Issue #123, July 2020

 
 

Musings from HQ

 
 

Oh, this week is a dear diary moment, as was last week, in fairness. Everyone should have some form of a diary, it's a great release (so they say) and I am lucky to have you, some 3,000 customers although some are not willing weekly readers, but that is perfectly fine with me.

Samples. Where do I start? The daily DHL delivery driver attempting to crack the same ‘I wonder where this box has come from’ joke has become beyond boring, nonetheless we continue to be courteous and chuckle along with him (all the while wishing to throttle him). We have a table overflowing with bottles of red wine and two fridges packed tightly with white and sparkling wines. I will come back to this subject a little later.

The detailed costings, albeit in draft form, for our new HQ were revealed this week, which was an eye-opener to put it mildly. Before I share, I will say that our quantity surveyors are excellent and are currently working on assumptions however, some of the proposed fees are preposterous. A staggering £20,750 for a fire pit and seating area (not the size of an Aussie rules pitch), £5,000 for a utility cupboard (including shelves mind you), £100,000 for the water feature and I save the best for last, £16,000 for the internal tree preparation – this does not include the tree! I envisaged an ancient (some 600-800 year old) olive tree positioned in the kitchen / dining space to provide colour, to bring a little of the outside, inside and to create an artistic feature as the ancient bark is beautifully twisted and gnarled. There is £1,000 being assigned to a watering system (can you physically purchase a watering can at this level?) and £2,000 for 5mm thick brass angle edging. I just wanted a lovely tree to come out of the foundations and nothing more. I need to visit my local garden centre for a large pot! For kitchen units they have proposed £70,000 (without appliances). Granted, it is one, long unit but this sum of money is just silly. Thankfully, I know a superb cabinet maker who already has the job (half the price) but let’s not tell them just yet!

I join the design and build team during their weekly Zoom meeting as the pace of our development is gaining serious momentum. In truth, I am not one of the world’s most patient as I like to get things done yesterday however, this is a complex design and demands absolute attention to detail, which the team are providing in boatloads. That said (I told you I struggle with patience!), I'm ready to demolish the grain store, the huge concrete slab which lies beneath it and get the substructure built well before winter sets in… Of course, and given the sheer size and weight of the super structure, there are an awful lot of mathematical calculations to perfect before we consider pouring the concrete. I also visualise the huge ground source heat pump and electricals will feature during phase one of the build. I am planning a multi-use strategy with the heat pump as I am keen to trellis the same system throughout the vineyard as well as our office. Early season frost being a major issue in the English wine industry and I am keen to harness the warmth from the earth rather than worrying about my poor vines. However, and based on the current estimates, my team and I may be providing warming hugs to our vines instead… 

I have also spent hours with our lawyers and accountants – these are eased with the pouring of Pinot Noir rather than tea or coffee, which seem to have gone down a treat. I wonder if I will see a little easing with their respective bills? I have been exploring funding options simply out of curiosity rather than necessity as we have everything in place. Many of you will be aware that we are not reliant on our bank and run a debt and overdraft free business, which makes working with them a less favourable option. Granted, the interest rate on the mortgage is low and the repayments comfortable for us to afford however, and if I am to be perfectly open, I find the thought of paying for their lawyer and quantity surveyor particularly irritating. I took advantage of my bank when we purchased the 4.4 acres for our new HQ – my local manager was most helpful however, it seriously grates on me to pay nearly twenty quid when they take my monthly mortgage payment – almost like a penalty for borrowing money. Granted, and I can hear you all, “it’s only twenty quid” which does pale into significance in the grand scheme of things. However, £240.00 each year is a decent case of wine in my books and best kept in-house rather than on unnecessary fee building twaddle from the bank.

So, I thought somewhat irrationally –sod the bank and let’s sell shares in my company or I could sell a proportion to an institutional investor, ergo my many meetings and accompanying bottles of Pinot Noir. I wonder how many Vinorium customers would love to have physical shares in our company.  Just a thought of course, but this set my cogs into overdrive. Now, and to satisfy UK financial compliance, I am not offering shares, which (and one of the many things I learnt this week) would be a crime in this format.

