Issue #119, June 2020


I am a huge fan of good Vermouth, which and at its best, should be served over ice and with a twist of orange. Technically, Vermouth is wine that is aromatised (infused with botanicals) and fortified (normally with unaged brandy) which helps keep the wine ‘fresher’ and for longer in the fridge. However, and unlike our grandparents, Vermouth should not be kept in the drinks cabinet and only served at Christmas. Three to four weeks in the fridge will do nicely… 

Originally, I had planned to sit at my desk, pour JC’s Wermut and share my tasting note in the hope to inspire you all however, I was not aware that our recent stock arrival has almost sold-out from underneath me. Given the situation and my appreciation of JC’s Wermut, I have taken a handful of bottles to enjoy over the summer, which sadly only leaves a few for you to try. It is sensational and comfortably deserves 97+ points (keep to my recipe). 


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


I ask JC how an Aussie came around to producing such a classic, which and despite the fact it has almost sold-out, I thought I would share. “The early Marsanne ‘experiments’ in 2015 ended up as a vermouth, or in the German settled Barossa -  Wermut. Back in 2014 my wife was doing a lot of cooking and we had a heap of herbs around the kitchen, so when she was recipe testing, I would muck around with some jars of white wine and make my own vermouth, as we were and still are Negroni fans. So, when I had a batch of good, phenolic white, I grabbed some organic herbs, chucked them in a tank with the wine like a tea, added some spirit and the Wermut took shape. My wife Tracy and I are working on two new wines, a barrel aged vermouth from 2015, concentrated, sweeter, darker spices and an orange base and a bottle aged blend of different parcels we have aged - so watch this space!”. It is worth noting that Tracy is far from your average home cook – Tracy was a 2014 contestant during the Aussie version of Master Chef which is an amazing show. Sadly, she was eliminated during finals week which is impressive as the programme runs for twelve weeks.

I have just sent JC an email requesting more Wermut. Fingers crossed!


Wine(s) of the Week


What good is the warmth of summer, without the cooling of wine to give it sweetness…

Scrumptious Summer Trio

1 x Domaine Naturaliste Floris Chardonnay 2017
1 x Hoddles Creek Estate Chardonnay 2017
1 x Hoddles Creek Estate Pinot Gris 2018

RRP £56.40 per 3 pack

Special Price £51.45 per 3 pack

Domaine Naturaliste Floris Chardonnay 2017

96+ Points - Stuart McCloskey “Floris is my midweek favourite and the ‘best’ value Chardonnay in our collection. Decant, pour into good glassware and your guests will believe you are sharing a thirty-quid bottle of wine with them – I kid you not. The aromatics leap from the glass in a wave of anise / fennel, confit pear, fresh ginger, oh so floral and finishes with a zip of lime acidity. The fruits are powerful and the palate saturated with minerality. Glossy with a super-long zesty finish. Simply, an excellent wine. Served using Zalto Bordeaux glassware. Do not overchill”

95+ Points - Magdalena Sienkiewicz "Intriguing perfume. Beautifully floral, almost like burying your nose in a bouquet of freshly cut flowers, complemented with fennel and lime. More generous fruit on the palate with juicy pears adding lovely roundness to the texture. There are no harsh edges here. The textures are seamless and an underline of minerals and citrus leaves your palate refreshed and invigorated."


Hoddles Creek Estate Chardonnay 2017

96 Points - Stuart McCloskey “Certainly, one of the best value Chardonnays in our portfolio as the flavours and structure command a much higher price. The nose opens with grapefruit, an orchard full of ripe, yellow stoned fruits, quartz and a lovely undercurrent of spice. Similarly, the palate offers grapefruit and yellow stoned fruits. Complexity comes via wild fennel and lip-smacking salinity which I love - lots of minerality too. Impeccable balance, refreshing, focused, full of energy and not a step out of place. Just a joy… Served using Zalto Bordeaux glassware. Do not overchill!”

