Issue #113, May 2020

As reported in our weekend reading #108, March was a record month for domestic sales and deliveries. April picked up the reins and set off at an unexpected pace, and now wears the crown for the most on-line orders received in our history. However, and as I write, the month of May will be galloping out of sight with the title, if we continue at this rate.

April 2020 versus April 2019: Firstly, we welcome 204 new customers to our family and do hope you will stick around post the Covid-19 restrictions being lifted. The number of Google ‘Organic’ orders increased by 150% equating to 88 additional orders received. Your kind and generous orders which we received by way of our weekend read or midweek offers increased by a handsome 74% which we are thoroughly chuffed with – We are genuinely spoilt to have such great customers and friends. Thank you. Existing customers popping to our website (entirely under their own fruition) and placing an order(s) also increased by 86%. Of course, our HQ shop remains closed, but our ‘alternative’ sales channels are comfortably compensating.

We are starting to see some activity from national and international trade with some impressive orders coming from Hong Kong. The trade division of our company saw a substantial increase compared to April ’19. In monetary terms, sales increased by £215,000 which and given these unparalleled times is fantastic, resulting in a healthy 12.5% increase in the first four months of 2020.

Sell-outs continue at pace with a further 43 wines leaving our shelves, and most not returning, but and on a positive, we are working frantically to bring you new wines weekly.

Moreover, we have just taken physical receipt of an enormous shipment from Australia including all new releases / wines from Nocturne, JC’s Own, Wild Duck Creek, Dan Standish, Hobbs, and a new agency for The Vinorium, Artisans of Barossa, which we are particularly excited about. 

I thought I would also reveal how DHL, our courier, is coping with Covid-19, the dramatic increase in deliveries, and most importantly, how these affect their ability to deliver our wine to you. February was an excellent month with 98% of all orders being delivered within our ‘next-day’ service. Despite a two-fold increase in orders leaving our HQ warehouse and much of the UK turning to the world wide web, March recorded a 97% success rate for our next-day service. April sat at 87% which, and on the face of it, is unsatisfactory and not at the level we desire, but we are privy to the pressure that DHL are enduring and accept they are physically at full tilt. My team and I maintain a 100% success rate of despatching your wines on time and continue to keep safe and well. Our spirits are high and most importantly, we keep our immune systems boosted with daily glasses of great wine.

I am tired of Covid-19 and very sad for all those who have lost loved ones. The grief and loss is inconceivable and I regularly question whether we should refrain from communicating, purely out of respect. My team and I thank you for all your positive messages which tips the balance in favour of continuing, but and I must say, we do not forget or ignore what is happening all around us. This week, we thought we would show our support and offer 54 special people a lovely gift, but we need your help. Below, we have set out our gifting scheme and look forward to hearing from you. Please take the time and nominate someone deserving.

 

“You changed my life without even trying, and I don’t think I could ever tell you how much you mean to me. I can’t imagine what things would be like if I hadn’t met you.”

Steve Maraboli

 

We would love to reward 54 people, with a bottle of our Tassie fizz, but we need a little help from you. We would like you to nominate a person who has placed others’ needs before their own. Of course, those working on the NHS frontline along with those working in our communities are worthy recipients, but we would like you to put forward whoever you feel should receive a lovely bottle of House of Arras fizz, during these difficult times. We will supply the wine, pick, pack and ship at our cost. You simply need to send us an email naming the person and why you feel they should receive the gift.

A short narrative would be greatly appreciated, as we will publish as many special stories as we can…

We will review all of your stories and each person selected will receive one of the following bottles:

•  36 x Btls House of Arras A by Arras Premium Cuvée NV

•  12 x Btls House of Arras 2007 Vintage Rosé

•  6 x Btls 2004 House of Arras Late Disgorged

We hope to be overwhelmed with nominees, and look forward to rewarding 54 people on your behalf.

We will contact you directly and request their home address for delivery and for you to write a message, which we will post along with their bottle.

We look forward to making the days of 54 people a little happier.

 

I am pleased to report that the new releases from Dr Edge went down a storm last weekend, as did the 2017s with North, South and East either selling out or soon to be. My team and I look forward to receiving your tasting notes for the 2019 Tasmanian Chardonnay and the 2018 Tasmanian Pinot Noir. Remember - authors of the best and most accurate tasting notes will each win a three pack… However, there is no rush as the wines would benefit from a little R&R – Tackle them over the coming few weeks and send us your great tasting notes. We’ll announce the two winners on 31 May.

 
 

JC’s Own is the solo venture of Jaysen Collins, who in our opinion produces some extraordinarily good wine. If we were to be completely honest (hopefully JC will not see our comment!) we believe each wine is undervalued and could comfortably command a much higher price. Mike Bennie (The Wine Front) nailed it with the following quote “Some great wines emerging from this label, reminiscent of Standish in some respects, power but elegance, shaped by tannins, and the like, but wholly its own thing too.

We know Jaysen very well, through his Massena wines that he produces with his friend, Barossa veteran and Vinorium favourite, Dan Standish. It’s fair to say that Jaysen follows a creative style of winemaking, interfering as little as possible and allowing the grapes to do the work for him.

