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…
Stolpman Vineyards Estate
Layer upon layer of honey, honeysuckle, peaches, apricots, marmalade and butter notes, which cover every facet of your palate. This deeply concentrated yet vibrant wine is one the most mesmerizing versions we have sampled from Stolpman. In fact, and as we declared with the inaugural 2013, this is without a doubt the best US Roussanne money can buy at this price and in the context of value. Simply brilliant.
£25.95 per bottle
93 points - Stuart McCloskey
A blend of 75% Merlot and 25% Cabernet Franc aged in 50% new oak. The 2012 Montlandrie puts in a deeply impressive showing for its price tag. The bouquet evolves beautifully in the glass (I suggested decanting for 1-2 hours). Black fruit, iodine, pen ink with a smidgeon of graphite. The palate is medium-bodied with a good backbone of tannins. Denis Durantou’s style is written all over this wine. Focused, lovely poise and delineation. Silky palate feel finishing off beautifully with a grippy presence. Ceratinly an intellectual Bordeaux for the money.
£21.00 per bottle
Kirralaa Indelible Reserve Shiraz 2001
97 points - Stuart McCloskey
The 2001 Kirralaa showed beautifully and blossomed after time in my glass (I suggest you carefully decant and leave for 30 minutes). Lots of tobacco evolving to forest floor with a tinge of wood smoke on the nose. The palate is medium-bodied with beguiling complexity. The texture is seamless with beautifully sweet tannins. Harmonious, refined with thrilling natural balance. Simply a beautiful wine and a joy to drink now or over the next 2-3 years. Unfortunately, this was made in tiny quantities and has disappeared from the world market. Count yourself lucky if you are able to grab a few bottles of either the '01 or '02
£24.95 per bottle
Chanin Wines Sanford & Benedict
99 points - Stuart McCloskey
Almost a repeat of my introduction from the 2013 vintage - “In short, this is one of the most astonishing Chardonnays which I have enjoyed for many years”, however the 2014 just eclipses the stunning 2013. A difficult wine to describe as superlatives do little, if any justice. Incredibly graceful, almost a weightless elegance, feminine, magnificently detailed bouquet which expresses minerality like no other US chardonnay. The palate is developing all the time with a core of minerality. Presently, this is a wine that is all about finesse and elegance, as flavours will develop with a little more bottle age. Utterly magnificent! (Please decant).
£40.50 per bottle
Dog Point Section 94 2015
97 Points - Stuart McCloskey "Dog Point's Section 94 has always been a favourite of mine and can, in correct cellaring conditions, mature wonderfully over a decade. This is another example of a medium to full-bodied, textural style of Sauvignon Blanc. The grapes for Section 94 come from a single, low cropping vineyard parcel first planted in 1992. The fruit is hand-picked, whole bunch pressed and aged in older French oak barrels for 18 months. Every vintage has a funky edge which you either love or not. Those seeking simplistic Kiwi fruit pops should avoid at all costs as this is a serious, large scale wine that deserves a little respect. The aromas are taut, tightly wound with the ‘funk’ reducing with 20/30 minutes in a decanter (highly recommended). Tropical no - Yellow stone fruits in abundance with a vein of minerality appearing mid-palate. There’s a real intensity which is exceptional and rarely found with the majority of New Zealand Sauvignon Blancs. The finish is endless… In short, brilliant!"
Flowstone Queen of the Earth
98 Points - Stuart McCloskey "A wonderful and super-expressive Chardonnay which possesses staggering depth and richness, yet remarkably light on its feet. The palate is expansive and builds with a little aeration (I highly recommend a decanting for 20-30 minutes). Stuart Pym’s natural touch with his wines is clearly evident – I love the interplay and perfect balance between the fruit, oak, and acidity. Lots of energy on display which will no doubt help with its long and glorious evolution in the bottle. This will bring much, much joy to those who prefer their Margaret River Chardonnay’s with a little more substance and character (rather than the linear style which seems todays fashion). For me, this is as good as virtually any Chardonnay from anywhere and will be a spectacular bottle in another 6-8 years. Best served in Zalto’s Bordeaux glass…"
Dog Point Pinot Noir 2015
97+ Stuart McCloskey “What a welcome back after a three-vintage absence (for me, not the wine!). Waves of plums, mulberries, black cherries and hints of blood orange wash effortlessly across your palate. There is an intense core of rich dark fruits perfectly framed by fine tannins which is impossible not to admire. Certainly, an intriguing Pinot Noir which straddles styles and certainly would not be out of place with some of Sonoma’s ‘top’ Pinot Noirs. Utterly joyful and quite honestly soars above many of its New Zealand peers. Served in a Zalto Burgundy glass but I do feel a little unkind with my score – Perhaps another point (98+) if I had the patience to decant which I would highly recommend.”
