Issue #169, October 2021

 

Without question, drinking the same wine from three different shaped glasses often results in three very different experiences, which and if you work at The Vinorium, is a tried and tested experiment and one we have run hundreds of times over. The same results have been found even when we have used the same glassware manufacturer, as the thickness of the glass wall and rim is paramount. Before I delve a little deeper, I believe there are several basic principles which should be delivered from your glassware of choice. Firstly, the presentation of your wine – often a wine of quality comes with a degree of ritual, albeit often a silent one – I acknowledge that an overly theatrical pouring of a bottle of wine is a touch outdated and best left to Basil Fawlty.

Nonetheless, there is an expectation when passing or being served a great bottle of wine, and that expectation can fall at the first hurdle if the choice of glassware is wrong (most restaurants need to take serious note). We serve wine daily, with respect and presented in a beautiful drinking vessel which not only creates interest, it heightens one’s anticipation and sets the tone for something beautiful to come… I can hear some of your groans – ‘A good bottle of wine will taste delicious in any glass’ and ‘you’re merely egging-up Zalto as you sell their glassware.’ You would be wrong, and on both counts. 

I have lost count of the number of times I have advised customers to invest in good glassware which and if you are canny, will save you substantial amounts of money during the year. How? It’s simple; the right glass for the right wine (even an inexpensive midweek number) overdelivers on the experience, whereas the wrong glass for the right wine underwhelms the olfactory and emotional senses. The team and I regularly enjoy a bottle of wine with our lunch – often samples or less expensive stock wines. There are two favourites; Hexham Chardonnay from Soumah and Hoddles Creek Estate Pinot Noir which we serve in Zalto’s Burgundy glass. To this day – the table reacts the same. Everyone grins and acknowledges how good these wines are however, and here’s the honest twist, we find them very ordinary in a different glass and not worthy of their respective price. There is a small caveat as the Hexham Chardonnay does drink very well from the Bordeaux glass, but it sings from the Burgundy glass. Both wines are unremarkable if served using the ‘Universal’ glass.

Personally, I only serve wine with Zalto glassware. My shelves of Riedel (even the extremely expensive sommelier collection) are redundant and will certainly be handed to my brother. I love Zalto for so many reasons. Visually, they are beautiful – they provide immediate impact even when they are empty. I love their delicacy and balance – weightlessness personified. Above all, they make each bottle of wine come to life. The complexities achieved from the bouquet are special, what Zalto can do for flavour and the senses is simply magical…

Of course, there are some basics worth considering, but this is far from an exhaustive list. My personal recommendations but horses for courses…

 

Universal 
Champagne / Sparkling wine, Riesling, Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Gris, Chenin Blanc, Gewürztraminer, Sémillon and ales.

Bordeaux
Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Syrah / Shiraz, Tempranillo, Brunello, Chardonnay, Roussanne, Marsanne and Viognier.

Burgundy
Pinot Noir, Nebbiolo, Barbera and Chardonnay however, I would be careful if the wines are very old. That said, and given the size of the glass, it acts as a gentle decanter – controlling the oxidation.

White Wine
Champagne / Sparkling wine, Riesling, Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Gris, Chenin Blanc, Gewürztraminer and Sémillon.

Champagne
Champagne / Sparkling wine, mature Riesling, Sauternes / Barsac, Madeira, Port, Grappa, Vodka and Vermouth.

 

What are the most useful glasses? 

Again, that very much depends on your palate and what you enjoy consuming throughout the year. For me, I use the Burgundy, Bordeaux and Universal glasses as I am happy to use Universal glassware for Champagne and ales. The remaining pair would be redundant in my home.

Each one of us differ and on this basis, you may wish to throw the above list out of the window and take your own journey which I believe is a great idea. I recommend you spend time with your wines and glassware collection and find the right fit, the one which works for you. In time, you will absorb all the finer nuances that wine and glassware can deliver – this is an invaluable experience, in turn building a deep knowledge of knowing what will, and what will not pair together.

