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…
Paul Lato Il Padrino Syrah 2014
99 points Stuart McCloskey "A wine which offers a special level of purity from the outset and riveting from beginning to end. The nose is flamboyant, intensely perfumed and layered beautifully with plum, liquorice, asphalt, turning to roasted coffee with more aeration. The palate is seamless and washes sweet fruit across every facet with effortless grace. Sweet raspberry, cassis and violets with a touch of background spice. The tannins are fine with perfectly judged acidity, neither of which interrupts the super-long finish. This wine highlights Paul’s natural skill to understand the correlation between vineyard, grape and wine, which is often amiss. A captivating wine of ethereal grace and magical beauty opposed to a dense powerhouse. A US Syrah masterpiece for sure which will only get better over the next decade (sampled using Zalto Bordeaux glass)"
House of Arras 2007 Grand Vintage
£25.95 per bottle
£109.00 per case (6x75cl) IB
97+ points Stuart McCloskey "Fruit (Chardonnay 78% & Pinot Noir 22%) for the ’07 Grand Vintage was hand-picked from cold climate Derwent Valley, Freycinet & Coal River Valley vineyards prior to gentle whole bunch pressing, from which only free run juice was collected. Primary fermentation was undertaken on light lees, followed by 100% malolactic fermentation. Disgorged after 8 years.
Served using Zalto’s Universal Glass (please do not use a flute!). Everything is sensational from start to finish with the level of richness juxtaposed with perfectly carved acidity. The nose is incredibly expansive with aromatics soaring from the glass, which gain with intensity with more air contact. The palate is deep, evolved, explosive with superb textural depth. My palate is washed with waves of red fruit, wild flowers and honeyed brioche, which are layered to perfection with minerals, a touch of citrus peel and nutty yeast autolysis character – Just divine. Without question, a very fine sparkling wine which offers sophistication and a wealth of pleasure. Thrilling and will continue to be so for a further 10+ years…"
Glaetzer-Dixon 2017 Avancé Pinot Noir
96+ Points - Stuart McCloskey “The Pinot Noir for the ’17 Avancé was sourced from three vineyards in Southern Tasmania’s Upper Derwent and Coal Valleys. Sweet, succulent entry with an abundance of red cherries, wild strawberry, plums and sweet spices all laced together with bright, perfectly judged acidity. Medium-bodied, with pure silky tannins. The quality of racy, plush fruit is exquisite however, it’s the wines overall balance and completeness which stands out the most. You will have to look very hard to find a better buy for the money.
A wine of pure and total pleasure. Just gorgeous and not to be missed”.
Served in Zalto Burgundy glass (Highly-Recommended by the way! ), drinking beautifully now but will develop over the next 3-6 years.
Henry's Drive 2002 Cabernet Sauvignon
* Special 12 bottle case price of £8.25 per bottle *
Stuart McCloskey "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
Jamsheed, 2016 Beechworth Roussanne
97 Points Stuart McCloskey “Unlike many Roussanne’s - The palate has a sense of natural balance and everything is played down, not a hair out of place. The palate is captivating with breathtaking purity and clarity. Structurally, think very expensive Burgundy. Buttered toast and lemon curd which I, quite frankly, find irresistible. The weight and quality of the fruit glides across the palate with much flair. The flavour profiles fan out gloriously towards a mineral-rich finish juxtaposed with candied lemon peel. Total inviting now but will undoubtedly be at its pinnacle in 3-5 years. Thrilling, individual and certainly one of my favourite Roussanne’s”.
Weingut Keller Riesling 2015 Von der Fels
96 Points Stuart McCloskey “The 2015 is just starting to reveal itself with wonderful purity and precision. The nose offers smoked slate, minerals and fresh apple. The palate is highly elegant whilst retaining the energy of a young, supremely tensioned Riesling. Von der Fels is one of the best examples of dry German Riesling available at any price point. The grapes which form Von der Fels come from the younger (20-25 year) old vines of Klaus-Peter’s Grosses Gewächs (Great Growth / Grand Cru) parcels, which are the sites that produce the very top dry wines of Germany. Grosses Gewächs' start around £120 with his top G-Max wines selling globally around £2,200 per bottle. This is a real gem with exquisite precision, refinement and crystalline minerals. Although quantities are strictly limited, this wine is a must purchase if you are a Riesling lover.
