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Nekter Wines in the Press

Rave reviews, compliments and high scores - we know we’re not supposed to brag, but it’s jolly nice to receive and share them when we do! A wise person once said “when you get good scores, you let everybody know. When you get bad scores, you keep quiet and just mumble about how all tasting is subjective and all…”

31/07/19, Californian Premium Rhône-style reds, Decanter

“We asked Decanter’s Rhône expert Matt Walls to blind taste largely Syrah- and Grenache-based Californian wines with some from France hidden in the line-up. Here he reports on his findings and recommends his top 20 'Rhône Rangers'...”

2nd: Donkey & Goat The Bear Red Blend 2016: Counoise, Cinsault, Mourvèdre, Grenache, Syrah and Roussanne made with no additions except a little sulphur dioxide. Lovely nose: violet, rosemary, Szechuan pepper. A very drinkable, precise style with no excess fruit, acidity or alcohol. Good crisp tannic frame. Very much built around acidity – and it works. A balanced, harmonious, willowy wine. Savoury and cool-headed. 96 points. Drinking Window 2019 - 2027

3rd: Benevolent Neglect “Las Madres” Syrah 2015: This is 40% whole bunch fermented, from one of the finest Syrah vineyards in Sonoma. Slightly cloudy. Soaring herbal stalky fragrance. Wild blueberry and juniper, lifted by subtle menthol. Lovely sense of energy, tension and vibrancy, the crisp acidity matched by a distinct sucrosity to the fruit. Richly textural, with a tactile grain and a saline finish. Very moreish. 95 points. 95 points. Drinking Window 2019 - 2022

Also listed and scored over 90 points:

Big Basin Vineyards, Gabilan Mountains GSM 2013: Organic family-owned estate. Grown on the granite and limestone slopes of the Gabilan mountains. Interesting nose: blackberry with a savoury soy note. Rigidly structured from the high proportion of whole bunch, high acidity helps to counteract the high alcohol. Fairly austere, brooding and potent GSM with a nod to Châteauneuf. Should age with interest. 93 points. Drinking Window 2019 - 2027

Keep Wine Kahn Vineyard Syrah 2014: A new, organic project by Jack Roberts (Matthiasson Wines) and Johanna Jensen (formerly Scholium Project and Broc Cellars). Eucalyptus and a touch of cassis, between Shiraz and Syrah, on the nose. A touch of liquorice and sweet spice beneath. Cool fruit, well balanced. Tannins a little grainy from 50% whole cluster. Restrained, unforced, with developing complexity. 92 points. Drinking Window 2019 - 2024

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29/07/19, The Chenin Blanc Renaissance, Decanter July 2019

Lucinda Heyns of Illimis Wines voted as one of South Africa’s top producers, and the only in the region of Elgin.

After working for a number of South African and Californian wine companies, Lucinda Heyns has established her own brand, based in Somerset West. The grapes for this Chenin Blanc are sourced from 16-year-old vines on Bokkeveld Shale at around 300 metres of altitude in cool-climate Elgin, where they benefit from a long hang-time to develop flavour while retaining acidity. The 2016 has attractive citric aromas with a soft, seductive texture set off by quite an austere, vibrant, racy finish reflecting Elgin’s cool climate. It should age well. Jim Budd, Decanter.

Drinking Window 2019 - 2032

23/7/19, How Good is Canned Wine? Decanter Online

Eduardo Dingler explores the growth in canned wine sales in the USA, and now the UK - and at $25 dollars a can in some cases, it's not just the house wines...

Ferdinand Albarino 2017

Chalky limestone notes meet orange blossoms and salty lemon zest on the nose. This is sharp and electric on the palate, with a mouthwatering effect dominated by unripe stone fruits and freshly cut green apple. This wine is made for seafood, so do not hesitate to enjoy it with halibut and a lemon-caper piccata sauce.

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For the full article, please click  here

For the full article, please click here


28/05/19, David Crossley, Wide World of Wine

As with all of these people in Part 1, I have tasted the wines of Nekter already this year, but there are always new wines and new vintages, and I do specifically ask to taste things that are new to me. I don’t think I’ve written about any of these wines before.

Pret-a-Blanc 2018, Schmölzer & Brown: It’s an aromatic wine, a genuine Aussie take on an Alsace blend. There’s a floral (jasmine?) element to the bouquet, and the palate is soft, dry, saline and mineral, the latter via a slightly dusty texture. This is really good, and a very nice start at the Nekter table.

Brunnen Pinot Noir 2017, Schmölzer & Brown: The wine is pale and smooth, scented with strawberry and cherry, and some earthiness on a very long finish. Very fine.

Voetstoots Old Vine Chenin Blanc 2016: A beautifully fresh wine with so much depth, which will surely increase over a year or two. It’s not heavy, but it does have a bit of weight, assisted by a lovely texture.