The Acid Test I

Hoddles Creek Estate Pinot Noir 2019

£18.95 per bottle

Today (Thursday 14 October) I have poured myself three glasses of wine – nothing overly expensive. Let’s call it our go-to lunchtime Pinot Noir. The same wine was poured into three separate Zalto glasses; Universal, Bordeaux and Burgundy and with a hand on my heart and the other firmly gripping my reputation, these are my findings…

 

Universal

Nose: Juicy red-plum / red fruits flow to star anise and a dustiness which is not overly appealing.

Palate: Packed with pretty red fruits – tangy (perhaps a little cranberry) juicy and fresh. The tannins are fine, but a tad dusty and with a long finish – perhaps apple skins too? Charming, perhaps better and more balanced, if slightly chilled. It feels and samples like an entry level wine…

 

Bordeaux

Nose: The perfume is fascinatingly different and shows little relation to the above wine.  The fruit comes across denser and perhaps a touch sweeter. Certainly, more exuberant and inviting. Rather beautiful, in fact. Spiced, marinated plum, damson and cherry aplenty – murmurings of autumn. A little dustiness remains, but insignificant.

Palate: The tannins are fine and perfectly judged – the acidity is crisp and juicy which I really enjoy. I love the feel (it’s not mouthcoating, but plush and glossy) and the detail is exceptional for a wine of this value. It comes across polished and super-tidy. Cedar and undergrowth with just the faintest smidgeon of sappiness. Long, cooling finish. Very nice. Bravo!

 

Burgundy

Nose: Again, an entirely different outcome – The volume has been dialled-up, and by quite a few notches. Deeper, denser and sweeter – macerated strawberry, raspberry, fresh fennel bulb, blood orange underpinned by sweet herbs and spices – marzipan too. A whiff of dustiness…

Palate:  Medium-bodied with a glossy, comforting feel. Perhaps a touch more sweetness but the density (compared to the Bordeaux glass) remains equal. The fruits (red berries / cherries) are concentrated and balanced with a perfect line of acidity. The tannins are sure-footed and fine – if not a little dusty. Beetroot, after a few minutes…  it’s not an overly complex wine however, it’s fine, lacy and will please the crowds. All-in-all, this is a beautiful bottle of wine which delivers purity, flavour and freshness in bucket loads.

Summary

The Universal glass delivered a very average wine – reminiscent of a ‘pub wine’ if truth be told. Both the Bordeaux and Burgundy glass delivered a delicious wine, but a very different one. Of course, the Burgundy glass is designed for Pinot Noir and it did not fail – it came across plusher and more exuberant. However, those seeking a ‘fresher’ style of Pinot Noir may prefer the Bordeaux glass – the flavours and feel were tighter and fresher. Perhaps, more classical for the varietal. I shall leave this to your own preference…

 
 

Considerations worthy to mention.

Stem thickness occasionally varies which is very much part of the handblown process – there is an acceptable tolerance which the skilled team work to. 

We have waited over six months for our order to be delivered. Our second order was automatically cancelled as Zalto are a long way behind schedule. Only their ‘best’ retail customers are receiving orders with no, new accounts being opened. Our order was large (three, full pallets) however, and given that we are currently the only retailer in the UK offering Zalto glassware, we expect to sell-out well before Christmas. In fact, the stock launched on our website on Thursday and we sold 12% of the total order before we even communicated that we had stock.

And now to the most difficult subject; breakages post-delivery. To date, our record for a refund or replacement stands at 18-months post-delivery which is quite an achievement. Ordinarily, anywhere between 2-6-months appears to be the norm which is difficult when the glass arrived in perfect condition. Zalto are super delicate and accidents happen - our HQ ‘sample’ stock is severely depleted as a direct consequence of being a tad clumsy. Given the rising number of customers requesting refunds / replacements months after delivery, we are forced to implement new Terms and Conditions specific to Zalto sales, as follows:

• We guarantee the condition of Zalto glassware against defects of manufacture and materials however, you must advise us within 7 days of the delivery date if you find a defect.

