Take a deep breath and let it slowly out… This unexpected, frightening year is almost coming to a close, although I am not convinced the first quarter of 2021 will be any different. Nonetheless, this is not a negative reflection. Instead, this is a celebration of the best wines of 2020 which my team, you and I have all enjoyed. 

2020 will be remembered at The Vinorium, as the year where we struggled to keep pace with incoming samples. Many new Aussie winemakers all wishing to work with The Vinorium (an often reciprocated position) in addition to new vintages and new wines from existing producers. Sadly, and despite early excitement, a substantial number of producers did not meet the cut which weighs heavily on my team and I. From across the pond, after many Zoom calls and emails, our expectations were high, however we often found them dashed once we sampled the wines.  

Sparkling wines have been particularly disappointing. Qualitatively speaking, most have been good and in some cases, exceptional. However, many have failed to justify their respective prices, hence why our current offering remains rather slender. The Tassie producer, Ghost Rock were the only ones which really excited.

Magda and I were seeking a textural difference to wine this year which we found, but not a great deal of it. Some may call them fashionable, boho producers, which we understand however, we call them forward thinking artists who are seeking something more aspirational and inspirational. 

Climatic comparisons between our countries are obvious, but not necessarily from the position of temperature although, fundamentally linked to the wine consumption habits of each country. Australia’s young, avant-garde winemakers are making a big name for themselves as we are seeing many Aussies buying more and more lower alcohol wines, lighter in style and funkier, some would say. Of course, the ‘classics’ remain strong as we often sell key wines back to Australia. Closer to home, and despite our warmer summers, many of our customers prefer the classics and are less inclined to purchase the boho chic, those wines which texturally challenge, orange wines and wines which quite honestly do not suit our climate.

This is a challenge and something Magda and I are directly tackling. We are now liaising with several producers who are keen to produce wines to suit our customers. Rosé sales are consistently shocking, save for the sensational Pinot Taché from Eastern Peake (arguably, the best Aussie Rosé in my opinion). Salmon pink, smashable chillers do not cut the grade with you nor I and I am seeking a middle ground. We wish to deliver a Rosé wine which can be enjoyed 365 days a year. A wine, which looks impressive, provides depth of flavour, the potential to cellar and to drink at 15 degrees or straight from the ice bucket during the summer. Regardless of the colour, good wine does not come to you at £10.00 per bottle. We expect our Rosé wines to sell at double that figure, but the wine has to justify it. More to come next year.

We have received an abundance of delicious white wines, covering most of the planted varietals.

Our challenge was to enhance our portfolio of Viognier, Roussanne, Marsanne, Sémillon and Riesling, but we have failed you. Most presented themselves as wishy-washy at best and lacked the texture which these great grapes can deliver.  Sémillons disappointed the most with searing acidity taking charge – these may come round in a few decades, but many customers wish to drink their wines a little younger. We have identified a few, new white beauties (covering the above varietals), but our work is far from over. Chardonnay has produced some surprises, some good and some, less pleasing. The ‘top’ find of the year is a tiny parcel of epic Bannockburn Chardonnay from producer Little Reddie, an almost one-man band from Heathcote. We desired an entire pallet but ended up with twenty three dozen which won’t really touch the sides. Moreover, it’s a wine which is not produced annually which only adds to the pain. You will have to wait until March 2021 to get a bottle or two! We have unearthed some real gems from Coulter Wines, Shadowfax and House of Cards, which will be arriving late December. Super serious wines from highly respected Victorian producer, Wantirna and Tassie producer, Grey Sands will be arriving next week (their ‘still’ Blanc de Noir is a real pleasure).

The reds were equally challenging – perhaps more so post sampling the wines from Utopos. Anything Cabernet Sauvignon, Shiraz or MSG based had a lofty target to reach as we were faced with a serious dilemma. What is the point of shipping wines, creating relationships and exclusivities which we did not believe matched the same quality (particularly those which would cost you more)? As ever, we gun for you and drastically cut our new purchases as there is no point in cheating our customers. Utopos remains our fastest selling producer to date with close to 1,800 bottles selling out in twenty four hours. Tranche II is on the water and will be arriving mid January. Then, it’s a long wait for Kym’s new releases which we hope to sample early February. Save for Standish wines, this will be the next most anticipated annual release… 

Sadly, New Zealand isn’t hitting the same mark for us. We do offer some good to very good NZ wines however, the best are often too expensive and those at the mid level are not at the same standard as their Aussie neighbours. The USA produces some extraordinary wines – I often find little competition for their best Pinot Noirs. We have joined forces with Stolpman from Ballard Canyon and are now sitting on two of their fabulous Roussannes. We sampled their entire range with many being super expensive however, the majority failed to impress (particularly at their respective prices). Perhaps 2021 is the year we take a deeper look at the USA…

My team and I celebrate three Decanter awards for ‘Australian Wine Specialists of the Year’ in a row which we are immensely proud of. Granted, we put a lot of work into our craft however, without great customers like you, our sales would not allow us the opportunity to keep seeking great producers. To date, we exclusively represent thirty six Australian producers which will rise to fifty by February 2021.

So, and after an uncountable number of bottles, I am thrilled to share our wines and producers of the year.

 

From the beginning, I waxed lyrical and declared, “If you love Dan Standish’s wines, you will fall in love with these…” One can easily draw parallels, but and after recently sampling the full Standish collection, their winemaking styles shape the wines which lay in the bottle and these differ enormously. Without doubt, Utopos over-delivers on every level – there are no flaws and each bottle provides exquisite drinking for a sensible price. 

