Is a home to our personal favourites and a reference point for something a little special. The criteria is simple; outstanding quality, drinks amazingly well, super-value or (preferably) a combination of all…
Wine of the Week 7 - 23rd February
Cabernet Sauvignon 2002
Robert Parker once called the ’02 Henry's Drive Cabernet Sauvignon “Sexy, hedonistic and Australia’s version of a hedonistic vintage of Lynch Bages” which is a powerful statement. Today, there is a typical Pauillac nose of cedar wood, pencil lead and cigar-box. Lots of new saddle leather too. The palate is very elegant, beautifully balanced with slightly dusty tannins – the texture smooth and sensuous. This is Cabernet Sauvignon which offers sophisticated drinking pleasure. Still impressive and never fails to put a smile on my face (and that of several Oz winemakers who have taken a bottle whilst visiting). A stupendous wine showing all the hallmarks of a mature Claret. Just a joy.
(Purchase, leave for a few days for the sediment to settle, decant for 1-2 hours and enjoy)
Wine of the Week 6 - 16th February
We are huge supporters of all of Dennis Durantou wines from his famous Pomerol property, L’Eglise Clinet to, and what I would describe as four stunningly good right banks, which all deliver far above their respective price tags. Each En-Primeur campaign we purchase four, full pallets of Châteaux Les Cruzelles, Montlandrie, La Chenade and Saintayme. Currently, these wines are not favoured by many Vinorium customers, which and to put simply, you are missing out some delicious, incredibly priced Bordeaux produced by a genius.
Last week marked the annual Southwold Group tasting, which the excellent Bordeaux specialist Farr Vintners hosted. Amongst the group sat three respected critics including Neal Martin, Jancis Robinson MW and the great Steven Spurrier. 2014 Bordeaux was the vintage sampled and I believe circa 250 wines were judged over the course of two days.
I have not sampled many ‘14’s since the En-Primeur campaign, which and combined with the ‘Southwold’ tasting got me thinking – It’s about time... I opened a bottle of Châteaux Les Cruzelles, Montlandrie, La Chenade and Saintayme as I was curious to see how they compare and more importantly differentiate from one another. I was also eager to understand why the Southwold Group were so openly enthusiastic with La Chenade. For value, the wine is nothing short of outstanding (as is the entire stable) and becomes my ‘Wine of the Week’ however, and despite my opening paragraph, we are close to selling out (There’s a little stock left, some cases under bond and our 2015’s will be arriving by the end of March if you wish to jump the queue).
The ’14 Les Cruzelles is sensational too...
Wine of the Week 5 - 9th February
The Pennant Chardonnay 2012
98+ Points Stuart McCloskey - Robert’s 2010 was one of my standout wines of 2017 however, the 2012’s incisiveness and energy gives it the edge for me, which is quite a thrill. The wine needs decanting and opens beautifully in the glass with a stunningly complex nose. Perhaps the maritime climate of Margaret River has captured the very essence of marine life with oyster shell clearly evident on the nose. There is an incredible purity and laser-like focus without losing sense of presence or weight. I would argue the wines greatest component is its intellect and sense of balance which I rarely come across outside of (great) Burgundy. This is a magnificent and a benchmark to all producers in the great Margaret River. Drinking now to 2022.
97 Points - James Halliday - Gleaming straw-green; a high quality chardonnay that is ageing with grace, still fresh as a daisy with years to go before reaching its zenith. The bouquet is decidedly complex, the palate with grapefruit zest and precise acidity drawing out its length and aftertaste.
Wine of the Week 4 - 1st February
Glen Eldon Dry Bore Shiraz 2003
£11.95 per bottle
SAVE £6.05 (was £18.00 per bottle)
95 Points - Stuart McCloskey
How time changes a wine into some thing rather beautiful...
I confess, it has been a long time since I tasted Glen Eldon’s Dry Bore Shiraz. Today, the wine has come of age and lost some of its Barossa fat, which I believe the wine is all the better for. The nose is wonderfully fragrant with warm blackberries, olive tapenade, liquorice and a background of menthol which builds with more time in the glass. Medium-bodied with much generosity (but far from being a clumsy Barossa powerhouse). Roasted meat and saddle leather characters are developing beautifully on the palate with sweet tannins playing a lovely supporting role. This wine has bags of life left and will drink fabulously over the course of 3-6 years.
Dry Bore was never built as an Aussie icon therefore I cannot score above 95 points however, 95 points it is and very worthy too.
Wine of the Week 3 - 22nd January
Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve 2013
100 Points - Stuart McCloskey
Wow what a bouquet – This is such a fantastic Cabernet Sauvignon which reminds me of a top Pauillac - Château Pontet Canet / Latour come to mind. The aromas soar from the glass - Exotic, seductive with vibrant scents of cassis, black currents, graphite and cedar. I detect a little menthol in the background. The palate is rich and coats every facet. The filigree framework of tannins are seamless and support the wine beautifully. There’s a beguiling sense of purity which is something rarely seen. The finesse, poise and focus is quite extraordinary. Overall, the wine is effortless with layer upon layer of perfectly ripe fruit. The complexity builds with time in the decanter and I cannot wait to come back to this wine over the next decade or two. I cannot see how this utterly majestic wine could possibly improve therefore, I have no alternative but concede perfection and
add it to my legends list...
