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Mount Langhi make this wine exclusively for us from small parcels of grapes grown across their idyllic estate. It displays a vibrant blackberry nose, with bramble fruits on the palate, black-pepper spice, silky tannins and wonderful freshness on the finish thanks to a touch of menthol coming through. Superb Aussie shiraz.
Product Code: AU21781
View all products by Mount Langi Ghiran
Mount Langi is an impressive, densely forested hill in one of the cooler spots in the state of Victoria. The aboriginal name, impressive in its economy, means ‘home of the yellow-tailed black cockatoo.’ The vineyards here nestle between two dramatic mountain ranges, the southern end of the Great Dividing Range, and the spectacular peaks of the Grampians National Park. The original vineyards were planted in the 1870s when European immigrants travelled to Western Victoria in search of gold. Bringing vines with them from Europe, they set about working the land, creating what are now some of Australia’s oldest vineyards. The vines were replaced by sheep at the turn of the century, but the site was re-established in 1963 by Italian immigrants, the Fratin brothers, who discovered that conditions were favourable for the production of the spicy, complex red wine we now know as Mount Langi Shiraz. The elevated sites here benefit from a nightly cooling-down, particularly in autumn, when the grapes are ripening, as the cold air tumbles down the mountains and flows through the valley. Another advantage of the mountains is a shadowing effect which shortens the effective sunshine hours and protects the vineyards from overexposure. These microclimatic phenomena account for the distinctive characteristics of Mount Langi Shiraz and we are immensely proud to have secured the estate’s benchmark shiraz for bottling under our own label. The Society’s Exhibition Victoria Shiraz has intense aromas and flavours of pepper, vanilla and blackcurrant-mulberry fruit. Also from Mount Langi comes Billi Billi Shiraz, named in honour of one of the original aboriginal chiefs of the region in the 1860s.
Victoria is the southernmost state on the Australian mainland and contains within its borders a diverse collection of terroirs, perhaps the most varied within Australia. This diversity has helped the state to earn an enviable reputation for the quality of its wines, the areas that they hail from and its wineries.It has a long history since the first settlers in the region planted vines, but the catalyst for expansion was the gold rush of the mid-19th century which saw many a vineyard established. This promising start was stalled dramatically by the arrival of phylloxera in the 1870’s and to this day the Victoria produce less than half the amount produced in neighbouring South Australia despite having many more vineyards. Despite its small size (it is the smallest state other than Tasmania) it has an amazing diversity of terroirs, from the dry, torrid north-east where fortified wines are king, to the positively chilly by comparison Mornington Peninsula due south of Melbourne on the coast. It also embraces a fair chunk of the Murray Darling region where irrigation makes the vast expanses of vineyard a possibility and from where three quarters of the state’s grape yield derives.The Yarra Valley is a short car ride to the north of Melbourne, and has a wide selection of tourist diversions to prove it. It also has an array of excellent estates and vineyards at various elevations and in a variety of soils, from clay and sand to volcanic. Rediscovered in the 1960s and prized for its cool nights and warm, sunny days, it has become synonymous with excellent pinot noirs and elegant, intense chardonnays that are doing much to reclaim Australia’s reputation for the variety. Shiraz has also proved a success in a more restrained style.To the south of Melbourne, and benefiting fully from an unrelenting oceanic influence on its doorstep is the Mornington Peninsula. Surrounded by the Southern Ocean and Port Phillip Bay on three sides, and moderated by the breezes these expanses of water generate the summer climate on the peninsula is for the most part temperate. This is a region of small estates producing some of the most elegant and refined pinot noirs in the new world let alone Australia. The soils vary from volcanic deposits to sandy clay and after pinot noir there is fine chardonnay and an increasing volume of pinot gris. Close to Melbourne the area of Geelong enjoys a windy, maritime climate but is slightly warmer, making plump pinot and some delicious shiraz and chardonnay.In the north-east lies one of the great wine regions of Australia, though it is not shiraz, or chardonnay nor riesling for which it is famed, but rather the muscat grape, made into a fortified treasure that is unique to the area and which is one of Australia’s great vinous jewels. Rutherglen Liqueur Muscats, and Muscadelles, can hold their head up in the company of any great port, sherry or Madeira for their rich, complex, silky and concentrated character. The summers here are torrid, the landscape arid and the grapes full of sugar. And the red table wines made are dense, brooding examples that are improving all the time. But it is the joyous fortifieds that steal the show.