We released the first duo pairing in late August and I recall my comments regarding controlling sales which I thought would be difficult. I made the observation that I believe we could sell our full allocation of each wine within a matter of days. I was wrong, as a total of 1,800 bottles vanished from our stock within hours rather than days.

Both the ’17 and ’18 Shiraz wines are magnificent. I slightly favoured the ’18 but only by a hair’s breadth. In reality, both wines deserve 100 points as the price versus the faultless quality is ludicrous, but I refrained as we possess a handful of wines which are slightly closer than Utopos to perfection. 

Kym’s Cabernet Sauvignons are some of the best I have sampled in a very long time, which is no surprise given that the previous

owner sold the fruit to Penfolds which formed part of Bin 707, arguably one of Australia’s greatest Cabernet Sauvignons. I described the ’17 as “captivating... the balance is perfection. Thoughtful and will charm the pants off you.” The ’18 I described as “the most lavish Cabernet Sauvignon I have sampled. A wine of genuine pedigree and class.”

The MSGs took a little longer to find a home which on the one hand surprised me, but could be explained, if many of you share my reservations for this often unexciting, classic Aussie blend. However, Kym’s MSGs oozed with the same sophistication found with the Shiraz and Cabernet Sauvignon. They are equally triumphant and the best and most complete Aussie MSGs I have sampled in my life.

Kym and I are working on a new project together, which I hope to physically deliver in 2022. We are taking the best Shiraz and Cabernet blocks with the aim to blend something very, very special. Perhaps just one barrel will be produced (600 bottles) but it’s going to be magnificent.

Awarding Kym our Wine producer of the Year award was a quick and comfortable verdict. To date, Utopos has no equal in terms of quality, price and the obsession of bottling perfection.

 
 

From the day we sampled Ben + Ben’s wines, we were hooked. Mulline has been established for only two years which surprised me as each wine produced provides serious quality, complexity, depth and a maturity which is normally found with more established names…

Ben (Mullen) the winemaker served his apprenticeship with some of Australia’s most respected; Leeuwin Estate, Torbreck and Yarra Yering which certainly provided strong foundations for his own project. Ben has taken one common link, and that is to focus on showing site and regionality in all his wines, which I believe he does wonderfully.

The Bannockburn Fumé Blanc (Moorabool Valley) is one of the best textural and complex styles of Sauvignon Blanc I have encountered from Australia and deserves my score of 98 points (I do not believe I have scored a Sauvignon Blanc so high?). 

Their Chardonnay from the Nurringa Park Vineyard on the Bellarine Peninsula is beautiful. The focus and purity feel unforced – very contemporary. I predict this will score 98 to 99 points with a few years bottle age

I adore their Syrah sourced from the Bannockburn Vineyard, which shows Syrah in a very different light. Again, another 98-pointer which is fine and filled with lots of verve. This bottling provides amazing purity, and I wouldn’t be surprised if key critics (those who appreciate this style) make this wine the next Aussie (Syrah) cult. Very, very beautiful and wine which will appeal to Pinot Noir aficionados seeking a move into the world of Shiraz / Syrah.

Finally, to their Pinot Noir, from the old Strathmore Vineyard in the Moorabool Valley, just over the river from the Bannockburn Vineyard. 97++ - 98 points were awarded to a wine which displayed purity and wonderful delicacy. Very Burgundian and Ben’s time with one of Burgundy’s great, Domaine Dujac is clearly on show. With all of Mulline wines, these are wonderfully accessible, but 4-6 years of bottle age will unlock the wine’s true complexity.

The entire line up is real triumph and I have never sampled such thoughtful winemaking, depth, complexity and individuality from two young men who are just embarking on their ‘solo’ journey.

 
 

Strictly speaking, Mike and Melissa could hardly be called ‘newcomers’ as it’s been more than 25 years since the husband and wife team began winemaking together at biodynamic producer, Gemtree. Nonetheless, they are newcomers to The Vinorium and certainly stand shoulder-to-shoulder with Utopos as the most exciting finds of 2020.

Magda and I were staggered by the quality of Gemtree wines – the sheer ethereal character of each wine left us with goosebumps post our first sampling. Two months later, we resampled the collection which reconfirmed these are very special.

I have never sampled wines which deliver this level of concentration, nurtured by the winemaking hands of an angel. From top to bottom, Mike, Melissa and the power of mother nature weaves calmness, composure and balance in every bottle of wine produced. Their Ernest Allan and Phantom wines provide profound drinking and are equal to Utopos in terms of quality and value.

Their Subterra (sadly, sold out) is a great Shiraz, interlacing its magic with the aid of nature and is buried under the vines to rest and harmonise before being unveiled. To some, a gimmick, but and to those who have tasted it, they will recognise this wine is as close to perfection as one can get (given its tender age).

Their small batch productions are exactly that – tiny and the allocations reflect this. The Cabernet Sauvignon is a beautiful wine, calming and cooling. There’s generosity but it’s considered. Thoughtful and reflective winemaking with the power of mother earth on show. For me, their Grenache stole the small batch show. In fact, this is my preferred Grenache without any doubt…

To me, Gemtree wines are very special indeed. They are as great as Utopos but provide a different perspective to winemaking and styles. Without sounding repetitive, they provide unrivalled value for money…

 
 
 

Dan and Nicole Standish of

I have been buying Australian wines for some thirty years, which does not give me rite of passage or make me an authoritative figure. What time has delivered is a deep understanding of the breadth and depth which has been on show and what is currently emerging from the mainland and Tasmania. The Australian wine scene has evolved so much over the past decade and I am so glad to be spearheading a revival in the UK.

