Decanter Magazine

Decanter Magazine - the world’s best wine magazine

  • In the Press: Decanter reviews

    Wines In The Press

    This month’s Decanter magazine has mentions of three GWW wines - an iconic red, a refreshing premium Cava and a classic Aussie white.

    May is Decanter's 'Spanish issue' so it should come as no surprise that Iberian classics like Rioja and Cava featured heavily. However, their main new world focus this month was a tasting of 82 Aussie Rieslings, selected for drinking now or laying down.

    In the article Create The Perfect Spanish cellarPedro Ballesteros Torres MW compiled a list of wines he’d include in his dream £800 cellar, choosing  GWW’s Marqués de Riscal Barón de Chirel Rioja 2006 as one of his top 12 wines to store for the long term. The wine was also a prominent feature on the front cover of the magazine.

    “The first ‘new-style’ Rioja 30 years ago. A refined and delicate wine that improves over time. Paco Hurtado de Amézaga’s flagship.” Pedro Ballesteros Torres MW, Decanter May 2015.

    Also in this edition, Sarah Jane Evans MW chose Torelló Reserva Brut Special Edition NV as one of her top 18 Premium Cavas to try, writing:

    “Tense, powerful, pure and bright. The green herb and lime aromas carry though to the mineral palate. A lovely drink.” 90 points. Sarah Jane Evans MW, Decanter May 2015.

    Not to be outdone, our new world selection also got a mention in a panel tasting of Australian dry Rieslings with Skillogalee Riesling 2014* receiving a Highly Recommended rating and a score of 90 points.

    “A riper style with more weight. Exotic mandarin palate with hints of lemon myrtle. No frills, and yet a lovely pure and seamless balance to the wine. This is a muscular, powerful Riesling.” Decanter May 2015.

    *2013 currently available – 2014 coming soon

  • Hot off the press - Southern Italy

    Wines In The Press

    Papale Oro Primitivo di Manduria, VarvaglioneThe March issue of Italia! magazine included two Great Western Wine reds from southern Italy’s Puglia region. Their “Discovery of the month” was Papale Oro Primitivo di Manduria, Varvaglione 2012:

    “When choosing our selection of wines from Puglia for this issue, we attempted to pick wines that wouldn’t be too hard on the wallet. Most are around the £10 mark. But if you can afford to spend more then wines from the region can be absolutely stunning, such as this one from GWW. Loaded with dark, crunchy fruit, spiced to perfection, this is a monster of a wine – you could spend three times as much in Chianti or Piedmont. Delightful!”

    Salice Salentino Riserva, Francesco CandidoTheir second recommendation was a classically styled red from Candido, Salice Salentino Riserva, Francesco Candido 2010, full of red cherry and spice:

    “Harking from the southern tip of Puglia, this is a delightful, easy-drinking red that possesses ripe berry fruit aromas and a distinctive, seductive smokiness. It screams dried fruit to the taste, and remains powerful and robust throughout the chocolatey finish. Very much a food wine, it is made using Francesco Candido’s renowned Negroamaro grape vines and shows just what can be achieved with this Puglian favourite without having to empty the coffers!”

    Planeta Eruzione 1614 CarricanteDecanter’s Top 10 buys from the slopes of Etna included Great Western Wine’s Planeta, Eruzione 1614, Carricante, Castiglione di Sicilia 2013, awarding it 92 points:

    “The addition of a small amount of Riesling seems to lift the aromatics in this superbly focused, pin-sharp Carricante from a large but quality-focused producer. The fruit is generous, the finish long and mineral.” Simon Woolf,, 2015

    American website Drink Me has now extended its reach to the UK, with a monthly round up of what us Brits should be drinking right now. Their article Top 5 White Wines in the United Kingdom featured our very own Planeta, Cometa 2013

    Planeta, Cometa“This is Fiano of the absolute highest quality that is interesting enough to drink all day! Most Fiano hails from Campania but Planeta of Sicily make this example, which is revered across all of Italy and further afield. It exudes ripeness with nectarines/tangerines and red grapes all laced together perfectly with a generous streak of minerality. There’s a bit of honeysuckle filling out the flavours and bringing some weight to the party. Strikes a good balance by combining a dry style with natural sweet flavours from the early-season (August) ripe pickings.” Drink Me

    By Chris Penwarden

  • Hot off the press: Decanter April 2015

    Wines In The Press

    Decanter April 2015

    Here are some great reviews from the current edition of Decanter magazine – some to drink now and some to save for later in the year.