Comprising six different Pinot Noir clones from vines dating back to 1983. Vines are cropped at 5 tonnes/ha (35hl/ha), hand harvested and hand sorted, prior to de-stemming (15% whole bunch included). The fruit is fermented in small stainless open top fermenters without pumping. Fermentation is conducted by indigenous yeasts over a period of 2-3 weeks prior to pressing into French oak barrels (40% new) for 18 months. Bottled without fining or filtration.
19.0 Raymond Chan “Full, dark ruby-red colour with slight purple hues, lighter edged. This has a firmly concentrated and intense nose of ripe black cherry and dark raspberry fruit with an amalgam of dark plums, violet florals and fresh herbs, and a suggestion of nutty oak. Medium-full bodied, the palate has a deep and concentrated heart with rich, integrated flavours of ripe black cherries, raspberries and plums, melded with nuances of fresh herbs, a suggestion of whole bunch stalk perfumes, violet florals, with nutty and spicy oak. The fruit is supported by fine-grained, flowery and supple tannins providing a velvety structure, with harmonious, balanced acidity. The wine flows to a long, lingering finish of black and dark-red fruits, herbs and florals. This is a rich, finely concentrated, ripe black cherry and raspberry fruited Pinot Noir with subtle, complexing herb, floral and nutty detail on a velvety, but structured palate. Serve with pork, beef, lamb and venison dishes over the next 6-8+ years. A blend of 6 clones from vines dating back to 1983, indigenous yeast fermented with 10-25% whole bunches to 14.0% alc., the wine aged 18 months in 30-40% new oak.
97 Points Bob Campbell MW “Rich, concentrated pinot noir with ripe plum, black cherry, liquorice, spice, anise and nutty oak flavours. A powerful wine that's a pleasure to taste now but has the potential to develop well in bottle”
Greystone Pinot Noir 2014
International Wine Challenge: Silver 2016
96+ Points Stuart McCloskey
"When I taste a wine like this, my only wish is that every customer could experience how a very good Pinot Noir can be made without the enormous price tag. This is a seductive, handpicked offering from Greystone with thrilling aromatics which soar from the glass – Dark red berries and plums. The palate dazzles with complexities with remarkable fruit intensity, crunchy red fruits with pure silky tannins. Phenolic ripeness is spot on and often a problem with some Pinot Noirs. Lots of pedigree and class on show and a wine that could comfortably sell for £35+ per bottle. What a gorgeous wine.
Serving suggestion for those hot days – place in iced water for ten minutes (no more) which does not deter from the wines deeply satisfying crescendo of aromas and flavours. My sort of Rosé!"
£19.50 per bottle
One of the best in 2017 and still unforgettable in 2018...
Robertson of Clare Max V 2005
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
2015 Eileen Hardy Chardonnay
2015 By the bottle @ £39.00
Buy a case of six @ £234.00 and receive 1 x btl FOC (£33.43 per btl)
Only a few chosen specialists are offering their new vintage with pricing varying from £41.00 to Hardy’s cellar door price of £44.00 thus enforcing what a super deal
our six-pack price is.
98 Points Stuart McCloskey "Less expressive than some 2015’s however, decanting for thirty minutes to an hour and serving in a large Burgundy glass brings this wine alive. The wine is silky, graceful with mouth-coating waves of life affirming minerality. Real breadth and depth here with a laser-like focus. I love the juicy yellow stone fruits and spices. I imagine this will be utterly spectacular in another 6-8 years. It is the nectar of the Aussie Gods and would shame many a white Burgundy at double the price. I recommend drinking this stupendous wine from now to 2028 and beyond (in good cellar conditions)"
98 James Halliday “From Tasmania, the Yarra Valley and Tumbarumba. Gleaming straw-green; manages to effortlessly combine power and intensity with elegance and glorious varietal fruit expression. White stone fruit is at the very heart of a palate that aspires to perfection. Quality French oak and minerally acidity play their parts, albeit largely forgotten in the wealth of fruit”
96 Points Campbell Mattinson, Wine Front “Hardy’s have been making Eileen Hardy Chardonnay since 1986 (2007 was made but never saw the light of day, or not under the Eileen Hardy label anyway; 2011 was a write-off). This year it’s made with grapes from Tasmania, the Yarra Valley and Tumbarumba. Long gone are the days when Pathway was Eileen Chardonnay’s driver. It is and always has been the best chardonnay Hardy’s can produce each year, and in that pursuit it is Chardonnay Sans Frontiers. This 2015 release has every base covered, and is every bit an exceptional wine as a result. It has funk, it has mineral, it has oak, and it has fruit, and each component seems hell-bent on making the overall wine succeed. Nothing here is timid and yet nothing here dominates. The wine tastes of grapefruit and fleshy yellow stonefruit, citrus and spice, the wash of toasty/mealy/spicy/woody character both clear and integral at once. Some chardonnay is powerful in the manner of a shotgun; this is more the power of a long-range rifle. Nothing dare scatter. It moves, as one, on through the palate and long through the finish”.