The Vinorium has opened so many doors and revealed an incredible group of new winemakers, who themselves are forging a new path. Domestically, many are making a big name for themselves and rightly so. We carry their wines and reputations across the globe and continue their work, which is thrilling and incredibly rewarding. The Vinorium has become a home to many of the new guard – a home where they are amongst many of their friends, as the Aussie wine community is closely knit.

Our winemakers and my team work hard to deliver great stories, reputations and wonderful wines to you all. It is accepted that Standish wines only hit its UK stride since we have taken the agency onboard however, Standish was founded in 1999 and continues to this day to fly well under the radar. They do not canvas adulation from critics or awards which is scarce in today’s wine world.

For many reasons, I believe the Standish Wine Co should be recognised for its greatness, but and for the above reasons this is unlikely to happen. To me, Standish wines are the best wines I have ever collected, sampled, consumed and enjoyed in my wine life. Both Dan and Nicole deserve the highest Vinorium accolade, that of being the first name on our Hall of Fame wall…

 
 
 
 
 
 

Anthill Farms Campbell Ranch Pinot Noir 2018

98+ Points - Stuart McCloskey “Perhaps not the most complex in their collection however, the deep-set flavours satisfy me beyond description. Odd for some to understand, but I have a nostalgic / emotional connection and there is not much more I can add save for, it is comparable to hugging an old friend you haven’t seen for years. The bouquet is breathtaking and evocative with wild strawberry, black raspberry, sweet spice, cedar, pencil wood and orange peel. Scents of autumnal woodland emerge with more aeration. It’s so homely and incredibly inviting – I'm swooning! The palate is perfectly balanced. The fruit is judiciously ripe and balanced with a zip of blood orange acidity and super-fine tannins. The harmony, grace and presence are as attractive as the fruit itself – ethereal and exquisitely defined. Poured with Zalto Burgundy glassware and straight from the bottle. Decant if you wish (one hour will suffice). Exceptional now but has the potential to age for 8-10 years. Unquestionably, my favourite and most sustaining Pinot Noir in 2020…”

£45.50 per bottle

 
 

Domaine Simha Rama Pinot Noir 2017

98++ Points - Stuart McCloskey “The bouquet is both intoxicating and beguiling ranging from petrichor (that wonderful earthy scent when rain falls on dry, hot ground) brambles, hedgerow fruits, orange rind and floral notes to pencil. Certainly, edging towards a more savoury side. The palate is broad, expansive and keeps giving – far from being a nervous Pinot Noir. The tannins are svelte and melt into a heady mix of wild berries. The lavish texture is impossible to ignore – Satin and structurally perfect. The deep core of fruit is impressive as is the bottomless finish. Simply magical and a highlight in our portfolio. I cannot wait to see how this wine ages over the coming 6-10 years. Served with Zalto Burgundy glassware (as important as the wine itself)”

£44.50 per bottle

 
 

Soumah Single Vineyard Hexham Pinot Noir 2018

97 Points - Stuart McCloskey “I love the bouquet which is so inviting with a mix of soured red fruits, dried orange peel and an entire pantry full of sweet spices – there’s a little Christmas feel to the aromas which I find wistful. The flavour spectrum is immensely pleasing and follows a similar pattern to that of the nose. Sweet and sour fruit intermixed with a Smörgåsbord of spice cuddled with filigree tannins. Fleshy, ample and mouth-filling with palate drenching satisfaction. Very moreish is an understatement. The best Aussie Pinot Noir you are likely to find at twenty-quid. Simply delicious and faultless for the money. Drink now to 2025, but there is no need to wait.”

£19.95 per bottle

 
 
 

Nocturne 'Single Vineyard' Cabernet Sauvignon 2018

98 Points - Stuart McCloskey “A truly fabulous bouquet which unfurls with such grace – Violets, an abundance of mineral-laden black & blue fruits, fresh pencil shavings, menthol, ink and some warmth (more from the quality of the vintage rather than alcohol). The palate is softly spoken, tannins lacy and svelte - oodles of textural finesse. Perfect symmetry which is something special for such a young wine. Medium-bodied, ultra-fine and screams quality - there isn’t a hair out of place. Ethereal, alluring, sensual and offers a lovely regal quality. As good as any recently released Aussie Cabernet. Just magnificent. Truly so… Decanted for 2-3 hours and served with Zalto Bordeaux glassware. Drinking wonderfully now however, this will be mesmeric in a decade…”

£27.95 per bottle

 
 

Utopos Cabernet Sauvignon 2018

98-99 Points - Stuart McCloskey "The 2018 vintage produced wines with an extra level of richness (versus the ‘17) resulting in less Shiraz. The composition is 98% Cabernet Sauvignon and 2% Shiraz. The aromatics are profound even at this stage. Indian ink, blood orange, plum, whispers of leather, freshly sawn cedar and I am swaying between a sense of mineralité or ocean (perhaps both?). I am certainly consuming more than I am spitting which isn’t too difficult as the creamy, sweet fruit coats every millimetre of my palate. I believe this is the most lavish Cabernet Sauvignon I have sampled, but it is important to add a note concerning the polish, the exquisite sense of detail and precision. It is easy to produce an exaggerated unbalanced wine. This, on the other hand, is simply majestic – a wine of genuine pedigree and class. The ripe layers of blackberry, boysenberry and mulberry are flanked by ripe tannins which add the perfect level of balance. The mineral rich finish is a masterstroke. Sublime. Decanted for 8 hours and guzzled using Zalto Bordeaux glassware. Heavenly now and will be for at least 15-20 years."