    Domaine Brusset, Côtes du Rhône


    Domaine Brusset, Côtes du Rhône 2013

    “Punches above its weight. Long, sinewy and vibrant rather than broad and full. Elegant berry fruit and spice notes. Finely honed tannins.” 17/20 - 90 points – James Lawther, Vintage Report Rhone 2013.


    Quinta Do Crasto, Douro Reserva, Old Vines


    Quinta Do Crasto, Douro Reserva, Old Vines 2012

    “Always great bang for your buck: sweet oak, floral lift, lashings of blackcurrant, juicy plum and crushed berry fruit. Long fine tannins and rolling acidity.” 17.5/20 - 91 points – Sarah Ahmed, Douro New Releases.


    Quinta Do Crasto, Tinta Roriz


    Quinta Do Crasto, Tinta Roriz 2012 (currently 2011 in stock – 2012 coming soon)

    “Lovely purity, saturation and length of cinnamon-kissed succulent damson and blackberry fruit. Very firm but fine mineral tannins bode well for ageing.” 18.5/20 - 95 points – Sarah Ahmed, Douro New Releases.


    Howard Park Abercrombie Cabernet Sauvignon


    Howard Park Abercrombie Cabernet Sauvignon 2010

    “Mainly from the 1979-planted Dennis vineyard in Mount Barker. Great cedar, blueberry and cassis lift and concentration with savoury balsamic notes. Sinewy tannins and firm acidity give poise.”  Sarah Ahmed, Ahmed’s top 10 to try from Great Southern.



    In an interview with Ahmed, Howard Park’s Jeff Burch said that the 2010 vintage saw a dominance of Great Southern Cabernet in their Abercrombie flagship wine: “our Cabernets have more lifted perfume, finer and more savoury fruit than the comparatively sweet fruit of Margaret river and lithe, sometimes sinewy, tannins.”

    By Chris Penwarden

  • Rioja Rocks - Wines in the Press: Decanter

    Wines In The Press

    What we think of as ‘Rioja’ has changed. According to Sarah Jane Evans MW, in her Decanter article The many faces of Rioja, there may be a plethora of styles to choose from, but what today’s Riojas have in common is a modern approach that is producing wines that are more complex and terroir-driven than ever.

    2007 Finca Torrea, Marques de RiscalTo illustrate Rioja’s winemaking ‘new wave’, Evans has produced a list of her ‘Top 25 Riojas’, including Great Western Wine’s Marqués de Riscal Finca Torrea 2007:

    Finca Torrea is a wine made from Tempranillo and Graciano grapes sourced from the old vineyards surrounding the Torrea estate, adjacent to the Marqués de Riscal winery. The soil here is the classic clay limestone, typical of Rioja Alavesa, an area that has historically produced the finest Rioja wines. Riscal use French Allier oak casks to age the wine for 18 months, resulting in a more modern, fruity style, with less balsamic notes.

    In Evans’ words, this is a “modern approach from a bodega that well combines tradition with innovation. Shorter ageing (18 months in French oak) gives a fruitier, more approachable wine. 17/20

    Marqués de Riscal’s Finca Torrea is brilliant example of a new wave of Rioja winemaking, made by one of the region’s most established and well respected names. It is a wine which perfectly illustrates the fast pace of change that Rioja has seen over the past 30 years:

    The many faces of Rioja, Sarah Jane Evans MW, Decanter online, Monday 26 January 2015.

    Marqués de Riscal’s Finca Torrea 2007 is available here...


    By Chris Penwarden

  • Hot off the press – Italian Special

    Great Western Wine - Wines in the press

    Decanter magazine’s Italy Supplement this month features five producers from Great Western Wine. This is a lovely affirmation of the high quality, diverse range of Italian wines that we have waiting for you in store and online.