96 Points - Magdalena Sienkiewicz "What a treat from Franco D’Anna and his team. The Estate Chardonnay offers great quality and outstanding value. Generous and appetising perfume brimming with ripe nectarines and grapefruit with a great streak of minerals. The flavours on the palate follow suit and mirror the mouth-watering aromas. Simply scrumptious! A full bottle will be gone before you notice…"


Hoddles Creek Estate Pinot Gris 2018

Stuart McCloskey "A highly enjoyable Pinot Gris to sample. We believe the method behind the wine should be appreciated as much as the wine itself. In Franco’s (owner / winemaker) own words “After making Pinot Gris conventionally since 2002, I was fed up making the same boring wine. Not only did I loath to make it, I didn’t enjoy drinking it. I guess that energy flowed to the wine. In 2013, I decided to try something different, and instead of trying to take the colour out, I would make it as I think it should be made. Wine is really risk and reward. I really didn’t like the grape so I decided to take some risks that we wouldn’t normally take. We began experimenting and each year we try push those boundaries a bit further”. Circa 90% of the blend is handpicked into bins. As soon as it’s picked, we foot stomp the bins to release the juice so it can be in contact with the skins. No sulphur is added. We then chill the bins down to 12 degrees and wait for fermentation to begin. Near the completion of ferment, we press straight into old white barriques to finish fermentation”.

The remainder is handpicked then immediately destemmed. We then let it soak for 24 hours at 12 degrees. Fermentation will kick off naturally. Normally we press this after 7 days on skins or until it’s dry. So essentially, we are treating this like a red wine. We make it this way to try get a balance between aroma and tannin ripeness. The stalks from the first treatment adds some fine tannins and obviously you get a lot more tannin from the second treatment. We try and find a balance in between depending on the year”.

We love Mike Bennie’s (The Winefront) assessment and struggle to add anything meaningful which hasn’t already been said (save for serving with chargrilled Scottish (West Coast) langoustine and do not over chill…) 

“It’s a tightly wound expression, slender in shape, refreshing with tangy acidity, fragrant in red berry and floral perfume, though flavours are a touch washed out in the fray. That being said, the chalkiness to texture, the chew and bite of skinsy fruit personality, and the general ease of drinking, all play a part in ‘recommendation’ here. It’s a paired back release this year, more ‘Provençale rose’ than Radikon Kisi, but the drinkability and general sense of deliciousness is all there”.

Scrumptious Summer Trio 6 Pack

2 x Domaine Naturaliste Floris Chardonnay 2017
2 x Hoddles Creek Estate Chardonnay 2017
2 x Hoddles Creek Estate Pinot Gris 2018

RRP £112.80 per 6 pack

Special Price £102.90 per 6 pack


Scrumptious Summer Trio 12 Pack

4 x Domaine Naturaliste Floris Chardonnay 2017
4 x Hoddles Creek Estate Chardonnay 2017
4 x Hoddles Creek Estate Pinot Gris 2018

RRP £225.60 per 6 pack

Special Price £205.80 per 6 pack


Auntsfield Cob Cottage Chardonnay 2016

Marlborough, NZ

97++ Points - Stuart McCloskey (tasting note to follow shortly)

Winemaker "Bright straw in colour. Displays aromas of concentrated aromas of ripe nectarine and white peach with undertones of citrus peel. Lifted notes of dried herbs and wood spice compliment nuanced aromas of roasted hazelnut, wet stone and honeycomb. The pallet is concentrated and beautifully textured with a flowing mouth-feel. 

* 20 bottles available *

£28.50 per bottle

Auntsfield South Oaks Sauvignon Blanc 2015

Marlborough, NZ

Winemaker "Ripe tropical fruit core with mango, ripe passionfruit and citrus. Lifted notes of dry herbs and lime leaf, supplemented by complex aromas of honeycomb, vanilla bean and roasted hazelnut. This wine displays tension and great length. The palate is tight and fresh, supported with a rich and creamy structure and underlying chalky minerality providing linear structure. The mouthfeel is intense and yet seamless and well balanced."

* 4 bottles available *

£18.95 per bottle

Auntsfield Single Vineyard Chardonnay 2017

Marlborough, NZ

95 Points - Sam Kim, Wine Orbit "Refined and sophisticated, the wine shows elegantly fragrant aromas of ripe peach, fig, toasted almond, vanilla and oatmeal on the nose, leading to a concentrated palate that displays excellent depth and weight, wonderfully complemented by creamy mouthfeel and bright acidity. A multi-layered beauty offering poise and complexity. At its best: now to 2025." 

* 59 bottles available *

£17.95 per bottle

Auntsfield Single Vineyard Sauvignon Blanc 2019

Marlborough, NZ

Bob Campbell - Seamless, fruity sauvignon blanc with passionfruit, lime blossom and capsicum flavours supported by mouth-watering acidity. Good weight and texture with a lingering finish. A classy wine.

Winemaker "Powerful, tight and elegant. This wine displays intense ripe fruit flavours of passionfruit and white peach, with citrus notes of lime and mandarin pith.