£209.70 per case of 6

 
 

Flowstone Queen of the Earth
Cabernet Sauvignon 
2015

Top Rated Cabernet Sauvignon - 2020 Wine Companion Awards

97-98 Points - Magdalena Sienkiewicz "The perfume is incredibly complex even though the wine is a touch cold when I first pour it into my glass. Still, it oozes gracefully with blackberries, red and black currants, pen ink, pencil shavings and a whole array of beautifully lifted floral notes. Bay leaf, mint, tobacco leaf with a whiff of star anise complete the stunning bouquet. The palate offers plenty of class with an abundance of morello cherry, graphite, dried herbs and tobacco. There is an overwhelming sense of purity with svelte and slightly dusty tannins which add lovely texture and a luxurious palate feel. Impeccably crafted, impressive and immensely pleasurable. Decant for 2-3 hours and watch it unfurl. Sampled using Zalto Bordeaux glassware."

£41.95 per bottle

 
 
 

Mulline Bannockburn Syrah 2019

98 points - Stuart McCloskey “The fragrance is quite extraordinary and certainly one of the sexiest with blueberries, blackcurrant and damson – an entire hedgerow of ripe black fruits.  The palate feel is velvety and the sweet fruit saturates every facet. This is far from a ‘big’ blousy wine as Ben’s careful hands are again on show. The freshness is astonishing as are the perfectly judged oak and acidity. Incredibly fine and filled with lots of verve. Amazing purity and I wouldn’t be surprised if key critics (those who appreciate this style) make this wine the next Aussie (Syrah) cult. Perfect balance and the approachability is difficult to comprehend. Very, very beautiful and an amazing UK debut.” 

£32.95 per bottle

 
 

Utopos Shiraz 2018

99 Points - Stuart McCloskey “This is simply off the charts in terms of aromatic concentration. Save for the Standish collection, this is as concentrated as it gets. The bouquet is brooding and invites you in with an intense and warming hug filled with spiced dark fruits, wonderful florals (more so than the 2017), violets, confit blue and blackberry, graphite, Indian ink, asphalt – I could quite honestly keep going! The palate is drenched with sweet, ripe black fruits underpinned with a little tart berry quality which contrasts perfectly. Bitter notes of coffee and chocolate, crushed redcurrant, wood smoke, and that tell-tale floral / blackberry pastille. The concentration is extraordinary and I love the chew from the tannins which is very much needed. There’s lots of sweet spiced fruit too and the sense of symmetry is beguiling. In some ways, it possesses the same DNA found in the ’18 Standish collection. Yet another ‘as good as it gets and should be north of fifty-quid.’ I should award 100 points… Decant for 4-6 hours. This will live for 20-30 years and I imagine will be at its best around 2040.”

£209.70 per case of 6

 
 

Standish The Relic 2018

100 Points - Stuart McCloskey  "The perfume is incredibly complex and difficult to pin down. Certainly exotic, super-intense and fills your olfactory senses with one hell of a wave of dark red / blue fruits (black raspberry liqueur) sweet spices and a wild-floral character. The palate is sensual, supremely elegant, and without one single flaw – far too moreish making returning the glass to the tasting table very difficult indeed. The fruit saturates your palate, but and from the very first sip, the level of poise is breathtaking. Less powerhouse and more ethereal brilliance. Deeply impressive and perhaps my favourite out of the collection. Decanted for 3.5 hours and served with Zalto Bordeaux glassware. Drinking window from 2020 to 2050++." Tasted 06.05.2020

The same decanted wine was sampled circa 24 hours later (overnight we placed a tight clingfilm seal over each decanter)…

Summary: Not the slightest sign of oxidisation. The bouquet is a masterclass of brilliance as the sweet, spiced fruits infuse with kelp, marine, ink, and iron ore. It’s so complex you could get lost all day…Equally, the palate does not disappoint. Texturally magnificent with the fruit, tannin, oak, and acidity components handled by angels. Otherworldly and an utter privilege.

£71.50 per bottle

£345.00 per case of 6 In Bond

 
 
 

Gemtree Wines Small Batch Grenache 2019

97-98 Points - Stuart McCloskey “Unquestionably, the sexiest Grenache bouquet which I have come across for a very long time. The profusion of aromatics is heady, heavenly with a wonderous exotic twist of juniper, mint, clove, raspberry and sweet spice – spiced blood orange with a little more aeration. The floral bouquet is something rather special but difficult to pin down at this stage. As a whole, the bouquet invites you in like a temptress – it’s impossible not to be seduced! The palate is equally alluring with ribbons of sweet, soft fruit which cascade effortlessly and naturally. The tannins are willowy and the acidity juicy. The flavour profile is akin to the bouquet with a little salinity and savouriness in the background. Hands down my favourite Grenache and I am utterly stupid for not buying more – what on earth was I thinking? This is so charming, sexy and really doesn’t require more than an hour in a decanter. It will cellar, but from a point of intrigue alone as this beauty is ripe and ready now. Served using Zalto Bordeaux glassware. Drink now to 2025+”

£29.95 per bottle

 
 

Planta Circa Ancestor Vine Grenache 2018

97++ Points - Stuart McCloskey “Grenache sourced from vines planted in 1880 and brought back to life through the talented and highly respected hands of Craig Stansborough. Aromatically, the wine is beautiful, filled with orange zest and a wash of red fruits ranging from raspberry through to cranberry. I detect spice and sweetness from cherry too… There’s a dusty, earthy overtone which provides a warming hug to the fruit. Dried, Mediterranean herbs – clearly a complex bouquet which keeps giving. The palate is focused, pure and spiced with sweet fruit which expands across my entire palate. The fruit feels mineral driven (I presume due to the depth of the ancient vine roots) with lavender and liquorice complementing. The tannins are discreet – the feel is seamless, with a snip of acidity providing outstanding definition. A blood orange sorbet-like feel keeps building and does not relinquish for many minutes. Suave and sophisticated. Drinking from 2020 to 2030+. Decanted for 1-2 hours and best served using Zalto Bordeaux glassware.”