However, his twenty years of wine-making experience and his other project at Massena mean that this experimental style is far more than just guess work! Very often, his wines are born out of an idea and Jaysen, drawing on his years of experience, has an inherent ability to seek out the vineyards that will communicate this idea to its very fullest. He even conceived the idea for the label of one of the wines first, and set out to produce a wine that would express the sense of this, finding the ideal site in Adelaide Hills.

Jaysen is Barossa born and bred, starting out as a qualified accountant, he began working in the business side of wine, becoming the general manager for Turkey Flat as well as the great Barossa winery St Hallett. It wasn’t long however, before Jaysen decided that he’d “rather make wine than crunch numbers”. So, scraping together enough money to buy some Grenache and Shiraz, he produced his first vintage with his good friend Dan Standish. Massena was originally meant to be no more than a side project for personal consumption but grew to be one of Barossa’s most recognized and respected brands.

After two decades honing his skills as a wine maker, Jaysen felt it was time to take another step and start his solo project. JC’s Own wines are about letting the grapes do the talking and allowing them to naturally express the site from which they are picked, seeking out sustainable vineyards and practicing minimalist wine-making, using natural yeast, minimal sulphur and no fining or filtration. His wines are about the unadulterated essence of the grape, combining a sense of place and some great looking bottles!

We believe JC is a super-gifted and naturally talented winemaker. In fact, JC’s wines are in a league of their own (for the price). They are insanely good, and we implore you to try them…

 

In conversation with JC...

For us, it is most impressive that you manage to get plenty of enjoyment and fun out of the serious responsibility of running the entire winery. This joy sings through your branding, your website and of course, your wines. Would you say your 20+ years of experience contribute to this? Or do you have a secret you can share with us?

Jaysen Collins - The JC’s Own wines actually started as a bit of a professional revival for me, being in the industry for a while I found I was a bit jaded and lost a bit of verve. So I started making a few small batches of wine just for me in 2015. I then took off later that year to the US and spent Harvest with my good mate Matthew Rorick at Forlorn Hope in the Sierra foothills of California. This sort of jolted me back to enjoying the wine business more and that’s what the JC’s Own stuff reflects, a bit of fluidity, a bit of fun and also searching out some great vineyards, not limited to the Barossa. So, I go back to the US to make wine there every year and I’ve also started getting some Pinot and Chardonnay from the Adelaide Hills too. I’m creating a bit of a monster with regards to logistics, but I really enjoy expanding my horizons. I love the winemaking process, so the joy comes from doing what I feel like doing, when I want to do it.

Despite your thorough enjoyment of a winemaker’s lifestyle, surely there must have been some challenges on the way… How do you deal with situations when serious decisions need to be made? What do you do to relax? 

Tough question, I guess the ‘business’ of wine is the stressful part, it’s a cash intensive business and you are competing in a crowded sales market. So, the ‘getting food on the plate’ challenge can cause some concern. Then on reflection you realise you’ve been doing this for twenty years, through many ups and downs and always come out the other side so just roll with the punches and back yourself. I try to exercise to keep the spirits up - I’m a keen basket baller and I still play with some other old fellas for enjoyment. I also do live my boyhood dreams out on NBA2k19 on the kid's PlayStation every now and then. However a nice glass of wine and something delicious to eat with friends and family brings some perspective pretty quickly.  

 
 

Do you have any frustrations with the wine industry at all, whether it’s local or global?

I guess there is, but I try not to dwell on it. Some winemaking friends used to get frustrated with the Natural Wine movement in regard to perceived wine quality, but I figure people can spend their money on whatever they want and whinging about it isn’t going to change anything.  There would be little things here and there but nothing is really bugging me at the moment. I think I’m more frustrated with the global malaise on respecting our earth for the future, but that’s a far bigger conversation.

Is JC’s Own a whole family affair? How old are your kids? Do they show any interest in Dad’s work?

I’ve got three kids aged between 17 and 12. They help out with some packaging; my daughter is the oldest and she is meticulous with this and they all do some barrel work. The boys love the forklift so I can see some help in the future. My youngest son is a charmer so he’s definitely going into sales when he is old enough. I’m setting up this project right now for me personally, but it will morph over time into a generational business that any or all of them can get involved with. My wife Tracy is also very supportive, I go ‘missing’ during Harvest for several weeks from February to April and then I’m away for a month in September. I try to make up for it when I’m around but she’s supportive in me following my current path, which I really appreciate.

How do you find balancing work and family life?

I’m pretty hands on with the kids when I’m around home, being a basketball coach and carting them around to trainings and other family logistics. I’m also a default linesman for my son’s soccer - sorry - football team, everyone runs away when they bring out the flag and I’m the only sucker left standing around! Having your own business helps with flexibility, so apart from the busy Harvest period I’m usually around the place and that’s where the balance comes in.

As mentioned earlier, we love your branding. All JC’s Own labels are great fun - do you have a particular favourite? Who designs your labels?

The JC’s Own wines are meant to be a bit of fun, so I wanted to incorporate this with the packaging. The first wines, the Ferine and Freestyler, I engaged a friend who is a graphic designer to help make the labels based on some street art I’d seen on my travels. All the other wines I have actually started designing myself, as I wanted this to be a true expression of the vine to bottle concept and getting involved in the whole process. There’s some hits and misses but a mate once mentioned that some of the best wines around usually are not the ones where you’ve paid a production and design team a bucketload of money for branding, so I’m sticking by that.