• You must examine the condition of all glassware once in receipt of the same and immediately contact us if you have cause for concern.

• We will replace or refund any faulty or damaged glassware however, you must notify us within 7 days of the delivery date. Please keep all original packaging and provide photographs of the damage.

• We are not liable for any claim for loss, damage or shortcomings unless we are notified within 7 days.

• We are not liable for any claims of accidental damage once you have accepted safe receipt within the 7 day notice period. This includes accidental damage during the washing and drying process.

 
 

Denk-Art
Bordeaux Glass 

£40.00 per glass

 
 

£230.00 per box of 6

 
 

Denk-Art
Burgundy Glass

£40.00 per glass

 
 
 

£230.00 per box of 6

 
 

Denk-Art
Universal Glass 

£38.50 per glass

 
 

£220.00 per box of 6

 
 

Denk-Art
White Wine Glass

£37.50 per glass

 
 
 

£215.00 per box of 6

 
 

Denk-Art
Champagne Glass 

£37.50 per glass

 

£215.00 per box of 6

 
 

Denk-Art
Axium Decanter

£85.00 per decanter

 
 
 

Denk-Art
Mystique Decanter

£95.00 per decanter

 

The Acid Test II

One of our regular customers provided a fascinating examination of Zalto which he kindly allowed us to share (the test was carried out December 2020). I will say, and to qualify his experience, Patrick has a deep understanding of Australian wine and has been a serious collector for decades. In short, he understands more about Aussie wine than many who work in the industry…

A customer’s perspective and the most comprehensive examination we have seen – this puts team Vinorium to shame…

The glasses are beautiful and they unquestionably enhance the wine drinking experience. My lovely wife and I tested Zalto versus six other branded glasses and Zalto won by quite a distance.

The contenders:

1) Zalto Bordeaux
2) Riedel Ouverture Magnum
3) Tony Laithwaite’s Dartington Crystal  
4) Riedel Ouverture Vinum
5) Dartington Bordeaux
6) French rustic glass bought near Avignon many years ago
7) High end composite “unbreakable” wine glass for day to day use

Testing Criteria:

Appearance, aroma and taste

Testing Wine:

Magnum of Schubert Estate Shiraz Goose Yard Block 2006, which was decanted 2 hours prior to tasting.

NB: I have enjoyed this wine on many occasions over many years and I know it well enough to ensure its neutrality during testing.

Scoring system:

Unweighted criteria with Dartington Bordeaux set as the index glass with 30 points, i.e. 6 x 5 marks across 3 categories and 2 tasters

 

Medal Podium:

 

Gold:

Zalto 46 points - top 6 marks across all categories. The glass elevated the wine to a place it had never previously reached, in my experience which made me wonder how many hundreds of wines I have previously enjoyed at less than their maximum potential. 

 

Silver:

Tony Laithwaite Dartington 34 points -Tiff scored this glass much higher than me, I think the lip makes it look like a high end beer glass. Appearance aside, it was okay on the nose and in the mouth.

 

Bronze:

Dartington Bordeaux 30 points - pretty decent all rounder, nothing flashy but does the job and I think better than Tony’s etched special.

 

Disappointments:

Both Riedel options were disappointing. I was convinced that this must be due to contamination in the glass pre tasting but upon emptying, cleaning and drying - they did not deliver any material improvement.

 

Conclusion:

Zalto are undeniably the best accompaniment to fine wine I have ever experienced. The Zalto glass was at least 2 points ahead of the other six in every category and with all testers. I was particularly taken by the way the glass concentrated the aroma on the nose. Whilst Zalto is the King of glassware, there remains a place for basic Dartington and even composite wine glasses for those occasions where tasting discernment is low and likelihood of breakage is high.

