The Vinorium Weekend Read

Issue #153, May 2021

By kind invitation (courtesy of Wine Australia) Magda and I have been invited to attend a global Cabernet Sauvignon comparative tasting next week, which we are thrilled to join. The tasting will explore the rich heritage of Australian Cabernet Sauvignon, and place these wines in a global fine wine context through a blind benchmarking exercise of top international comparisons. The first five wines are international benchmarks and will be revealed during the tasting. We will then explore a number of key Australian Cabernet Sauvignon regions, including Yarra Valley, Eden Valley, Coonawarra and Margaret River.  We will discover their regional characteristics, similarities and differences whilst assessing where these wines sit in a global context. The Aussie contenders are serious and include Wynns ‘Black Label’ Coonawarra 2015, Balnaves of Coonawarra ‘The Tally’ 2015, Yarra Yering ‘Dry Red Wine No. 1’ Yarra Valley 2015, Mount Mary ‘Quintet’ Yarra Valley 2015, Cullen Wines ‘Diana Madeline’ Margaret River 2015, Vasse Felix ‘Tom Cullity’ Margaret River 2015 and finally to Henschke; ‘Cyril Henschke’ Eden Valley 2015. I plan to compile a full report which I will share with you all next weekend.

Great Cabernet Sauvignon has been the theme of our week too, with the launch of the spectacular 2018 Moss Wood along with their 2019 Chardonnay. The latter was produced in tiny quantities and has sold out. We reached out with our begging bowls however, we came back empty handed. Stocks of the Cabernet were healthier and our original allocation sold out within a few hours.

We requested more, which was granted – this also sold out by 6:00pm.

Two of my team and I tracked stocks as we enjoyed our evening supper – the importer kindly provided a final increase which we added to our website, but ‘that’s your lot’ to quote Peter… In total, you purchased 347 bottles (along with the 96 bottles of the Chardonnay) by 12:00 noon on Thursday which is a super healthy number. I believe this equates to over 100 separate orders, which translates to a very busy day in the warehouse. Much of the stock arrived today and a little earlier than scheduled. We plan to send your orders on Tuesday for arrival on Wednesday. You should be receiving your DPD tracking details on Tuesday. 

As I penned in our launch email, my first thought centred around the gracefulness which is haunting in its beauty - it is so rare to find an Australian Cabernet displaying such majestic perfection. Certainly, one of the most profound Cabernet Sauvignons I have sampled from Margaret River. Ray (Jordan) is spot on with his ‘Margaux’ assessment as the similarities to this commune are undeniable. This is the wine to show during Wednesday’s comparative tasting. In a few weeks, expect the team to start hounding you for your feedback as we cannot wait to hear your personal experiences. Those who snapped up the Chardonnay will be over the moon too. Click here if you missed the full launch and before I move on, I must thank you all for your wonderfully generous orders. You are a great bunch to have as customers…

 
 
 

Moss Wood Cabernet Sauvignon 2018

100 Points - Sam Kim, The Wine Orbit “Can a Cabernet be any finer, better structured and more engaging? This gloriously composed wine shows crème de cassis, spicy oak, subtle cigar, game and rich floral aromas on the nose, leading to an immensely concentrated palate offering exceptional depth and drive. Offering waves of refined texture and delicious flavours, classically structured by loads of fine tannins, finishing seductively long and gratifying. At its best: 2028 to 2058.”

Sam Kim is based in New Zealand, although his reach is truly global. He has been judging wine for the last 20 years at various wine competitions and writing for several magazines, including the New Zealand International Wine Show, The Spiegelau International Wine Competition, The Air New Zealand Wine Awards, The New World Wine Awards, Marlborough Wine Show, Decanter Asia Wine Awards, Decanter Magazine and Cuisine Magazine. Sam has since created his own website called The Wine Orbit, where he posts his latest reviews and articles.

99 Points - Ray Jordan “This is getting just ridiculous. From the time the heavyweights of WA wine started to reveal their wines from the 2018 vintage, it has been a cavalcade of one great wine after another… Now, I have another problem, albeit it a good one. Moss Wood have just released their 2018 cabernet sauvignon. And, oh, here’s a shock, it is without doubt one of their greatest – dare I suggest, it might be their greatest. Read on for that pronouncement.

Winemaker Keith Mugford reckons that 2018 was just about perfect. “If you couldn’t make a decent wine from this vintage, you only have yourself to blame,” he said.

In some ways, the 2018 is the style of Moss Wood that caused slightly negative comments on the earliest Moss Woods, suggesting the wines were nice but wouldn’t last. Well, weren’t they seriously off the mark? You see, Moss Wood is subtle, refined, understated and almost pretty.

The 2018 is so exquisitely perfumed, almost in the vein of a Margaux, and beautifully poised and refined with an effortless length and power all expressed with that typical Moss Wood polish.

After sipping my Moss Wood tasting bottle, I took it with me to try with friends later. And it was spectacular, even better on the second day. I reckon if it were possible, I would be enjoying it even more in 40-years time.

It is classic Moss Wood that ranks with their best. Is it their best? Yes.