The rationale is perfectly acceptable as ‘en masse’ mailings without the correct Financial Conduct Authority approval should lead to a serious ticking-off or time with HM Prison Service. I will say, that I spent almost three years acting as an expert for the prosecution in a huge wine scandal case whereby vulnerable investors (others were easily swayed) were conned out of millions, many millions in fact. Not one of the fraudsters spent a day with Ronnie doing Porridge but that’s a long story for another weekend.

Another fascinating education this week covered financial compliance outside of the UK. Our private customer base is scattered globally and some of our ‘best’ reside outside of the UK. I could not entertain the notion of offering the opportunity to purchase shares in The Vinorium unless I had received approval from their respective country. I understand that a one-to-one approach is perfectly acceptable but who has the time to email 3,000 customers? Moreover, I would hate for a customer to be embarrassed by the approach.

I understand that several institutional investors would bite my hand off for as much as a quarter share in my company. Why wouldn’t they as they will also have a financial stake in our new HQ and the 4.4 acres which surrounds it, but the thought of having one of their members on my board of directors frightens the hell out of me. Similar to my lack of patience, I am not open to taking advice or more pertinently, justifying myself to someone who hasn’t a clue how The Vinorium operates or what makes my team so special. Just imagine if they saw my sample account (a poor gag if I have any HMRC readers)! This is not a dead option as the costs associated with this route are significantly less compared to offering our customers a substantial piece of The Vinorium pie, but it’s certainly at the bottom of my list.

We’ve created a splendid brochure this week which is packed with some new, and fascinating facts, which and until this week, I didn’t have a clue about. No, you cannot have a copy as this would be against UK financial compliance. The figures are collated from an external company who collate and compare. How the validity of each report is received is entirely at one’s discretion however, and upon Company House checks, individual company numbers are accurate. 

In essence, when analysing the performance of The Vinorium against the rest of the UK Wine and Spirit industry it is apparent that, in several key areas we are outperforming both the industry average and most other major importers, which we have always known and often shared. But these reports dig deeper and reveal much more. For example, one report demonstrates the pre-tax return on total assets. The Vinorium sits at number 2 with a return of 31.4%.  Farr Vintners (widely considered Europe’s leading fine wine merchant and rightly so in my books) with a higher pre-tax profit level has achieved 24.5%, Corney & Barrow achieved 12.4% and Alliance Wine 8.8%.

The top 50 most profitable companies within the industry shows The Vinorium in 5th position with a profit margin of 25.20% with Farr Vintners with 8.80%, Justerini and Brooks with 7.30% and Corney & Barrow at 5.50%. The final report demonstrates the performance of The Vinorium against 51 similar sized companies within the industry. The Vinorium shows dramatically higher pre-tax profits when compared to the other companies.  Our pre-tax profits sit at £1.061m which is 60% higher than the next company on the list and 674% higher than L’Assemblage Ltd who have a very similar level of total sales.

In summary, The Vinorium is ranked amongst the fastest growing in terms of sales growth for the latest year, with a profit margin of 36.4% which is well above the industry average of 18.1%. Sales have increased by 22.4% versus an industry average of 5.2% with our pre-tax profit margin at 25.2% which is also above the industry average of 2.5%.  The company is rated in the top 60 companies under the gross profit category.

Liberty Wines (previous winners of IWC Australian Wine Merchant of the Year and respected importers in our opinion) operate a similar business to The Vinorium as major importers of Australian wines. In fact, and prior to the arrival of The Vinorium they were considered the UK’s leading Australian specialist however, The Vinorium now hold this position. Their sales for the previous year stood at £75m, but the profit generated from these sales was a mere £2.6m which gives them a profit margin of 3.5% compared to The Vinorium’s 25.2%.  Liberty’s sales grew by 10.4% while ours grew by 22.4%. Another comparable business is Berkmann Wine Cellars,  their sales are similar to Liberty Wines at £76.3m but with profit of just £1.3m. They also saw a growth in sales last year but at just 8.2%, while ours grew at 25.2%. I imagine these are the reasons why institutional investors would like shares, but and if’ shares were ever to be offered, Vinorium customers would receive first dibs.