Was there a particular moment in life that you decided to become a winemaker? Or did you gradually sink into it while growing up in the Barossa?

I grew up surrounded by the wine industry in the Barossa and enjoyed wine from an early age, (maybe too early legally) as I had some friends with families that owned great wineries so who’s to say no! In the Barossa you either like wine or get the hell out. I started a year of a Bachelor of Science at Adelaide Uni and thought, gee I can’t see a career utilising science so I’ll get a business degree and go from there. Then I eventually started teaching myself winemaking (could’ve just done Oenology from the start – duh!) but I’m glad it was a self-guided adventure, because I have learnt things on my own and from a range of other people, that was not limited to a curriculum or commercial prejudice.

Did your love for Grenache originate in the Barossa or perhaps elsewhere? How would you describe the distinctive differences between each of your own Grenache wines?

I started the Massena winery with my mate Dan and at the time we were both fans of southern Rhône. There’s a lot of beautiful old vine Grenache vineyards so we said hey let’s get some cash together, buy some grapes and see what happens. So the love of Grenache has been there from my start in the wine industry and continues to this day, pretty obvious if you look at the range of wines!

Regarding styles, I’m very low intervention but it is amazing how a few choices I get to make change things, and from my experience Grenache is very expressive of this. The Bluebird is the bright, fruity, happy Grenache, Ferine is Carbonic in basis so a funky, lifted, savoury creature. I made the Rock:It to see how the Grenache and friends model works by fermenting them all together from the start, and the Angaston Grenache is 150 year old bush vines on a great site, so I let the vineyard and provenance do the work here.

Do you have any interest in white grape varieties? Are there any goals / challenges you still set ahead of yourself as a winemaker?

I’m restoring an old mixed planting of Chenin Blanc and Crouchen at the moment to add to my white program. It is probably more of a meditative process in this pruning work, but I’m keen on the fruit at the end of the day.  I’m a fan of more textural, broader whites, especially out of the South of France and some new age Chenins from the USA. I make a Marsanne at the moment that’s on lees for 10 months, there’s an Adelaide Hills Chardonnay in the works from 2019 and then the Chenin/ Crouchen to come. I would love to explore a bit of Grenache Blanc in the future as well, should I find the time and space to have a crack. Trying all these different varieties and now different regions is my challenge, but getting to know a vineyard and how to deal with it is a great way to pique my interest.

We know you travelled extensively before settling in the Barossa. Tell us about your experiences abroad… What is the best thing you’ve learnt?

The best part of travelling for wine is that the regions tend to be quite beautiful. I spent four months as a young wine dude travelling around Western Europe in my early twenties. As a younger lad I really enjoyed walking amongst the snow-covered Alsace Hills, so foreign to a South Australian living on the edge of a desert! I remember having a conversation in my bad High School German with an old, luckily bilingual, local couple out hiking, we heard a few gunshots, promptly hugged each other and some Wild Boar came rocketing up the vine rows just near us. We said our goodbyes and got the hell out of there. I’ve had many great experiences with wine and travel and feel privileged to have been able to do this as part of my professional life. From a business perspective, I’ve learnt that for all of the different terroirs about, there is a lot of commonality across the industry worldwide. I’ve been lucky to meet an eclectic range of wine people and everyone I have met has similar issues and it makes the industry seem quite small across the globe. So, I guess I’ve learnt not to be jealous of anyone’s perceived viticulture or winery situation. I focus on what I want to achieve in my winemaking and enjoy it.

JC (left) with Dan (right) at Massena Winery

Together with Dan Standish, you also established another winery, which our customers know very well – Massena. How far back does your friendship go? How did you come together with the idea of a collaborative winery?

Dan and I went to the same school, I was a year in front and being a small community everyone knew each other. Upon returning from a European backpacking adventure in the late 90s, I happened to be down the Tanunda pub and Dan came in. We had a beer, he mentioned he’d just quit work in Sydney and was doing a Harvest in the Clare Valley. By chance, I had organised a Harvest at the same winery, so we commuted an hour to and from Clare and that’s where we hatched the plan for Massena. As mentioned in an answer before, we loved Grenache, so we did the late shift and when we got back to the Barossa in the morning we convinced the local pizza place to open for us - we’d be drinking Châteauneuf and eating pizza at 9:30 in the morning - getting a few strange looks from the coffee crowd.

Do you have any friendly rivalry / competition going on?

The competition between Dan and I probably extends to the golf course, we only play a few times a year but I’m sure he wouldn’t mind me saying that we are both as bad as each other,  and it’s a rivalry to see who is the least worst player on the day. We discuss this over lunch afterwards and after a few bottles forget the scores so we can go out again to battle it out. I did find my golf bag with cobwebs the other day so unfortunately it doesn’t happen often enough.

What is your preferred thirst quencher after a long and scorching day in the vineyard?

Barossa marketing 101 tells me I should say Coopers Pale Ale, but from my time spent in the USA I’ve discovered a joy for flavourless mid strength beer. When it’s 45 degrees and you’re working outside in it, there is no room for hoppy, full strength hipster beer, just an ice cold slightly bitter tinny. The other part I like about it is when beer aficionados see the beer in the fridge they act aghast, but they don’t complain crushing a can or two after working in the heat.

