96+ - 97 Points - Stuart McCloskey “I have little tasting experience with this blend nonetheless, it’s starting to blossom beautifully. The bouquet reveals swathes of black fruits – the sweetness of the blackcurrant contrast wonderfully with the cooling tones of graphite and cedar. This is beautifully focused and structured. I like the freshness - there’s a Burgundian feel which I really enjoy. Similar to Stuart’s Cabernets – this is wonderfully elegant and graceful with fine, filigree tannins. Perhaps a tad more compact, but a lovely wine to contemplate the afternoon with, rather than drink and ignore… It improves with a few hours in the decanter, becoming more expressive whilst retaining a regal elegance. I would like to take a bottle home to acquaint myself fully (I will report back soon). Very drinkable today, but it will continue to develop for a further five years. Decanted for 2-3 hours and served using Zalto Bordeaux glassware.”
97 Points - Stuart McCloskey “And here we are – a wine which aptly displays the difference in drinkability between Stuart’s Queen of the Earth and estate wines. The bouquet is simply glorious with drifts of marine scented citrus and orchard fruits interwoven with fine scents of jasmine. The palate is fresh, incisive and leads with a wonderful streak of mineralité which I adore. This is a serious wine and should be treated with respect. Store carefully, keep out of a cold fridge, decant and serve using your best glassware. Serve blind and you would believe you are consuming Grand Cru Chablis (try it and please let me know). Texturally, this is on point and delivers crashing waves of citrus / mineral tinged fruit. Wonderful acidity, beautifully balanced with a pleasing accent of salinity. A truly ‘wow’ wine for the respectable price tag. I adore the warming ginger and lemon zest on the incredibly long finish. Simply gorgeous. Drink now to 2030. Served using Zalto Bordeaux glassware.”
98 Points - Stuart McCloskey “I have enjoyed sampling the 2013 and 2014 vintages side-by-side, with the ’13 offering more volume and richness (albeit, restrained). The bouquet is wonderous and conveys warmed oyster shells, cooling graphite, cedar, fresh mint leaf. Black liquorice builds, along with mulberry. You must admire the fruit, tannin and acidity, which are perfectly judged – Orange peel freshness aligning the two wines. Similar to the ’14, this flows with layer upon layer of detailed, effortless complexity. The gentle grip of silky tannins are a delight. I'm left gobsmacked if truth be known. Drink now, as I cannot see how this will improve. Of course, it will age (for a decade or more), but I do not see any benefits post 2025. Decanted for 2-3 hours and served using Zalto Bordeaux glassware.”
98 Points - Stuart McCloskey “This is so suave and effortless, very St Julien if I were to draw a comparison. The bouquet unfurls with such grace, it is rather hypnotic. The palate is fresh and equally graceful – the tannins are ultra-fine. I am sampling this with a beautiful piece of music (Vide Cor Meum – you must try the combination as it’s a wonderful pairing). I suggest finding a quiet corner, a good book and several hours to appreciate the sense of symmetry. The palate gently reveals crème de cassis, liquorice and a little sweet raspberry – superbly ‘classical.’ I detect orange peel developing towards a perfectly dignified finish. With time, the melioration in the glass is breathtaking… A genius bottle of mesmerising Cabernet Sauvignon. Delightful and ready to enjoy now. Decanted for 2-3 hours and served using Zalto Bordeaux glassware.
97-98 Points - Stuart McCloskey “My primary piece of advice is to decant for at least 30 minutes as the wine needs some aeration and for Pete’s sake, do not overchill. The bouquet is sensational and juxtaposes between oyster shell, quartz, saline and underlying aromas of citrus fruit - it flows with minerality. Spiced orchard fruit after 20 minutes in the glass. Warmed, fresh bread after 30 minutes. The salinity and minerality follow through to the palate. The palate is perfectly balanced with a killer streak of acidity, running north to south. Texturally, the wine offers some broadness, but it does require a further 5-10 years before reaching its peak. From a structural perspective, this reminds me of Leeuwin Art Series Chardonnay. In fact, I am not entirely sure I would be able to tell the difference in a blind tasting. The flavours fan out with touches of spiced apple and pear, this is glorious in a restrained sense. The potential is palpable… one for the cellar with the occasional bottle served over the coming 5-7 years. Served using Zalto Bordeaux glassware.”
97 Points - Stuart McCloskey “A fascinating bouquet which isn’t shy in coming forward. The concentration of perfumed gooseberry, guava, roasted pineapple and sweet melon is remarkable. Zips of acidity, citrus and a floral spray add to the complexity. Very impressive. The palate feel is super generous and the length incredibly long, the flavours last for minutes. Where to start with the flavours as there are so many to get through. Citrus peel flows into white flowers which in turn drift beautifully into fresh garden mint. I detect orchard fruits, a tropical undercurrent and lemongrass – everything feels exotic without being exaggerated. The minty finish is epically long – salinity is the final act as the wine drifts away after five minutes. Texturally, this is brilliant and oozes sophistication. Silky smooth and will keep for 5-8 years. Served using Zalto Universal glassware.”
Exclusive to The Vinorium
95 Points - James Halliday "From a single vineyard in Karridale, whole berries pressed to old barriques and a 600l demi-muid for 11 months with lees stirring. Green-gold; a barrel-fermented sauvignon blanc that challenges normal beliefs and practises, made possible by the quality of the grapes. It marries honeyed richness and complexity, honey and crystallised grapefruit skin with dancing acidity."
95 Points - Antonio Galloni "Varner's Chardonnay Amphitheater Block is rich, ample and super-expressive. Lemon peel, almonds, chamomile, earthiness, dried apricot and sage meld together effortlessly. The 2013 Amphitheater is a classic Varner Chardonnay built on phenolic intensity and plenty of savory/floral notes that add nuance, while the fruit is pushed a bit into the background."
93 Points - Antonio Galloni "The 2014 Chardonnay Amphitheater Block wraps around the palate with striking depth. Creamy, ample and expressive, the Amphitheater is all about texture. Orange peel, mint, graphite, candied lemon and sweet floral notes abound in this deeply nuanced Santa Cruz Mountains Chardonnay. There is a lot to like here."
16+ Points - Jancis Robinson MW
Smoky, lively, very lightly reductive nose. Pretty sweet and broad on the front palate. Tastes a bit more advanced – and jujube – than I would have expected from such a young wine. Lots of early reward. Nice backbone sneaks up on you though.