"Save for Dan Standish wines, I will openly declare that Kym Teusner’s (Utopos) 2017 and 2018 Shiraz (with a little splash of Mataro) wines are the best I have sampled for a very long time... very pure, perfectly judged, powerfully fruited, supremely balanced and offer layer upon layer of heaven"

 

The team and I have been spoilt rotten this week with magical samples from a host of new, Aussie wine producers. I will not provide too much detail as it leaves little to offer during their respective unveiling however, we have some real gems. We have confirmed exclusive UK / Aussie partnerships with Topper’s Mountain and Utopos which is a great starting point. Save for Dan Standish wines, I will openly declare that Kym Teusner’s (Utopos) 2017 and 2018 Shiraz (with a little splash of Mataro) wines are the best I have sampled for a very long time. The quality to value is unbelievable and we currently have nothing in our portfolio which comes even close. Fans of Standish wines will fall immediately in love with them – The duo are seamless, very pure, perfectly judged, powerfully fruited, supremely balanced and offer layer upon layer of heaven. We have another set of samples en route as I would like to share my tasting notes well ahead of their arrival.

Kym also produces a Cabernet Sauvignon (with 10% Shiraz) and an MSG (Mataro, Shiraz, Grenache) with the brew varying from vintage to vintage. Again, and putting my neck on the chopping block, pile in as I believe you will struggle to find wines of such quality at these prices, which I will keep a secret for a little while longer. The team and I all agreed that his Cabernet sits in our top-3 and his MSG number one. What a truly amazing find.

We have also fallen in love with Topper’s Mountain for an entirely different reason – aged perfectly and ethereal. Their collection is distinctly individual with their wild ferment Petit Manseng and barrel ferment Gewurztraminer being the best I have sampled from Australia. The ’13 wild ferment Tempranillo is going to be a dream on a winter’s afternoon by the fire. As a trial (that’s you) we have purchased a little 2014 sparkling, made using méthode traditionelle. It’s aged on lees for 36 months and contains 70% Pinot Noir and 30% Chardonnay grapes from their own vineyard. 

We are shipping a mix of ten wines consisting of some 2,000 bottles.

Today (Friday), we are finishing off the sample collection from Margaret River producer, Windows Estate. The whites have been a sophisticated joy (their Chardonnay and Fumé Blanc being my favourites) – I will doff my cap to their delicious sparkling Chenin Blanc which I would love to see in the UK. Next week is going to be an epic week of sampling, as we are close to full capacity (with more expected). We will be sampling; Toolangi, Rochford, Deviation Road, Highbank, Picardy, Gemtree, Ghost Rock, Box Grove (we have sampled their delicious 2013 sparkling Roussanne which receives a thumbs-up from the entire team), Quin Wines, and from outside of Oz, twelve wines from Stolpman (USA) and two single vineyard wines from Auntsfield, New Zealand which we can ship directly from their cellars.

It doesn’t stop there, as we have some beauties from Zuccardi, and some rarities from Villa Maria including their ‘icon’ Chardonnay named Keltern, with both vintages (2017 and 2018) being demolished as we couldn’t resist. It retails locally at $80.00 as the Keltern vineyard has truly established itself as one of New Zealand’s premier sites for Chardonnay with an incredible track record of awards and accolades.  The 2017 is here, a physical stunner, available in tiny volumes and offered below. The 2018 is a knockout (I prefer the new label too) and is as good as anything coming out of New Zealand. 98 points with ease, but we must wait three months for our allocation of 180 bottles to arrive (exclusive to The Vinorium). We have also managed to receive a fabulous, introductory price of £27.95. This will sell out in one day – it’s that good. Jump the queue if you wish.