If you could drink only one grape variety for the rest of your life, what would it be?

That’d be tough as I tend to like most things, obviously if I say Grenache based on my current wines - and that could cover Grenache Blanc and Noir, so at least I’d have white, rosé and red to work with!

Finally, would you like to pass any message on to our world-wide customers?

It’s great for me that the small amount of wine I make is getting out to more people around the world. I hope that if you do jump in and get some of the wines, that you approach them with an expectation of fun and enjoyment - because that is what I do this for.

JC's Own Tasting 9 Pack

Contains 1 of each of JC's new wines, including (new to The Vinorium)
Wermut, Sierra Nevada Pinot Noir, Originale Grenache & Freestyler Marsanne.

£227.30 per 9 Pack

 

JC's Own Originale Grenache 2016

Jaysen Collins (winemaker) "I started this JC's Own project in 2015 with this wine. I started making wine based on a love of grenache but had moved away from this in the wines I was making. I was trying saperavi, tannat, primitivo, barbera - the list goes on and on. The grind of making wine to a style and a market had slowly worn down my passion for the industry. So I kicked myself in the bum and set out to make a wine just for me - hence the JC's Own. 

I like grenache that is a bit funky, gassy and reductive, a bit more along the line of village Beaujolais. So I picked a vineyard I'd been using a bit earlier, went with 100% of the bunches and just started foot treading it to see where it would end up. I'd seen some street artwork in my travels in Spain, got a friend to knock up a label based on my recollection, so for me this was a bit orginal (or orginale for the Iberian connection) in its concept"

 

Mike Bennie (The Wine Front) "From Massena wine man Jaysen Collins comes this side project ‘JC’s Own’ and a grenache from the Angaston Foothills of Barossa Valley – for those seeking such intel, the vineyard/vines are about 150-years-old. It is all whole bunch fermented and hangs out in old oak for its pre-bottle existence. The wine packs plenty of interest and high drinkability.

Strong perfume of dark cherries, plum with whiffs off green herbs, brambles and faint sarsaparilla. The palate has the moody slouch to it, with dark fruit, wishes of chewy tannin, flicks of pepper and sage with a chomp of salt bush to close. It’s a sexed up grenache in weight, texture, complexity, far away from fruity, ‘pinot of South Australia’-styling. Really like it."

£28.95 per bottle

 
 
 

JC's Own Freestyler Marsanne 2019

97 Points - Stuart McCloskey “A wonderfully infused perfume of fresh, sliced pear, fennel, orchard fruits, white flowers, smoky minerals a faint whispering of wild honey. As JC set out to achieve – the palate offers substantial texture and grip from the tannins. Lots of nerve to admire too. I will say this wine is far more serious than JC lets on! It’s taut, focused, unadulterated, and packed with ripe, apple, pear, quince, and soupçon of honeysuckle… There’s a lovely line of juicy acidity which runs straight through the core and compliments the salty / smoky mineral finish perfectly. The length is to be admired. Very impressive and will thrill those who are seeking great northern and southern Rhône wines on a budget, which is a tad unfair on JC and this fabulous wine. Super-impressive and I'm taking a 12-pack home… Do not over chill and served using Zalto Bordeaux glassware. Drinking from 2020-2025+”

£21.50 per bottle

 
 
 

JC's Own Sierra Nevada
Foothills Pinot Noir 2016

Jaysen Collins (winemaker) "In 2015 I finally got to spend an extended amount of time on an amazing holiday property in California, right amongst the Sierra Nevada range. I have travelled back every year since and have come to know this vineyard like a second home.

This site well away from the razzle dazzle of the Napa. Exposed limestone, 2,000 feet above sea level - a bit foreign to my Barossa home. So I was able to grab a tonne of Pinot Noir and have a bash at something different. So I kept it simple - 100% whole bunches, foot stomped, large oak ageing and into a bottle. So I've brought back with me a bit of a reminder of home away from home."

£21.50 per bottle

 
 

JC's Own Wermut 2015

Jaysen Collins (winemaker) - Vermouth, the name derived from the German 'Wermut' for wormwood, was usually made to cover up some flawed wine. Add some aromatics and a bit of spirit and all is made right again. I wanted to try it on the opposite spectrum, make the best white wine I could, source some premium herbs and spices and have a bash at it. So this 2016 vintage dry Wermut is made from permium Marsanne, grown on the western ridge in the Barossa Valley. The wine is wild fermented and aged on lees for texture and body.

The organic herbs and spices are infused into the wine base for around two weeks to fully extract aromas and flavours. After removing the botanicals, neutral spirit distilled from premium Barossa grapes is added. The Wermut is aged for six months to mature before bottling without fining an filtration.

Botanicals used: Wormwood, Juniper Berries, Rosehips, Lemon Peel, Lemon Myrtle Leaf, Chamomile Flowers, Dandelion Leaf, Angelica Root, Hibiscus Flowers, Ginger Root, Vanilla Pods, Jasmine Flowers, Hawthorn Berries, Allspice Berries."