 
 

Our first sampling from Hickinbotham. They’re magnificent and certainly memorable. Everything about this trio shows Aussie wine in a completely different light. Welcome to harmony personified…

 

First planted in 1971 to dry-farmed Cabernet Sauvignon and Shiraz, Hickinbotham Vineyard is situated on the high elevation hills of Clarendon, a subregion along the northern edge of McLaren Vale in South Australia. The vineyard historically produced fruit for many of Australia’s most iconic producers but was not bottled under its own label until 2012. Led by winemakers Christopher Carpenter, Peter Fraser and viticulturer Michael Lane – Hickinbotham Vineyard continues its nearly 50-year legacy.

The first vines at the Hickinbotham Vineyard were planted in 1971 by Alan David Hickinbotham, son of Australia’s first wine science lecturer at the famous Roseworthy Agricultural College, Alan Robb Hickinbotham. This 186-hectare property of rolling hillsides remained under Hickinbotham family ownership for more than 40 years until it was purchased by the Jackson family in 2012. The vineyard has been farmed according to organic and biodynamic practices since 2019.

The pedigree of the Hickinbotham Vineyard has long been established but, until the change of ownership in 2012, grapes from the 85-hectares of vines were only ever sold to an esteemed list of winemakers. With wineries including Penfolds, Clarendon Hills and Hardys, grapes were credited to flagship wines like Penfolds Grange and Eileen Hardy Shiraz. It was only Clarendon Hills that released vineyard-designate wines bearing the “Hickinbotham” name.

The first four wines to bear the Hickinbotham Vineyard label were produced from the 2012 vintage: Shiraz, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and a Cabernet Shiraz blend. These parcels were selected from the oldest terraced plantings which trace the contours of the undulating, hillside terrain and continue to provide a rich tapestry of qualities from which the wines are crafted each year.

The character of the Hickinbotham Vineyard is profound and produces famously resilient wines with highly expressive character. The breathtaking views from the top of the site down over the vines towards the Onkaparinga Gorge command ancient ground that is the key to the innate power this site produces. The cooling breezes funnel through from the hills above and the coast below and lend a desirable freshness to the wines.

2018 The Peake Cabernet Shiraz

 

Named after the late Mr. Edward John Peake who established the first vineyard and orchard at Clarendon circa 1850. Blending Cabernet Sauvignon and Shiraz is a famous part of Australian winemaking history and whilst the individual components of this wine are mighty, the sum of The Peake’s parts is magnificent. The Cabernet shines aromatically with notes of blackberry, blueberry and dark chocolate and provides majestic, long tannin structure. Shiraz fills the mid-palate with red berry, blackberry and plum flavours and lightens and elevates the Cabernet just perfectly. Fine tannins, balanced acidity and an incredibly long finish are the hallmark characters of the vineyard that epitomise this, the estate’s flagship wine.

99 Points - James Halliday

“From vines planted in '71. Hand-picked, destemmed, fermented separately on skins for 18 days, matured for 15 months in high quality French barrels. The best shiraz and cabernet are selected to showcase this long-time Australian blend. If there's a better one, I haven't seen it. This is a beautiful wine, red and black fruits holding hands as they so brilliantly throw off the shackles of the hot vintage.”

Only 25 bottles remain

 

Stuart McCloskey

"I'm certainly not discouraged by James Halliday’s score however, the tasting note seems rather uncaring as this is a beautiful, nurtured wine. Aromatics and flavours aside – this wine is almost in a class of its own in terms of its seductiveness (Margaux like) with ribbons of exquisitely ripe tannins. The freshness and never-ending finish is something to behold, what a truly exquisite wine. The bouquet is a touch more Aussie but dialled back nonetheless. Ripe blueberries and kirsch weave through to red berries, which in turn, lead to a soupçon of clove and cinnamon bark. Allow more aeration and fresh coffee bean and dark chocolate emerge, graphite and sweet violet, lavender too. The control is supreme and the balance is faultless – absolutely faultless with not a single strand of hair out of place. Everything about this wine is perfect and shows Aussie Cabernet / Shiraz in a completely different light. Welcome to harmony personified. Decanted for four hours and served using Zalto Bordeaux glassware. Drinking now (amazingly well) and will evolve gracefully for 15-20 years. This is going to be fascinating…" 

