It seems an age since we launched the new, 2019 collection from Standish (14 February). We prepared and decanted the wines the day prior to sampling however, our plans were put out of sorts. Kent, and more specifically, the area which is home to our HQ received a substantial dumping of snow rendering travelling to work unsafe for my team. I drove in and spent much of the day sampling and jotting my notes down before carefully transporting them home for a little extracurricular activity.
I had four lavish, open bottles and had no intention of introducing them to my sink. Instead, I spent the next three days re-sampling and enjoying the quartet at my leisure. I will say that it is most unusual for a wine to survive aeration for 96 hours or for a wine to show little deterioration. Perhaps, and by Sunday teatime (decanted on Wednesday) a few bottles were a little jaded (emphasis on ‘little’), but all-in-all they were glorious.
We received two bottles of each wine, by air and two weeks prior to our tasting. As planned, we kept one quartet aside for a future tasting (this week) and the others were sampled for our pre-arrival offer. I previously reported on the perils of wine travelling by air – particularly after a recent bottling. Sample set one showed no signs of spoilage and they certainly showed no signs of being muted, they were beautiful and I made detailed tasting notes which confirmed the same.
Wines of this concentration will not change over a few years, let alone three months however, I was keen to see if twelve weeks of R&R would offer subtle changes to the feel and approachability. We will be conducting the same sample test with the 2019 Utopos collection as these were sampled straight after their respective bottling. From the get-go The Schubert Theorem was my wine of choice and delivered everything that I could ever wish for in a young, Aussie Shiraz. My verdict did not change until three days later when The Relic came ‘alive.’ Normally, this is the one wine that I struggle with the most however, and after 72 hours, it was glorious and sampled / drank better than my original notes. With this knowledge, one could open both bottles - enjoy The Schubert Theorem over the first one to two days, whilst The Relic is quietly preparing itself to deliver a wondrous experience a few days later.
Sample set two: These were re-sampled over 72-hours (Monday to Wednesday) as I was keen to see if my views remained firm. Moreover, and despite the obvious concentration levels, I wanted to see (if only for myself) whether three months would make a difference. I am experienced with sampling ‘young’ wines; Bordeaux En-Primeurs (for 17 years) has taught me much, although the controversy of sample presentation versus what is actually bottled remains, and always will be, a bone of contention. Of course, these are not barrel samples. Instead, these are bonafide ‘bottled’ examples which are a year further down the track than the aforementioned Bordeaux.
I had a good chat with Dan (Standish) last week. We spoke about all and sundry – the weather, Covid and Brexit (as you can imagine and Zoom tastings. For the record and despite lots of arm twisting, Dan has no intention of hosting one. He will happily jump on a plane and present in person however, the thought of hosting a tasting in front of his laptop makes his toes curl! We spoke about the irksome nature of wine brokers and the destruction they can bring to their family business (and to their global agents). We also spoke of his own 2019 cellar door sales, which launched a few weeks back. Dan informed me that his Lamella offering sold-out in under one hour (to quote him).
Our original shipment is close to selling out – 3,202 bottles have been sold which is a tremendous result. We have requested a second order for an additional pallet (576 bottles) of The Standish, The Relic and The Schubert Theorem however, the Barossa has gone rather quiet on me!
The pallet of Standish The Standish has been pre-sold to one of our trade customers. As such, there isn’t a huge amount left for this year… I did not request an extra allocation of Australia’s most sought after wine, Lamella, as I know the answer – a little dignity is in order. Our allocation was cut by 50% and except for one customer, all 2018 buyers snapped up their 2019 allocation. A tiny provision was and is set aside for the ‘4-pack’ collection. I am genuinely sorry, but and for new buyers, this is the only way you will be able to purchase the 2019 Lamella. That said, there is no hardship in owning the remaining three!
How were my ‘new’ findings? After three days of sampling, I found very little difference between both sets. To some degree, this has demonstrated that one to two weeks (post arrival) rest, is sufficient time to sample recently airfreighted wines. I will add a caveat, my own jury is yet to decide on the 2019 Utopos wines. I was not expecting a change in flavour profiles. In fact, my detailed tasting notes could not be improved save for subtle tweaks which would appear more pedantic than necessary. Essentially, each tasting note is now formed following six separate days of sampling, and I am entirely satisfied that each note provides a detailed look at their respective qualities.
