It’s not a Black Friday offer, but it sort of is…
but it’s not Friday, so it’s technically not.
But there is an offer and it’s a big one!

Anyhow, just carry on reading…

 

Dan Standish and his winemaking partner and wife, Nicole, are elusive and shy away from the glare of the media. They are private people and incredibly busy as they manage the entire Standish production by themselves, which makes two-way communication as dreamlike as their wines.

Dan recently broke his radio silence for an extended interview with Decanter’s Sarah Ahmed, the UK’s leading authority for Australian and Portuguese wines. Her website, The Wine Detective is a great source of knowledge and inspiration. Sarah stated that Dan’s “single vineyard Shirazes were, without doubt, one of my highlights of the year” which I am sure we all agree with. It’s a great, three page read and full of fascinating facts, but we do not have permission to reprint the content (published in print and online – for Decanter subscribers only I'm afraid).

However, Sarah kindly provided some of her homework which we are thankful for – We thought we would share the same with you all.

I am attempting to get a handle on our 2019 and 2020 allocations as I am aware that Dan’s production is tiny – Perhaps 50% less than we are used to and as low as a 70% reduction for the 2020 vintage which will be released early 2022. Standish Wines remain our biggest seller by value with some £300,000 sold this year to date. Of course, global warming squeezes the margins in the vineyard, along with Dan and Nicole’s obsessive necessity to produce perfection (more barrels are relegated than are physically bottled).

Few critics sample Standish wines and those who are fortunate enough award them handsomely, as they should. Today, Standish receives the highest scores, beating Aussie Icons (Grange, Hill of Grace and alike) into the number one spot. Demand domestically is insatiable with few merchants offering key wines from the collection. The majority of the Lamella stock rests with The Vinorium…You would be surprised to learn of the volume we’ve had to ship back to Australia for our private clients.

Joe from RobertParker.com awarded 98-100 points for the ’18 Lamella and The Standish. The Relic (the only wine with the addition of Viognier, just 2%) and Schubert Theorem received 96-99 and 96-98 points respectively. These are sampled from the barrel hence the range of points. Conversely, Nick Stock (JamesSuckling.com) recently awarded the Schubert Theorem 100 points (I awarded 99-100) and placed this beautiful Shiraz fourth in their Top 100 Wines of the Year. 

Demand for the 2018 collection has been fabulous this year. Andelmonde has sold out, with Lamella and Schubert Theorem soon to follow. We have halted all trade sales for these key wines as they would simply disappear in one order. We have enough stock (if we’re lucky) to see us through to Christmas…

The 2019 and 2020 vintages and allocations: Without question, we will not have sufficient allocations to fulfil current demand, which is an anxious position to be faced with. But, we will do our best and will try to realise everyone’s wishes. As ever, our loyal private customers will receive priority over our trade clients, but I do fear we will have to allocate fairly with no ‘free’ stock available for general release. Of course, time will soon tell. I am also keen to offer an online tutored tasting with Dan and Nicole.  Small samples of the 2019 will be available to purchase in advance (just a few days mind you, as these will be decanted from standard bottles and preserved under argon) – it’s the new normal and something we’re getting quite accustomed to. We will keep you posted…

Today (Tuesday) the team and I resampled Dan’s 2017 collection which was blissful. Granted, these wines require lengthy cellaring before they unveil their true characters. However, I was super keen to see how they have developed since they arrived some two years back. My updated scores are below (along with the originals).

On the one hand, talk of not having enough Standish wine is a commercial headache. However, on the other hand, it pales into insignificance as I am fully aware that families will be worrying how to pay their heating bills and provide a good Christmas for their children. The Vinorium Foundation explains our work, please take a few minutes to have a read. Unlike many foundations / charities, we do not ask our customers to sponsor or donate. Instead, we occasionally offer great wines at daft prices – We take the monies from these campaigns, and use them in turn to provide families with a little Christmas lift. As we did last Christmas, we will be providing a £100.00 Sainsbury’s gift card to families who will struggle to provide a Christmas celebration. I accept that not having a Christmas is not the end of the world, but I am fully aware of the social and more importantly, emotional problems parents face if they cannot provide a gift or two for their children on the 25th.