 
 
 

2022 Halliday Winery of the Year

New, UK Releases

Available for delivery mid-November

 

Possibly, the most longed for wine producer outside of our portfolio and one we have not worked with for several years, which was a decision we took based on commercial differences. Nevertheless, and despite not being the UK agent, we have answered your calls and set aside the disagreements. Interestingly, their export offerings have not changed, with the 2019 / 2020 vintages being released domestically. Yarra Yering normally wait 24/36 months before they release wines to the international market, favouring cellar door sales and domestic sales ahead of the rest of the world. Commercially, it makes perfect sense as their profit margins are much higher compared to their export prices however, it is a sensitive subject…

"...her wines carry a beguiling grace and breathtaking refinement."

Winemaker, Sarah Crowe continues to take Yarra Yering to new heights, which was highlighted with the ultimate accolade from Halliday; ‘Winery of the Year’ for 2022. Jane Faulkner and Tyson Selzer summarised Yarra Yering’s outstanding win by saying, “Sarah is an intuitive winemaker with a profound insight into the contribution of each component in a blend. Her acute attention to the finer details has elevated the beautiful fruit from this site, through less reliance on new oak, and the resulting wine is immaculately preserved under screw caps. Her wines in this edition hail from the 2019 harvest, marking the 50th anniversary of the planting of the vines. Even in this warm season in the Yarra, her wines carry a beguiling grace and breathtaking refinement. Every wine she has put forward this year is exceptional, and none more so than Cabernet Sauvignon and its blends – the true hero variety of the Yarra. In the panel taste-off for Red Wine of the Year, the winner of Cabernet and Family (Yarra Yering Dry Red No. 1 2019) went head-to-head with the winner of Cabernet Sauvignon (Yarra Yering Carrodus Cabernet Sauvignon 2019) and it effectively became a two-horse race. The blend took the honours and went all the way to Wine of the Year."

As predicted, available quantities are small with several wines not available to The Vinorium, including the Chardonnay. Despite this, there is still plenty to get your teeth into…

 

2017 Dry Red No. 1

Variety

70% Cabernet Sauvignon, 18% Merlot, 8% Malbec, 4% Petit Verdot

Winemaking

All hand harvested and processed across a sorting table, only the very best berries go into this wine. The Cabernet fruit is crushed to build structure through fermentation. Merlot, Malbec and Petit Verdot are whole berry ferments for fragrance and palate flesh. All fermented in half-tonne fermenters and hand-plunged twice daily, some of the Cabernet spending extended time on skins for complexity. Components kept separate in French oak barrels, only 40% of them new, until being blended just before bottling after 15 months’ barrel maturation.

98 Points, James Halliday

“A classic blend of 70% cabernet sauvignon, 18% merlot, 8% malbec and 4% petit verdot. Hand-picked and sorted, crushed and destemmed, open-fermented, on skins for up to a month, matured for 12 months in French oak (35% new). This is the serious side of '17. The aromas and flavours are still fresh and vibrant, but the palate, in particular, brooks no argument: this is a wine for protracted cellaring to allow the whipcord-tight structure to relax its grip.”

 
 

2016 Dry Red No. 2

Variety

95% Shiraz, 2% Viognier, 2% Mataro, 1% Marsanne

Winemaking

Fruit was hand-picked, bunch sorted and destemmed directly to the Yarra Yering half-tonne open fermenters. As much whole berry as possible is retained to encourage perfume. Some stalks were added back to some of the fermenters in order to contribute structure and aroma. Some fermenters added frozen Viognier skins to the bottom, some with Marsanne skins. The wine was aged for 12 months in French oak barriques, 30% new, before blending and bottling.