97-98 Points - Magdalena Sienkiewicz "Lush aromas of sweet raspberry, cherries and redcurrants with a beautiful lift of fresh vanilla and sweet garden mint. The palate offers great depth with delicate fruit wrapped in layers of minerals and earth. Flavours, although complex, show a little restrain at this stage, but the nuanced structure shows there is plenty of detail yet to unfurl. Don’t hesitate opening if you love ethereal wines, as this is a stunning beauty today nevertheless. Truly a world class Grenache and something very special indeed. Sampled using Zalto Bordeaux Glass following one hour of decanting."

£42.95 per bottle

£201.35 per case of 6 In Bond

 
 

JC's Own Angaston Foothills Grenache 2017

97++ Points - Stuart McCloskey “Sourced from old bush vines ageing 150 years in the Angaston Foothills. The bouquet is explosive and perfumed with blueberry, sweet spice, spiced cherry, cola, smoke, warm earth and minerals. The palate delivers a smörgåsbord of dark raspberry, pomegranate and blood orange with glimmers of liquorice in the background. The flavour profile continues along the same line with sweet, black raspberry, cassis, and sorbet-like blood orange. The flavours are deep and the palate wonderfully textured. There’s a spiced black pastille character which builds and builds. The tannins are sappy and fresh. There’s a seriousness but with equal measures of fun and built for those seeking an interplay of power and finesse. Mightily impressive. Drink now to 2027+. Served with Zalto Bordeaux glassware.

£28.95 per bottle

 
 
 

Utopos Mataro Shiraz Grenache 2018 & 2019

2018

97-98 Points - Stuart McCloskey “The 2018 blend comprises of 50% Mataro, 25% Shiraz, 25% Grenache and was decanted for 24 hours (sealed overnight). I will confess that most MSGs disappoint me and another confession, I rarely choose to open a bottle at home which will certainly change after sampling the 2018 and 2019 duo. The ’18 is a splendid example of extraordinary power juxtaposed with elegance. I can detect the Shiraz component which provides a wonderful floral lift, violets, confit blue and blackberry which meld harmoniously with liquorice, graphite, warm asphalt and French oak of which 40% is new. The palate oozes with the same sophistication found with the Shiraz and Cabernet Sauvignons. The layers of fruit cascade and blend perfectly with silken tannins and just the right level of acidity. Beautiful texture and mountainous structure. While this can be enjoyed now (minimum of 8-12 hours of decanting) this is really one for the cellar (10-20 years) and will mature into something quite sublime” 

2019

97-99 Points - Stuart McCloskey “The 2019 blend comprises of 50% Mataro, 35% Shiraz and 15% Grenache and was decanted for 24 hours (sealed overnight). The magic that surrounds the 2019 Shiraz vintage has been fever pitch, with some of our producers declaring the vintage as tiny but simply perfect. The addition of 35% Shiraz provides wonderful colour to the wine (deep black moving to beetroot on the rim). The bouquet has amplified from the ’18. The aromatic elixir is enormous in scale. Wild autumn hedgerow drenched in mixed berries, warming spices, spiced cherries, kirsch, pastille, warm Christmas cake, tar and finished with white pepper. The fruit saturates the palate, but it does require 3-5 years before unleashing its full throttle glory. The concentration is superb with bright red fruit tones providing lift, energy and a lovely freshness – minerals and spices too. The best and most complete Aussie MSG I have sampled to date. Exuberant and hypnotic drinking. While this can be enjoyed now (minimum of 8-12 hours of decanting) this is really one for the cellar (10-20 years).”

£209.70 per case of 6

 
 

Massena Stonegarden Grenache Mataro Shiraz 2017

97+ Points - Stuart McCloskey “Single vineyard wine from the distinguished Stonegarden vineyard in the Eden Valley, with old vine heritage and limited production. The nose is dark, brooding and intense – warm earth, dried rose petal and dried cake spice mix lift with aeration. Dry, mountainous herbs unfurl with old sage bush, rosemary and dried thyme. A little old wood fire smoke adds to the intrigue. The palate surprises with a graceful wash of sweet black and red fruits tinged with mineral, smoke and earth. The tannins are silky and the acidity is bright and alive. Rhône-esque without emulating. Vivid and highly inviting.  Such a lovely wine. Drink now to 2030. Served using Zalto Bordeaux glassware

£36.95 per bottle

 
 

Award Winning Reds - Mixed Case

Fifteen fabulous bottles of red wine which topped our list of favourites and won our 'Wine of the Year' awards in 2020.