This has been a truly fascinating exercise as I know Standish wines well. The 2019 vintage is summarised as texturally lavish, ripe, generous and structured. There is a close link between the winemaker and the wine which I particularly love – the sensitivity and nurturing is quite frankly astonishing. The coolness and gentle polish juxtapose the obvious richness with an almost magical and effortless wave of a wand. It is clearly evident that each wine has its own personality and provides a story of all of its own. For me, I believe Standish wines are ahead of most Australian wine producers and is where smart buyers go to purchase ‘great’ Australian wines. I have said it before and I will say it again, these are as good as Hill of Grace and Penfolds Grange – simply, infinitely cheaper.
There are some important footnotes: Decanting times are crucial – I strongly recommend a minimum of 24 hours, but you must control the aeration. I decanted for 12 hours and sealed the wine each night with a light veil of cling film, before tackling the next day. As I write, I am sampling wines which have been opened for 72 hours – they are as fresh / brisk and alive as the first minute I poured them. Glassware choice is critical – if you want to put my notes to the absolute test – you must serve them in Zalto Bordeaux glassware. Of course, the wines will be a joy in most respectable glassware, but they will not be the same (a huge subject we will be tackling soon).
Which one do I prefer? In truth, I love them all however, each day provides me with a different experience. Day one: I still maintain that the Schubert Theorem is the one to enjoy out of the blocks, however I have reduced my opening score ever so slightly from 100 to 99-100 points as I do not believe this one wine is superior to the others. Lamella is quite honestly the most mesmerising but requires a minimum of 24 hours. The Relic (with its 1% addition of Viognier) is so pleasurable and requires the full three days. And finally, to Standish The Standish, which and despite my original declaration provides all-round and unconditional satisfaction. I believe this will be the greatest wine from the 2019 collection. Let’s mark this note and return in 10-20 years to see if I am correct.
I live with Aussie Shiraz daily, nevertheless this experience has ignited a new flame. I plan to tackle the 2017 and 2018s next week, as it’s been a while. It’s a worthwhile exercise whilst I sleep and breathe the 2019s…
Enjoy them all,
Existing, Pre-Arrival Orders
Customers of our 4 and 12 bottle packs: The stock has arrived at our HQ and we plan to dispatch on Tuesday for arrival on Wednesday 2 June. Please shout if you are unhappy with this delivery schedule. Email email@example.com
Save for Lamella, each wine is now available to purchase by the bottle – we will be shipping your orders as soon as they are received. We have included the 4-pack collection which will remain until the last allocated bottle of Lamella is sold. Then, we will offer the trio (The Relic, The Schubert Theorem and Standish The Standish).
2019 The Relic Shiraz Viognier
99-100 Points - Stuart McCloskey "Demure and beguiling are the best, two words to describe the bouquet. I am fascinated by the perfume which offers the full spectrum of ‘marine’ influences ranging from salinity to sea kelp, to hot oyster shell melded perfectly with cold stones, iron ore, black liquorice to milky earl grey. The palate is extremely well poised and ineffably pure. Despite the wine’s muscularity, this still manages to provide such grace and femininity which I find beguiling. Clearly this beauty is finely chiselled, agile and perfectly controlled despite its fleshiness. I love the whispers of white pepper which linger for an age. Ripe, black fruits tinged with orange rind flood the palate. Totally effortless, sensual, precise and without fault. An astonishing wine and one that will provide fifty years of pleasure. I cannot wait to resample in six months. Served using Zalto Bordeaux glassware.”
A few technical words from Dan: Hongell Family Vineyard, Krondorf. Planted on own roots in 1991. Clay Loam over weathered bedrock with intermittent bands of quartz. Shiraz grown in this part of the Barossa tends to be very aggressively tannic. We planted a single row of Viognier alongside the Shiraz which is picked altogether on the same morning. The co-fermentation of even a tiny amount of Viognier not only adds heady aromatics to the mix but also softens the otherwise firm tannins.
