MJ Wine Cellars is an independent, family-run wine importer. We have carefully crafted a unique selection of wines made by passionate winegrowers and producers who mirror our own values; family, honesty and dedication. Our goal is to bring interesting, eclectic, and exciting wines to the UK which consistently offer our customers remarkable value.
MJ Wine Cellars Catalogue
Just 600 bottles of this unique take on Austria’s ubiquitous Grüner Veltliner have been made. Skin-contact, barrel-fermentation and lees ageing are rarely synonymous with Grüner production, the style being typically aromatic and varietally pure. Here, however, we have it all going on! Seven days maceration on the skins before the juice was transferred into used oak barrels for fermentation, and then six month in tank on the lees to add breadth and texture. The resulting wine fresh and floral retaining the characteristic white pepper notes but, also, a distinct fennel character. There is a racy acidity, with lemon, lime and crisp green apple notes. Alongside the bright fresh fruit character there are touches of almond and dried orange peel. The skin-contact has added an appetising grip and there’s a complex savoury finish to compliment the juicy fruit.
M’hudi’s take on this classic French grape is intentionally rich, vast. The grapes are dry farmed which, importantly, preserves the aromatics in the Stellenbosch sun. The wine is fermented and then matured – for 10 months – in 500 litre French oak barrels to produce a broadly textured white. There are flavours of stewed apple, lemon pith, quince, pineapple and dried apricot, while the natural high acidity of the grape aptly compliments the rich, medium body to leave a long refreshing finish.
This is a modern expression of Shiraz from the Cape, yet with a nod to the Old World-style and its consummate restraint. The nose is immediately expressive of the grape, with white pepper, clove, fresh tobacco and violet. On the palate there are distinct notes mulberry and black cherry, rosemary and tarragon, then leather, earth and peppery spice again. The structure is broad with ripe, delicate, fine tannins and there is a well-judged use of French oak to add sweeter spice and a warming coffee and smoke complexity, while the finish is fresh and mineral.
Foro’s legacy is a Cape blend, typically made of a majority Shiraz, with Petit Verdot and Cabernet Sauvignon in support, and splashes of Malbec and Mourvèdre, in particular contributing colour and structure to the wine and a delicious dried herb note to the palate. The nose is lifted with black pepper, cedar, biltong spice, cherry and plum, while the palate is rich and bold, with a complex clove, mace, coriander and dark chocolate profile. As with each of the M’hudi reds, this is already approachable, thanks to those ripe sweet tannins and the generous deep, dark fruit flavours but there is time ahead, too, with leather, game and more spice to come. This would be excellent with a gamey barbecued rump steak or venison or, equally, a rich blue cheese.
Premium, oaked Chardonnay from the Western Cape. Soft orchard fruits vie with tropical notes of melon and pineapple, all balanced with a fine seam of acidity. This is complemented by well-judged classy oak which adds toast, butter and vanilla to the rich, broad palate.
The high summer temperatures in South Africa would not lead you to think, commonly, that it would be a region suitable for the production of high quality Pinot Noir. However, there are a few factors mitigating this intense heat, here, that allow Pinot Noir to slowly accumulate its sugars gaining excellent potential for fine-boned complexity and elegance, and Mpelo and his team have crafted an exquisite example. There is a natural ripeness of fruit, but this remains in the red fruit spectrum, not jammy or plummy as can be the case in warmer climes. The grapes are hand-picked from a small, 3ha site with yields tightly controlled to ensure concentration. Fermentation is a long, slow process, to ensure careful but maximum extraction to give tannic structure and complex fruit flavours and aromas. The finished wine has a delicate oak spice richness paired with a wonderful fresh strawberry, raspberry and cherry kernel profile, then a little tart blackberry, with a touch of mint and rosemary to finish. Just bottled after three and a half years in barrel, tank and bottle this is vibrant, juicy and effortlessly classy.
Nebbiolo is not extensively planted throughout South Africa but, when Mpelo tasted some of the rare and unique examples from the Cape, he set out to find the perfect site and the perfect fruit to craft his own. The results are marvellous, and we are very glad he undertook the challenging project! Nebbiolo is near-as fickle a variety as Pinot Noir and requires well-drained soils and lots of sunshine hours to ripen to its best. The former is a matter of site selection, the latter is provided here in abundance, though like Mpelo’s Pinot Noir, tempering the heat here is the challenge. Nebbiolo likes a long growing season to allow those dense tannins to fully ripen, and the slow accumulation of sugars for the grape to develop complexity. When this is provided, the resulting wine can be breathtaking. Here we have lots of sweet and tart red fruits; red cherry, strawberry leaf, cranberry and redcurrant, but a complimentary richness to the palate to balance the tannic structure. The tannins, which are bold, crunchy and sweet, are already approachable, softened by time in small, used oak barriques. There’s clove and woody herb, along with rose water and tea leaf on the finish. Powerfully structured yet at the same time fine and restrained. Delicious and structured now this will age beautifully for another 10 years.