As I suspected in anticipation, a great wine from a great vintage. This is a glorious statement from one of the great estates in Margaret River. Classical medium weight in that understated Moss Wood way. Perfectly integrated oak and fine, chalky tannins for support. Leafy cabernet notes on the nose with a touch of light bay leaf and brick dust. The minerally edge  to the palate holds the line through to the very long finish. The length on the palate is extraordinary. Best drinking: now till 2050.”"

99-100 Points - Stuart McCloskey "As pure as a young bouquet can be – Astonishing. This is one of the hardest tasting notes I have written as my mind is going ten-to-the-dozen with excitement, but I am conscious that I must slow down and communicate my experience which is super difficult as I am sure my descriptions will totally fail to capture what is in my glass. Why? Save for 2010 Châteaux Ausone, Margaux and Vieux Château Certan (sampled at their respective Châteaux during the 2010 En-Primeur tasting), this is one of the most moving young wines I have ever tasted. Immediately, I am drawn to the palate feel which is sensual and seductive, but and an important point, beguiling in its gracefulness. I adore the freshness, the purity. So, effortless in its grace. Perfectly ripe, polished and chiselled into a great masterpiece. The bouquet reveals dark, brooding berries, fresh mint, liquorice, lavender with the faintest touch of lead pencil – the entire experience feels fresh and cooling. The flavour profile follows a similar line with the fruit marrying beautifully with the fine-boned structure and filigree, silky tannins. Again, everything feels so pure. I have been thinking non-stop about this wine for 24 hours (sampled over two days). I worry that I am not doing it justice - It’s that good. Clearly, there is something wondrous on display – The haunting grace of this wine is something very special indeed. I am happy to enjoy this wine now and every year from 2021 to 2041. Blend: 92% Cabernet Sauvignon, 4% Petit Verdot and 4% Cabernet Franc. Decanted for 6 hours. Served using Zalto Bordeaux glassware."

99-100 Points - Magdalena Sienkiewicz "Immediately, you can sense that you are in the presence of something very special. It’s beguiling perfume must be one of the most beautiful I have ever experienced. I am unsure whether describing individual notes and aromas would do it justice, as this wine is all about perfect harmony. Everything feels effortless, which makes this wine even more astonishing. I’m speechless and therefore, please excuse a short note. It’s the sort of wine that simply must be experienced. A truly magnificent wine today, it will be a real privilege and joy to watch its evolution over many years. Sampled using Zalto Bordeaux glassware over two days."

**Available for delivery from Wednesday 12th May**

£60.50 per bottle

 

I must also thank those of you who took the time and effort to complete our online questionnaire which we found fascinating. We plan to divulge much of the data in the next few weeks. There’s plenty of time to add your two-penneth – The more feedback the better in our books. Here is the quick link to the survey.

Demand and enquiries for Zalto remain high – This is an update directly from Zalto’s export department “There are no significant improvements. As mentioned, it is not the restrictions only rather than we suffer quarantine cases all the time among the blowers who have direct contact among each other. As well we have also one half of the technical capacity due to a necessary reconstruction of one of the furnaces. This should be ready in the next weeks. Hence, then we have all the blowers in production (and no contact persons who have to stay at home for 14 days) we then have all the capacity like before but still have to work on the pending orders of a volume of recent 4 months. As mentioned we have lost more than 4 months of production capacity due to complete lockdown (last year) and quarantine of blowers and still growing demand so why we have sold all reserve stock.” We hope to see our order during July… As ever, we will keep you posted. 

On the Brexit front - I have been watching the French fishing vessels protesting their British counterparts off the small Channel Island of Jersey. I relate to the frustration which Brexit has caused however, and from a wine merchant in the UK attempting to send wine to our customers in France – they cannot have it both ways. The French have made it almost impossible to send wines to our private clients.. Give and take is the order (and it’s the only way Brexit is going to work, he says sheepishly).

I believe Shontelle has contacted all our EU friends and customers who have orders being stored in the UK. Over 60% have reluctantly cancelled their orders which we respect – full refunds have been processed. We are starting to return previously sold out stocks to our website (it’s worth having a rummage around for a few of your old favourites). The 2019 Fire Gully was part allocated to customers wishing to purchase. The remainder of this stock is now ‘live’ on our website. In all honesty, and at the current rate, I do not believe we will be able to offer a reasonably priced and ‘uninsured’ delivery service until next year. I do hope I am wrong however, I have seen no progress. 

I blinked and our samples desk is completely packed with new vintages / wines from existing producers (the new ‘Hexham’ wines have arrived) and the complete vintage update from Coonawarra producer, Rymill. We have lots of samples arriving (or recently arrived) from new producers including Brand & Son which look fabulous – their Night Fall wines look very smart indeed (check their website https://nightfallwines.com.au/). There are lots more to mention including one of Australia’s ‘big owners’ who is shipping a raft of samples next week. I must say the group of wineries under his ownership are mightily impressive. Nonetheless, the proof is in the pudding…

Not long to wait for the 2019 Standish collection which is set to arrive in the UK this Sunday. We hope to be taking physical possession week commencing the 17th May. As ever, we will provide exact delivery dates and communicate appropriately. I will now bow out gracefully and wish you all a fabulous weekend (19 degrees on Sunday!)