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"One of those wines that you want to drown in when you take a deep breath into the glass. A big full-bodied blockbuster, silky, spicy and delicious. Out of stock and no alternative?! Disaster."
Mr Mark Braithwaite (18-Mar-2019)
"A bit too jammy and overpowering for us. Lacked complexity in my view"
Mr Edward Griffin (10-Jan-2019)
"this is excellent Southern Hemisphere Shiraz.
Definitely best decanted prior to drinking
Myt wife doesn't drink reds normally but she really liked it too and at the 12.50 reduced price great value"
Dr Philip Taylor (16-Sep-2018)
"A distinctive wine of some stature ,strong berryfruits with a lasting finish. Well worth the money and would buy again"
Mr John Miller (02-Sep-2018)
"Smooth, balanced bramble fruit, some complexity with light spice and tannins. Very enjoyable and probably worth the price, which is slightly more than I would usually part with for Aussie Shiraz. Recommended. "
Mr John Lay (10-Jun-2018)
"Nice complexity - lots of blackcurrant fruit but other things coming through as well; black pepper, sage, hint of mint. Really enjoyable."
Mr Andrew Milton (02-Jun-2018)
"It being one normally to buy new world wines, I bought a couple of these for a Syrah/Shiraz wine tasting with friends. It shone through then by trumping the other examples I had chosen. I’ve just had another bottle and I must say it’s very pleasing. Will purchase again!"
Mr Julian Edgington (31-Mar-2018)
"a smooth velvety wine, heavy without but tannins, the subtle oak adds to the length, would rate it a 5 if you like a heavy red."
Mr Charles Hawkins (01-Jan-2018)
Moneyweek (30th Nov 2018)
"I have written up
both the 2007 and 2012 vintages of this label on this page and, in nigh on six
hundred and fifty MoneyWeek wine articles, this stunning creation, today, is
the most written up wine in the history of this esteemed magazine.
Why? It is startlingly easy to explain this phenomenon. This
‘simple’ Shiraz is made by none of the than elite Victorian wine haven Mount
Langi Ghiran. This legendary estate has appeared in my 100 Best
Australian Wines Report no less than 12 times in 15 years. It is a
little-known, but immensely over-achieving estate. A unique property
benefitting from crystal clear, sunny days and unusually cool nights, these
elevated vineyards, in Mount Ararat, a Grampians wine region in western
Victoria, draw night breezes from the surrounding high land and this has a
stunning cooling effect on the grapes. The results are clear to see,
smell and taste in the bottle – vivid purple fruit, packed with plum and
blueberry notes and then a rush of clean, pepper and spice which refreshes the
palate and leaves you diving back for more. The 2014 vintage is a
beautiful, unhurried wine. Classy, gentle, soothing and also profound,
this is an insultingly low entry price to part with for this level of
self-control and sheer excellence. Before you press the ‘buy’ button on
whatever Northern Rhône beauty you are eyeing up, please consider this
incredible wine. Well done Wine Soc. – your palate has hit the bullseye
again. - Matthew Jukes"
"Disappointing as other Exhibition wines are first class examples - this seemed a little thin and no better than Australian Shiraz at half this price point - left to the following day to see it it improved - sadly not. - could not recommend."