2005 Wild Duck Reserve
The nose is absolutely stunning with sweet blackberry, cassis, graphite, cedar and wild mushroom. The aromatics do not get better than this – Impossible to resist as soon as the wine hits the decanter. The palate is very expressive with blackberry, black fruits, tobacco, leather and cedar. Completely harmonious with everything available in perfect harmony. There is serious complexity here and the breeding evident. Effortless quality and a wine I would love to serve blind amongst more expensive 2005 Bordeaux. Flawless, simply outstanding and sadly, close to selling out!
95+ Points Stuart McCloskey
Wine of purity and energy, a true expression
of the terroir from which it is sourced.
Located on Barossa’s legendary Seppeltsfield Road, a famous ten kilometre stretch boasting some of Australia’s oldest and well-known wineries including Izway’s neighbours Torbreck, Hentley Farm, Greenock Creek and Two Hands Wines. Although Izway winery is surrounded by vast vineyards with stunning terroir and some of the oldest vines on the continent, Izway (unlike their neighbours) remains a tiny, boutique winery producing only a few barriques each year.
The story began in 2003, when a single barrel was produced and bottled giving the origin to ‘Bruce’ Shiraz. By 2009, the production of ‘Bruce’ Shiraz increased however, only to 575 cases. A picture begins to draw as to how ‘boutique’ Izway wines truly are when we compare with Torbreck wines who produce 70,000 cases and continue to be seen as small, highly sought after winery.
Older vintages of Izway are difficult to find. Allow me to define the word ‘difficult’ – there are two wine merchants in the world market in possession of the superb 2009 ‘Bruce’ Shiraz. Clearly, The Vinorium and one wine merchant in Hong Kong. Izway themselves do not possess stocks of this vintage, which may appear a little daft however, and as previously reported, it is not uncommon for The Vinorium to sell older vintages back to their original owners.
Hentley Farm is a great example when our entire holdings of their original bottling of flagship ‘Clos Otto’ travelled all the way back to their home cellar… Keith, the owner of Hentley Farm purchased all our stock at £85.00 per bottle which in turn is being sold at the cellar door for $600.00 per bottle. Not a bad return for Keith!
Vinorium Tasting Note (served at lunch 14th March 2018)
Clearly, a brute of a wine when first bottled however, almost a decade-on has unveiled a wine of amazing concentration, purity, and richness, but (thankfully) the heaviness has departed. A few hours in the decanter revealed a complex nose of sweet blackcurrant, roasted coffee and a little tar. The palate is a seamless blend of dark fruits with a suggestion of olive tapenade and liquorice, which and over time, will be more evident. This wine has enormous potential, complexity, and definition and owners can look forward to another 10-15 years of pure pleasure. I believe serving the wine on the cooler side of room temperature is best…
94-95 points Stuart McCloskey
DuMol Finn Pinot Noir 2014
The nose is very intense and does require a good hour in a decanter to unlock its captivating bouquet of dark berries, bilberry and sous-bois. The palate is medium-bodied exquisitely balanced with ultra-fine tannins. At times the ‘Finn’ comes across as something very powerful, at other times sensory. Certainly, a mercurial Pinot Noir which washes effortlessly across your palate. Extraordinary, a moving wine and
nigh on perfection.
Sadly, only 460 cases of this Pinot Noir were made for the World and I have four as this is something very special indeed
Stuart McCloskey 99-100 Points (two bottles consumed to date!) and, I am convinced this celestial wine will receive 100 points in 4-5 years.
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 (including 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
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..."
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.
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.
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”.
Anthill Farms Campbell Ranch
Pinot Noir 2014
Stuart McCloskey - 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...
“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.