1 x Anthill Campbell Ranch Pinot Noir 2018
1 x Domaine Simha Rama Pinot Noir 2017 
1 x Soumah Hexham Pinot Noir 2018
1 x Nocturne Wines Single Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon 2018 
1 x Utopos Cabernet Sauvignon 2018
1 x Flowstone Queen of the Earth Cabernet Sauvignon 2015
1 x Mulline Syrah 2019
1 x Utopos Shiraz 2018
1 x Standish The Relic Shiraz Viognier 2018
1 x Gemtree Small Batch Grenache 2019
1 x Planta Circa Ancestor Vine Grenache 2018 
1 x JC's Own Angaston Foothills Grenache 2017
1 x Utopos Mataro Shiraz Grenache 2018
1 x Utopos Mataro Shiraz Grenache 2019 
1 x Massena Stonegarden Grenache Mataro Shiraz 2017

£475.00 per case of 15

 
 
 
 
 

Hoddles Creek 1er Chardonnay 2017

97+ - 98+ Points - Stuart McCloskey “It’s taken some time for this beauty to develop and certainly has a bright future ahead. Do not overchill and allow the wondrous bouquet to unfurl to crisp yellow stone fruits, lemon oil, its rich with minerality (wet chalk), buttered citrus, spring flowers and nashi pear. I adore the bouquet which I find so evocative. I could happily spend the day swirling and sniffing without the need to taste (it’s that alluring). The palate is tight knit, finely boned, endlessly long and built with cellaring in mind. The elegant textural element is wonderful. The purity and balance are exceptional. Tensile whilst providing fleshy orchard fruits.  Structured but the flavours amplify with aeration and provide a real sense of volume. The wine is as long as you are willing to travel and finally ends with a lick of salinity. Magical and I absolutely adore it… Currently my favourite Chardonnay in our portfolio. Drink now to 2030. Served with Zalto Bordeaux glassware.

£30.50 per bottle

 

Eastern Peake Intrinsic Chardonnay 2018

97++ to 98 Points - Stuart McCloskey  “Different and rightfully individual, but I can see glimpses of my old friend. The nose is evocative and builds with more aeration. Grilled, creamy nuts, buttery pastry, crème pat, fresh vanilla pod underpinned with confit lemon, crisp orchard fruits and the most striking mineral freshness imaginable. The palate is a little subdued but that’s ok with me as this beauty will last a decade or more. It’s textural, satiny, fleshy and elegant in a muscular sense. I love the salinity, purity and that same buttery pastry. The acidity is racy and the pithy structure chewy and delightful. Supremely sophisticated and yet again, in a class all of its own by an indescribable sense of completeness. One of the highlights of my year and I am pinching three dozen for sure. Do not overchill, decant for 20-30 minutes and ideally serve in Zalto Bordeaux glassware or similar. Drink now to 2030+ (I believe this will be 99 points in 5-8 years)”

£28.95 per bottle

 
 

Dr Edge Chardonnay North 2019

98 Points - Stuart McCloskey  "The most floral bouquet of the three, with buttered citrus and fresh vanilla seeds drifting from the glass. Still, and not to bore, lemons, minerals and salinity are also present.. The palate offers an intense experience and not necessarily through flavour as the vitality and tension offers a wonderful shrill of excitement. The balance is exquisite and, given its age, it is difficult to pin-down exact flavours save for a little crisp, green apple. So much energy and tightly coiled like a piston waiting to explode. Minerals and citrus contrast with a marine-influenced finish which I love. Truly outstanding and will be hitting its stride in five or so years. Potentially perfect in ten. Served with Zalto Bordeaux glassware. Do not serve from the fridge. 11-13 degrees being the best temperature. Decant for a wee while as this wine needs a little aeration”.

£30.75 per bottle

£280.75 per case of 6 In Bond

 
 
 

Mulline Bannockburn Fumé Blanc 2019

98 Points - Stuart McCloskey "The bouquet is ultra-pure and sings with honeyed quince, touches of apple, apricot and warming ginger with more aeration. The palate is confident, unforced and a joy to sample. More complex than most Australian Sauvignon Blancs and full of charisma. I love the youthfulness which provides good bite and pithiness, although the palate offers much depth and breadth. Sumptuous in parts despite its infancy. Very impressive and certainly one of the best examples of Aussie Sauvignon Blanc currently available. Long, incredibly satisfying, juicy, moreish and sophisticated. This will be incredible in 5 years.”

£32.95 per bottle

 

Topper's Mountain Hill of Dreams Sauvignon Blanc 2019

97+ Points - Stuart McCloskey “I love it – it’s as simple as that. The colour is a riot of autumn – fallen Ginkgo biloba leaves and honey. So beautiful. The bouquet reminds me of Paul Lato’s uber-expensive Malvasia which I adore equally. Baked Russet apple filled with sweet spices and honey tincture. A little caramelised pineapple and cinnamon come through with more aeration.  The bunches were de-stemmed and crushed, but the skins were included in the fermentation, creating wonderful mouthfeel and texture. The grip and tang of the Russet being a perfect description. This wine speaks fluently of minimal intervention to express its place of origin. There’s exceptional length and depth – Everything about this wine should be admired, including the fact that these grapes were rescued at the last minute from the Tingha Plateau Bushfire that ravaged their vineyard in February 2019. I love the honesty and I love the skill and dedication. Unfiltered, unfined and a miniscule 516 bottles produced. Served using Zalto Universal glassware. Drinking now to 2023/25. Do not overchill and there’s no need to decant.”

£25.95 per bottle

 

Hughes & Hughes Sauvignon Blanc Barrel & Skins 2018

Wine Companion - Best New Winery of The Year 2019

Fruit from a single vineyard in the Coal River Valley, 60% barrel fermented after a 4 hour skin soak, 40% skin fermented for two weeks and pressed to oak, all natural yeast, partial malolactic ferment while maturing on lees. Bottled unfined and unfiltered.