£17.95 per 50cl bottle

 
 

JC's Own Greenock Shiraz 2018

Jaysen Collins (winemaker)  "I cut my winemaking teeth in the heavy red soils of the north west of the Barossa, where Greenock is the jewel of the crown in my opinion. My winery is here, the pub does a good burger and by chance there's some pretty good shiraz vineyards knocking about. A few vintages ago I came across a vineyard just on the north of the Greenock township that hides behind some big gum trees. It runs down a small hill facing east, with lean soils, cooler afternoons, tiny yields, small berries - how asleep had I been to drive past this vineyard for several years? But I'm definitely alert now! I like Shiraz that is big on fruit intensity but is more supple and svelt on the palate, powerful yet, velvety, structured but sensual - I could go on but I think I've conveyed my point. So this is a rare single site treat from my part of the world and a true connection to my beginnings in making wine."

£36.50 per bottle

 
 

JC's Own Angaston
Foothills Grenache 2018

Jaysen Collins (winemaker) "Old vine Barossa Grenache vineyards are a rare treat. Walking amongst the old bush wines gives me such a wonderment of what has transpired in the years gone by to get to this moment in time. It’s like I am breathing the air of times past – it can be truly something quite moving and somewhat magical.

I’ve been working with Barossa Grenache since my first vintage and whilst versatile, it can easily become overly sweet and some people can even call it lolly water. But not this site – no way jose. It gets cool air draining from the Eden Valley across the red sands, so I’ve found it leans more toward complexity and structure, which is what pushes my buttons. How do I treat such a special site – pretty simply is the answer. 100% whole bunches get a foot treading over several weeks, I press it to large oak barrels and bottle it un-fined and unfiltered. That means when I taste this wine I’m still caught up in the magic from the vineyard that has transpired for well over a century. I’ll wipe the tear from my eye as I have another glass."

£28.95 per bottle

 
 

JC's Own Rock: It GSM 2018

Jaysen Collins (winemaker) "I grew up across the road from a famous old school winemaker who was known to be one of the best blenders of his generation. So for years I followed this ideal in the wines I was making. For a hands off winemaker, you actually feel like you are doing something. One day pondering life, the universe and everything I thought about why I hadn’t challenged this notion. Grenache and friends work well together – I’ll just pick them within a few days of each other, chuck it all in one fermenter and let the ferment rock it in its own way. So my theory is that the different varieties bring something complimentary but they also bring something individual – so equal but opposite reactions in the ferment. I then remembered my high school physics and worked out it’s actually the same way a rocket works. Go figure."

Mike Bennie (The Wine Front) "From Jaysen Collins of Massena fame, this is a punchy wine from this excellent producer. All those varieties are co-fermented – a defiance of the blending norm of many Barossa producers.

It’s thick and slick with deep flavour, inky consistency, muscular tannins and a soft, syrupy finish. All that said there’s a tension in the wine despite the heft and flavours, though mostly about ripe berry, plummy fruit, show licks of sarsaparilla, savoury spice and malt with some meatiness. It rolls full and ponderous through the palate in the best possible way. It’s a thumper done with shape and form in mind. It’s very good."

£28.95 per bottle

 
 

JC's Own Bluebird Grenache 2019

Jaysen Collins (winemaker) "I always get mesmerised when I see a flock of birds floating and drifting in the wind. It brings a sense of freedom and joy to me. I knew the bluebird is the symbol of happiness so I had a concept for the label – I just needed the wine!

So with this idea floating about in my head, I set out to make a great drink that brings a true sense of delight. I found an east facing vineyard in the shallow soils of the Adelaide Hills that just gets the morning sun – no baked flavours here. I got rid of the stalks and just fermented this as whole berries. Just before coffee in the morning and after a cold beer in the afternoon I quickly give it a plunge by hand, nothing too serious or strenuous. It’s bottled early to catch the brightness I’m looking for, meaning it’s dangerously drinkable whenever you need a pick me up."

£21.50 per bottle

 
 

JC's Own Ferine Grenache 2019

Jaysen Collins (winemaker) "I love Grenache, I love its versatility and its drinkability. I was mostly drawn to getting involved with the process and leaning to more textural, structured and savoury versions. Then one day I got to thinking, what about just doing nothing and let the grapes do the work.

So I chucked a few bins of hand-picked Grenache grapes into a tank with a bit of CO2, sealed the lid and came back several weeks later. When I lifted the lid I was hit with a whole lot of gassy funk, but in a really good way. It was wild and feral but mostly intoxicating. So for a few weeks after I just jumped on top of these bunches, breaking them up, in real terms to build structure, but mostly to get lost in the ferine like smells that filled the air."

£21.50 per bottle

 
 
 

The best lockdown white wines
to order at home

In a recent Financial Times article, Jancis Robinson took a look at the best white wines to drink during lock down and had the following to say about one of our in-house favourite producers; Dog Point.

"Dog Point, a producer established by a couple of key members of the early Cloudy Bay team, makes such good and distinctive Marlborough Sauvignon that even I — not always the greatest fan of these wines — love it. Its regular Sauvignon Blanc is delicious as soon as it is released but unlike most of its peers continues to develop for two or three years in bottle. Dog Point’s special, lightly oaked Section 94 bottling is released later. The current vintage of Section 94 is 2017 and has such a strong struck-match aroma that it might appeal as an alternative to a Coche-Dury Meursault, but in my view needs to be kept a bit longer. Dog Point’s Chardonnay is also superior."

