Issue #126, August 2020


Uncorked & Confidential

Written by Stuart McCloskey

As with the first half of the year, July came and went in the blink of an eye - I wonder why time seems to move so much faster than it did in the past. As lockdown eases, the dynamics of our business changes too, with less orders being received from private clients (compared to during the full-on lockdown) which is perfectly understandable. Meanwhile, we are seeing an increase in trade activity. However, we are far from grumbling as sales have increased by 47% compared to July ’19 which is a marvellous result (as ever, I doff my cap to you all – thank you for continuing to support The Vinorium). We continue to see more new customers joining The Vinorium family with 138 ordering their first wine parcel during the month of July. Comfortably, we have received over one thousand new customer orders since Covid-19 hit the UK, which is a staggering number. Our summer sale enhanced our position and nicely did the job of clearing out 61 wines, which is exactly what we had hoped for. 

Not surprisingly, the 2017 and 2018 Standish collections were the biggest sellers with 29% of all sales coming from these magnificent wines. I am delighted that many of you embraced our aspirations to allocate funds from the Standish sale to our Foundation. For those who missed my previous commentary - Last year and working closely with the school, we provided a £100 supermarket voucher to each family who we knew would not have the means to provide a Christmas Day for their children. Each voucher was hand delivered by the teaching staff to thankful parents (this was an announced gift). In fact, and to retain their self-respect, they were not told of our gift or work, which is exactly how we like it to be. With your kind support, we will be providing fifty special vouchers which I am sure will be met with the same enthusiasm and love as they are given. I must also take this opportunity to thank Mrs H (as I affectionately call her) for wanting to donate her own funds to our foundation. 

Inevitably, the pandemic will be with us for a long time with the fallout in the hospitality industry coming to the forefront later this year / early 2021. Our government’s position is chaotic at best and full of mixed messages which may eventually lead to a second wave. I am far from scaremongering, but we are seeing global pockets now dealing with another surge. The recent lockdown in Victoria, Australia has directly impacted on our business as imminent shipments (Wild Duck Creek for example) have been delayed by up to a month. Our Tassie producers would ordinarily ship our order to Melbourne for onward shipment to the UK but they are now facing a further 700km journey and additional costs of delivering our wines to the port of Adelaide. Not one grumble from them which says a lot about their characters and why we choose to work with them…

The team and I are still making our way through a tsunami of samples. As our table empties, another wave hits but we are far from complaining as we have unearthed some very special wines and inevitably, some disappointments too. Next week we physically receive some fabulous wines from two, new agencies. Mulline from Victoria and Elderton from the Barossa. I am particularly looking forward to reacquainting myself with the four wines from Mulline – I am a huge fan of their Fumé Blanc. We plan to launch them all next Sunday however, and as a pre-warning, allocations are very small with only 120 bottles of each wine available. Next year we are assured of a larger allocation which is pleasing. The wines from Elderton will be re-tasted and launched the following week. Our warehouse doors will also receive the much anticipated arrival of Owen’s (Eastern Peake) wine – his 2018 Intrinsic Chardonnay is one of the best sub £30 wines we have. Truly sensational, textural, satiny, fleshy and elegant in a muscular sense. I love the salinity, purity and that same buttery pastry. The acidity is racy and the pithy structure chewy and delightful. Supremely sophisticated and yet again, in a class of its own by an indescribable sense of completeness. One of the highlights of my year and I cannot wait to take some home…

Our new agency with Tassie producer, Ghost Rock is a real coup as they produce a string of fabulous wines with sensible price tags. We loved their sparkling wines and their 2015 Catherine Cuvée is waiting to be disgorged, which is planned for next week. Then, we are ready to ship our first order containing eight individual wines. This week, the team and I sampled the wines from the organic and biodynamic producer, Gemtree (McLaren Vale) which were fantastic. I believe we sampled a dozen wines which thoroughly impressed from start to finish. For me, the pièce de résistance being his uber-expensive ($260 per bottle) 2018 Subterra Shiraz which is aged in a single barrel, buried in the earth under their vines. Normally, I dispel daft acts of maturation however, there is something very, very special about this wine. The concentration is formidable, the purity defies belief but its cool-like calmness drew me in. Perhaps time spent underground created the wave of serenity. As great as Standish wines, better than Hill of Grace and a worthy purchase if your pockets can cope with the burden. Clearly, we would be thrilled to work with Gemtree – we will keep you posted.

Today, we are tackling the wines from Dappled Wines – Shaun Crinion’s focus is to express the sub-regionality of the Yarra Valley through gorgeous Pinot Noir and Chardonnay and a growing range of experimental wines. Shaun won James Halliday's Best New Winery in 2018 which is testament to the quality. He's now regarded as one of the best small scale producers in the modern Yarra Valley consequently, his wines sell out in short order each year. We have already been warned (if we decide to partner) that our Chardonnay allocation is a mere 120 bottles! We have the following wines to get through next week; Deviation Road, Thélème, Sutton Grange, Picardy, Box Grove, Toolangi, Rochford and Stolpman from the USA.