£22.95 per bottle

 
 
 

Hutton Vale Farm Riesling 2017

Wine Companion - Best New Winery of The Year 2019

97 Points - Magda Sienkiewicz "It has evolved beautifully since we took possession in late 2019. The aromas have developed with lanoline, light petrol, rich citrus and honeyed pears. The perfume is truly luxurious and the palate bursts with deliciously ripe citrus and candied orange peel, a little sweetness mid palate and a streak of minerals drives the wine to a dry finish (not bone dry). There is so much to enjoy with Hutton Vale Farm’s Riesling – the generosity, its poise, balance and elegance too. Best of all, it is accessible now, but has the quality to evolve slowly and gracefully over the next decade or so. As a side note: If you ever wondered about the distinct ‘petrol’ aroma, it is down to a compound identified as TDN (1,1,6-trimethyl-1,2-dihydronaphthalene) which concentrates and intensifies as the wine matures."

£17.95 per bottle

 

Pegasus Bay Bel Canto Dry Riesling 2017

95 Points - Sam Kim, Wine Orbit "A gorgeous rendition of dry riesling; it is richly fruited and fragrant on the nose showing grapefruit, orange peel, potpourri and subtle honey characters, followed by a concentrated palate that is generously flavoured and persistent. The wine is elegantly opulent and delectable."

Bob Campbell "Pegasus Bay boosts flavour in Bel Canto by harvesting late with some botrytis infection and allowing the wine to have a little skin contact. The result is this bold, complex wine with peach, apricot, honey, citrus and grapefruit flavours. A richly-textured riesling with a lingering finish"

£22.50 per bottle

 

Latta Vino Granite Riesling 2019

97 Points - Stuart McCloskey “The bouquet is immensely appealing, offering scents of orange and rose blossom, orchard fruit, quince, spring flowers and a little citrus. More classical and missing those petrol aromas found in some Aussie Rieslings. Clearly, the wine is young, incisive but carries itself with much confidence. Bracing acidity is missing which allows the pure fruit flavours of apricot and tangerine peel to shine. Rose petal and jasmine (essence-of-Gewürztraminer) which is fascinating. The profile is pure, spiced and I love the dash of white pepper and phenolic grip on the finish. The finish is very long indeed and will develop for a decade or more in the bottle. I’m detecting some salt after a minute or two and more white pepper. Incredibly charming, thoughtfully produced and one of the most classical renditions of this varietal found in Australia. As ever Owen bottles unfined, unfiltered and untinkered…”

£21.00 per bottle

 
 

Stolpman Vineyards L'Avion Roussanne 2017

98+ Points - Stuart McCloskey “In the late summer, team Stolpman pull every leaf away from the fruit to allow for full sun penetration.  A month prior to harvest, when the sun exposed side of each cluster tans, but the inside remains green, every grape cluster is gently hand rotated 180 degrees to facilitate an even suntan. The focus, determination and attention to detail provides one of the best new world Roussannes, in my opinion. Spiced pear, apple, buttered citrus, tangerine skin, orange blossom and honey unfold majestically from the glass. There’s theatre, with golden hues whilst the viscous intensity grips the side of my glass with all its life. The palate is concentrated, full bodied with waves of honey and buttered fruits covering every facet. There’s a spiciness (fresh ginger) which gently starts at the tip of my tongue and continues to lay a path of warmth all the way back. Intensity is the core of this wine, with minerality and acidity providing some welcome relief. With time, honeysuckle and peach emerge, but so too does the spiciness, which I love. Emphatically long; never-ending to be perfectly honest and will continue to provide an extraordinary wine experience for many years to come. Do not overchill. Served using Zalto Bordeaux glassware”.

98-99 Points - Magdalena Sienkiewicz "I adore its aromas, which are truly luxuriant. It hypnotises with a combination of minerals, citrus and toast all-in-one. Ripe yellow limes, orange, buttered citrus with notes of toasted almonds and marzipan. A whiff of smoke completes this sensational perfume beautifully. The palate mirrors the aromas perfectly, which is just what I was hoping for given its spellbinding power. Super textural and utterly mesmerising, it is irresistible today, but I imagine this will only improve if you have enough patience to allow it some time. Sampled using Zalto Bordeaux Glass following half hour of decanting"

£35.95 per bottle

 

Wild Duck Creek Roussanne 2017

97+ Points - Stuart McCloskey “A fabulous Roussanne from Wild Duck Creek which has taken me by surprise – this is sampling magnificently and I'm not entirely sure why this has passed me by…Served at warehouse temperature (13-15 degrees) which is spot on and helps the bouquet to unfurl with delicate aromatics of honeysuckle, peach, orchard fruits, spiced apple and a background of fresh hay – a faint waft of fresh ginger in the background. The textural palate feel is weighty, luxurious and balanced amazingly. Perfect, if I am being honest. There’s a lovely grippy textural feel which adds structure to the satin like texture. Fruit is pointed towards an autumnal orchard with touches of stone fruits, spiced honey and fresh ginger. I enjoy the savouriness with a little hay coming across too. A streak of acidity keeps the palate alive and complements the richness wonderfully. In summary; opulent, magnificently textured, super long, full of energy and will certainly appeal to those seeking all of the above. Magnificent. Served using Zalto Bordeaux glassware. Drink now to 2030.”

£23.95 per bottle

 

Stolpman Vineyards Estate Roussanne 2017

97+ Points - Stuart McCloskey “The bouquet reveals itself with honey, beeswax, melted candle wax, orange blossom and a wonderful floral lift – Smoked minerals develop with more aeration. As expected from Stolpman, the palate feel is luxurious, but the flavours are not overworked. There’s a real northern Rhône feel to the flavour profile and structure with buttered citrus, honey, slight bitter marmalade, honeysuckle and quince laying ribbons of flavour across my palate. There is intensity, but the vineyard’s limestone soils and cold nights provide just the right dose of acidity for perfect control. I find the super long finish particularly interesting as subtle, spiced orchard fruits develop with the presence of fresh, grated ginger… Drinking beautifully today and will do so for at least 5-8 years. Do not overchill – cool, room temperature being ideal. Served using Zalto Bordeaux glassware.”