“The Bear” 2016, Donkey & Goat: We get both dark blackberry and red strawberry fruit with gentle nutmeg spice. It’s basically a pale wine packed with flavour and just enough grip. Excellent.

Seaside Cabernet Franc 2017, Geyer Wine Co: Liquorice, blueberry tart, saltiness and a fresh sprinkling of newly sharpened pencil lead, this wine majors on freshness and elegance and tastes remarkably Loire-like in some ways, especially the violet and lavender bouquet. 

.Charbono 2015, Calder Wine Company: You get plum and cherry concentration in a fairly light red, with a minty freshness. The fruit has amazing concentration, enormous, seriously. There are (or maybe were by now, it has been a week) a thousand bottles of this. £38 for an obscure variety? In this case, a definite yes.

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For the full article, click  here

For the full article, click here


14/02/19, David Crossley, Wide World of Wine

Martin Smith owns Paserene with Ndabe Mareda. These are wines at the opposite end of the spectrum, in the luxury bracket, though it’s all relative. Luxury wines but not luxury prices.

Union 2015 is labelled Western Cape, but it is made from Martin’s Tulbagh fruit: 51% Syrah with Carignan and Mourvèdre which sees 20 months in old oak. A serious wine, yet approachable. Shiner 2016 starts with 80% Cabernet Franc, plus 13% Merlot, 6% Petit Verdot and a splash of Cabernet Sauvignon, all from Stellenbosch. It’s a big boy, and I quote, “a badass wine”. Marathon 2016 is heavy…I mean the bottle. Sourced in Stellenbosch, it has 53% Cabernet Sauvignon, 32% Petit Verdot and the rest Carmenère (I think this is the only Carmenère vineyard in South Africa). This flagship cuvée knocks out a big 14% abv, but you do get class and developing complexity for your money.

For the full article, click here

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14/02/19, David Crossley, The Wide World of Wine

Geyer Wines perhaps won my producer of the day award on the Nekter table. Dave Geyer is based in the Barossa and is making natural wines from varieties just outside the mainstream. The absolute freshness, wholly uncharacteristic of many old fashioned Barossas, is exemplified in his very lovely Barossa Semillon 2017. Forty-three year old vines, direct press with a little skin contact adding complexity and texture, silky fruit, and all for 11% abv.

Rosé 2017 is a blend of 55% Cinsault with Pinot Meunier and Grenache, the latter from 100-y-o vines. Pale with an ethereal strawberry/raspberry scent, it could have been a New World Poulsard. Lovely sour/savoury palate. Then we have Seaside Cabernet Franc. This is also a 2017, hailing from the Adelaide Hills. The nose is classic Cab Franc, and the violet scented fruit (whole bunch fermentation) is delicate, but still hitting 13% abv. Deliciously sappy and juicy.


26/01/19, Victoria Moore, The Telegraph

Barossa can easily confuse as, technically, it encompasses two adjacent regions, the Eden Valley and the Barossa Valley, both of them in South Australia to the north of Adelaide. The Eden Valley is higher and cooler, known for its racy riesling. The Barossa Valley is the hot, dry place famous for producing the unmistakable style of shiraz – huge, chocolatey, high in alcohol, thick with baked-raspberry-like fruit and liquorice flavours and hefty oak – that helped to put Australia on the map.

Now a new generation of Barossa Valley winemakers is experimenting with a gentler style of wine – picking earlier for freshness, going easy on the extraction and reining back on the oak. I was particularly taken with a Barossa Valley cabernet franc – yes! Cabernet franc! – I tasted recently. The Geyer Wine Co specialises in reviving neglected vineyards and its Seaside Cabernet Franc 2017 is a real beauty – saline and savoury but with a firm plume of red berry fruit and only 13% alcohol.

Jamie Goode review

08/01/19 - Dr Jamie Goode, The Wine Anorak.

Jon Davey started Nekter Wines 2 years ago, after spending 16 years working in management consulting. He had developed an interest in wine, and on a holiday to south Africa he decided to bring some wine back. This was the spur for him to make a career change. He tried to get a good job in wine and couldn’t with his lack of experience, so he started importing wine. He began with a couple of producers in South Africa, then a few from California, and has taken off from there. The Nekter customers are predominantly London on-trade. In terms of the wines in the portfolio, stylistically and philosophically it’s minimal intervention – not ‘natural’ but doing as little as possible to the fruit. He’s grown to the point that he’s hired Imogen Taylor to work with him. The thing that sets Nekter apart is their specific focus on interesting producers in California, and the quality of the wines they have sourced from there. I tasted with John and Imogen at their offices, and was impressed by the quality of the wines.