 

Dog Point Section 94 2016

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!"

£21.95 per bottle

 

Dog Point Sauvignon Blanc 2018

17 Points - Jancis Robinson "Very racy, alluring, complex nose with some reductive struck-match character. Rather splits the difference between Marlborough and Sancerre. Creamy undertow with exciting top notes. Extraordinary tension on the palate. Dry but not drying finish. Long. Very accomplished and intense."

95 Points - Bob Campbell "Intense, ripe sauvignon blanc with tree fruit, nectarine, red capsicum and guava flavours. A rich, gently tangy and deliciously accessible wine that stood out from the crowd in a tasting of 2018 wines.

£15.50 per bottle

 

Dog Point Chardonnay 2016

95 Points - Mike Bennie, The Wine Front "One of the top chardonnay wines in New Zealand, generally speaking. Indeed, Dog Point in general excels at its quarries. This one is for the flint and mineral fans. Strong slate and graphite scents, lemon and apple underlying. The palate is racy, whipcracked with citrus/white flesh stone fruit, charged with that flinty mineral thing going on. Sheesh, it's got some velocity too. In its style, it's done brilliantly. A fancy racing car of a wine. Cellar long too."

17 Points - Tim Jackson MW (JancisRobinson.com) "Pale-mid lemon. Celery seed, toasted hazelnut and quite integral, struck match. Orchard fruit. Bright rather than brisk acidity, with hazelnut, toast and struck match. Creamy-spicy finish. Complex and layered, needing time for the reduction to fall back more."

£21.75 per bottle

 
 
 

Don't miss the stunning new Dr.Edge wines

 
 
 

Standish Wines: 
The 2018 Collection

Consistently the No:1 Aussie producer in our vinous opinion.  

Dan and his wife, Nicole, are no strangers to many Vinorium customers as their spectacular collection of Shiraz has been gracing our tables for the past few years. However, and to those unfamiliar with The Standish Wine Company, here is a little precis which will highlight what you have been missing…

Dan, a sixth generation Barossan, started the Standish Wine Co. in 1999 after learning his trade at Torbreck. He started with a small, family-owned plot of almost hundred-year-old Shiraz vines in the heart of the Barossa Valley, in the sub-region of Vine Vale. From the beginning, he pursued a mission to showcase some of the Barossa region's finest and most ancient sites, which he displays marvellously with each, annual collection.

You would be wrong to believe Standish wines are overripe and excessive. Instead, each wine expresses its own, extraordinary personality and the showcases deep concentration, beautiful aromatics, perfectly woven tannins, and pristine acidity which are mesmerising. They are as close to Aussie perfection as any producer can accomplish.

Dan’s winemaking philosophy is simple and very hands-off. Essentially, he practices techniques used 300-400 years ago. The vines (planted on original pre-phylloxera rootstocks) are hand tended and the fruit is hand harvested. Fermentation takes place in old, oak vats using only indigenous yeast found on the skins of the berries. 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 he believes it’s the best way to slowly extract a little juice from the grapes each day.  Dan does this instead of crushing in one sitting, thus creating a long, slow and even fermentation.

Post fermentation, Dan and Nicole prefer to use old basket presses. This is a gentler way of extracting the wine from the berries and the best way to eliminate bitter phenolics and harsh grapeseed tannin. Biodynamic, egg shaped, concrete fermenters, which work on the principal of thermal convection, are their ‘new’ preference. 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.

Old, French oak barriques are used with Dan preferring to use oak.  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. Dan prefers this grain finish, as the oxidation or micro-oxidation in the barrel happens very slowly making his wines more complex. The wines are left on the lees, in barrel for two years and finally, all wines are bottled unfined.

Over the years, Standish wines have amassed unanimous acclaim, ranking amongst the rarest and most sought after Barossa wines for collectors to gather, and firmly stand side-by-side with Penfolds Grange and Henschke Hill of Grace. Despite critical acclaim, Dan and Nicole are keeping their prices at respectable levels. However, I do see this changing with each, annual release. Thankfully, The Vinorium receives the largest, global allocation (We spent $356,400 on the 2018s alone) and very much look forward to sharing these spectacular wines with you. Given our allocation and, Joe Czerwinski’s (RobertParker.com) huge ‘barrel’ scores, demand from the global wine trade is enormous. Understandably, brokers will see the ’18 collection as an easy sale, simply based on Joe’s scores versus release prices from Penfolds and Henschke. However, and as UK agents and custodians of these great wines, we are reluctant to let them go to any Tom, Dick or Harry.

 

The 2018 Collection

(All Standish wines were tasted using Zalto Bordeaux Glassware.)

 
 

2018 Andelmonde

100% SHIRAZ - JOHNS VINEYARD, LIGHT PASS

Sourced from terra rossa clay soils surrounding the winery in the Light Pass sub-region.  With gentle gully breezes cooling the vine plants each evening during ripening. An ode to the worlds earliest recorded female owner of Shiraz vines.  Eleven centuries ago on "a Friday in the month of April in the second year after the death of Charlemagne, Madame Andelmonde donated her Syrah vineyard to her local church, perhaps in a bid to secure a place in 'the big wine cellar upstairs'. 