97 Points, James Halliday

“95% shiraz, 2% viognier, 2% mataro, 1% marsanne, whole berries open-fermented with some stalks added back in, some batches with frozen viognier skins on the bottom, some with marsanne skins, matured for 12 months in French barriques (30% new). The most highly aromatic bouquet with perfumed fruits and spices dancing on the forest floor, the palate a liquid expression of the bouquet. Alive with juicy, gently savoury tannins beating a beautiful tattoo, the finish drawn out by the peacock's tail of the multifaceted aftertaste.”

 

2014 Underhill Shiraz

Variety

100% Shiraz

Winemaking

Hand harvested and destemmed with no crushing to retain whole berries, directly to the Yarra Yering half-tonne open fermenters. Baskets of stems were introduced to the fermenters to increase structure and complexity. Basket pressed and aged for 18 months in French oak puncheons (500L) with only 30% new oak.

98 Points, James Halliday

“from 8ha of shiraz planted in '73 on a westerly slope. Vivid crimson purple; counter-intuitively slightly deeper than '14 Carrodus. Spectacular intensity and power, yet the detail is so precise that you can smell and taste each tile in the mosaic of the wine: black cherry, licorice, spice, pepper, tannins, blackberry. Paradoxically, because it is due to this detail that the wine cries out for more time.”

*We have received an allocation of just 36 bottles of both the Dry Red No. 1 and 2014 Underhill Shiraz (60 bottles for the No.2).  36 packs of three (one bottle of each wine) are available to purchase.  We are sorry, but the Dry Red No. 1 and Underhill Shiraz are not available as standalone purchases. There is a tiny amount of Dry Red No. 2 available by the bottle.

 

Buy all three wines
in this special 3 pack

 

Includes

1 x 98 Point - 2017 Dry Red No. 1

1 x 97  Point - 2016 Dry Red No. 2

1 x 98 Point - 2014 Underhill Shiraz

 
 
 

2017 Agincourt

Variety

75% Cabernet, 25% Malbec

Winemaking

Hand-harvested, crushed and destemmed into halftonne open fermenters. Hand-plunged twice daily with some extended time on skins to soften the Cabernet tannins. Basket pressing and malolactic fermentation in two-year-old French barrels for 12 months.

Gold Medal Royal Melbourne Wine Awards 2019

60 bottles are available

 

2019 New Territories Shiraz Touriga

Variety

70% Shiraz, 30% Touriga Nacional

Winemaking

Whole berry fermentation was encouraged with both varieties to encourage a fleshy fruit-full palate. Gentle hand-plunging twice daily for minimal tannin extraction. The individual components spent 9 months in old French oak barriques in the underground cellar before blending and bottling.

Trophy Winner Yarra Valley Wine Show 2020
(Best other single red varieties and their blends)

60 bottles are available

 

Vintage Reports

2014

Cool spring weather disrupted flowering, resulting in very low yields. A warm January allowed the ripening cycle to catch up, and ideal conditions persisted for the rest of the season. Warm days and cool nights brought the fruit to perfect ripeness at lower than average sugar levels.

2016

The 2016 growing season started off wet and cool in September with budburst slightly later than usual. This was followed by a very hot, drier than normal October and November which meant canopies grew well and fruit set was very good. Above-average rainfall in January gave the vines a much-needed drink and a refresh after the warmer spring and early summer. The rainfall meant that bunch weights were higher than normal and careful bunch thinning was required to achieve desired fruiting levels. The very warm season had vintage starting on February 8th.