Right, I am signing off to sample more wines (whilst listening to Queen’s greatest hits). Wishing you all a great weekend…

Cheers, Stu

 
 

Alan and Nelly Cooper, the founders and winemakers at Cobaw Ridge, go very quietly about their venture in the Macedon Ranges. The area is known for its expansive pine and eucalyptus forests and although it is located only an hour by car from Melbourne, stepping into the ranges is like stepping into a different world entirely. At an altitude of 610 metres, Macedon Ranges is the coolest wine region on the Australian mainland.

As the second lockdown is enforced on Victoria, we got in touch with Alan and Nelly to see how they are coping. Interestingly, Alan responded reassuringly: “Doing what we do and as we have done for the last 35 years, self-isolation has always been a bit of a thing here! Sometimes we don’t leave our island for a couple of weeks.”

And so we started a long conversation about the older days, the beginnings, stories and challenges of establishing the winery all with their own hands. It’s about time we tell their story…

 
 
 

After returning from an extended working holiday hitchhiking around Europe in 1979, Nelly and Alan had decided to settle down, buy land, build a home and start a farming venture.

Alan was used to making a living off the land as a fifth generation farmer and as such, it was not a leap as huge as it might seem for some.

Nelly reflects: “We spent the first few years building our home so we could move from the city in 1984. During that time we had tossed around quite a number of different ideas. Small land holding in a quite challenging climate, dictated the end decision. Plus, our love of wine…

We knew at the time that there were a couple of vineyards / wineries locally, so after a fair bit of questioning we had decided to plant some vines! (How hard could it be? If others could do it, well maybe we could too!).”

 

The first vines were planted in 1985.

As we were discussing the early days of Cobaw Ridge, Nelly reflected: “We did not initially set out to make wine but after doing some numbers and thinking about the tiny amount of potential crop we would eventually pick, it added up.”

Alan and Nelly’s aspiration was to plant and manage the vineyard organically. However, juggling full time work in Melbourne to pay for everything, together with establishing and working the vineyards proved increasingly challenging. “We could not manage to keep up with the rapid amount of growth of everything including the weeds ... we relented!” said Alan.

He carried on, explaining: “During that time we used only herbicide, never pesticides, and all the fungicide sprays were soft options.

Once the majority of the vineyard was very well established, we again started to rethink about organic.

Given that all the work in the vineyard is done by us, we did not want to be working in a chemical soup - all very logical!”

The changes towards converting to a fully organic vineyard began in 2005. A larger tractor that was able to run an under vine cultivator was a great help.

Vintage 2008 marked our "organic in conversion " year followed by full certification organic in 2009.

The next stage of evolution, logically, was to take the vineyard and winery into biodynamics. Hence now, all wines produced at Cobaw Ridge brush on the "natural" with a touch of sulphur being the sole addition. 

Fully certified Biodynamic status was achieved in 2011. 

Nelly reflected: “Since that first decision to build a winery, we have been constantly adding to the equipment and plant to be totally self-sufficient.

Now we have the final pieces in place, including our own small bottling line.”

 

“We see organic and biodynamic practices purely as a method of farming to achieve the cleanest, most pristine fruit we can grow. Great wines are very much born in the vineyards!”

 

They work with fruit right at the outer margin of ripeness, but on the right side of ripeness. The big advantage being their ability to achieve a natural expression of a wine without resorting to earlier and earlier picking dates and lots of added acid. “True cool climate” as they like to refer to it “Syrah is picked at the end of April and into early May. Heathcote, which is only a 25 minute drive north, would be picking Shiraz around 6-8 weeks earlier and at 2 extra Baume. Even the ‘cool’ Yarra Valley is around 5 weeks earlier.” 

Biodynamic principals have their sceptics however, and to quote Alan, “We feel these practices will further our holistic, sustainable, and above all natural approach to grape growing and winemaking, and provide an even greater opportunity for the wines to speak of the land which bore them.”