Stu’s Notes "The bouquet is nothing short of stunning. The aromatics are simply breathtaking and leave you feeling rather emotional. Notes of marine, lavender, Provençal herbs weave beautifully with blueberry compote and liquorice. The palate feel is wonderfully silken and the fruit, ripe & sweet, which caresses every facet. The layers build and build with waves of dark plum, cherry, black raspberry – the acidity and oak components adding a lovely framework. A wine which offers lift and energy in abundance. There isn't much else left to say, except for this is utterly magnificent and will leave many speechless… 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 wine is showing no, obvious signs of oxidation and still exudes its beguiling bouquet. I detect warm tarmac / earth on the nose but its ‘marine’ influence is very much alive, as is the Provençal herb characteristics – more so. I detect black olive tapenade.  The palate retains its silken texture with sweet black and blue fruits cloaking effortlessly. Muscular with a lovely warmed, mineralité finish. Energy in abundance and still, incredibly joyous to sample. First class pedigree.

My Overall Score: 98-99 Points

 

Joe Czerwinski (RobertParker.com) "Sourced from a vineyard not far from the winery in the Light Pass subregion of Barossa Valley, the 2018 Andelmonde Shiraz boasts lovely raspberry perfumes and gentle herbal nuances of mint and black tea. Full-bodied and creamy-textured, with a long, silky finish and mouth-watering acids, it's another fabulous effort from Dan Standish."

£64.95 per bottle
or £311.35 IB per case of 6

 
 

2018 Lamella

100% SHIRAZ – HUTTON VALE FARM, EDEN VALLEY

These gnarly old vines grown in granitic earth are hand tended by the 6th and 7th generation of the Angas family just to the east of the eponymous town of Angaston. The higher altitude providing cooler nights allowing for greater retention of natural acidity which give these grapes a vivid charisma.

Stu’s Notes "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.

My Overall Score: 99 Points

 

98-100 Points - Joe Czerwinski (RobertParker.com) “Another potentially perfect wine, the 2018 Lamella Shiraz, from the Eden Valley, is full-bodied and velvety in texture. Offering swirls of complex mixed berries, tea and spice, it finishes long and tannic, with plenty of backbone and structure, plus intriguing hints of espresso and chocolate. In contrast to The Standish, it's more impressive, while The Standish is more opulent and generous”

£74.50 per bottle
or £359.15 IB per case of 6

 
 

2018 The Schubert Theorem

100% SHIRAZ – SCHUBERT VINEYARD, MARANANGA

Planted on own roots at 12ft x 8ft spacing. The soils are deep red/brown earths with eroded protrusions of crystalline quartz. The Schubert Theorem lies within a branch of mathematics known as 'knot theory'. It states that any knot can be uniquely decomposed as the connected sum of prime knots. Aptly named, this wine deconstructs the Schubert family vineyard into its six distinct sections, taking the finest elements of each and re-assembling to connect and enhance their strengths.

Stu’s Notes "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.

My Overall Score: 99-100 Points

 

96-98 Points - Joe Czerwinski (RobertParker.com) “Mint, sage and thyme accent blackberry and black cherry fruit in the 2018 The Schubert Theorem Shiraz. Full-bodied and rich without being heavy, it finishes tremendously long, with silky, cocoa-powder-like tannins. It should drink well for a couple of decades”

£71.50 per bottle
or £344.15 IB per case of 6

 
 

2018 The Standish

100% SHIRAZ  - LAYCOCK FAMILY VINEYARD, GREENOCK

Shiraz sourced from Major Jeff Laycock's encampment on Parbs Road just outside the western ridge commune of Greenock. Bedded deep on their own roots in ironstone gravels and schist layered over dark red clay, this Shiraz clone is in its element.

Stu’s Notes "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.

My Overall Score: 100 Points

 

98-100 Points - Joe Czerwinski (RobertParker.com) “The 2018 The Standish Shiraz (a sample blend from barrel) is a bit stalky (it's about 50% whole cluster), but it's gorgeously perfumed, with hints of herbal tea, raspberries, blackberries and licorice. It just exudes complexity, while also being full-bodied, plush and creamy, with a long, elegant finish. This seamless beauty is a candidate for perfection”.

£74.50 per bottle
or £359.15 IB per case of 6

 
 

2018 The Relic

98% SHIRAZ  2% VIOGNIER - HONGELL VINEYARD, KRONDORF

From the toiling father and son team of John and Trev Hongell at Krondorf, the heart of the Barossa Valley. In the same quartz laden soil alongside their prodigious Shiraz these boys also tend to a tiny planting of the aromatic white grape Viognier, which is co-fermented in The Relic.

Stu’s Notes "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.

My Overall Score: 100 Points

 

96-99 Points - Joe Czerwinski (RobertParker.com) “Despite being only 2% Viognier, in its current state, Standish's 2018 The Relic Shiraz-Viognier shows prominent notes of stone fruit and spice, plus the blackberries and blueberries of the Shiraz. Full-bodied, lush and creamy-textured, with a long, silky finish, this beauty should drink well for a couple of decades after its release next year”

£71.50 per bottle
or £344.15 IB per case of 6

 

Standish 2018 Five Bottle Pack

1 x 2018 The Standish
1 x 2018 Lamella
1 x 2018 The Relic
1 x 2018 The Schubert Theorem
1 x 2018 Andelmonde

£356.95 per case of 5

 
 
 

The 2017 Collection

Standish The Standish Shiraz 2017

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.”