    A sparkling result

    In his opening gambit, “Why Italian wine has never been better”, Ian D'Agata writes about the diversity, modernity, reinvention and future of winemaking in today’s Italy. D'Agata’s recent book Native Wine Grapes of Italy was 13 years in the making, so you could say he knows a thing or two about Italian wine.

    D'Agata particularly focuses on the subject of sparkling wines, highlighting the wines of Trento:

    Ferrari Perlé Blanc Brut

    “Trento DOC wines made in Trentino are blessed with higher natural acidity and a tighter, more austere mouthfeel. Therefore, they appeal more to those consumers looking for a fresher, livelier sparkler.”

    He goes on to pick Ferrari’s Perlé 2007 as one of his favourites: “Bright and light in style, with floral and peachy aromas and flavours that just go on and on. 90/100

    A few pages later, Richard Baudains article on Prosecco Superiore, explains that the DOCG version of Prosecco, from the historic production area in the hills between Conegliano and Valdobbiadene (as opposed to the larger area of DOC), now “offers a genuine step up and is worth seeking out.”

    Prosecco, Ruggeri, Vecchie Viti DOCG

    Baudains takes Ruggeri’s Vecchie Viti Valdobbiadene Prosecco Superiore DOCG 2013 as an example: “Biscuit crust and mineral nose, delicate herby nuances and a slightly spicy, aromatic note.  Very fine, elegant perlage.  The palate has rapier intensity, length, depth and purity. Uncompromising and bone dry. 93/100

    Crus Control

    Monty Waldin urges Brunello fans to seek out “single-vineyard expressions” in his article ‘The many crus of Montalcino’; there’s more than just one style of Brunello, he writes.

    Il Poggione, Brunello di Montalcino RiservaIl Poggione Brunello di Montalcino Riserva 2007 is sourced from a 15 hectare single vineyard in Sant’Angelo, Colle, with vines grown on rocky clay at an altitude of 250m. Waldin likes its “effortlessly drinkable” style and its “sour cherry fruit nicely arranged around tannins with a savoury balsam feel.”

    Smoldering good looks

    In his regional profile on Etna, Sicily, Simon Woolf says that “the vinous potential of Etna’s unique volcanic terroir is finally being fully realised.”

    Planeta Eruzione 1614 Carricante

    According to Woolf, local grape Carricante has a “Riesling-like ability to age, mutating from nervy saltiness to honeyed, smoky maturity, without any assistance from oak.”            

    Eruzione Bianco 1614 Carricante Planeta 2013    “The addition of a small amount of Riesling seems to lift the aromatics in this superbly focused, pin-sharp Carricante from a large but quality-focused producer.  The fruit is generous, the finish long and mineral.”

    Unique and Iconic

    Ian D’Agata concludes the supplement with a piece called ‘The white icons of our times’ which includes the “unique” Jermann Vintage Tunina 2012:

    Jermann, Vintage Tunina IGT“A blend of Sauvignon Blanc and Chardonnay with a small percentage of Ribolla Gialla, Malvasia Istriana and Picolit (Pinot Blanco was originally planned but a nursery error led to Chardonnay being planted instead).  The grapes are slightly late-harvested together from a 16ha site at Ronco del Fortino, and the wine sees no oak.   It takes its name from that of Antonia (Tunina, in dialect),  past owner of the vineyards from which the wine is made , and is dedicated to another Antonia, one of Casanova’s favourite lovers.  Although best drunk within 5 years, it can improve for up to 15.”

  • Hot Off The Press

    Great Western Wine - Wines in the press

    Victoria Moore followed up last week’s Telegraph article on Lebanon’s booming wine trade with a hand-picked selection of her favourite wines, including mentions of two from Great Western Wine’s Ixsir.

    Ixsir Altitudes WhiteIxsir Altitudes Blanc 2014, Lebanon

    “Ixsir also makes a good red syrah-cabernet blend, more international in style than the Tourelles – the 2010 Reserve is in GWW’s sale – but I really liked this white. A blend of muscat (40 per cent), viognier, sauvignon and semillon, it’s floral but not OTT. Char-grilled swordfish and salty fried fish are its friend.” Victoria Moore, The Telegraph, 19th January 2015

    While we wait for the 2014, the 2013 is reduced to £12.95, so it’s a great time to buy some of this delicious white.  Victoria also mentioned the magnificent Ixsir Grande Reserve Red 2010 – reduced by over a fiver to £17.50 - a red to savour with next Sunday’s roast.

