malolactic fermentation and then aged in 3.5 hectolitre tonneaux for 12 months, followed by 12 months in bottle before release.

Ruby red in colour with a restrained, elegant nose. Perfumes of dark cherry and liquorice give way to spice and plums on the palate. Rounded tannins from the Sangiovese are lifted by the cassis concentration of the Cabernet and melt into a long, perfumed finish.

£24.20

Cesconi Moratel 2014 (1x 75cl)

The four Cesconi brothers have transformed their family estate in the village of Pressano, in the past decade. Whereas they previously sold all their fruit to the co-op at Lavis, today they are making some of Italy's most exciting white wines. All their vineyards are now farmed organically and biodynamically. Stylistically, their whites are more intense and perfumed than those from Friuli and slightly lighter, without the weight or fat that some of the top Friuli wines have. Their reds, on the other hand, have more weight than their Friulian counterparts.

The Lagrein grapes are grown on the warm, flat pastures of Pressano, where soils are deep and loose. The vines are pergola trained, with 3,500 vines per hectare. The Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Teroldego are grown in the Sarca valley, between the villages of Ceniga and Dro, 13km north of Lake Garda, at an altitude of 120 metres above sea level. Soils here are moderately chalky with 30% clay. The vines are on average 20 years old, both Guyot and pergola trained, planted at an average density of 4,000 per hectare.

2014 was a very tricky vintage. A mild and wet winter followed by a wet summer meant that pests and micro-organisms flourished leading to disease pressure in the vineyards. The wines are more aromatic than in 2013 and lighter in body than previous vintages.

The grapes were handpicked, destemmed and left as whole bunches. Fermentation took place over eight days in temperature-controlled stainless-steel vats between 25-30°C before it underwent further maceration, 10 days for the Lagrein and Teroldego and 20 days for the Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon. The wine was then transferred into 225 litre French oak barrels (of which 20-30% was new oak) for 12 months during which time malolactic fermentation took place. After bottling the wine was aged for a further six months prior to release.#

This wine is made using Lagrein 40%, Merlot 40%, Teroldego 10%, Cabernet Sauvignon 10%.

Deep ruby red in colour, with youthful violet highlights. This aromatically complex wine has aromas of wild cherry, raspberry and blackcurrant which follow through onto a supple palate that is supported by a firm tannic backbone so typical of clay soils.

£15.70

Cesconi Olivar 2016 (1x75cl)

The four Cesconi brothers have transformed their family estate in the village of Pressano, in the past decade. Whereas they previously sold all their fruit to the co-op at Lavis, today they are making some of Italy's most exciting white wines. All their vineyards are now farmed organically and biodynamically. Stylistically, their whites are more intense and perfumed than those from Friuli and slightly lighter, without the weight or fat that some of the top Friuli wines have. Their reds, on the other hand, have more weight than their Friulian counterparts.

The brothers now have 21 hectares of vineyards in and around the village of Pressano situated 300 metres above sea level. The vineyards are located on the west-facing Pressano hill and have red soils originating from sandstone of the Triassic period. Most of their vineyards are now trained to guyot at a planting density of 7,000 vines per hectare, as opposed to the traditional pergola style used in much of Trentino. In general, guyot gives lower yields and riper, more flavoursome fruit that in turn results in wines of greater power and balance. The vines are on average 25 years old.

Each variety was picked and fermented separately in large oak casks and French oak barriques. The wine was aged in the same casks for ten months. After the final blend was assembled during the spring following the harvest, the wine was bottle-aged for a further six months.

A light gold wine that shows layered aromas of ripe stone fruit such as apricot and peach with notes of white flowers. A fresh, citrus character in the mouth is rounded out by the vanilla notes from the oak ageing and complemented by a touch of minerality. The long finish is floral and fragrant.

£22.30

CHAMPALOU Vouvray Brut NV (1x 75cl)

Pale straw in colour with extremely elegant bubbles and a fine mousse. The palate is fine and elegant with well balanced acidity and a crisp dry finish.
£15.85

Chateau De Chambert Cahors Malbec 2014 (1x75cl)

Château de Chambert lies 30 kilometres west of the town of Cahors, between the Atlantic Ocean and the Mediterranean Sea. Owned and run by Philippe Lejeune since 2007, with the additional support of consultant winemaker Stéphane Derenoncourt, the estate has already garnered considerable attention in France and is top critic Michel Bettane’s ‘One to Watch’. The elegant, modern wines are made from the deep-coloured Malbec variety, which traditionally produced the ‘black wines’ of Cahors.