Mr David Welland (06-Jun-2017)
"Very pleasant and surprisingly subtle Aussie shiraz that I thoroughly enjoyed - but I certainly didn't get any of the fireworks that the critics did. Nicely balanced and good fruit but more of a £8-9 bottle I'd say."
Mr Chris Tuohy (31-Jan-2017)
"Not your usual £13 aussie shiraz. This is pure Syrah, bright and crunchy and quite acidic. I was after a big warming juicy Shiraz so wasn't expecting what I found. A quality wine but won't be buying again. I think the wine society's descriptions can be misleading. More should be said about the style of the wine."
Mr Jason Mossman (09-Dec-2016)
Mr Mark Gregory (06-Dec-2016)
Mr Jamie White (15-Aug-2016)
"I think I agree with Mr Smith. Reviews had me excited for something really special.
This is a very smooth, well balanced Shiraz with a touch of oak and very fine tannins, that is very easily drinkable almost without noticing. And there lies the problem - despite the producer and the vintage it is instantly forgettable.
Tasty, balanced wine but £13.50 better spent elsewhere."
Dr Philip Dodd (10-Jul-2016)
"I seriously thought that I had a duff bottle when I tasted this so opened another and it was the same. So closed on the nose that it offered virtually nothing, even after a good decant. On the palate I got vague red berry and plum fruit but none of the promised spice or the great hit of fruit demanded. This wine's only redeeming qualities seemed to me to be its balance and ease of drinking. I expect a lot, lot more from an Exhibition Wine. A fellow, experienced taster commented that at a blind tasting he might not even have said Shiraz, so muddy and indistinct did he find this wine and I agreed."
Mr Jonathan Smith (04-Jul-2016)
"Unlike a 'big' Shiraz this doesn't shout it's quality and it's all the better for it. Yes, it's got strawberry and summer fruits but it equally has depth on the palate, meaning it's good on its own or with red meat. An altogether lighter approach to Shiraz and well worth a try."
Mr James Farnhill (11-May-2016)
"Loved this wine. Found it not dissimilar to the delicious, and pricier, Hawkes Bay syrah from Craggy Range. As I've found with lots of syrah/shiraz, the flavour opened up a lot after a short while in a decanter. Sweet fruited yes, but balanced nicely with tannin in my opinion."
Mrs Kate Renton (05-May-2016)
"I bought a bottle of this after reading the excellent reviews. Alas, for someone who usually only drinks French wine, it was far too sweet for me. Some critics say it is complex, but all I can taste is sugar."
Mr Will Smale (21-Apr-2016)
JancisRobinson.com (2nd Aug 2016)
Gorgeous aroma of dark fruit, black olive and peppery spice. Super-fresh and
juicy even with all that dark, peppery finely structured fruit. The purity of
fruit gives a finish a bit like blackcurrant fruit pastilles. Classic Victorian
Shiraz, and still so youthful. Good value. 16.5/20"
The Times (11th Jun 2016)
and cassis-crammed 14 per cent shiraz from one of the top producers in
Victoria, Mount Langi. - Jane MacQuitty"
Money Week (25th Mar 2016)
"There is every reason
for every one of you to rush to their cellar and empty it of every bottle. It
comes from one of Australia’s most revered wineries – Mount Langi Ghiran, in
Mount Ararat, 100 miles northwest of Melbourne. I know these wines intimately and
they are simply stunning. Reeking of spice, wild herbs, earth and briar, this
is one of the most evocative and sumptuous of the cool climate (Northern
Rhône-bashing) Aussie shiraz brigade.
What’s amazing is that this estate makes a Grand Vin (Blue Label), which you
rarely see, priced at around the £50-mark – this is a truly phenomenal
creation. Below this there is a wine called Cliff Edge, which is also stunning
and works out somewhere near £20. There is a cheapie but goodie called Billi
Billi, but this is a glugger.