* 120 bottles available *

£14.50 per bottle

Robert Oatley The Pennant Mudgee Chardonnay 2013

Stone fruit and citrus. Marzipan with hints of honey. Slate-like mineral acidity.

Winemakers notes "Specific rows on three carefully selected Oatley vineyards at 450 to 520 metres made the cut for this outstanding modern Australian chardonnay. With a cross-section of old and new clones, hand selected and harvested at a couple of degrees lees potential alcohol than normal, this is a fascinating wine with a wide drinking window. Basket pressed, tight grained low toast French oak and natural yeast fermentation."

* 49 bottles available *

£28.95 per bottle

Majella Cabernet Sauvignon 2014

97 Points, Stuart McCloskey “An intoxicating nose offering a wealth of oak, eucalyptus, mint, leather, dusty earth, cedar, violets, vanilla and blueberry and blackberry liquor. The palate is medium-bodied, with fleshy, black and red fruits laced with exotic spices. Kirsch-soaked cherries, dark plums and creme de cassis are framed with fine grained tannins. Lots of detail with a long finish. Hints of tobacco and mint. Lovely freshness. At this price, it must be one of the cheapest great wines in Australia. Fantastic value and comes highly recommended. Decant for 2-3 hours. Served in Zalto Bordeaux Glassware.”

£21.00 per bottle

Majella Sparkling
Shiraz 2017

Stuart McCloskey "The Majella sparkling Shiraz has a lovely mousse / palate feel and sings loud and proud. The base wine is matured in 2nd and 3rd use French oak hogsheads for 5 months before secondary fermentation. The wine is on “lees” for 12 months and using méthode traditionnelle, the bottles are hand riddled, then disgorged with a small dash of vintage port. Personally (if I should declare this), I much prefer Majella’s fizz over Wild Duck & Hentley Farm."

* 42 bottles available *

£26.50 per bottle

Majella The Musician Cabernet Shiraz 2016

James Halliday "A 70/30% blend, fermented in stainless steel and oak, matured for 6 months with minimal oak contact before blending. Great colour; one of life's sweet mysteries is keeping the price identical to that of the first release in '04. It is a joyous wine, revelling in its blend of blackcurrant, blackberry and plum fruit. Made with minimal oak contact, retaining maximum fruit freshness."

* 35 bottles available *

£12.75 per bottle


Wines are selling out fast


Thursday, I shared the news that 1,000 bottles of Clarendon Hills wines were sold during the first week of our sale. On the same evening, I also revealed that we are closing our LCB, Tilbury account forthwith (or as soon as the stock has been sold) with all holdings being offered at dramatically reduced prices. My team and I are most grateful for your orders which came through thick and fast, with a sizeable proportion selling out in the first two hours.

We have updated all remaining wines, which we plan to offer to our trade customers next week.

We return next weekend with a full edition of our weekend read, which I am looking forward to sharing.

Until then, I send my very best wishes to you all,



I would like to take this opportunity to highlight a few key notes:

•  Our free of charge delivery policy (for orders exceeding £100) does not apply for wines being delivered from our bonded account. In this case, the savings far outweigh the small cost of delivery. We simply pass on LCB’s delivery charge.

• The wines have been stored at the same LCB location for a very long time. Please expect warehouse dust and grubby cases (The Astralis cases are in pristine condition).

•  Please also expect a few label nicks and wrinkles. The wines are in excellent condition but time in a temperature-controlled warehouse does create a few label issues, and particularly for those which are stored in cardboard cases (the majority of the Clarendon stock).

•  All wines are priced under bond and offered per case of 6x75cl, unless otherwise stated. Our website automatically calculates duty, VAT and LCB’s delivery charge which will aid you during the check-out process. This delivery charge is £15.00 for up to 12x75cl. There are a few postal areas which have a higher delivery cost; Isle of Wight, Scotland, Northern Ireland and Isle of Man.

• Finally, would you be so kind and place your orders online as we would hate for you to miss out.


Wild Duck Creek Springflat Shiraz 2006 Magnum

95 Points - Jay Miller ( "The 2006 Springflat Shiraz is 100% varietal aged in 100% new French and American oak. The nose offers up an array of cedar, saddle leather, boysenberry, blackberry, and blueberry compote. This is followed by a sweetly fruited, opulent wine with layers of spicy flavors, earth notes, and spice box. Balanced and exceptionally long, this large-scaled effort will evolve for another 5-7 years and be at its best through 2031."