2017

The vineyard got off to a slow start due to late winter and early spring rain came with cold weather. This weather pattern carried on through spring providing tricky growing conditions right up until Autumn and the start of picking. Flowering was later than normal and over an extended period due to cold, wet and windy weather. A mild summer with rain allowed Yarra Yering’s dry-grown vineyard to escape any possible heat stress, with larger than normal bunches due to the rain. But with perfect early Autumn ripening weather, vintage 2017 was another tricky but super vintage.

2019

The 2019 vintage began with a dry winter that delayed budburst but helped with an even berry set. A dry and cool spring followed until some late rains that assisted with canopy growth and healthy yields for the dry-grown vineyard. But warm, wet weather brought the threat of disease pressure until “the tap was turned off”and the season turned hot and dry. In January we lost some fruit to sunburn. A compact year, all fruit ripened relatively quickly and with good yields. The wines are regionally elegant but with a ripe, black fruit spectrum and ample structure.

Watch now: 2022 Winery of the Year

(Video will open in a new link)

 

Yarra Valley

 

The Yarra Valley has a reputation across Australia as being a region that is buzzing with creativity. With experimental winemakers, pushing the boundaries, creating a culture of ground breaking, innovative winemaking that is driving Yarra Valley’s reputation as one of the most exciting regions in Australia today. This tendency towards pushing the boundaries of winemaking has spawned a minimalist movement in the region and you can find many producers that are creating wines with the absolute minimum of interference, sometimes bottling the wines unfined or unfiltered.

We have compiled this case of six bottles showcasing a stunning selection from some of the most exciting winemakers that we work with in the Yarra region.

Yarra Valley Premium Collection – 6 Pack

1 x Hoddles Creek 1er Cru Pinot Noir 2018
1 x Wantirna Estate Amelia Cabernet Merlot 2018
1 x Soumah Equilibrio Pinot Noir 2019
1 x Soumah Single Vineyard Hexham Chardonnay 2018
1 x Wantirna Estate Isabella Chardonnay 2019
1 x Hoddles Creek Estate Pinot Gris 2018

£165.00 per case

 
 

Possibly, the most underrated
Pinot Noir in our collection…

 

Hoddles Creek Estate Pinot Noir 2019

£18.95 per bottle

95 Points - Stuart McCloskey Tasted using Zalto Burgundy Glass 

"Nose: The volume has been dialled-up, and by quite a few notches. Deeper, denser and sweeter – macerated strawberry, raspberry, fresh fennel bulb, blood orange underpinned by sweet herbs and spices – marzipan too. A whiff of dustiness… 

Palate:  Medium-bodied with a glossy, comforting feel. Perhaps a touch more sweetness but the density (compared to the Bordeaux glass) remains equal. The fruits (red berries / cherries) are concentrated and balanced with a perfect line of acidity. The tannins are sure-footed and fine – if not a little dusty. Beetroot, after a few minutes…  it’s not an overly complex wine however, it’s fine, lacy and will please the crowds. All-in-all, this is a beautiful bottle of wine which delivers purity, flavour and freshness in bucket loads."

More Yarra Valley Favourites  

 

Hoddles Creek 1er Cru Pinot Noir 2018

£30.95 per bottle

97-98 Points – Magdalena Sienkiewicz "Beautifully scented with sweet raspberries and cherries, revealing riveting spice and delicately earthy complexities with aeration. An elegant whiff of rose petal and mint adds a wonderful lift. The palate is equally fine and elegant and simply melts away slowly after wrapping the taste buds in a luxuriously soft blanket of flavour. The purity and precision is highly impressive and the balance between fruit, acidity and svelte tannins is astounding. High class from the 1er Cru Pinot Noir is never surprising and yet, it always amazes me. Please decant, as this wine really shines when allowed the time. Clearly, it will continue to evolve for years to come. Sampled using Zalto Burgundy glassware on opening and again on the following day, when it showed even better."