You would be wrong if you believe these to be just fluffy words, which lack substance. We kid you not, all wines from Cobaw Ridge are multi–layered, exceptional and offer extraordinary value. Wines full of individual character and style showing full flavours which richly reflect this special vineyard site which they almost lost in the bushfires of 2009. Luckily, they remained unaffected by the horrific bushfires Australia had seen at the beginning of this year. Alan and Nelly’s longstanding experience and thorough knowledge gives us wines free of the hype surrounding natural and biodynamic wines and instead, they give us truly remarkable wines which they continue to make 35 years on.

 
 

COBAW RIDGE PINOT NOIR 2017

An incredibly exciting release, this wine sees a small percentage of grapes picked from the new high density vineyard Alan planted a number of years ago. All blocks processed separately. 10% whole bunch in base of fermenter and gently destemmed the balance on top. Total time on skins 30 days. Gentle hand plunged twice a day while actively fermenting. Basket pressed to tank before going into oak. About 20 % new French oak. Thirteen months in oak before blending and bottling in the middle of 2018.

The finished wine shows that vintage '17 was indeed on the cool side showing elegant restraint on the palate. The wine needs time to unfurl and allow the amazing focused core of red fruits to shine.

Gourmet Traveller Wine 'Best buy wines to cellar' - "Cobaw Ridge produces scintillating wines in which charisma is never lacking. This pinot noir asserts many things from the glass, with wild-edged herbal, spicy, pickled cherry scents and a palate that spreads luxuriously with brambly, blackberry flavours. So much going on, so unique. It’s fun to approach, but will be all autumn scents and flavours with 5-10 years of maturity."

RRP £29.50 per bottle

Special Offer Price £24.95 per bottle

 
 

COBAW RIDGE SYRAH 2015

This stunning Syrah comes from the singular Cobaw Ridge Estate, the only biodynamically farmed vineyard in the Macedon Ranges. This high-altitude site sits at 610m above sea level, yielding Syrah imbued with floral aromatics and spicy flavour profile. The fruit is always impeccable when it enters the winery, every effort taken in the vineyard by the Coopers to ensure little needs to be done in the winery to bottle a pure expression of their unique vineyard.

Alan Cooper, Founder & Vigneron “Very much typical of our Syrah from a cooler year, aromatic on the nose, savoury spice and a fine dusting of black pepper to finish. The essence of granite. Focussed and expressive of our amazing terroir. The classic iron fist in a velvet glove. Huge latent power and structure to burn. This wine will reward you even more with age!”

Gourmet Traveller Wine 'Best buy wines over $30'  "The time is long past for comparing Australian wines to French wines. We’ve all grown up, the industry has matured, we can stand on our own two feet and be proud of who we are and what we do in Australia without having to fawn to France.

Having said that though, it’s really hard not to think of the great Syrahs of the northern Rhône (St-Joseph, Hermitage) when tasting this exceptional, nervy, peppery, thrillingly dark-fruited Syrah. And even harder to ignore what great value it is in comparison to them."

RRP £29.50 per bottle

Special Offer Price £24.95 per bottle

 
 

COBAW RIDGE CHARDONNAY 2017

98 Points - Stuart McCloskey “The nose is immensely grown-up and would not be out of place in a Grand-Cru white Burgundy line-up. A wondrous bouquet of honey, beeswax, citrus, apple, jasmine flower, and limestone. The palate is equally captivating, tensile and the biodynamic principles provide an almost perfect sense of naturality. Balletic is its movement from fruit to structure. So glorious and completely unforced. The wine’s intricacy is quite remarkable, and the complexity offers an intense, satisfying experience. This is a flat-out great wine regardless of its origins. Deeply impressive and will be mesmeric in a decade. Decant for 20 / 30 minutes and served using Zalto Bordeaux glassware. Do not overchill…”

RRP £29.50 per bottle

Special Offer Price £25.95 per bottle

 
 
 
 

Wine of the Week

From New Zealand's Most Awarded Winery

 
 
 

Keltern Chardonnay 2017

With an incredible track record of awards and accolades, the Keltern Vineyard has truly established itself as one of New Zealand’s premium sites for Chardonnay.