Powell & Son 2017 Roussanne Marsanne
97+ Points Stuart McCloskey "Sharply focused, linear with a vibrancy which I wasn’t expecting. The floral character comes to the fore which compliments the nashi pear, peach, melon and suggestion of jasmine brilliantly. The palate is expansive with swathes of buttered citrus fruits underpinned with a core of minerals. I’ll be brutally honest, I was expecting a voluptuous Barossa bombshell. Instead, I received an unexpected balancing act between litheness and precision which is extremely impressive. This is one of those rare wines which floats on the palate but delivers to every millimetre. Drinking beautifully now (decant for 20 mins) but will cellar for 8-10 years."
Watershed Awakening Cabernet Sauvignon 2010
Limited to 6 bottles per customer
7 Trophies including: Perth Royal Best Cabernet, Best Wine of Show, Best Red Table Wine, Best Western Australian Wine, Best Western Australian Red, Best of 2010 & Canberra National, multi Gold Medals Mundus Vini, Qantas Wine Show, Margaret River and Canberra National firmly places Watershed’s 2010 Awakening Cabernet Sauvignon amongst Australia’s select elite.
98-99 Points Stuart McCloskey “A magical Cabernet Sauvignon which conquers all the senses. Utterly refined, complex wine offering notes of blackberry, violets, crème de cassis laced together with mineral notes. Silky and seamless with ripe fruit gliding across your palate with phenomenal balance and purity. Elegant but with a real sense of energy. The wines pedigree and overall class simply cannot be denied. A truly great wine which will age effortlessly for one to two decades, however there is no reason to delay your enjoyment. There’s not much more I can say than customers lucky enough to enjoy the 2010 will know it right away. What a superb wine this is. Decanted for 3 hours and served in Zalto Bordeaux glassware”.
Stolpman Vineyards 2015 L'Avion Roussanne
97 Points Stuart McCloskey "The 2015 L’Avion (90% Roussanne 10% Chardonnay) is substantial, unctuous and as I have previously commented, I would love to place this alongside Château Beaucastel Roussanne Vieilles Vignes & Sine Qua Non in a blind tasting. Wine destined for L’Avion must go through three cuts. First, only the two older blocks of Roussanne are eligible for L’Avion followed by the best, evenly “Rousse” or sun-tanned clusters which are selected. Finally, only their favourite barrels for L’Avion make it to bottling on the label, which translates to a tiny production of a mere 500 cases. The result being a mesmerising kaleidoscope of honeysuckle, acacia flower, tangerine peel all supported by a fine thread of minerals and piquant acidity. It is simply amazing that a wine of this full-bodied richness can retain perfect definition and refinement. Needless to say, this is a stunning wine and a rare glimpse of something very, very special at this price level."
2017 Dog Point Sauvignon Blanc
95 Points Stuart McCloskey "Hand-picked grapes from eight of Dog Point own vineyards within the Wairau Valley. The fruit is whole bunch pressed, cold settled before fermentation and 2-3 months aging in stainless steel tanks. A portion of this wine is fermented using indigenous yeast and bottled without fining. A wonderfully deep and mineral nose with white and yellow stone fruits with a tinge of herbs. The palate is positively electric with stone fruits and minerals. Extremely pure, shows finesse and elegance as well as a touch of sweetness, but the overall balance is perfect. A wine which straddles New Zealand and the Loire, which is most pleasing as many Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc are too overtly pungent and unappealing. An exceptional Sauvignon Blanc for the price and an utter joy when the sun shines…"
Stolpman Vineyards 2015 Estate Roussanne
95 Points Stuart McCloskey "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."
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."
Chanin Wines 2014 Sanford & Benedict Chardonnay
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)."
Dog Point 2015 Section 94
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 2014 Queen of the Earth Chardonnay
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 2015 Pinot Noir
97+ Points 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."
UK Exclusivity -
2015 Eileen Hardy Chardonnay
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)"
2014 DuMol Finn Pinot Noir
99-100 Points Stuart McCloskey "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."
Robert Oatley 2012 The Pennant
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 wine's greatest component is its intellect and sense of balance which I rarely come across outside of (great) Burgundy. This is magnificent and a benchmark to all producers in the great Margaret River. Drinking now to 2022. "
Gramercy Cellars 2013 Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon
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”.
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..."
Anthill Farms 2014 Campbell Ranch Pinot Noir
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...
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