Keep safe, well and I look forward to seeing you all next week,

Stu

 

John's Blend; One of the very first Australian wines I purchased.

 

John’s Blend represents one of the very first Australian wines I purchased (some 28 years back) and remains close to my heart. Handcrafted since 1974 by John Glaetzer, who and in my humble opinion, is one of the dozen greatest winemakers in Australia and one who prefers not to deal with the media and shies away from the camera.

Few winemakers have experienced his continuing success and awards, resulting in winning an unrivalled four of the prestigious Jimmy Watson Trophies for Australia’s top red wine in 1974, 1975, 1976, and 1999. As well as winning eleven Montgomery Trophies for the finest red wines at the Royal Adelaide Wine Show, to name just a few…

John’s Blend continues the tradition that John established with Wolf Blass in 1974 - great red wines, full of soft, succulent fruit, matured in the finest oak. For me, the secret of John’s Blend and Margarete’s Shiraz is their constant pursuit of excellence in every aspect of production. Small batches of the Cabernet Sauvignon grapes from the rich alluvial soils of Langhorne Creek and Shiraz from both Langhorne Creek and McLaren Vale are crushed, fermented, pressed and blended into oak hogsheads for maturation. A select, super premium label with limited production, John’s Blend is one of Australia’s greatest, albeit modestly priced.

In May 2019, following lots of arm twisting and pleading emails, Margarete Glaetzer finally agreed to send a small allocation to the UK. Quantities were, as I expected, small with less than one hundred bottles of each of wine available for sale. Consequently, and given the high demand, they did not last long.

Finally, and after a two year pause, our second shipment has arrived – There is no rushing the Glaetzers (Nick Glaetzer is the same)! I also fear we will experience a similar delay with order three as the 2016s were sold in Australia only and the 2017 was written off due to Mother Nature. The next vintage of Margarete’s Shiraz will be the 2019 and the 2018 Cabernet Sauvignon… We may see these at some point during 2022 or 2023.

Our relationship has blossomed as have our allocations, which have risen to 600 bottles of each, new wine. We have split the stock 50/50 with availability (duty paid) by the bottle and (under bond) by the case which will please those wishing to sit on a case for a decade or so…

We first sampled the pair in early February which were showing beautifully – we sat on a second set for the past three months as the R&R will have done them the world of good. Today (Thursday) we re-sampled, as we do like to see how a wine changes over 24-hours (particularly those which are built for the cellar). In short, they were both magnificent which our tasting notes affirm…

I hope you enjoy them as much as we do – Cheers,

Stu

Weekend Special

Offer closes 9:00am Tuesday 11 May

 

John's Blend Margarete's Shiraz 2018

98 Points - Stuart McCloskey "Extraordinarily fragrant with dark, sweet blueberries, mulberry, graphite and sweet spices – a little peppery red fruit too. Incredibly fresh on the nose. The palate delivers freshness and elegance by the bucket load. The mineral soaked fruit provides a rich, velvety depth that fills every facet of your palate without being too big. The tannins are fine grained. Effortless concentration and winemaking – I adore the ‘cool’ feel to the wine. Who said John’s Blend is ‘old school’? This is a very sophisticated wine with great depth and breadth. The finish is super long and full of richly spiced red and black fruits. Beautifully made with everything being confined by freshness. Exemplary. Drinking window: 2021 (decanted for 3-4 hours) through to 2040. Served using Zalto Bordeaux glassware."

98 Points - Magdalena Sienkiewicz "I sampled this wine over 2 days, coming back to the decanter regularly, even just for a sniff. The perfume develops beautifully and there is something new to discover every hour. Over time, I could pick up the abundance of fruit ranging from red to blue and black, as well as cranberry juice, plums, ink and sweet spices. There is a wonderfully elegant floral lift which I love, akin to burying your nose in a bunch of violets. The palate simply sings! It is textural bliss, so effortless and perfectly composed. This is an incredibly distinctive, smart, modern age Shiraz and its unique style and charisma certainly sets it apart. A stunning experience today, it will continue to develop for 15-20+ years (in the right conditions). Sampled using Zalto Bordeaux glassware over 2 days."

**Available for delivery from Thursday 20th May**

Was £31.50 per bottle

Now £28.95 per bottle

Was £144.10 per case of 6 IB

Now £131.35 per case of 6 IB

 
 

John's Blend Cabernet Sauvignon 2015

"Stylistically, fans of the 2005 Robertson of Clare Max V will absolutely adore this wine."