I work with a local school and provide our donations anonymously, as many parents would simply reject our gifts – the issue of unknown charity does not sit well with these proud people. Last year, the teachers hand delivered the vouchers to the chosen families. The stories I heard of their appreciation were overwhelming and brought a tear to my eye and provided more reason to do even better this year. To date, we have the funds to provide fifty five families with a lovely Christmas. I must say a huge thank you to one of my customers and dear friend, Pragna, who kindly donated £500.00.

So, and taking advantage of the Black Friday nonsense, here are some ‘real’ offers which will delight you and provide more families with a better Christmas.

Summary of the two vintages

In short, tremendous and save for their 2018 collection, these 2017s are just as thrilling and comfortably sit at number two on our ‘best wines of 2020’ list. It is fascinating comparing the two vintages – there are so many similarities but subtle tweaks in the winemaking provides contrast. At this stage, I will put my neck on the line and declare the 2017s a touch in front from a drinkability perspective (albeit these wines do deserve a decade in the cellar to truly shine). 2017 presents a vintage in which the grapes ripened slowly, due to high levels of soil moisture and cooler nights. My tasting notes highlight the cooling fruit characters which I find particularly attractive. The 2018 vintage will undoubtedly be a great one for Dan and Nicole – the wines show the vintage off perfectly. Concentration, power and a denser style which reflects the warmer ’18 Barossa vintage. They certainly do not lack balance, far from it. But, and for the time being, I believe you would have a better ‘Standish experience’ if you opened the 2017s ahead of the ‘18s. Those seeking opulence, sheens of luxury, perfect balance and freshness will fall deeply in love with the 2017s…  

I hope you gain the same level of pleasure as I.

My very best wishes,

Stu

 
 

Special Offer

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

 
 

Lamella Shiraz 2017

99+ Points - Stuart McCloskey “After 12 hours in the decanter, it’s purring like a pussycat. The bouquet is blessed with a heady, almost exotic mix of lilac and violet – incredibly floral. Sweetness comes in the form of cassis liqueur, red liquorice and cardamom. The aromatics are extraordinarily pure with a good dose of mineral earth. The palate feel is as close to the sensation of cashmere as you are likely to find – dreamlike, as is the balletic balance. There’s a charming broodiness which is such an attractive quality. The tannins are pensive and provide astonishing structure - the symmetry and feel are almost Burgundy like. The fruit is lavish and fills the palate with cooling waves of black raspberry, raspberry, mulberry and damson – an entire Smörgåsbord of deeply flavoured black and red fruits. A multifaceted, multidimensional masterpiece which remains an utter privilege to sample. There are very few new world wines which offer such a profound wine experience. I would love to see Lamella entered into the Judgment of Paris - France vs. Australia. Served using Zalto Bordeaux glassware. Drinking now, but it’s a baby, to 2040+.” Tasted 24 Nov 2020

98-100 Points - Stuart McCloskey "Even at this stage, the ’17 Lamella is spectacular and bursts from the glass with an intoxicating and heady mix of pen ink, lilac flower, violets, cassis liqueur and liquorice with the faintest whiff of nori. The palate is full-bodied, ineffably complete with an overall mouthfeel akin to velvet - juicy with a super-lavish, creamy texture. The fruit component comes across cool and clearly handled sensitively. Layers of fruit wash across my palate. With aeration (4-5 hours) the dark fruits meld with wood smoke and dried herbs – ever changing in the glass. The tannins are virtually unnoticeable, as is the oak which is quite extraordinary. Granted, this wine offers an entire day of immediate pleasure, but it will be perfect in a decade. I cannot wait to see how this evolves over the coming years. Utterly magnificent and a privilege to sample such a remarkable Aussie masterpiece. Breathtaking in its infancy… Decanted for 4-5 hours and sampled using Zalto Bordeaux GlasswareTasted 12 July 2018

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

(Was £64.95 per bottle)
Offer Price £57.50 per bottle 

(Was £306.90 IB per case of 6)
Offer Price £270.50 IB per case of 6

Only 4 cases remain 

 
 

The Standish Shiraz 2017

99 Points - Stuart McCloskey  “Sampled after 12 hours in the decanter. The bouquet mirrors my earlier note with pen ink, lead pencil, iron ore, graphite, warm earth, violets and dark plum – A touch more charge than Lamella. For me, the overriding factor being the coolness of fruit and the absolute purity which I find overwhelming. The palate follows that same tell-tale line of perfect symmetry. The fruit is concentrated and provides wonderful depth however, it’s the graceful character which knocks me back. The balance is truly beguiling with few global winemakers possessing the talents to handle the concentration whilst providing the effortless lift of a butterfly. I am genuinely in awe. Cooling as an evening breeze by the ocean shore. Truly special. Drinking now, but it’s a baby, to 2040+.” Tasted 24 Nov 2020