So where does Wine Soc’s own-label wine fit in? The answer is that it is the
finest value of the lot. It is from the perfect 2012 vintage, it is thrilling
in every way and it is drinking right now. Over to you. - Matthew Jukes"
thewinegang.com (21st Mar 2016)
"A full-bodied but
fresh and supple Shiraz with crunchy black fruit and black-pepper flavours and,
in a savoury echo from the southern Rhône, a spicy, gamey, nutty character.
It's highly drinkable now, but has the concentration to age. Made by the Mount
Langi team. 89/100"
"Terrific. A great nose, deep palate and superbly long lasting. this is one of the best Exhibition wines."
Mr Stephen Edwards (12-Aug-2016)
"This is big. Sweet, ripe, rich and juicy fruit, sandwiched between a bit of leather saddle and eucalyptus."
Mr Bruce Marson (29-Apr-2016)
"I was very disappointed with this Shiraz. Lacked complexity and fragrance. Far too sweet."
Dr Gary Wright (25-Apr-2016)
"A perfect Oz Shiraz,: smooth, touch of spice, well balanced rounded fruit, medium bodied, but it's just a bit too safe. Imho at £14.95 there's many much more interesting wines from traditional European vineyards."
Mr James Brown (22-Feb-2016)
"I doubt you would say Australia from a blind taste.
Smooth is the word, I think the oak is so well balanced, and without obvious tannins or sediment I believe it was better 24 hours later from an open decanter!
Classy crowd pleaser rather than loud or brash Aussie !"
Peter Macaulay Esq (15-Sep-2015)
"Tasted this yesterday at the Introduction to Tasting course and then bought a couple of bottles after being told it would be a good match for Haggis. It worked brilliantly, lots of spice and pepper and a great match."
Mr Seumas Grey (25-Jan-2015)
The Times (3rd Oct 2015)
smoky, forest fruits… the tannic yet fruity red to serve alongside darker
roulades or black forest gateau. - Jane MacQuitty"
"Rich, velvety and deliriously plummy with deep, layered complexity. A really beautiful example of a Shiraz. Love it!"
Ms Vanessa Newman (29-Jan-2015)
"Someone must have put the wrong wine in my bottle. Very average for an Aussie Shiraz lacking richness and depth."
Mr David Jones-Percival (24-Sep-2014)
"A beautiful smooth shiraz, lighter than many. Delightful nose. This is a superb wine!"
Dr George Taylor (28-Apr-2014)
"My very first purchase with The Society is The Victoria Shiraz
Three letters to sum this wine up
Mr Mark Chuwen (05-Mar-2014)
"Tasted at an informal event last year with the Society and have ordered since. A truly superb wine. Easy drinking for a Shiraz and a crowd pleaser if you have guests to entertain. Would absolutely recommend!"
Miss Caroline Day (26-Feb-2014)
thedrinker.co.uk (5th May 2014)
"Concentrated, complex and deep, good restrained use of
oak, this is a real belter. Aussie Shiraz as it should be. - Peter Turner"
JancisRobinson.com (4th Apr 2013)
"Fabulous value for such a mature wine sold in Australian dollars. Fully resolved and savoury. I honestly find it difficult to believe the price. The label isn’t exciting but the wine certainly is. Very good value. "
York Press (16th Mar 2013)
"Or if Aussie shiraz is your thing, then this offers value for money. This is produced for The Society by Mount Langhi Ghiran and although big and bold, it is also balanced and fresh. You can expect ripe berry fruit flavours, black pepper, liquorice and some smoky oak. - Mike Tipping"
matthewjukes.com (16th Feb 2013)
"This beautiful wine is an affordable reminder of just how talented the great Dan Buckle was when he made the wines at Mount Langi Ghiran, in Ararat in the Victorian countryside, 200km west of Melbourne. Dan took over winemaking duties from dearly departed vinous hero and pioneer Trevor Mast. His first full vintage in charge was 2004 and he made some of the most incredible Aussie Shiraz I have ever tasted in his ten years at the property. Winning countless awards and managing to urge the world’s most critical palates to focus on cool climate Australian Shiraz were his enduring legacies. I have a goodly collection of his ‘blue label’ Shiraz in my own cellar with which to surprise people in years to come. He has now moved jobs (like a highly prized centre-forward) to make sparkling wines at Domaine Chandon in the Yarra Valley and to develop his own label Circe, which arrives in April – keep your eyes peeled! This own-label Shiraz, made for the eagle-eyed team at Wine Soc. is a beauty. Drinking perfectly with savoury hedgerow fruit and an epic, wistful finish should find a home in your cellar today."