97 Points - Stuart McCloskey "Gosh, this is a serious, evolved Cabernet which comes across older than its physical years. The colour has a dark core running out to brick orange. Contrary to my Shiraz statement concerning ‘old school’ – Well, this is old school but that is far from a negative observation.  The oak bounds across the surface with some punch however, the sheer intensity of the fruit and liquorice provides balance. I have been sampling over two days and find day two more satisfying – the bouquet has evolved beautifully with chocolate, camphor, tea leaves, graphite, cigar box, cold steel, liquorice and blood orange dominating. Like the Shiraz, there is obvious freshness which I believe is necessary. The palate mirrors the nose – perhaps a touch more cedar. There’s admirable density and structure – rather muscular and not dissimilar to a Pauillac from Bordeaux. There’s freshness and energy all the way through to the pencil lead finish…  Stylistically, fans of the 2005 Robertson of Clare Max V (and there are lots of you), will absolutely adore this wine. The similarities are striking. Drink now to 2030. Decant for 3-6 hours. Served using Zalto Bordeaux glassware."

97 Points - Magdalena Sienkiewicz "2015 Cabernet Sauvignon is showing great class and a well-developed character. The perfume is brimming with ripe plums, iodine, dried cranberries and sweet raisins wrapped in aromas of scorched earth and dusty oak. The palate follows suit with a lovely touch of soy lingering from the start to the endless finish. Great structure which doesn’t overpower despite its confidence and abundance of rich notes. In contrast to the Shiraz, this is a very classical expression of Aussie Cabernet which will offer a fabulous experience especially to those favouring developed, maturing styles. Sampled using Zalto Bordeaux glassware over two days."

**Available for delivery from Thursday 20th May**

Was £31.50 per bottle

Now £28.95 per bottle

Was £144.10 per case of 6 IB

Now £131.35 per case of 6 IB

 

A short question & answer sitting with John Glaetzer. We warned you - He’s a man of few words…

The first vintage of John’s Blend was in 1974. Has the winemaking changed much since that first vintage?

No major changes since 1974. Last week we tried the 1979 and 1984 vintages of John’s Blend Cabernet Sauvignon and both were magnificent!!

Can you tell us about Langhorne Creek? What is it about the region that makes the fruit there so special?

Langhorne Creek fruit was used in the original Wolf Blass reds from vintage 1966 until this day. The area is recognised as very consistent with classic rich eucalypt / chocolate characters.

The Glaetzer name is part of the very fabric of Australian wine with Ben being one of Barossa’s great names and another of our exclusive producers, Nick of Glaetzer-Dixon producing some of Tasmania’s finest wines. Why is it that wine runs so deep through the Glaetzer family's veins?

I have an identical twin brother – Colin, the founder of Glaetzer Wines in 1996. He has three sons, Sam who was my assistant at Wolf Blass Wines and is now chief winemaker at Constellation Wines, USA. Ben and Nick - you know their history. Myself, I have two wonderful daughters (not winemakers) but wine lovers.  Our history dates back to early Barossa Valley (grandparents) and with our parents born in the famous Clare Valley but really no one was involved or interested in winemaking until I won a scholarship at Roseworthy College and Colin followed.

Do you all get together for family occasions? If so, whose wine is served at the table?

Many years ago the local ABC News channel produced a short programme of the Glaetzer winemaking family. At the time Sam was my assistant winemaker. During the close of the programme the commentator asked Sam “who makes the best wine – your father or uncle?”Sam’s clever response – “It depends whom I am drinking with at the time!!”

Do you source grapes from the same vineyards each vintage or does it vary from year to year? Can you tell us anything about the vineyards the fruit is selected from?

Grapes were originally sourced from Bill Potts’Earlyday Vineyard. The last few decades from Bill Potts’ Pasquin vineyards (80 acres of joint venture between Bill Potts and myself) and Teangi vineyard (Ben Potts – son of Bill). Generally 50% from Pasquin vineyards (25 years of age) and 50% from Bill and Ben Potts – some of which was planted in the mid 1960s.

It took 20 years for you to add to the range. What prompted the decision to start producing Margarete’s Shiraz? Other than the varieties, can you tell us a little about how the wines differ in style and complement each other as a pair?

As the winemaker for Wolf Blass Wines for many years the volume I produced for John’s Blend was restricted. However my wife Margarete, was continually harassed with lack of supply for many overseas customers. Both our Cabernet Sauvignon and Shiraz are rich and full bodied.

John’s Blend is one of Australia’s most iconic wines produced by an iconic winemaker and has remained consistent to its style since the very beginning. How do you feel John’s Blend compares to many of Australia’s modern wines?

I am certainly not biased, however I feel some of the new modern wine styles may have lost their way. Our John’s Blend reds are certainly traditional; classic, rich, full bodied with balanced oak flavours in harmony and most important, eminently drinkable.

Did you begin with a clear idea of the wine you wanted to create or was there some experimentation?

I was brought up with the famous Wolf Blass, his winemaking style was revolutionary in Australia at the time and for me no experimentation was required.

It would be hard to believe that any lover of great Australian wine wouldn’t have heard of John’s Blend or even the Glaetzer name but if there was, what would you tell them about your wines that would make them know how special they are?

1. The volumes produced are extremely limited.

2. My record of awards as winemaker at Wolf Blass Wines (excess of 3,000 medals), including trophies, gold and silver. Together with the famous Langhorne Creek region certainly shows how special John’s Blend Cabernet Sauvignon and Margarete’s Shiraz are.