98+/99 Points - Stuart McCloskey “Despite the huge reviews for the 2016, I personally prefer the 2017. In fact, I would declare all 2017 Standish wines superb and more to my liking. The 'The Standish' Shiraz is made from fruit farmed by the Laycock family in the Greenock sub-region of the Barossa Valley. Earlier releases from the now extinct Andelmonde and Borne Bollene came from this site – How wonderful would it be to see their return. Tell-tale Standish nose of pen ink, lead pencil, iron ore, graphite, warm earth, violets, dark plum and vanilla. Unbelievably harmonious for such a young wine – Seamless and graceful with satin-like tannins. The palate is sweet with black raspberry liquor, spice and offers a touch of relief with a core of crushed rocks. More and more notes build with time. It’s almost a life-long journey of an ever-changing scenery. At the risk of sounding like a broken record, this is another stunning wine from Dan Standish. Decanted for 4 hours and served using Zalto Bordeaux glassware.” Tasted 12 July 2018

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

(Was £64.95 per bottle)
Offer Price £57.50 per bottle 

(Was £306.90 IB per case of 6)
Offer Price £261.50 IB per case of 6 

 
 

The Schubert Theorem 2017

99+ Points - Stuart McCloskey  “Sampled after 12 hours in the decanter. Almost nirvana on the nose and very difficult to project into words. The emotional experience overwhelms. A profusion of Indian ink, lavender, violets, vanilla, cold coal and cold stone infuse harmoniously with saturated damson, plum, mulberry and the sweetest of black raspberry. A little sweet spice unfurls in the background – think Kulfi. The palate is full bodied, richly structured and packed with the sweetest of black fruits rising to plum and anise. Minerality provides relief as does a perfectly judged line of acidity, albeit caressing in texture. Here is perfection mixed with profoundness in equal measures and this will appeal to those seeking a touch more extravagance. Served using Zalto Bordeaux glassware. Drinking now, but it’s a baby to 2040+.” Tasted 24 Nov 2020

99-100 Points - Stuart McCloskey "An extraordinary colour ranging from midnight black to a rim of purple. The nose is intoxicating and utterly beguiling with lavender, violets, vanilla, coal, cold stone, ink, iron ore and graphite. The palate is full-bodied, richly structured, incredibly layered and beautifully defined - The Château Latour of Australia as this befits ‘the iron fist in a velvet glove’ perfectly. It’s quite extraordinary how a wine of such scale and age is so harmonious. The flavour profile and length are unending. The texture silken. The sweet entry finding its way to an iron ore and salty finish is fascinating (my last sip offered coffee notes). It is easy to understand why this was wine of the day (a difficult achievement given the calibre of the room). One of Australia’s immortal wines which has the potential to outlive most of us. Remarkable. Decanted for 2 hours and served using Zalto’s Bordeaux Glassware.Tasted 12 July 2018

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

(Was £64.95 per bottle)
Offer Price £57.50 per bottle 

(Was £306.90 IB per case of 6)
Offer Price £261.50 IB per case of 6 

 
 

 The Relic Shiraz Viognier 2017

99 Points - Stuart McCloskey “Sampled after 12 hours in the decanter. If truth be known, I struggled with this wine when it first arrived and refrained from offering my tasting note. Today, it joins the remainder of the collection as a strong family member, which has felt lost without it. Sweetness juxtaposes with savoury meatiness – a firm nod to the Northern Rhône. Heady aromas of anise, fennel seed and ink combine with the sweetest of black fruits and then comes a board of charcuterie. The length is astonishing and finishes with sweet fennel and studded salami. Wait a minute and then enters spice tinged citrus fruit with a faint tinge of blood orange… Umami, ocean-esque and sea kelp are more pronounced with aeration. To put simply, this is a contender for one of the greatest Northern Rhône wines (albeit from Oz) you will ever enjoy. Natural, unforced and certainly the longest lived ’17 Standish wine. Drinking now, but it’s a baby to 2050.” Tasted 24 Nov 2020

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

(Was £64.95 per bottle)
Offer Price £57.50 per bottle 

(Was £306.90 IB per case of 6)
Offer Price £261.50 IB per case of 6 

 
 