96 Points - Joe Czerwinski (RobertParker.com) "Lifted, herbal notes of mint, thyme and sage appear on the nose of the 2017 The Standish Shiraz. They're followed by waves of raspberries and more raspberries, fleshing out the full-bodied palate and lingering onto the long, silky finish, where they're joined by savory roasted-meat and espresso notes. While almost approachable now, a few years in the cellar surely wouldn't hurt."

£64.95 per bottle
or £306.90 IB per case of 6

 

Standish The Relic Shiraz Viognier 2017

97 Points - Joe Czerwinski (RobertParker.com) "Standish's 2017 The Relic Shiraz-Viognier includes 2% Viognier, just enough to soften the wine's considerable tannins and add a floral element on the nose. Gorgeous scents of brambly blackberries and anise lead into a wine that's full-bodied and plush, long and silky, adding hints of cocoa and espresso on the finish."

Dan Standish “The 2017 year saw a rarely lush growing season for our old vines, with decent winter-spring rainfall and a long, sustained ripening period. We’re seeing the vibrancy to match in these wines. These bright, luscious Shiraz’s each reveal refined, multi-layers of graceful tannin; fleshy and distinguished. While unmistakably Barossan, this vintage carries an elegance akin to a Northern Rhone offering – an atypical shift resulting from a more modest variation of our renowned ‘blow-dry’ summer heat. Barrel de-classification took a leading role for these creations, bottling less than one third of production, retaining only the crème de la crème for the final cuvees. The role that soil, site and aspect play is distinctly evident in each of these single site wines as they show their most unique tones to date.”

£64.95 per bottle
or £306.90 IB per case of 6

 

Standish Lamella Shiraz 2017

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 Glassware"

98 Points - Joe Czerwinski (RobertParker.com) "The star of this year's lineup is the 2017 Lamella Shiraz, sourced from a single dry-grown Eden Valley vineyard in the vicinity of Henscke's Mount Edelstone and Hill of Grace vineyards. It shows a healthy dusting of cracked peppery and dried spices but also layers of red and blue fruit and savory notes of black olives and espresso. Full-bodied and silky but taut, it ideally needs another 2-3 years of cellaring to soften the tannins on the long, dusty finish."

£64.95 per bottle
or £306.90 IB per case of 6

 

Standish The Schubert Theorem Shiraz 2017

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 Bordeaux Glassware."

96 Points - Joe Czerwinski (RobertParker.com) "Mulberries and blueberries appear alongside a hint of white pepper on the nose of Standish's 2017 The Schubert Theorem Shiraz, sourced from Marananga. It's full-bodied, firm and structured, loaded with mixed berries and balanced by savory undercurrents of espresso and black olive. It finishes long and mouthwatering yet also dusty and tannic. Give it another 2-3 years in the cellar and drink it over the following decade or so."

£64.95 per bottle
or £306.90 IB per case of 6

 

Standish 2017 Four Bottle Pack

1 x 2017 The Schubert Theorem
1 x 2017 Lamella
1 x 2017 The Standish
1 x 2017 The Relic

Was £259.80 per case of 4
Now £226.00 per case of 4

 

Standish 2017 & 2018 Eight Bottle Pack

1 x 2017 The Schubert Theorem
1 x 2018 The Schubert Theorem

1 x 2017 Lamella
1 x 2018 Lamella

1 x 2017 The Standish 
1 x 2018 The Standish 

1 x 2017 The Relic
1 x 2018 The Relic

£518.00 per case of 8

A saving of £33.80 over buying the 8 bottles individually.

 

The Standish
2017 & 2018 Duo

£139.45 per 2 pack

Lamella
2017 & 2018 Duo

£139.45 per 2 pack

 

The Relic
2017 & 2018 Duo

£136.45 per 2 pack

The Schubert Theorem 2017 & 2018 Duo

£136.45 per 2 pack

 
 

Explore our Magazine archive

Issue #112

Introducing the Newest Dr Edge collection. Nick Stock (James Suckling.com) looks at Western Australia’s greatest vintages - ever?We unveil some brand new mixed cases, including two mystery packs.

Issue #111

The Vinorium Profit Share II -an opportunity for customers to share our success and to enjoy a share of our profits. We uncover a plethora of new arrivals and take a closer look at the importance of glassware.

Issue #110

Information on our delivery service during COVID-19 and we reveal afantastic line up from Owen Latta of Eastern Peake. Including a Pinot Noir vertical case from 2001-2012.Also featured are our latest arrivals from Kusuda, which are nearly sold out! Plus many, many more.

Issue #109

A focus on the impressive line up by Craig Stansborough from Purple Hands Wines, highlighting 
his ‘Italian Duo' from the After Five Wine brand. New wines from PegasusBay and we introduce Chilean producer 'De Martino' with their exciting line up.

View our magazine archive at the bottom of our blog page.