The current bottle price of $80.00 (£41.70) cements its domestic reputation

97 Points - Stuart McCloskey “The nose offers swathes of complexity, coupled with reductive flinty notes. Lemon oil in abundance which I love. The wine is broad on the palate, concentrated and fans out magnificently with a fine border of acidity. Weighty, nutty and the waxy expression is very appealing and not at all heavy. Sweet stone fruits complement the savoury edge – Zips of lemon and lime acidity delight. Unashamedly ripe and struts its stuff with much confidence. Moreish and mouth-watering. Has cellaring potential but has immediate appeal. Served with Zalto Bordeaux glassware and Queen’s Somebody to Love played at full blast. Fermented with 100% wild, indigenous yeast and fermented in French Barriques of which 27% were new with the balance 1 and 2 years old. It was then matured for 10 months in barriques.”

97 Points - Magdalena Sienkiewicz "The 2017 lives up to its reputation and it shows immediately on the nose which is complex and simply exquisite. Rich aromas of nectarines and citrus are complemented by elegant minerality and a whiff of nougat. The flavours are equally enticing and show terrific balance without compromising its generous character. Exceptional concentration is beautifully enhanced by refined and focused texture. This is utterly sublime and long on class. The structure will allow graceful ageing however, it is simply irresistible today – especially at such a ridiculous price. Fill your fridge and find a good hiding place for extra cases too."

£24.50 per bottle

 

Other wines from Villa Maria

Taylor's Pass Chardonnay 2018

96 Points - Magdalena Sienkiewicz "Captivating aromas hinting of intensity and elegance. Struck-match, minerals as well as citrus and white nectarine make for an amazing nose. The palate follows suit with layered textures delivering delicious complexity. Impressive and long on the finish with a touch of cashew and spice. Quite simply, Taylor’s Pass Chardonnay over-delivers on every level especially when considering its modest price tag."

£18.95 per bottle

 
 

Clifford Bay Reserve Sauvignon Blanc 2019

94 Points - Stuart McCloskey “The bouquet soars with blackcurrant leaf, pea-pod, passionfruit, gooseberry, grapefruit, lime and a murmur of minerality. Equally, the palate flies with greengage, stone fruits, citrus, herbs and expands beautifully across my palate. Mouth-watering and fully charged to provide immediate satisfaction. Very good value.”   

£12.95 per bottle

 
 

"Is this perfection? No, it is better than that"

Sam Kim

 

Were down to our last 9 bottles of the 100 Point Ngakirikiri Cabernet Sauvignon

 

Ngakirikiri Cabernet Sauvignon 2013

100 Points - Sam Kim, Wine Orbit "Is this perfection? No, it is better than that, if that is possible. The wine is perfectly formed and composed, and is very proper, but it offers more. Exceptional concentration, brilliant structure, impressive fruit purity and layers of delicious flavours with seamless mouthfeel make this stunning wine thought-provoking and sensually awe-inspiring. This predominantly cabernet sauvignon from their Ngakirikiri vineyard in the Gimblett Gravels district exhibits cassis, plum, floral and cedar characters with subtle cigar box, vanilla and game complexity. Powerful and graceful at the same time with plenty of fine, chalky tannins."

£82.50 per bottle

 
 
 
Last chance to buy Zalto

Shop the last of our Zalto collection

Superior, state of the art glassware.
All hand-blown by highly skilled glassblowers.

 
 

Wines in the Press

 
 

World Wine Awards 2019: Spotlight on Margaret River

This week Decanter looked back on Tom Cullity's (Vasse Felix) wine trails exploring Western Australia's most famous wine region. Discovering the region through its wines highlighted its highly regarded Chardonnays and Cabernets. Including our very own Domaine Naturaliste Artus Chardonnay.

 
 

"Domaine Naturaliste’s 2017 Artus Chardonnay and Vasse Felix’s 2017 Heytesbury Chardonnay received the highest scores from Margaret River at DWWA 2019, both receiving 98 points and a Platinum medal."