 
 

Hoddles Creek Roadblock Chardonnay 2017

£35.95 per bottle

98 points - James Halliday "Planted on an east-facing terraced hill slope. It's quite certain the wine was barrel-fermented with a percentage of new French oak, but it's been soaked up by the fruit. It's an intricately polished wine, the fruit/oak/acid balance sheer perfection, its longevity impossible to guess."

 

Soumah Equilibrio Pinot Noir 2019

£32.95 per bottle

97-98 Points - Stuart McCloskey “The most intense Pinot Noir of the trio. The dark fruit is lightly spiced and the most seductive of the trinity – sweet cherry and orange peel are unmistakable. The palate is incredibly fresh and juicy. I love the infusion of cranberry and redcurrant combined with the iron rich finish. Ripe and showing a more exotic side to Soumah’s winemaking. Lots of finesse and already showing bags of charm and character, but its glory years are yet to come. I am going to be harsh and award 97-98 points. It’s not there yet but I have no doubt it will be within 5-8 years”.

Customer review “Epic. Up there with the  Burgundys twice or more the price. Delicious sweet juicy flavours and great length.”

 

Soumah Single Vineyard
Hexham Chardonnay 2018

£19.95 per bottle

97 Points  - Stuart McCloskey “I love the nose with its steely freshness – racy and cool climate, sweetened with a whiff of poached pears. The palate is much fuller than the Upper Ngumby and will appeal (enormously so) to those seeking a richer style. There’s a lovely combination of depth and mouth-watering freshness. The fruit is evidently sweeter and fills the mid-palate gloriously. Stony minerality keeps the wine in perfect check. This is a chardonnay on full parade, just bumptious and proud to be. A touch of salinity on the super long finish. Bloody brilliant – it’s as simple as that. Drink now to 2025.”

Customer review “Sometimes when we speak of a wine offering great value there is a but... there is however no buts with this fabulous offering from Soumah it delivers on all fronts big time and is such a joy. To find a chardonnay of this quality and complexity at this price one has to doff ones cap in recognition to the fabulous team at the Vinorium for their research in bringing this wine to the attention of their customers. The more I taste of Australian chardonnay the more I am seduced by the world class quality of its winemakers.”

 

Wantirna Estate Amelia Cabernet Merlot 2018

£36.50 per bottle

97+ - 98+ Points - Stuart McCloskey “This is not powerful per se – more ethereal, terroir driven and as close to a left bank Bordeaux I have ever sampled from Australia. The wine needs coaxing from the glass - 4-hours in a decanter does the trick and delivers an extraordinary sense of minéralité. Supremely focused with tightly coiled fruit. Time being the only key to unlock its full potential. Violets aplenty which work wonderfully, along with brooding, dark fruits, laced with fine herbs, bay, graphite, minerals and sea salt. The balance is astonishing, the flavours slowly creep up on you. A wine which is utterly effortless, so pure and so precise. Today, this wine exudes intellect and detail – the best years are yet to come. Nonetheless, it is outstanding in its youth, but will be close to perfection in its prime (10 years in my opinion). In short, a very special wine which must be served with consideration and the mood to match. Served using Zalto Bordeaux glassware.”

 
 

Wantirna Estate Isabella Chardonnay 2019

£36.50 per bottle

98 Points - Stuart McCloskey “Time in the glass is the great benefactor (mine was left for an hour) resulting in a bouquet that blossoms and comes alive with buttered lemon, citrus peel, quartz, salty sea spray and chalk – vibrant and captivating. The palate delivers wave after wave of seductive buttered citrus fruit underpinned with razor sharp acidity. The density and palate feel are truly remarkable for such a young wine. I fear you would miss the amplitude, sheen, depth and glossiness if poured straight from the fridge (word to the wise). Yet another suave, seamless and immensely pleasing wine which will only get better over the next 10+ years. For Burgundy purists or those seeking something special, but do not want to part with £100 – this is the one for you. Compelling drinking. Decant for an hour and serve using Zalto Bordeaux glassware.”

 

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