97 Points - Magdalena Sienkiewicz "Glossy, liquid gold colour and exuberant perfume which makes for a grand entrance. The aroma carries serious floral intensity with honeysuckle and roses intermixed with honeyed pears, Seville orange marmalade and beeswax. The abundance of stone fruit and citrus continues to cascade on the palate with a great bite of orange zest. Textural and layered with unctuous flavours, everything is spot on giving us a harmonious and sensuous experience. Sampled using Zalto Bordeaux Glass without decanting."

£23.95 per bottle

 

Award Winning Whites - Mixed Case

Twelve bottles of white wine which topped our list of favourites and won our 'Wine of the Year' awards in 2020.

1 x 1er Hoddles Creek Chardonnay 2017
1 x Eastern Peake Intrinsic Chardonnay 2018
1 x Dr Edge Chardonnay North 2019
1 x Mulline Fume Blanc 2019
1 x Topper’s Mountain Hill of Dreams 2019 
1 x Hughes & Hughes Sauvignon Blanc Barrel & Skins 2018
1 x Hutton Vale Farm Riesling 2017
1 x Pegasus Bay Bel Canto Dry Riesling 2017 
1 x Latta Vino Granite Riesling 2019
1 x Stolpman Vineyards L'Avion Roussanne 2017
1 x Wild Duck Creek Roussanne 2017
1 x Stolpman Vineyards Estate Roussanne 2017

£285.00 per case of 12

 
 
 
 

Standish The Standish Shiraz 2018

100 Points - Stuart McCloskey "The perfume is incredibly inviting, opulent and builds in the glass like a skyscraper. The nose is deep, dark, and brooding with a lovely lick of mineral and liquorice in the background. There’s an attractive savouriness to the fruit and edges towards Lamella for its structure.  The depth of flavour is extraordinary and offers incredible intensity without any heaviness which is such a skill. The fruit is luxurious, and mineral laced with a touch of spiciness to provide some lift. Texture akin to silk with juicy acidity and fine tannins adding shape to the wines overall presence. Just phenomenal.Decanted for 3.5 hours and served with Zalto Bordeaux glassware. Drinking window from 2020 to 2050++." Tasted 06.05.2020

The same decanted wine was sampled circa 24 hours later (overnight we placed a tight clingfilm seal over each decanter)…

Summary: Not the slightest sign of oxidisation and still (if not more) inviting than yesterday. Monolithic would be one word to describes the bouquet – you could write a book on the aromatic profile as it’s nothing short of perfection. The palate is simply heavenly and has no room for improvement as it takes perfection in its stride. Perhaps 110 points in a decade? Captivating, life-changing for vinous lovers and it doesn’t get better for Aussie Shiraz. It’s one of those rare, goose bump moments. Simply, breathtaking.

£74.50 per bottle

£360.00 per case of 6 In Bond

 

Utopos Shiraz 2018

99 Points - Stuart McCloskey “This is simply off the charts in terms of aromatic concentration. Save for the Standish collection, this is as concentrated as it gets. The bouquet is brooding and invites you in with an intense and warming hug filled with spiced dark fruits, wonderful florals (more so than the 2017), violets, confit blue and blackberry, graphite, Indian ink, asphalt – I could quite honestly keep going! The palate is drenched with sweet, ripe black fruits underpinned with a little tart berry quality which contrasts perfectly. Bitter notes of coffee and chocolate, crushed redcurrant, wood smoke, and that tell-tale floral / blackberry pastille. The concentration is extraordinary and I love the chew from the tannins which is very much needed. There’s lots of sweet spiced fruit too and the sense of symmetry is beguiling. In some ways, it possesses the same DNA found in the ’18 Standish collection. Yet another ‘as good as it gets and should be north of fifty-quid.’ I should award 100 points… Decant for 4-6 hours. This will live for 20-30 years and I imagine will be at its best around 2040.”

£209.70 per case of 6

 

Gemtree Wines Subterra Shiraz 2019

99-100 Points - Stuart McCloskey “Great Shiraz weaving its magic with the aid of mother nature and buried under the vines to rest and harmonise before being unveiled to a gobsmacked audience. The bouquet is truly remarkable and as profound as any Aussie Shiraz can get. Wow - Coconut, Chambord liqueur, wild blueberry and cold steel, gallop from the glass – violets, plum and mulberry too. The palate and flavour profiles are something to behold. The fruit and tannins spread across the palate like a peacock unveiling its magnificent tail. This is a serious wine, a wine which should be respected (I confess that I originally scoffed at the notion of storing wine under the earth. How stupid I was). I am not entirely sure what the burying aspect imparts on the wine, but the calmness, composure and balance is so impressive. I love the sweetness to the fruit. I also love the high toned and slightly pithy cranberry element which provides some welcome grip. This is ticking every box on its way to perfection. Decanted for 6 hours and served using Zalto glassware. Drink now to 2050.”

£155.00 per bottle

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** Offer ends Monday 30 November at 9:00am **

 
 

"Great wine deserves the best glassware"

 
 

Our Christmas cut off times

Last orders will leave our HQ on Tuesday 22 December @ 2:00pm

HQ collection available: Cut-off for collection 12:00 noon on Wednesday 23 December

All orders placed after 2:00pm on 22 Dec (unless collecting) will be dispatched on Monday 4 January