Many people feel that blending is simply bringing together different grape varieties but Australia has become famous for multi vineyard or even multi regional blends. With single vineyard wine becoming somewhat of a modern-day niche, can you tell us how important the blending aspect is to your wines? Is it art or science?

One of the great things that Wolf Blass taught me from day one. From Wolf – “John if you produce a blend from two or more components that blend must be superior to each and all of the parts.” Of course before a blend was put together – many, many trial blends would be conducted. Regarding “single vineyard wines,” they are already a blend of two or more bunches, two or more vines, etc. All of our John’s Blend wines are normally blended “in our minds” in the vineyard. The complex flavours at this early stage generally will follow through to the final blend, so yes – blending is an art – from grape grower Bill Potts, to winemaking, to bottling.

What is life like now? Are you both still involved or have you finally found some time to relax?

Life now – after retiring from Fosters (the owners of Wolf Blass Wines) in 2004, I really haven’t had time to even scratch myself! I am fully committed to winemaking – John’s Blend, Gipsie Jack, consulting to many companies and travelling, promoting my own wine and others from the famous Langhorne Creek vineyards. I have not enough time to retire.

 
 

Team Vinorium have enjoyed a lot this week between them…

 

Stolpman Vineyards La Cuadrilla Red Wine 2018

97 Points - Stuart McCloskey “Pete Stolpman’s assessment is spot on; “A model of the ripe yumminess, the heavenly 2018 vintage will go down in history.” The bouquet offers an impressive concoction of soused cherry and sweet spices along with hypnotic potpourri, vanilla and liquorice. I love the aromatic depth.  The palate is expansive and weightier compared to the Para Maria. Layer upon layer unfold with ripe blue and black fruits – there’s a plumpness and sheen to the fruit with lavender, sweet spices and a little menthol contrasting beautifully. The tannins are silky smooth. Perfectly pure and for twenty-quid, this will leave you weak at the knees. Excellent.  Drink now to 2025. Served using Zalto Bordeaux glassware. 70% Syrah, 15% Sangiovese, 15% Grenache.”

£21.50 per bottle

Stolpman Vineyards Estate Grown Syrah 2017

97++ - 98 Points - Stuart McCloskey “Pete describes this wonderful wine as ‘screamingly delicious’ and yet again, this is a perfect summary. What a wine (it’s incredibly addictive) – the bouquet draws you into a heady mix of super-ripe blueberry compote, the sweetest and most heavenly spray from potpourri, the spicing is sweet and exotic. I love the minerality and sea kelp (a strong sense of marine if you swirl and leave for 30 seconds before inhaling). Hypnotic, in a word and worthy of  100 points. The palate is just a joy with mineral-laced blueberry, red cherry compote and unmistakable floral pastille followed by swathes of sweet spices. Velvety in texture and super-fresh. I implore all lovers of high quality Aussie Shiraz to try this – I bet £100 (donated to charity) that we will not receive one negative review. I am stunned. 98% Syrah 2% Viognier. Decanted for two hours and served using Zalto Bordeaux glassware.”

£25.95 per bottle

 
 

Topper's Mountain Wild Ferment Tempranillo 2013

96++ 97 Points - Stuart McCloskey “Tempranillo is a temperamental beauty which places so many demands on the winemaker - from warmth and sun for perfect ripeness as well as cooling evenings to retain freshness. AKA, perfect conditions. Topper’s sits 900 metres above sea level which aids the deliverance of daytime warmth and cooling air of the night time. The nose is fully mature and alluring with saddle leather, tobacco, cedar, rose hip, blood orange and dark cherry cola. The palate texture is perfecto – crushed velvet with ribbons of sweet and sour cherry, cola, smoke and sweet spice. The tannins are svelte and the acidity adds a judicious slap of freshness. There is much to like - superb energy and a very long, sappy finish. We sampled in Zalto’s Bordeaux and Universal glassware with the latter being our preference. It’s in its prime, but will keep for a few years longer (although I really don’t see the point personally).”

£22.95 per bottle

 
 

Shadowfax Minnow Roussanne 2019

96 Points – Stuart McCloskey 

“If there were a wine that screams of summer, this is it. The bouquet is a heavy profusion of sun-drenched, baked apricots, fresh vanilla pod, creamy fresh yoghurt and lemon oil. Aromatically perfect! The palate is riveting and offers a wonderful sense of energy. This is not a mouth filling viscous illustration. Instead, it’s high toned on the palate, light on its feet – the fruits and acidity are framed perfectly. Touches of baked apricot combines with a little saline character adding an extra layer of complexity. I detect pear after a minute or two – such a long finish. This is sampling much better than the first bottle shipped across the pond. Sadly, I have made a huge mistake as I should have purchased much more. Superb value. Drink now to 2025. Served using Zalto Bordeaux glassware.”