Seven days’ fermentation on the skins of carefully picked, perfectly ripe Chenin Blanc grapes give this remarkable white an appetising tannic structure, which complements the crisp and bruised green apple flavours and rasping, lasting acidity. There is a lemon zest freshness alongside honeybush tea, hazelnut and warm bread notes.
blend of majority Cabernet Sauvignon with 18% Cabernet Franc and 12 % Petit Verdot in support. The wine has excellent structure and density on the palate, which is rich with cassis, blackberry, blueberry and fresh strawberry fruits. 16 months in predominantly old oak (around 20% new French barriques) adds breadth to the palate, while also imparting subtle notes of wood smoke, clove and a hint of hazelnut to the cedar and tobacco complexity.
Of the wines produced by Domaine Poulleau, whites make up around 7% of total production – vintage dependent, of course. This remarkable White Burgundy comes from a small plot of just 0.19 hectares. At more than 300 metres above sea level, the plot lies above even the vineyards that make up the exclusive Beaune Premier Cru appellation. The classifications were instituted in 1936, however we have since seen great change in climate, particularly in the last 20 years. Now, altitude has a high impact on quality and style even in the cooler sites of Burgundy and so naturally, this white wine has elegance, poise and restraint with fresh green and red apple, pear, and honeydew melon at the core. The wine spends a year in oak, around 20% of which is new, giving it a wonderful breadth on the palate without masking the bright and fresh fruit character. It has great length and persistence; taut and firm but generous, with hints of ripe peach, apple blossom, and freshly baked bread to finish.
2021 was a cooler vintage than 2018, 2019 and 2020, with reduced yields and challenges for many growers. Frost hit in early April with overnight temperatures sinking to -8˚C. There was also humidity during the growing season and mildew and rot were a constant threat. However, summer was warm and dry and this allowed what crop remained to ripen well, resulting in fine-boned, aromatic wines. What’s more, Poulleau’s good quality holdings from the three villages that make up their Côte d’Or Rouge ensured they were able to weather the storm. What you first notice on the palate are the modest tannins; it is a slighter wine this year, but they are ripe and succulent and the vibrant fruit character is still abundant with raspberry, redcurrant, cherry and kernel flavours.
Sablet lies at a crossroads between the villages of Seguret and Gigondas and, as it suggests, lies on sandy, well-drained soils. This gives the wines a fine structure but also an attractive fragrance and finesse. 2020 was a lovely vintage across the Rhône region and Vasco's Sablet - a blend of 70% Syrah, 30% Grenache - shows vibrant red fruits, soft black fruits and a gorgeous peppery spice. Where Séguret is renowned for its power, this Sablet is of its type; delicate, ripe, fresh and elegant.
Much like Châteauneaf-du-Pape, the soils in the commune of Rasteau are a mixture of thick Clay and firm limestone topped with the galet stones which absorb the days sunshine. These large round stones store this heat which is then reflected back upon the vines as the night time temperatures cool. The Mistral plays an all-important role here, too, brining cooling currents from the north, prolonging the growing season. These are ideal conditions for perfect ripening of sun-loving varieties and the subsequent wines are rich with dark fruits and abound with energy. This has fresh dark cherry and blackberry, hints of rosemary, pepper and sweet spice. The palate is dense and succulent with ripe, firm tannins and a persistent finish.
This wine comes from the organically certified Mandria Vineyard of 30-year-old vines, located at a 900m altitude on the southern slopes of the Troodos Mountains. It was the first legally delineated Single Vineyard wine in Cyprus, produced by Marcos to fully express the exceptional qualities of the site. A unique example of Xynisteri, the grapes are hand-harvested and undergo spontaneous fermentation with natural yeast, first in stainless steel before being finished in 500l French Oak barrels. The wine then spends nine months in barrel sur lie, though malolactic fermentation is suppressed to preserve freshness. The aromatic vibrancy of the Xynisteri shines, with floral, citrus and sweet spice notes, cox apple and pineapple, then bread, toast and hazelnut. The palate is weighty yet elegant and refined, balanced by the mouthwatering acidity retained at this altitude. A complex, expressive, rich and remarkable take on the variety.
Francs, Côtes de Bordeaux is one of the smallest AOCs in the region and a great place to look for quality and value, with its close proximity to the illustrious Saint-Émilion. The team at Laulan have been converting their 11.4 hectares of vines to organic viticulture - with certification to be completed soon - using regenerative farming practices. They use no animal products in the making of the wines, so they are vegan friendly.50% Merlot, with Cabernets Sauvignon and Franc, and a touch of Malbec in support, the 2019 Laulan has a beautiful deep, dense colour with garnet tints, and aromas of fresh red fruits with notes of violet. The wonderfully ripe Cabernets provide velvety tannins while retaining the fleshy roundness of Merlot and Malbec.