For the full article and wine scores, please click here


“As we are about to pop the cork to 2019, I find myself thinking about the current state of the wine trade in the on-trade and indie sector in the UK, particularly London. I am not going to address Brexit.

We have never seen so much diversity in terms of wine as today; the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly. This means a competitive and somewhat flooded market, but there is always space for interesting new quality-driven wines and the increase in small, grower-focussed importers is testament to that (you know who you are - Flint Wines, Keeling Andrew & Co, Newcomer, Uncharted, Kiffe my Wines, Under the Bonnet, Modal, Nekter, Otros Vinos, the list goes on…) You guys rock, and London’s wine scene would shine far less brightly without you. I can’t write this without mentioning veterans Les Caves and Vine Trail, and the original Richards Walford, who were some of the first to light the flame - you have inspired others to do the same and you keep fighting the good fight.”

For the full article, please click here.

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06/09/18 - Frankie McCoy, Evening Standard Magazine

Overwhelmed by choice? Head to Nekter (, where the streamlined selection of organic, low intervention Australian, South African and Californian bottles are favoured by sommeliers from the likes of The Fat Duck and Noble Rot — with just a few shiny bottles left for you to get your hands on, like the crazy Wine Hooligans Sea Monster, which tastes like a rave at the bottom of the sea. You don’t get that at the local offie.

For the full article, click here


28/09/18, Sarah Ahmed, The Wine Detective

“Shaking it up, Wine Australia’s Off the Vine tasting showcased emerging talent and wine styles to great effect last week, as did two importer-led tastings – The Dirty Dozen & Out of the Box. I made some cracking new discoveries, including Jayden & Morgan Ong’s One Block (Yarra Valley) and Geyer Wines (Barossa).

My introduction not only to Geyer Wines but also their recently established UK importer/online retailer, Nekter Wines.  Established by Jonothan Davey, a management consultant, the focus in on wines frim 15 producers in Australia, California and Chile who produce minimal intervention wines which are true to terroir (and clean, emphasised Davey).”

For the full article, click here

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01/08/18 - Frankie McCoy, Evening Standard Magazine

The wine scene has been all over this sustainable bag stuff for a while: from ‘bagnums’, as pioneered by Beaujolais mavericks Le Grappin, to Vinnaturo’s 1.5l bags of natural wine, Trebbiano, and When in Rome’s gluggable bag-in-box 5l jobs, all enabling both sustainability (thanks to the reduced weight and subsequent lower CO2 emissions) and a better wine at a smashable price point. Canned wine is also on the rise, with naturally sparkling fizz in Quello’s handy 200ml aluminium tins, Californian chardonnay in Nekter Wines’ craft beer-like cans and new start-up The Uncommon, with its single-serves of English Bacchus, which are endlessly recyclable and 80 per cent lighter than glass to drastically reduce carbon footprint. Even better? Each tinny chills in just 10 minutes, meaning you’re never a long time away from a generous glass of refreshment. 

For the full article, click here


Taste the bright lights of California,

Ferdinand Wines Tempranillo 2014

95% Tempranillo, 5% Graciano. Aged for 18 months in French oak (10% new). 
I was really surprised by this wine – probably the only one with a state AVA and such a high score. Bright ruby. Wonderfully perfumed. Really fine texture and convincing varietal character. Juicy, savoury and appetising. One of my favourite wines and one of the more keenly priced in this range of California wines. 17.5. Jancis Robinson MW, 02/12/17

Benevolent Neglect Syrah 2015

Deep garnet. Very ripe-Syrah nose. Sweetish but truly varietal aroma with an interesting spicy savour. Sweeter than any northern Rhône red but an attractive wine with a dry, slightly oaky finish. 16.5. Jancis Robinson MW, 03/10/17.

Benevolent Neglect Counoise 2015

Mid to light crimson but darker than the Keep Wines Counoise. More intense and lifted on the nose. Small hedgerow berries and a tangy cranberry freshness. Quite a grip on the palate, firm, chewy and much more to get your teeth into though it also has a slight floral character. Intense, fresh and long. The finish is almost but not quite bitter and I think this would be better with food but it’s a cracking Counoise! 17. Julia Harding MW, 03/10/17

Keep Wine Counoise 2016

Light crimson. Pretty, red cherry, a touch of spice, rounded and silky with a long tangy finish. Very digestible, the tannins just coming back in at the very end. Lively and joyful.  16.5. Julia Harding MW, 03/10/17

Calder Wine Co Carignane 2015

Mid crimson. Lovely wild dark fruit on the nose, and then dark but extremely juicy cherry fruit on the palate. The Carignan tannins are firm and dry but neither rustic nor tough. Chewy, spicy and so fresh in that wild dark fruit on the finish. Excellent mastery without loss of character. 17. Julia Harding MW, 03/10/17 

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