£19.95 per bottle

Ghost Rock Zoe Brut
Rosé 2016

96+ Points - Stuart McCloskey “60% Pinot Noir / 40% Chardonnay. I like the nose very much as it wafts from my glass with a crescendo of red berries, pomegranate, crisp green apples and chalk. The palate is super fresh and comes across more succulent and fuller compared to the Cuvee Catherine. The mousse is rich and the mid palate weight adds further depth and a lovely mouthfeel. The fruit is fresh and sings with ripe raspberry, wild strawberry, pomegranate and a little bitter orange rind on the long finish… I detect a little chalkiness and salinity too, which brings a welcome distinction to the fruit. The balance is textbook and the structure provides some girth. I like it very much, but I feel the cold, outside temperature and driving rain is playing havoc with my senses (take note to my score!) - the colour and flavours talk to me of the summer and not the deep winter. Unquestionably, this drinks fabulously now, but I would like to see a further five years bottle age. Served using Zalto Universal glassware. Do not overchill.”

£24.50 per bottle

 
 

Nocturne Wines Single Vineyard Chardonnay 2018

97 Points - Stuart McCloskey “Struck match, citrus, lemon and orange peel, flint, wild mint, spice and an unmistakable twang of pink grapefruit unfold from the glass. Like the Cabernet – the balance is exceptional. Crystalline purity is the signature along with a soft, powdery mouth feel. The palate follows a similar line with confit lemon, lemon grass and spice all fabulously infused with floral notes. Finesse more than oomph, nonetheless this is an exquisitely composed Chardonnay. Expressive in a reserved sense and will provide a complete drinking experience in 5-8 years. Gracious, and all the better for it. Do not overchill and ideally decant for 20-30 minutes. Served using Zalto Bordeaux glassware.”

97+ Points - Magdalena Sienkiewicz "I absolutely love the perfume - one I could easily wear. Lots of citrus and beautiful, crystalline minerals. Intensely pure being the driving highlight. Gentle floral notes unfold with honeysuckle drifting from the glass with more aeration. There is a hint of spice on the nose - fresh ginger, which carries on to the palate together with citrus and minerals. This wine exhibits class and purity and provides a wonderfully fine experience. Elegant textures wash the palate seamlessly with the poise of a tranquil coastal tide gently brushing the sand line. Ethereal, crystalline and I am looking forward to seeing how it develops over the years…"

Julian Langworthy (Winemaker) "In Margaret River it’s fair to say we’re pretty lucky when it comes to lovely, even growing seasons. Yet sometimes certain seasons stand tall, and the 2018 season may just stand the tallest in my more than 20 harvests. This is single-vineyard Chardonnay from the 0.37Ha Tassell Park site in Treeton. The vineyard is interplanted with gin gin clone and Burgundian 277 clone. Whole bunch-pressed directly to new, one- and two year-old puncheons, with no settling or fining processes. Spontaneous fermentation, with the wine staying on gross lees unsulphured until September of that year. In December the wine was emptied from barrel, settled, filtered and bottled. "

£27.95 per bottle

 
 

Wantirna Estate Lily Pinot Noir 2019

97-98 Points - Stuart McCloskey “The bouquet is a captivating mélange of wild berries, raspberries, wild strawberry, rose petal, orange rind with subtle and savoury nuances developing in the background. The tannins are silken and gently clutch to the fruit which glide effortlessly across the palate. Wild berry flavours fan out with a positive undercurrent of sorbet-like blood orange which I love. Clearly, Wantirna style centres on femininity, charm and a gracefulness without losing sight of the fruit or its place. Spectacularly harmonious with a long, mineral laced finished. Lily is just beginning her journey and will provide so much drinking pleasure over the coming 10-15 years. I am looking forward to resampling in a year or so. Decant for 1-2 hours and ideally serve using Zalto Burgundy glassware.”

97-98 Points - Magdalena Sienkiewicz "I will begin by saying – please, please decant these wines. I came back to my glass of Lily’s Pinot Noir after 3 hours and it unfurled beautifully. The perfume is simply wonderful displaying an array of sweet and savoury red berries, citrus and wild flowers. The palate has great depth and a fantastic weight – not light, not heavy, but perfectly delicious. Cascading berries are supported with an effortless structure which flows with much grace. The flavours melt away softly but they do not fade. A beautiful, beautiful wine. Plenty of class and elegance without turning lean. Superb! Sampled using Zalto Burgundy Glass following 3 hours of decanting."

£36.50 per bottle

 
 

Gemtree Wines Phantom Red Blend Ten 2019

97-98 Points - Stuart McCloskey “A blend of 61% Cabernet Sauvignon and 39% Mataro, which and despite its tender age is singing wonderfully from the decanter (we sampled after 6 hours). The bouquet is incredibly pure and defined by sweet blueberry, mulberry, dried spice, violet, pen ink and a flicker of mint. The palate is wonderfully structured with grippy tannins – a slight huskiness which will soften with some bottle age. Without stating the obvious, there’s a lovely natural feel to wine. There’s a succulence and coolness to the fruit which I find particularly attractive. Dark plums are in abundance – I detect a little cold metal too. Clearly, a super-classy wine filled with pedigree. Not only a triumphant Biodynamic wine, but a wine which exemplifies modern Aussie winemaking. Served using Zalto Bordeaux glassware. Drink now to 2035+”

97+ Points - Magdalena Sienkiewicz "Blackcurrants, mulberries and eucalyptus provide a strong hint of Cabernet Sauvignon which makes up the majority of the blend along with 39% Mataro. Although lush fruit dominates the nose, there is great depth and wonderful freshness which screams quality. The palate bursts with fruit, spices and herbs which show great foundations for a long, bright future ahead. Good grip from the tannins, yet they travel through the palate with a velvety touch. Great wine with lots of interest and in fact, I’m dying to see it unfold and flourish. Decant for at least 6 hours or hide it in the cellar, as this will develop beautifully over the next decade or more (in the right conditions). Sampled using Zalto Bordeaux glassware."