Money Week (15th Feb 2013)
"One of the best value Australian reds in the UK - it is a slice of vinous history and it will sadly not be repeated. - Matthew Jukes"
"A bottle of this wine came with a mixed case of the Society's wines which some friends brought with them when they came to stay. I opened the bottle expecting it to be a reasonably good example of an Oz shiraz, but it turned out to be an wine of exceptional quality - all four of us were smitten by it.
Of course, it was a disappointment when we looked up the price ... But as a wine for special, or semi-special, occasions it is warmly recommended."
Mr W G R Stevens (08-Feb-2012)
"Tasted the first bottle this evening.
Colour: very purple, it looks a lot younger than its age.
Nose: firm ripe dark fruit,varietal, slightly metallic, a hint of eucalyptus.
Taste: long sweet very powerful jammy fruit. Firm, long tannis backbone, very ready to drink, not very complex.
Mrs Geraldine M Fradgley (05-Aug-2009)
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We do moderate comments and reviews, purely to ensure that content published on The Wine Society's website is of value to members, and is fair and balanced. We're delighted to say that in the vast, vast majority of cases, our members' input is just that! We will normally approve comments for publication as long as they:
If a review or comment does not meet the rules above, then we may remove it from the site, and we reserve the right to do so at any time. Where we choose not to publish a rating, comment or review for a reason other than those listed here, we will reply to the member concerned by e-mail explaining our reasons and inviting them to make appropriate changes so that their input can be reconsidered. We also reserve the right not to publish reviews that mention other wine merchants and competitors.
Your review and your name will be displayed on our website. We may wish to use your comments and ratings in our literature or elsewhere online. Unless you specify otherwise, you are therefore agreeing in posting your comments that The Society has the right to use, edit, publish in any media, delete and/or store the whole or any part or parts of that post, and may quote you by name, without charge and without reference to you or anyone else.
The Society's wine buyers work very closely with our suppliers to determine how best to seal our wines. We list below those closures currently in use with a brief description of each.
A technical cork made up of the remnants from the production of natural corks which are ground down into particles and cleaned and then combined using a food-grade polyurethane glue. A cheaper closure which The Society's buyers discourage suppliers from using.
A technical cork made from cheaper-grade natural cork where the naturally occurring pores are filled with ground down cork particles and then the whole is sealed with a food-grade wax coating. Generally only used for wines with a short shelf-life.
Diam corks look like agglomerate corks but are far superior and are designed to put an end to cork taint and random oxidation. The production process chops cork into pieces and sorts the superior, highly elastic, suberin component from the less elastic lignin, which is discarded. It mixes the suberin with microscopic spheres of the same substance used for contact lenses, which fills the voids between the cork particles reducing porosity to air and increasing elasticity without introducing humidity. Finally the pieces are mixed with a glue and moulded under pressure. The mechanical properties of the cork are guaranteed for a certain minimum number of years depending on the grade of cork - for example Diam 2 is guaranteed for two years; Diam 3, 5 and 10 are also available.
The Champagne cork is 90% agglomerate made from cork off-cuts which are ground down, cleaned, compressed and then glued together with two disks of good quality natural cork glued onto the end which protrudes into the bottle.