* 27 magnums available *

New Magnum Price - £27.50 per magnum IB


"If you are a Clos Rougeard meets Lagrein meets Hermitage meets 1955 La Mission Haut Brion sort of person then this is for you..."

Garagiste, Seattle


The Cambrian Shiraz represents a wonderful expression of the Tatiarra Vineyard’s terroir and is a classic, big Heathcote Shiraz. The grapes for this wine are generally cropped at very low yields between 1.5-2 tonnes per acre, producing a wine of immense power and concentration. The wine is matured in predominately new French and American oak casks for approximately 12 months.

Tatiarra Cambrian Shiraz 2006

Jay Miller ( "The 2006 Cambrian Shiraz spent 18 months in 50% new French oak. Purple-colored, it reveals an alluring nose of wood smoke, leather, violets, mineral, blueberry, and blackberry liqueur. Full-bodied and structured on the palate, it should evolve for another 5-7 years. It has tons of spicy blue and black fruits, excellent balance, a lengthy finish, and should be at its best from 2013 to 2026."

* 15 cases available *

New Case Price - £83.70 per case of 6 IB
(equivalent to £13.95 per bottle)


Colonial Estate Émigré 2005

Jay Miller (  "The composition of the blend is 30% Shiraz, 30% Grenache, 20% Cabernet Sauvignon, 15% Mourvedre, with the balance Carignan and Muscadelle. It offers a complex aromatic array of smoky oak, damp earth, pencil lead, clove, pepper, cassis, and blueberry. Supple-textured and very intense, the wine exhibits spicy red and black fruits, with hints of mint and chocolate in the background. It is layered, opulent, and long while maintaining its elegant personality. Give it 5-7 years in the cellar and drink it through 2025."

* 73 cases available *

New Case Price - £87.00 per case of 6 IB
(equivalent to £14.50 per bottle)

Nearest World Competitor - £135.00 per case of 6 IB


Colonial Estate Émigré 2006

Jay Miller ( "The Colonial Estate’s two flagship wines come from their own property. The 2006 Emigre is a blend of four vineyards and six grape varieties (Grenache, Shiraz, Mourvedre, Cabernet Sauvignon, Carignan, and Muscadelle) with yields less than one ton per acre. The complex aromas include smoke, underbrush, mineral, espresso, black cherry, and blackberry liqueur. This is followed by a full-bodied, layered, concentrated wine with spicy, savory flavors, good depth, and several years of aging potential."

* 35 cases available *

New Case Price - £63.00 per case of 6 IB
(equivalent to £10.50 per bottle)


Colonial Estate  John Speke 2005

Jay Miller ( "The 2005 John Speke GSM is composed of 50% Grenache, 30% Shiraz, and 20% Mourvedre. Grapes were sourced from vines ranging in age from 60 to 100 years located near Nuriootpa. The nose features notes of spice box, damp earth, truffle, kirsch, black raspberry, and blueberry muffin. Velvety-textured and elegant on the palate, this hedonistic effort offers serious depth and concentration, gobs of red and black fruits, and a long, pure finish."

* 73 cases available *

New Case Price - £65.10 per case of 6 IB
(equivalent to £10.85 per bottle)

Nearest World Competitor - £106.00 per case of 6 IB


“I was astounded how fresh & youthful both wines still are. Both wines are big, smooth fruity bombs with beautifully integrated tannins.  Not much analysis is needed with John Speke, just sit back and enjoy it!”


Vinorium customer


Colonial Estate  John Speke 2006

Jay Miller ( "The 2006 John Speke GSM is a blend of 50% Grenache, 30% Shiraz, and 20% Mourvedre sourced from vines over 60 years of age. Dark ruby-coloured, it has an enticing nose of spice box, scorched earth, forest floor, cherry, and blueberry. Velvety-textured and elegantly-styled, this savoury blend conceals beautiful silky tannins."

* 50 cases available *

New Case Price - £45.00 per case of 6 IB
(equivalent to £7.50 per bottle)


Colonial Estate Alexander Laing 2006 

Jay Miller ( "The 2006 Alexander Laing Old Vine Grenache is medium ruby-coloured, the nose gives up spice aromas including cinnamon, white pepper, clove, and sage as well as black cherry and black raspberry. Silky-textured, elegant, and already showing some complexity."