 
 

Platinum Medal at Decanter World Wine Awards 2019

98 Points - Decanter "Big vanilla and toasty brioche nose. High toast, new oak on the palate with a great depth of ripe tropical fruit flavour, plus a rich vein of pineapple acidity that carries the youthful fruit. Everything is in place for this to evolve gracefully."

RRP £37.95 per bottle

** For one week only **

Special Offer Price
£33.65 per bottle

 
 
 
 
 

Royal Sydney Wine Show 2019 Gold Medal & 1 Trophy 

Decanter "Savoury and softly spiced layers of rum & raisin, cassis and liquorice, while the palate is buoyed with fine, poised tannins."

98 Points - Nick Stock (JamesSuckling.com) "This has very attractive aromas of dried wild flowers and cedar with mint, bay leaf, sage and a base of redcurrants, red berries, plums and cherries. Some gently savory and flinty, gravely notes, too. The palate offers a very detailed and elegantly powerful brand of layered tannin that carries intense blueberry, cherry and blackcurrant flavors, in a shroud of oak spice. So much to come here. Try from 2023 and a decade after that. Screw cap."

RRP £48.55 per bottle
Now £43.50 per bottle

 
 

The Wine Front Praise Purple Hands
Planta Circa Cabernet

 

Planta Circa Ancestor Vine Cabernet Sauvignon 2018

 

Mike Bennie, The Wine Front

"From an 1880s planted vineyard and a mere 478 cabernet vines. You’d know them by name. It’s a wine wholly unto itself, powerful yet svelte, concentrated and deep yet lifted on sheets of fine, bulging, grippy tannin and cool acidity. It’s so seamless, flows beautifully, a gilded freight train of cabernet heft and engineering with grace and glide on its side. Scents of mulberry, truffles, bouquet garni, old fire pit and old spice cupboard, but no labouring under oak or syrupy fruit, everything just so and formidably balanced. Flavours marry a similar array of words. It’s a righteous, outstanding cabernet from the Barossa that leaves me scratching my head and rubbing my belly. Righteous."

£42.95 per bottle

 
 
 

Vogue Living point to our very own
Sailor Seeks Horse

"If you have a fondness for the lighter to medium bodied Pinot Noir, consider heading to Victoria’s Yarra Valley. Tasmania too is a Pinot Noir haven, with winemakers like Sailor Seeks Horse producing some of the most sought-after Pinot in the country. "

 
 

Sailor Seeks Horse Pinot Noir 2017

 

98+ Points Stuart McCloskey "The aromas waft from the glass with consummate ease… Touches of smoked, grilled meat, redcurrant, liquorice, dried orange rind, blood orange, spice (black pepper & cinnamon) and rose hip. Very Burgundian. The palate is medium bodied with tannins as long and fine as one could imagine. As with their Chardonnay – This wine shows an amazing level of control. Not a millimetre is out of place. The fruit conveys a cool-climate, saline elegance which is far from sparing. Unfurling, charming, precise and certainly built for the cellar (5-10 years). There are two Aussie Pinot Noirs which I go to and this is one… Such is the brilliance, Paul & Gilli should pay Burgundy a tutelage visit. For now, I award 98+ points but I believe this will increase over the coming years. This is a fantastic Pinot Noir and a benchmark against which other Aussie wines should be measured. Decant for one hour and serve using Zalto Burgundy glassware"

RRP £44.50 per bottle

One Week Special @ £41.50 per bottle

 
 
 

Our 2019 Producer of the Year

View the stunning new collection
from Yarra Valley's Soumah

"If I had to provide a brief statement to describe their wines – I would state, they are truly splendid and offer compelling drinking without the need to stress one’s wallet. From bottom to top, I believe these to be perfectly tuned with a satisfaction level of 100/100. They are not ‘pretenders’ and over deliver with pure energy. The winemaking is skilful and the fruit, pure and natural. All in all, Soumah offer great drinking at affordable prices." - Stuart McCloskey