Natural corks harvested from the cork oak (Quercus suber) forests in Spain and Portugal have been the closure of choice for wine for the 300 years. The bark of the cork oak is stripped from mature trees every nine years. The planks are stored and then cleaned and graded before the corks are punched out of the wood. For wines destined for long-ageing, high-grade natural corks are still the closure of choice.
Cost-effective synthetic 'corks' made from food-grade plastic with a silicone coating (similar to that used on natural corks). Generally used for wines for short-term cellaring.
A glass stopper with a plastic 'O' ring which acts as an interface between the top of the bottle and the stopper, held in place by a metal, tamper-proof seal. Relatively expensive as a closure and not widely used. Can be removed by hand.
A short natural or agglomerate cork with a plastic or wooden top to enable the stopper to be removed by hand. Traditionally used for whiskies, sherries, Madeira etc.
Aluminium alloy screwcaps made with an expanded polyethylene wadding for the lining. Screwcaps are also known as ROTEs (roll-on tamper evident) or by the brand name (Stelvin is a popular brand). Widely used in Australia and New Zealand and for wines for short-term cellaring. Becoming increasingly sophisticated in terms of allowing differing levels of permeability so mimicking the properties of natural cork offering winemakers more choice depending of the style of wine being made. There is still a lack of sound data regarding the performance of screwcaps for longer-term cellaring.
This is an agglomerate cork with a disk of good-quality natural cork adhered to both ends. A reasonably priced, reliable alternative to natural cork.
This is the metal pilfer-proof cap usually used to seal beer bottles but also used in the production of Champagne and sparkling wine when wines are stored under crown cap before the dosage is added. A few producers use crown caps to seal wine bottles. Open with a standard bottle opener.
Jamie Goode has written an excellent book on the subject of closures for those wishing to find out more (Wine Bottle Closures, Flavour Press).
The Society includes the alcohol by volume percentage figure for each wine available online, in Lists and offers.
Alcohol by volume%
Units per standard bottle
We always include the abv (alcohol by volume) in our wines online, in our Lists and in our offers. Members looking to choose wines with lower levels of alcohol can now search our range by level of alcohol.
It is generally accepted that over the last 20 years or so alcohol levels in wine have been increasing. There are many reasons why, including but not limited to the vast improvement in vineyard management techniques which have resulted in healthier, riper fruit being harvested. Alcohol is a by-product of the fermentation of sugars in the grapes and the best-quality wines are made from grapes that have reached physiological ripeness (colour, flavour and tannin), and this generally happens after sugar ripeness.
There are several techniques that can be used to reduce alcohol levels but currently most strip the flavour as well as the alcohol, and we don't buy wines made in this way.
Excellent-quality wine is at the heart of everything we do at The Wine Society and balance is the single most important feature of quality. The interaction of a wine's sugar, acidity, tannin, alcohol and flavour matter more than the actual level of alcohol. A well-made wine of 14.5%, for example, will taste more balanced than an inferior-quality wine with 10% alcohol. Furthermore, alcohol levels are only a guide to a wine's fullness: a 12.5% cabernet sauvignon may feel heavier and more full-bodied in the mouth than, say, a gamay of 13.5%. Our tasting notes should be able to give you an idea of the style and fullness of an individual wine.
We are committed to promoting the responsible enjoyment of wines and spirits by providing relevant information to our members that allows you to make your own informed choices.
An additional figure used on some labels (including all our Society and Exhibition wines) is the number of (UK) units of alcohol contained in that bottle. This is simply the alcohol by volume percentage multiplied by the content (so a 13% wine in a standard 75cl bottle will have 9.7 units ).
For more information, please get in touch with us or visit drinkaware.co.uk
The Society's buyers provide recommended drink dates for all of our wines to help members decide the right time to pop the cork. As a general rule, most everyday white wines are best enjoyed within a year of purchase, and most everyday reds within two years. Certain fine wines, however, those with the right structure and balance, have the ability to evolve over time and gain complexity and finer nuances of flavour.