£32.95 per bottle

 
 

Coulter Wines C1 Chardonnay Adelaide Hills 2019

97+ – 98 Points - Stuart McCloskey “What an explosive and heavenly bouquet filled with candied peel, citrus oil, sea spray, fennel seed and confit lemons. The sweet and alluring scent of jasmine creeps in with more aeration. Take a sip, swallow, sit back and enjoy the complexity. The palate feel is simply glorious, expansive, richly textured, powerful (without being heavy), multi-layered and almost endless. Crystal-like definition kicks in and provides structural finesse along with mouth cleansing acidity (more confit lemon than searing grip). There’s pristine detail on show and the finish goes on for many minutes.  Again, we finish with sea spray, confit lemon and mineralité. In summary, this is perfectly balanced, a joy to drink today but has the structure to evolve for another 6-8 years and delivers waves of textural finesse. Very, very, very good indeed. Do not overchill. Served using Zalto Bordeaux glassware”.

97+ Points – Magdalena Sienkiewicz "Immediately, the vibrant perfume oozes and fills the surroundings with an abundance of ripe citrus, sweet figs and yellow peaches. Rich notes of sea spray and salty minerals frame the plentiful fruit beautifully, while a whiff of white flowers, beeswax and vanilla add exuberance. I keep coming back to the glass admiring this rather flamboyant perfume. Honeyed pears emerge with aeration and those elegant floral elements prevail. So much energy without losing its composure. The palate is equally rich and layered, laced with grapefruit, confit lemon, minerals and a creamy chalkiness. Superb weight with nutty complexities and mouthcoating texture. This is lip-smackingly delicious! Drinking amazingly now, but it certainly has the structure to evolve over the next 6-8 years. Sampled using Zalto Bordeaux glassware after 30 minutes of decanting and again on the next day." 

£24.95 per bottle

 
 

Flowstone Queen of the Earth Cabernet Sauvignon 2013

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 – Magdalena Sienkiewicz "A richer, more masculine wine comparing directly to the 2014 QotE tasted the same day. The bouquet is incredibly complex yet refined with cassis, cedar infused mulberries, graphite and spices. Delicate aromas of mint and sage add another layer of complexity. The palate is beautifully composed and expansive, but perfectly judged. A touch more grip in the 2013 with an abundance of minerals and earthy complexities. Superb length and structure with an intensely savoury finish. If 2014 is the Queen, the 2013 is the King. Sampled using Zalto Bordeaux glassware following 5 hours of decanting."

£41.95 per bottle

 
 

House of Cards Kings in the Corner
Cabernet Sauvignon Merlot 2018

96+ Points - Stuart McCloskey “Adorable and sampled without decanting. The bouquet is veracious and provides layers of creamy raspberry, dark plum and mulberry compote. Warming spices (white pepper) develop with more aeration and a touch of toasty French oak and cedar. The palate is vivid, fun and provides a Smörgåsbord of red and black fruits with a soupçon of dried mint. I appreciate the cooling feel / acidity. Dark chocolate / cocoa interplay with a little tart cranberry. Flavours build and change the more you taste (at the five minute mark, I pick up woodsmoke). This is a wine full of honest, good intentions which is admirable. Serve now or cellar to 2028. Decant for 2-3 hours. Served using Zalto Bordeaux glassware.”

96-97 Points – Magdalena Sienkiewicz "Cabernet Sauvignon leads the way with expressive aromas of ripe red berries, blackcurrants and plenty of beautifully leafy notes. Lots of herbs with bay leaf, mint, rosemary and sage jumping to the forefront. Darker notes of tar emerge with aeration. Its complex structure surpassed my expectations for an entry level wine. Full of flavour with the addition of Merlot (20%) adding to its deeply textural feel. The palate is awash with ripe red berries, blueberries, dried herbs, black olive tapenade and iron. A touch of dark chocolate and warming spices lead to an impressive finish. This must be one of the best value Cabernet blends to come out of Margaret River. Sampled over two days using Zalto Bordeaux glassware, which brings out more savoury complexities I find."