Greg Harrington MS & Owner / Winemaker Gramercy Cellars response to Stu's review
“Thank you so much for the amazing write up about our Reserve Cabernet! I sincerely appreciate it”.
Wine of the Week 2 - 12th January
Anthill Farms Campbell Ranch
Pinot Noir 2014
We thought the 2013 was something special, however the 2014 could well go down as one of the greatest ‘young’ Pinot Noirs to ever pass our lips. The ’14 is blessed with an incredibly intense, powerful nose - the perfume is extraordinary, almost exotic. Although young, the palate is showing beautiful structure, filigree tannins and is utterly sensuous. This is an irresistible Campbell Ranch, a little fatter and more generous than the previous two vintages. Effortless, mercurial, brilliant and will be better in 2-3 years...
Wine of the Week 1 - 4th January
“I was particularly impressed to discover a great diversity of geology and pedology in the Roussillon. The secret here is the coexistence of high quality entry level wines and pockets of rare excellence”
Michel Chapoutier needs little introduction as one of the greatest winemakers in the Rhone however, few know of Domaine Bila-Haut, Michel’s Roussillon property which he purchased in 2000. He purchased land in the village of Latour de France, known for its stony soil terraces and rich geological background. Here, incredibly old vines with low yields deliver minerality and complexity for Carignan, Grenache and Syrah vines. The white from the Domaine is the product of north-facing slopes, granite and calcareous soils, and a blend of Grenache Blanc, Grenache Gris and Macabeo grapes.
The quality here is stunning even at the entry-level and Jeb Dunnuck admits that “The straight Les Vignes de Bila Haut is a no-brainer purchase.” The only debacle is scarcity – only 180 cases of Bila Haut Vit were made in the superb 2012 (rewarded 95 points) and demand exceeds production further across the range.
These wines are not to be missed and thus we begin our weekly highlights of the 2018 with two incredible value bottlings of the property…
Chapoutier Les Vignes
de Bila-Haut Blanc 2015
£9.75 per bottle
Possessing fabulous notes of citrus rind, white flowers and distinct minerality, this beauty hits the palate with medium-bodied richness, bright acidity and a mineral-laced finish that keeps you coming back to the glass. An absolute steel to boot!
Jeb Dunnuck (erobertparker.com) “I continue to be blown away by the quality coming from Domaine de la Bila Haut, which is run with the Chapoutier team. They’ve continued to grow these Roussillon releases, and even at the entry-level price point, the quality is stunning. The straight Les Vignes de Bila Haut is a no-brainer purchase.”
Domaine de Bila Haut Haut Cotes de Roussillon Villages Latour de France Occultum Lapidem 2014
£16.00 per bottle
Occultum Lapidem translates from Latin as “hidden stones”, which indicates the dedication to express the unique terroir the vines flourish on. Granite, garrigue and slate lead the way in this seamlessly flowing wine, where the mineral core is complimented with layers of rich darks fruits, contrasting spiciness, which adds harmony and balance to the wine. Ultimately, this wine is more about elegance rather than exuberance however, the finish is seamless and never-ending...
92 points - Jeb Dunnuck (erobertparker.com) - Another terrific vintage for this cuvee, the Syrah and Grenache-dominated 2014 Cotes du Roussillon Villages Latour de France Occultum Lapidem was harvested between the 12th of September and the 3rd of October with miniscule yields of 28 hectoliters per hectare. Completely destemmed and aged all in concrete tanks, its ruby opaque color is followed by complex notes of garrigue, leather, plums and violets. Medium to full-bodied, elegant and layered, with a great texture, this fruit-forward, balanced Roussillon is already hard to resist, but will continue drinking nicely for 6-7 years.
Our Biggest Selling Wine of the Week (including 2017)...
Robertson of Clare Max V 2005
£19.50 per bottle
SAVE £10.45 (was £29.95 per bottle)
Or £74.95 In Bond per case (6x75cl)
96+ Points Stuart McCloskey (100 Points for extraordinary value).
This is an utterly magnificent, towering masterpiece and firmly sits in my ‘top 10’ best value wines of 2017.
“Unquestionably, one of the standout Cabernet blends amongst our entire portfolio. The ’05 is nothing short of spectacular for the money particularly given the incredibly expensive use of the finest French oak barriques money can buy. At age 12, it is still an infant in terms of development, and I would not be surprised to see this lasting a further twenty+ years. The aromas are majestic with a little aeration - pen ink, rich black fruits, lead pencil shavings and spice box. I love the mouthfeel – silky tannins, voluptuous texture and rare opulence not found at this price level. There is clearly a purity with this wine which is impossible not to admire. Let me be clear – There is nothing OTT about this wine as its presence and complexity outshines many a Bordeaux Pauillac. This is an utterly magnificent, towering masterpiece and firmly sits in my ‘top 10’ best value wines of 2017. Decant for 2-3 hours and enjoy nirvana”
The blend 66% Cabernet Sauvignon, 13.5% Malbec, 10.5% Merlot, 5.5% Cabernet Franc and 4.5% Petit Verdo