If the product page says:
...then our advice would be:
Should be drunk over the coming months, certainly within the year.
Ready to drink now but will keep until the year shown.
We recommend keeping longer before opening. For example, a wine will be ready to drink in 2020 but still young and will keep until 2042. It's a matter of personal taste when such wines should be drunk. Many members prefer to try the wines over many years from the opening drink date to the last to watch the wine evolve.
Within one year of purchase
A non-vintage wine that should be drunk within 12 months.
Within two years of purchase
A non-vintage wine that is ready now but will keep for two years.
Savouring the wonderfully complex and intense bouquet and flavour of a wine drank at its peak is undoubtedly one of life's greatest pleasures. As with people, the ageing process will vary from wine to wine. Over the years the wine's primary aromas of fresh fruit will develop more complicated and persistent secondary and tertiary aromas. The fruity flavours of, for example, a premier cru white Burgundy will, over time, evolve buttery, toasty and yeast aromas, or fine reds may develop coffee, cedar, tobacco, vegetal, or even 'animal' flavours as they age.
There is much pleasure to be had by experimenting with bottles at different stages of maturity; finding out how a wine evolves with age and, perhaps more importantly, establishing your own preference in terms of taste for mature wine are all part of the interest and excitement of cellaring wine.
The drinking window we provide is a guide to when the wines will be at their best. Many will favour the wines in the youthful early stages of their development; others will enjoy the wines at their most mature.
Decanting is a useful way of softening the tannins, rounding out the flavours and releasing the potential of a young wine. To find out more please visit our Serving Wine guide.
The Society's purpose-built, temperature-controlled Members' Reserves offers members access to optimum storage conditions for their wines.
For more help and advice about how best to enjoy your wines contact us via our enquiry form.
Oak plays a very important role in the production of wine throughout the world. However, the level of oak detectible in a wine can vary depending on a number of factors – for example, the age and size of the barrel and the type of oak used, as well as the length of time the wine is aged in wood. Oak also influences the structure and tannins of the final wine. For wines on our website, we use the following classifications:
This suggests that a wine has either seen no oak at all, or may have been produced using very large, old oak barrels, resulting in a wine that has no taste of oak. Expect these wines to be crisp, fruit-forward and aromatic.
Some oak has been used in the production, yet it has not been a defining factor in the style of the wine. In this instance, the oak may have played more of a part in the structure of the wine but there will still be discreet flavours associated with the use of new oak.
Wines that are defined by and known for their use of new oak. This must not be confused with a wine which is 'overly oaky' as that would purely be down to bad winemaking! We buy only wines that, we believe, use oak in a balanced and appealing way, enhancing flavour and complexity, and/or imparting structure.
How detectable oak is depends a good deal on the size of the barrel and how new it is. New oak provides a much more evident flavour and aroma and must be used carefully. The size of the barrel is important, as the smaller the barrel, the more surface area of the wine is in contact with the wood and the more flavour will be drawn out. Often, very large old oak barrels are used, which impart little or no oak flavour to the wine at all. They will still bring an extra dynamic to the final taste of a wine though, when compared to stainless steel or concrete vessels, as oak is porous and therefore lets a small amount of air into the barrel. This controlled oxidation has a positive effect on wines, softening the tannins and developing secondary flavours, all helping to add a complexity which comes with age.
There are many ways that people rate wines, whether it is on the 100 or 20 point scales, 5 stars, 3 glasses or simply thumbs up or down. The pleasure of a bottle of wine is hard to express in figures, but it does help give the memory of that wine a context, and a way of sharing your opinion with others.
In response to members' requests we have added a star rating option to the site so you can mark your favourites, or maybe those occasional less-than-welcome experiences, and make your next order easier.
You can use the 5-star rating tool to record your experiences however you wish, but if you are looking for some guidance we believe that a focus on the 'value' of the wine takes into account the quality but also the pleasure it provided, and whether it is something you would recommend to friends.