Vineyards are planted with 85% Malbec and 15% Merlot at the highest part of the South Quercy limestone plateau (causse), at an average altitude of 300 metres above sea level. The soil contains two distinct geological components; red clay with high concentration of red which lends the wine power, spice and black fruit aromas; and white clay with limestone similar to that of Chablis, which produces minerality and finesse. Located between the Atlantic and Mediterranean, the unique mesoclimate takes effect especially towards harvest when hot winds from Africa aid grape ripening. Careful leaf-thinning and green harvesting ensure well exposed fruit. The vines are 25 years old and yields are low at around 28 hectolitres per hectare. The grapes are hand-harvested.

Warm weather early in the year brought the 2014 bud-burst forward to 19th March, two weeks earlier than average. Summer began with a beautiful, dry June, but July and August suffered from intermittent rain, which increased disease pressure and slowed ripening. A warm, dry September allowed full sugar and phenolic ripeness, and healthy vines, with the long growing season encouraging complexity and concentration. The harvest started with on 3rd October, and was completed by the middle of the month.

The grapes are separated by parcel and vinified spearately. After a pneumatic press, the free-run juice and pressings were separated. Fermentation took place with ambient yeasts at controlled temperatures of 25-30°C, and the cap was managed by a combination of pump-overs and plunging. The fermenting must spent 25 days on skins. Malolactic fermentation took place in barrel. The wine was matured for 12 months in french oak, 20% of which were new.

This wine is beautifully dark and intense in colour. On the nose, it has refined ripe fruit aromas of blueberry and violet. On the palate, the tannins are silky and round and the mineral character on the finish balances the black fruit and ripe flavours.

£21.80

Chateau De L'aumerade Cuvee Marie Christine' Rose 2017 (1x 75cl)

The Château de l'Aumérade is a 400 year old estate located in in the heart of Provence. Originally belonging to the Aumerat family, the traditional Mas property dates back to the Renaissance period. In 1594, the Duke of Sully, Henry VI's finance minister, presented the Château with a Mulberry tree and Plane trees for their luxurious gardens, as a gift for supplying the Royal Court. In 1930, a young Henri Fabre senior and his wife Charlotte, fell in love with the Château de l'Aumérade, with its 300 hectares of estate vineyards and purchased it from the Aumerat family. The Château was designated as a Cru Classé when the Provence appellation was created in 1955, a system classifying the wine estate rather than the vineyard area. It is one of only 18 that still remain in the designation. The Château is currently run by Henri Fabre junior and his sister Marie-Christine.

2017 was an extremely challenging vintage in Provence. Frost and hail during the spring damaged the crop and reduced the yields. The summer saw drought conditions which put the vines under stress. The fruit was harvested early in mid August and although the crop was smaller than average, the fruit was immensely concentrated and the resulting wines are of excellent quality.

The Cuvée Marie-Christine rosé is made exclusively from an 89 hectare Cru Classé parcel, located on the plains of Pierrefeu. The mineral rich terroir of red clay and limestone soils in this parcel provide good drainage and the vines receive a cooling ventilation from the salty Mistral winds blowing in from the sea just a few miles away.

The grapes were immediately destemmed and gently pressed to preserve the fresh, fruity aromatics. The juice was cooled to 13°C and settled. Fermentation took place in stainless steel tanks at controlled temperatures of between 15 to 18°C, retaining the purity of fruit. Racking and blending was followed by a gentle filtration prior to bottling.

A lovely pale powder-pink hue, with refreshing aromas of grapefruit leading to succulent peach and apricot on the palate. Fruit forward and full, with a hint of spice, this elegant rosé has a refreshing acidity and a long finish. Serve chilled as an elegant apéritif or as an ideal accompaniment to Mediterranean or lightly spiced Asian cuisine; sushi, exotic fusion food and grilled fish.

£12.55
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