£22.95 per bottle

 
 

Domaine Naturaliste Artus Chardonnay 2019

97+ - 98 Points - Stuart McCloskey “This is a serious step up from Floris, as you would expect. I will be truthful and declare that all three bottles (since arriving in the UK last week) have been significantly more enjoyable than our sample bottle pre-Christmas 2020 (I will add that we purchased 360 bottles from our first sample!) At first, the bouquet provides a nostalgic twist of popcorn which dissipates with a little aeration. We move onto a nutty savouriness - toasty, a touch tropical (more caramelised). Savoury transitions to Yuzu and sea spray which in turn moves onto a delicate floral character. I detect a little bitter orange peel on the finish – I could be wrong? The flavours are built around perfect structure with everything being aligned and unforced. The fruit sides with citrus – lemon, Yuzu and lime with delicate oak spices providing a point of difference. The palate feel is luxurious, ripe but far from being overripe. There’s an honest purity to the feel and flavours. Citrus clean acidity and minerally fruit. Ambitious, but keeping one hand on the Margaret River style. That said, I am pleased to see a move away from some of the more ‘slender’ examples. Wonderfully bright, balanced and dances on the palate with mouth-watering acidity and a dusting of spices… Extremely long and will provide ten years of cellaring. This will be fascinating in five (note to keep a few cases back). Decant for 20-30 minutes. Do not overchill. Served using Zalto Bordeaux glassware.”

97-98 Points - Magdalena Sienkiewicz "Tasting all three Domaine Naturaliste Chardonnays side by side is fascinating, as each wine builds and raises to a new height. Artus Chardonnay offers a top-class bouquet oozing with caramelised pineapple, passionfruit, citrus oil and minerals. What I really love about the perfume is the whole array of white flowers, which is extremely graceful and luxuriant. Toasted almonds emerge with aeration. The palate is equally lush, brimming with citrus and minerals before the flavours expand onto toasty, slightly spiced nutty complexities. It is utterly sublime and ultra fine. This wine is an outstanding showcase of the quality to be found in Margaret River, and it stretches far beyond the typical style of focused citrus and marine character. Difficult to resist today although it has every potential to evolve beautifully in the cellar for the next 5-10 years. Sampled after decanting and using Zalto Bordeaux glassware."

£31.50 per bottle

 
 

Domaine Naturaliste Discovery Cabernet Sauvignon 2018

94 Points - Stuart McCloskey “Crafted to be enjoyed sooner rather than later. Nevertheless, there is so much to enjoy from the leathery / herbal nose which flows into cassis, blackcurrant and blackcurrant leaf. The fruit provides a lovely sweet entry with dusty tannins providing balance. Today, this is fun and immensely enjoyable. Well made, well balanced, energetic with a light, spiced bite on the end. Unquestionably, this will provide lots of satisfaction to those seeking a well-priced wine which delivers time after time. Served using Zalto Bordeaux glassware.”

94 Points – Magdalena Sienkiewicz "You have to admire the vibrancy of the Discovery wines. The Cabernet Sauvignon is no different and it offers a great aromatic interplay of blackcurrant, cassis, bay leaf and mint. A touch of new leather emerges with aeration, completing the perfume beautifully. Ticks all the boxes in the textbook description of the varietal. The palate follows suit and reveals a sweeter character than the nose suggests thanks to the abundance of ripe fruit. It is quickly balanced by the lovely herbal elements adding lift and freshness. An awesome drop which won’t ruin your bank balance. Sampled after decanting and using Zalto Bordeaux glassware."

£14.55 per bottle

 
 

A compilation of our favourite customer gift messages – Part One

 

Our checkout enables customers to enter a gift message which we lovingly handwrite into a gift card to be sent along with their wine.  Whilst most of the time these are brief messages of goodwill or seasonal greetings, we occasionally see messages which either completely baffle the team or leave us laughing out loud.  Below are a few of the most memorable from the past few years… We’ve also included a couple of the more unforgettable delivery notes, all of which we pass onto the courier…

 

Ruth divorce him whilst you still can. You have your whole life ahead of you. Oh and congrats on the new house.

 

Dear Dad, We didn't forget your birthday, we just didn't get our shit together until now : ) Enjoy the taste of Australia.. With love x

 

HAPPY BIRTHDAY. ENJOY THE BLOOD AND SOIL WINE OF FREEDOM. REMEMBER 1314!

 

I'd like to just say thank you both so much for the emotional and academic support you've provided me the past year. It hasn't particularly been easy, like most things in life that mean anything, but your compassion and... motivation... went a long way for me. As for the wine, holy shit why are there so many fucking types of this specific wine? I went through four forums of snobby Australian shiraz fanatics before choosing this specific wine so I hope you both enjoy it before this years academic shit-storm starts! if you don't like it, the alcohol content is decently high enough for you to able to enjoy it later in the semester when the taste doesn't matter so much anymore. Thank you again, and see you soon :)

 

Tits

 

Dear Frank! A little something to lubricate your way back to Belgium. Our best to you!

 

Happy birthday to my wonderful husband. May you continue to age well like wine. Love you always  xx

 

Try a selection of Australian Wines and see what you think might convert you.

 

Enjoy father but not all at once!

 

Our favourite delivery notes

Please leave in lobster if out with note through door to confirm.

Please leave with Beryl at #1 if nobody home. Ask to keep away from heater please as wine is sensitive to heat!

Leave with no 11 in the worst case scenario