    The Observer’s David Williams recommended this bright, fun, red Italian fizz  - ideal with a wintery stew or bolognaise

    Cantina Cleto Chiarli, Pruno NeroCantina Cleto Chiarli, Pruno Nero NV, Italy

    “How to approach wine post Christmas excess? Some of us give up for a month, but there are better times for abstinence than the dark days of January. I prefer the frisson of transgressive pleasure that that comes with drinking styles that feel slightly inappropriate amid the austerity. Sparkling wines, for example, whether a decent, budget-friendly white fizz … or, to go with the season’s meaty stews, Chiarli’s vivid, ripe black cherry-filled sparkling Italian red, with its soft mousse and gentle tannic grip.”  David Williams, The Observer, 4th January 2015

    Lastly, Decanter magazine featured this fresh and fruity white from the one of the country’s best producers  – a nice change to Kiwi Sauvignon Blanc, and a lovely match for spicy Thai dishes.

    Yealands Estate Pinot GrisYealands Estate Pinot Gris 2013, New Zealand

    “Made by winemaker Tamra Kelly-Washington who has previously worked in Australia, Italy and California, this is a pungent style of Pinot Gris with notes of apricot and quince on the nose. The palate is elegant and fresh, with flavours of watermelon and a pinch of ginger spice.” 89/100, Decanter Weekday Wines, February edition 2015.

  • Decanter World Wine Awards - Out Now

    This has been our most successful year at the Decanter World Wine Awards. Here are a list of our Trophy, Gold and Silver winners. It's a long one and most you can buy online. Remember there's 10% off per case with free delivery on 12 bottles or more.

    To sample Award Winning wines, we've created a fantastic mixed case; click here to view



    Glaetzer Bishop Shiraz 2012
    Regional Trophy: Australian Red Rhône Varietals over £15

    Polished and pure, this modern wine expertly combines the fruit of Shiraz with the spice of Syrah. Sweet blackberries and oak with a herbal edge, meat, pepper, perfume and violets are all underpinned by spice and integrated tannins. For such a big wine, it displays genuine elegance and subtlety.

    Domaine Brusset Les Hauts de Montmirail 2012 - Please call 01225 322810 for details
    Regional Trophy: Red Rhône over £15

    Rich, dark wild berry aromas with red berry and liquorice hints. The palate is fresh with a lovely volume of layered fruit and smooth, firm tannins, leading to a spiced, peppery finish. Long and delicious – and definitely a winner.
    Falernia Pinot Noir Reserva - Please call 01225 322810 for details
    International Trophy: Pinot Noir under £15

    A gorgeous summer berry nose with hints of raspberry confit and wild herbs. The palate is juicy and refreshing, oozing crushed bramble fruits – classic and expressive. With an engaging personality, great concentration and an appealing roundness, this is a fabulous wine for the price.”
    Continue Reading

  • Meet our Italian Buyer and Judge in the Decanter World Wine Awards

    April is our month focusing on Italy. This provides a great chance to learn more about the man who has crafted our amazing Italian collection, Sergio de Luca.

    Interview taken from the Decanter "Find out more about the world-renowned names that make up the 2014 Decanter World Wine Awards judging line-up in this Q&A series."

    To read more from this series please click here

    Sergio de Luca is director of buying for Italy at Great Western Wine and Enotria World Wine. He has over 30 years' experience in the UK market, and has been at Enotria for more than 25 years. de Luca's family is in farming and all his experience is connected with the wine world, having studied and completed a degree in winemaking in Italy.

    Read the Decanter interview with Sergio De Luca below...

    ☆ Which year or decade do you wish you'd been born in and why? 
    My year, 1959, was a great vintage everywhere, and a great Sauternes year, so I am quite happy to have been born in the year that I was.