£400.00 per case (6x75cl)
99-100 Points - Stuart McCloskey “The bouquet is a mesmeric and heady mix of dark cocoa, mocha, graphite, iodine, mineral accented black and blue fruit (almost liqueur-like), Crème de mûre, mulberry, woody spice box, so exotic, blood orange and all brushed with a wand of dried lavender. A little musk on round two with the dried spice box on the finish. The palate is extremely dense, full-bodied and demands your attention. As with Lamella, this packs a concentrated punch, but carries no excess weight. The fruits are sweet, expansive and reach those hard to find areas. Monolithic but with so much grace and skill on show. Spice cake and violet pastille interwind with damson and blueberry compote. Black cherry too with the faintest whisper of vanilla. The mineral laced fruit component builds and builds as does the power that knocks you sideways. This is exquisitely balanced with tannins that provide a little edgy grip. The finish is never-ending as it keeps giving. More spice and I adore the marine / saline tinge. Served using Zalto Bordeaux glassware. Drinking window; Yet another one for the cellar and requires a decade to truly unfurl, but and with 24 hours in the decanter, will provide you with a special, vinous moment. Unless you’re below the age of 30, this will outlive us all…”
A few technical words from Dan: Laycock Family Vineyard, Parbs Road, Greenock - 100% Shiraz. Planted on own roots in 2002 (5.39 Hectare – 9ft x 6ft spacing). Ironstone gravels and layered schist on a bedrock of solid ironstone at 314m above sea level. With its easterly aspect protecting it from the harsh western afternoon sun and the gentle sloped gravels draining away any untimely excess rainfall. Bedded deep on their own roots in fragmented ironstone and layered schist this Shiraz clone is in its element.
£400.00 per case (6x75cl)
2019 The Schubert Theorem
99-100 Points - Stuart McCloskey “The ’19 Schubert Theorem provides a bouquet which is quite frankly haunting in its beauty and leaves me struggling to find a starting point. The perfume is so exotic and is juxtaposed between mineral laced black fruit to a heady mix of wildflowers. Damsons, mulberry, cold steel, sea kelp, graphite, violets, lavender are just a few of the aromatics – this is quite honestly bottomless with its offering. The unerring sense of purity is staggering. The palate is saturated with super concentrated blueberry, blackberry and plum complemented by this overwhelming sense of mineralité. The palate feel is sensual and seductive – almost creamy in texture, but this camouflages the seriousness of the wine’s structure, which is huge. The chalky tannins provide a little relief as do the whispers of lavender, black liquorice and a marine undercurrent that I adore. There’s a density and richness that is obvious, but with no excess weight. A towering and remarkable wine, which simply leaves me in awe… . Served using Zalto Bordeaux glassware. Drinking window; Another one for the cellar but can be approached with 24 hours in the decanter. In many ways, this is already a perfect wine, but in 20-30 years’ time, will provide something otherworldly. Until then, be satisfied with perfection…”
A few technical words from Dan: 100% Shiraz - Sourced from various sections of the Schubert Family Vineyard – Roennfeldt Road, Marananga. Planted on own roots between 1994 & 1999 (12ft x 8ft spacing). Deep red/brown earths with eroded protrusions of crystalline quartz and mica-schist between 272-296m above sea level.
£400.00 per case (6x75cl)
99-100 Points - Stuart McCloskey “The ’19 Lamella is without question a powerful and concentrated release. The bouquet offers warm earth, espresso, violet, mineral, lead pencil, bay leaf, dried herbs wrapped in a blanket of concentred black raspberry and dark, brambly fruits. Iron ore and that unmissable drift of marine unfurl beautifully along with a stronger accent of graphite. The palate is, as one would expect, full bodied and hurtles forward with enormous power and the backbone of a blue whale. This is monolithic in stature, but the wine’s symmetry is masterful – the breadth, depth and length all categorised as ‘incredible.’ The oak is seamlessly integrated, the balance perfect and the acidity adding a faultless nip of freshness. Waves of multi layered black fruits infused with minerals, with glimpses of lavender emerging. There’s an exotic quality to the fruit which adds to the hedonistic pleasure. The sheen is to die for and I love the textural brilliance. It’s one of those rare wines which leaves you in amazement. Served using Zalto Bordeaux glassware. Drinking window; Alas, this is one for the cellar and requires a decade to unfurl, but and with 24 hours in the decanter, this will provide you with a special moment in your life. This will be perfect in 20-30 years and will live on for 50-70 years (if not a century).”
Available only in our Special Four Pack
1 x 2019 Standish Lamella
1 x 2019 Standish The Relic
1 x 2019 Standish The Standish
1 x 2019 Standish The Schubert Theorem
An interview with Erin Larkin
Do not miss Sunday's Weekend Read: We spent time (lots of time) with Erin Larkin – the highly regarded wine writer, judge, regional taster for the Halliday Wine Companion and a regular contributor to the Halliday Wine Companion Magazine. We also reveal Erin’s 2019 Standish collection video…