The 2018 Collection

 
 
 

Lamella Shiraz 2018

99 Points - Stuart McCloskey  "The bouquet is exceedingly floral with a strong marine influence. Warm earth, espresso, violet, mineral, lead pencil, and mint are just some of the components which create the glorious and ever evolving bouquet. There is more structure from the acidity and tannins which keep the voluptuous, ripe, and supremely concentrated black fruits in perfect check. Ethereal in weight. Fine boned with an immense future ahead of itself. Not as amiable as the Andelmonde but this is precise winemaking aligned with nature itself.  The finish is epically long. Drink before bed (do not clean your teeth) and you’ll be tasting it when you rise. Just incredible. Truly so. 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: The bouquet is explosive and speaks loudly of its terroir –Iron, flint, incredibly muscular and alluring. Very Côte-Rôtie but with a lick more sweetness. The palate is expansive and drenched with ripe black / blue fruits. I love the bitter espresso and liquorice finish. I feel a tad mean with my score as this is an incredible wine, and just starting out on life. I truly believe this will be perfect in a decade or two and will achieve 100 points. But, and for now, an almost perfect score will suffice.

£74.50 per bottle

£360.00 IB per case of 6
Only 8  cases reamin

 

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 IB per case of 6

 

The Schubert Theorem 2018

99-100 Points - Stuart McCloskey "The nose is an intense experience which unfurls with iron ore, marine, kelp, licks of salty wet stone, graphite, packed with black fruits and a lovely floral lift. The palate is medium-bodied, a touch more edgy, and perhaps speaks more of terroir than fruit. The marine influence continues through to the palate prescribing more umami flavours. Briary, with more pronounced acidity and fine tannins. Ink on the finish and incredibly complex. A real intellectual wine and deeply impressive. Decanted for 3.5 hours and served with Zalto Bordeaux glassware. Drinking window from 2020 to 2050++ but I would ignore for 5-10 years." 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 oxidation as the aromatics explode from the glass. Iron ore, marine, kelp, licks of salty wet stone, graphite are still present as is espresso, dried orange peel, fennel seed and warm, baked earth. The palate is super-concentrated – a tsunami of saturated fruit covers every millimetre. The mineral tone is a work of genius, An extraordinary wine in every sense.

£71.50 per bottle
Only 19 bottles remain

£360.00 IB per case of 6

 

 The Relic Shiraz Viognier 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 IB per case of 6

 
 

Five minutes with Dan Standish

Where did you study and when?

I have no formal training in oenology. I studied Chemical Engineering at the University of Adelaide (1994-1997). I worked in Sydney as an engineer for a few months before realising that I did not want to do this for the rest of my life, preferring to be outdoors amongst nature. The only other skills I had were from working in vineyards and pruning vines, which my Grandfather taught me when I was just 6 years old. To this day pruning is my favourite part of the winemaking cycle, I love re-visiting a vine you have pruned for the past few years to see how it has grown/prospered with your guidance. My winemaking mantra was always to try and make the best Shiraz from Australia. I would say my winemaking training is still under way with me experimenting on small batches each year to see how I can make the wines better.

Standish was founded in 1999, when you were still full-time at Torbreck.  When did you leave Torbreck?

(I was at Torbreck for seven vintages 1999 – 2005) Yes, the first wine I made was the 1999 The Standish from my parents’ 1912 plantings. I fermented the grapes up at Bethany Wines where I worked on weekends in the Cellar Door during my University years. I started at Torbreck later that same vintage after first completing harvest at Taylors in the Clare Valley. My best lesson in winemaking from Dave was, “If you want to make great wine be sure to buy and drink the world’s best wines, otherwise how do you know what great wine is!”

We know you produced your first own label wine in 1999, The Standish.  Was this from Vine Vale vineyard? We ask as we know that your 2018 The Standish comes from Greenock, what prompted the change for this?

Yes, The Standish was from the Vine Vale Vineyard from 1999 – 2009 (and The Relic from 2001 – 2009). In 2005 my folks divorced and sold the vineyard. This prompted me to find new vineyard sources for my business, you could say that this is where the current multi-site version of The Standish Wine Company was born.

I worked with the new owners of the Vine Vale vineyard up until 2009 after which the fruit was the least pleasing of all the vineyards I was then working with. They had brought a philosophy of “more is better” to the vineyard and began to fertilize and irrigate to increase crops, so I jumped ship.