* 40 cases available *

New Case Price - £57.30 per case of 6 IB
(equivalent to £9.55 per bottle)

Nearest World Competitor - £90.00 per case of 6 IB


Colonial Estate Etranger 2005

Jay Miller ( "The 2005 Etranger Cabernet Sauvignon contains 12% Shiraz. Opaque purple-colored, it emits aromas of cedar, spice box, tobacco, tar, espresso, black currant, and blackberry. Supple-textured, with excellent depth and breadth, a light tannin blanket, and a long finish, this flavorful Cabernet will merit further bottle age."

* 10 cases available *

New Case Price - £138.00 per case of 12 IB
(equivalent to £11.50 per bottle)


Colonial Estate Envoy 2005

Jay Miller ( "The 2005 Envoy GSM is composed of 60% Grenache, 30% Shiraz, and 10% Mourvedre. It presents an enticing perfume of damp earth, forest floor, spice box, kirsch, and blueberry. This leads to a velvety-textured, intensely flavored wine with outstanding depth and length."

* 20 cases available *

New Case Price - £131.40 per case of 12 IB
(equivalent to £10.95 per bottle)


Schubert Estate Goose Yard Block Shiraz 2005 Magnum

97 Points - Stuart McCloskey "What a glorious nose of smoked, warm earth woven gracefully together with dark chocolate and fruit notes of mulberry, blueberry compote and raspberry. The palate is savoury, and you would be mistaken if (and based on the intensity of the wine's perfume) you were in for a monolithic whack around the chops. Instead, lithe with layers of fruit unfurling against a backdrop of silky tannins. Yes, the fruit is voluptuous, but each sip finishes remarkably fresh. I detect mocha, roasted coffee, warming spices, graphite, liquorice, the faintest slap of leather with a solid grind of cracked pepper. Real pedigree on show and real positive surprise. At 14 years of age this wine is just embarking on its plane of drinkability. Beautiful now through to 2030+ when I believe you will have something very special in your cellar. Sampled using Zalto Bordeaux glassware. Decant for 3-4 hours prior to serving."

* 6 magnums available *

New Price - £49.95 per magnum IB

Nearest World Competitor - £77.00 per magnum IB


Schubert Estate Goose Yard Block Shiraz 2006 Magnum

96 Points – Magdalena Sienkiewicz "A super-expressive nose with spiced fruit compote oozing from the glass together with fresh roasted coffee. Very classy and polished. The palate bursts with flavour in a beautiful dance of ripe fruit and Asian spices. Blueberries and raspberries are followed by crushed rocks, earthy spices and bitter chocolate. The wine flows seamlessly. Svelte tannins leading to a long and balanced finish with invigorating acidity making your palate feel refreshed and ready for more..."

* 34 cases available *

New Price - £40.00 per magnum IB


Clarendon Hills Astralis 2007

Jay Miller ( "Clarendon Hills’ flagship is the 2007 Syrah Astralis. It is an exemplar of what old vines and a great terroir can achieve in a less than great vintage. Aromas of pain grille, pencil lead, tar, underbrush, meat, licorice, and blackberry lead to a burly, masculine version of Astralis. It has tremendous grip, plenty of fine-grained tannin, layers of savory fruit, and 10-12 years of aging potential. Patience will be required."

James Halliday "Expected development of deep red-purple colour; the bouquet and palate are so complex and powerful, it is difficult to tease out any single components, but black fruits, licorice, tar, savoury spices, cedary oak are all in play. While full-bodied, the wine has good balance and length. The long cork is of high quality and perfectly inserted.."

* 3 cases available *

New Case Price - £495.00 per case of 6 IB
(equivalent to £82.50 per bottle)

Nearest World Competitor - £899.00 per case of 6 IB


"Bloody amazing for the money…"


Clarendon Hills Brookman Merlot 2006

Stuart McCloskey "The ‘06 Merlot is the most surprising from our retrospective tasting. The nose is rich and plush with blackberry liquor, black cherry compote, sweet spice, tar and warm earth. With more aeration – roasted coffee, tobacco and bitter chocolate. Far from tired and amply fleshed-out with fabulously ripe, sweet fruit (sous-bois) which moves slowly across my palate. The acidity is low and the tannins are melting away. Today, a wine in complete harmony and offering swathes of silkiness. Drink now to 2025. Decant for 1-2 hours (no more) and served in Zalto Bordeaux glassware. Bloody amazing for the money…”

* 2 cases available *

New Case Price - £76.95 per case of 6 IB
(equivalent to £12.82 per bottle)

Nearest World Competitor - £92.00 per case of 6 IB​


Delisted & Discounted