    ☆ How old were you when you had your first wine 'moment' and what was it? 
    I was born in a vine growing family so we were used to drinking wine from a very early age – albeit sometimes mixed with water!

    ☆ How many bottles do you have in your cellar and what is your most recent addition? 
    Not too many – around 120 bottles – but all pretty good stuff! I picked up a 1990 Conterno Fantino Sori Ginestra Barolo today. It will highlight my weekend.

    ☆ How many years have you been working in the wine industry and what was your first job? 
    I have always worked in this trade, first at home where we have several hectares of Glera (Prosecco), and then while I was at university as part of the cellar team at the local wine cooperative.

    ☆ Which vintage and region (or wine) do you wish you'd bought a whole case of wine from? 
    Anything from Barolo. I am admittedly very biased. Italy has always been my choice of wine destination and Barolo, my region.

    ☆ In the last 12 months, which grape have you drunk the most of? 
    Glera (Prosecco), Nebbiolo and Chardonnay in that order.

    ☆ In the last 12 months, what's the most exciting region you've discovered or re-discovered and why?
    The region and wines of Campania have recently come to my attention. At the moment I am in love with the Devon Greco di Tufo produced by the Cantine Antonio Caggiano. It is a wonderful aromatic wine with an immense minerality.

    ☆ Who’s your wine idol (who has inspired you the most in the wine world)? 
    My idol is a winemaker who unfortunately passed away a few years ago. His name was Carlo Corino and he was one of the few Italian winemakers who decided to travel. He spent years in Australia and his view on wines, his tastes and how he made his wines was at least 10 years ahead of anybody else at that time.

    ☆ What’s your most memorable wine and food moment? 
    I don’t have one moment in particular. My late mother was a great cook so we had some wonderful meals at home. Unfortunately I realised that a bit too late ...

    ☆ If you could taste/drink any wine in the world what would it be and who would you drink it with? 
    I would love to do a tasting of top Bordeaux with Emile Peynaud.

    ☆ What do you enjoy most about judging at the Decanter World Wine Awards? 
    I really appreciate the organisation, professionalism and seriousness of this tasting, and the high standard of the judges.

  • Decanter Panel Tasting - Fino Manzanilla


    5 Stars - 95 points

    Fino, Bella Luna, Jerez, Sanchez Romate NV

    Pedro Ballesteros Torres MW: Wonderfully restrained and classic, with a nutty, long finish.

    Sarah Jane Evans MW: Savoury, earthy, bready aromas. Brisk, bright, pungent wine which develops into a full body. A classic Fino with the refined balance of yeast, dryness, spiciness. Very long

  • Fino – Sherry is hip again

    10 years ago, no one would have believed this blog title. Sherry fashionable?  Until a few years ago, the word Sherry was associated with fusty old grannies, bringing out a bottle of something dark, dusty and sweet from their drinks cupboard, pouring a tiny measure, and then putting the bottle back for another year.

    Today, Sherry, especially Fino, is the darling of hip bartenders, Tapas bars and wine lovers at the cutting edge of wine fashion. Sales of Fino are rocketing, with double digit growth, whilst overall wine sales are showing far slower growth. So how has this pariah of the drinks world risen like a phoenix from the ubiquitous ashes? And why have we fallen in love with Sherry all over again?

    The Sherry revival has, without any shadow of a doubt, been led by Fino, the pale-coloured, bone dry wine that is seen in every bar and every restaurant and on every table in Andalusia, and throughout Spain. Fino is fresh; Fino is crisp and refreshing; Fino is about as fine a food wine as can be found.

    If you’re reading this and haven’t fallen in love with Fino yet, give it a go.  Great Western Wine have the fabulous Bella Luna Fino, by Bodegas Sanchez, which recently got a rave review in Decanter magazine, with a big ‘outstanding’ thumbs up. It’s from a Sherry producer that’s been around since 1781, but this is bang up to date, in a screw-capped half bottle, with its stylish, monochrome label. Pale, tangy, crisp, and mouth-wateringly dry, it has an almost salty, refreshing edge, with bold, lively nutty flavours – it certainly doesn’t compromise on flavours and is deliciously fresh.

    By Angela Mount

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