Our new HQ is gaining momentum with the demolition of the grain store being proposed in a few weeks’ time. Our structural and civil engineers, Hayne Tillett Steel have been working tirelessly to get our project to Stage 4 (completion) – they are almost there which is a great achievement. Our architects, Guy Hollaway, are keeping pace as are our electrical engineers, MLM Group. I am keen for our site and build to be as environmentally friendly as possible – the entire site will be pesticide free with only natural goodness fed to our vines, fruit and vegetable garden.

I also plan to install an underground wastewater treatment plant utilising Bio-Bubbles’ pioneering foresight of introducing a holistic approach for reducing the overall energy and carbon emissions of waste water treatment. The thermal properties of our warehouse have been a point of much discussion this week, leading to the need to conduct a full test based on the size of the area and thickness of the solid concrete walls. Ideally, I am seeking a room (it’s a large one!) which offers little fluctuation in temperature throughout the 12-month cycle as temperature stability is the best friend for wine. Instability and vast fluctuations causes untold damage to wine… We are installing a ground source heat pump system which should be cost effective and more importantly, environmentally friendly as the system saves energy by using the constant temperature of the ground to increase the seasonal efficiency of our office heating. Of course, we can use this system throughout the winery and warehousing however, I am keen to perfect the thermal properties of the structure of these rooms. Our wild grass meadow roof will help tremendously with retaining warmth and keeping us cool in the summer months. 

I must also thank the many customers who sent in emails requesting the opportunity to purchase shares in The Vinorium. You may recall my musing from three weeks back (here’s the link if you missed it) when I was cautiously vocal in the hope not to upset the Financial Services Authority. Like everything, we have covered much ground on this subject and we now plan to offer Vinorium customers first refusal in the coming months with the necessary legal documents being available to those wishing to take part or to have a nose at the possibility.

Away from work, one of my annual guilty pleasures must be MasterChef Australia – I have watched every season and rarely missed one episode save for skipping those featuring Nigella Lawson, who I am not a fan of. We have come a long way since the days of watching Loyd Grossman to the current set of UK judges, Greg and John. The feel of the Aussie show and more importantly, the budgets differ enormously with the BBC providing a pathetic pantry / set of ingredients compared to our Aussie friends. The cost of the show must run into tens of millions as no expense is spared. Another noticeable difference is the skill of the contestants – they are keen amateurs, but their knowledge and technical skills are far superior to the majority of UK participants. I love the seriousness and length of the competition with many participants leaving their full-time jobs and families for many months to follow their culinary dreams. It is often heartwarming and impossible not to become emotionally attached (for me anyway).

Eleven years on, I sat down on Monday evening to watch season 12 with a keen eye on one contestant, Tracy Collins, the wife of one of our Barossa winemakers, Jaysen Collins (JC’s Own). After a decade, there’s an all new judging panel, which is the one disappointment as the dynamics delivered by George, Gary and Matt were always on point. They had a ‘real’ and honest connection to all contestants and their mentoring was affectionate. Season 12 differs as contestants from previous seasons came “Back to Win” as this year’s show is aptly named. Of course, this has already been shown and I am yet to watch the next sixty programmes however, I am aware of the winner and what happened to JC’s wife, Tracy who overcooked her kingfish and was sent home.

However, Tracy (one of the favourites) openly admitted at being shocked, revealing it may have been the way the episode was filmed that led to her undoing. Lifting the lid on how the elimination episodes are filmed, Tracy said because of the long period of time between plating up her kingfish, and actually presenting the dish to the judges, the fish had actually cooked further in the sauce. “Basically at the end of the cook, I checked the fish and it was actually perfectly cooked. What my big error was, was that I put the sauce on the fish straight away and it sits around for some time before the judges eat it. That's when I was shocked when they said it was overcooked. I almost fell over, but of course upon reflection I thought, of course, it sounds to me like it cooked in the sauce.”

I love food, I love cooking, I grow my own and I find the culinary subject as interesting as wine, which is one of the reasons I opened The Vinorium wine shop, come deli, come restaurant in July 2013. Hindsight is a beautiful thing and if I had known the costs, the dramas and the perils of working with dysfunctional staff (not my INCREDIBLE HQ team), I would have happily put a shotgun to my head and pulled the trigger.

My aspirations started innocently as I desired a break from working with the annoying Bordelaise (trade), who and after fifteen years, had bored me into surrender. 