Have you always had a single vineyard focus?  Was this influenced by your time at Torbreck?  I know Dave Powell favoured it for the slight rain shadow, for drier conditions and lower yields? What was your aim in terms of sourcing?

Yes, my wines have always been Single Vineyard, quite the opposite of the Torbreck model where most of the wines were multi-site, multi subregional blends. I love the fact that when you drink a bottle of Burgundy, the name of the vineyard is on the front of the bottle, you know exactly where the grapes came from. Given that I focus solely on Shiraz, this for me seemed like the appropriate approach, shining the light on the soils and sub-climate effects on the one variety. Shiraz is such a diverse grape variety I love all the different incarnations you can create from the one type of fruit. I guess my aim for sourcing fruit is not only, “Are these the best grapes that this soil/site can produce,” but also “is it profound/distinct enough from my other parcels.”

We notice that you source from relatively young vineyards on the whole.  Is there a reason for that?

 The oldest vineyard I currently work with was planted in 1858 and the youngest in 2002. I firmly believe that soil, site, clone, aspect and most importantly yield are equally important if not more so than vine age. Old Vines typically give us less fruit each year as they age therefore moderating their own low yields. As such when I work with younger vines, I work closely with the plant to yield crops of between 10–20 HL per hectare via minimising bud numbers at pruning, shoot thinning, dry land farming and crop thinning when required.

We notice that you source from relatively young vineyards on the whole.  Is there a reason for that? 

The oldest vineyard I currently work with was planted in 1858 and the youngest in 2002. I firmly believe that soil, site, clone, aspect and most importantly yield are equally important if not more so than vine age. Old Vines typically give us less fruit each year as they age therefore moderating their own low yields. As such when I work with younger vines, I work closely with the plant to yield crops of between 10–20 HL per hectare via minimising bud numbers at pruning, shoot thinning, dry land farming and crop thinning when required.

Do you manage the vineyards? Are any of them certified organic or biodynamic?

I currently work with 12 different vineyards all run by multi-generational vignerons. I work closely with the growers especially at pruning, shoot and crop thinning stages. I also run my own vineyard organically at the winery (2Ha). All vineyards are run organically, 1 is certified biodynamic.

Are all the wines made in your own winery?

Nicole and I run our own winery in Light Pass. We have no staff so do everything ourselves. Nicole is also involved in the day to day winemaking, especially during harvest when I need some help stomping the grapes. This temperature-controlled facility was built in 2003.

How many bottles do you produce per year?

Production varies from vintage to vintage as I only bottle the exemplary parcels in any given harvest. Total bottle numbers can range from 12,000 to 28,000. Our average yields were down 55% in 2019 and down by 70% in 2020, so we are expecting even smaller production over the next few years.

WINEMAKING

Tell us about your winemaking techniques…

I use open fermenters that are able to be sealed for pre-fermentation, cold soak and carbonic maceration as well as post ferment maceration if required. Long, slow cool ferments using only indigenous yeast found on the skins of the berries.  This is the case for all the wines; both 2017 and 2018. On average, it takes three weeks to ferment all the glucose through to alcohol. Old fashioned pigéage is used – foot stomping as it is more commonly referred to - as I believe it’s the best way to slowly extract a little juice from the grapes each day. We do this instead of crushing in one sitting, thus creating a long, slow and even fermentation. Post fermentation, we prefer to use old basket presses.

I use the eggs for the lees contact and I wouldn’t say they are my ‘new’ preference. They do however add another element of complexity to what could be a very singular single site wine. I have been working with Nomblot Concrete eggs since 2009. On cooler days, the concrete naturally cools as does the wine inside the shell thus creating a counter-current within the wine. The egg shape maximises the surface area at the base for the lees / solids to fall out. The wine is continuously being turned over the lees, keeping it fresh and vibrant.

New oak is typically used for pressing components that are kept separate as I feel the fruit tannin integrates much better with the oak tannin. Usually between 20-25% new oak for each cuvee.  The oak used is sustainably sourced from the centre of France, where the trees are grown in the coolest climates supporting a tighter wood grain. I prefer this grain finish, as the oxidation or micro-oxidation in the barrel happens very slowly making the wines more complex. The wines are left on the lees, in barrel for two years. Élevage of each wine can vary (from about 18-24 months) for each vintage and cuvee given the balance of tannin etc. finally, all wines are bottled unfined and unfiltered.

 
 
 

"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