I took a lease on a small-ish shop and decided to create an amazing emporium of wine. A place where I could rekindle my love for wine, meet with people, share experiences, wines and stories and breathe a breath of fresh air from the humdrum of Bordeaux wines and their wretched politics. The fit-out was substantial as I wanted a ‘special’ place for me and my wine. I wanted to amaze, to excite, to get people talking about this amazing wine hub based in a tiny, country village in Kent. I designed a sealed atmospheric tasting room, fitted with five Enomatic tasting machines which dispensed forty wines by the press of a button. The room was temperature controlled and humidity regulated by frequent spirts of mist, which protected all my wines and the beautiful bespoke oak and walnut furniture.

I could write a book on the trials and tribulations of operating a restaurant - perhaps titled ‘uncorked and confidential.’ My first chef was a little unhinged, which I believe is fashionable in the kitchen. She loved to gossip and I felt nervous when she wielded sharp kitchen knives during our conversation. She worked hard, particularly when pulling a double shift on a Friday and Saturday, but our relationship came to a swift end when the lure of the by the glass button on my Enomatic machines got the better of her. I remember a time when my chef was taking a well deserved break (pre a Saturday evening service) – I suggested that she poured herself a cooling and comforting glass of wine, grab a bite to eat and put her feet up before our evening customers arrived. Within thirty minutes, my chef was completely pissed, struggled to hold a coherent conversation and was in no fit state to work in a professional kitchen. The rest as they say, is history.

It gets better, as she recommended her close friend who has worked in hospitality for most of her adult life. Hats off, she (I cannot name names!) was fantastic during her trial shifts. In fairness, when she arrived for work, she took control of the room and our guests. She was efficient and everything I was hoping to find in a full-time member of my restaurant team. However, her personal life was a wonderful performance – something a film should be made from. Allegedly, I say without prejudice, she was dating one of the UK’s top Michelin Star chefs who, by all accounts, was incredibly jealous. So much so, she purported that he hired a team of ex-special service personnel to keep tabs on her! The debacle surrounding her many doctors notes was, and after many passing years, quite hilarious.

As a diligent employer, I am fastidious with my records. One record brings a wry smile to my face and huge amounts of enjoyment to my team, as the same member of staff sent me a text message the evening prior to her shift; “Hi Stu, the doctor is not pleased with my recovery so he has signed me off work until next Monday.”  I requested said doctor’s certificate which was not forthcoming however, and after much pressing, she conceded to that fact that she was abroad and unable to supply the same. Like my first chef, she did not last her probationary period.

My pot wash guy was great and never failed to arrive for a shift on time. He was seeking fame elsewhere and worked as a TV / film extra during the day. He kept my second chef (who I have the utmost respect for) company during the long Friday and Saturday evenings. Agency staff came in mighty handy as I experienced too many no-shows from my full-time team. One regular stand-in was quite a character. Maturing in her years, separating or separated from her husband and spent far too much time chatting-up my chef rather than being at the service of our customers.

For argument’s sake, lets call him ‘Pierre’ who ran my wine shop. Pierre was a maturing graduate from Plumpton College who understood wine deeply. He was warming, genuine, trusting, but as slow as a tortoise attempting the Michael Jackson moonwalk and most importantly, could not sell a bottle of wine to an alcoholic. I loved Pierre’s stoic character – he would never budge in his ways which I can now admire. He was bloody useless, but I never let him go (read on). I felt loyal to him, which is quite staggering, but Pierre’s character was as much a part of the furniture as the wines themselves. I hope he is safe, well and enjoying a lovely bottle of mineral driven wine, which he loves….

Of course, there were more however, I must stop myself as, when the crunch comes to the crunch, I employed them which must make me as unbalanced as the rest! 

The early days were quiet as we were unknown and out of town. Nevertheless, I was content with my laptop and the occasional customer whilst my main team worked from our countryside HQ. Months passed and wine sales were less than my monthly rental payments, but I was determined to put my little shop on the map. Eventually (I have no recollection of the time frame) I was receiving more custom. In fact, it was the same group that would join me each Saturday morning for a prompt 10:00am wine club start. We explored regions, varietals, minerality, tannin and acid levels along with understanding balance and structure. These lessons were offered without charge and would inevitably end in the same ten customers staying and drinking their way through my Enomatic line-up (some forty wines). They were welcome company after a long, lonely week. In fact, they became friends and I valued the time we spent together.

Our Friday evenings were and will always remain fond memories. Several would send me a message on their way back from the city (London) requesting that various bottles were chilled in preparation for their arrival. I ensured I would supply several tasty bottles too as giving is more important than receiving. We spent each and every Friday enjoying each other’s company and sharing many delicious bottles of wine. Years have passed and I miss those moments which are dear to me. Save for the occasional message, I am unsure of how they are doing, or which path their respective lives have taken, which is rather sad…  

Often, the missing element was food and I had little by way of satisfying their appetites. My adjoining neighbour ran a successful bridal shop and our relationship was cordial. I placed the thought of The Vinorium buying her out of her tenancy agreement which was met with more enthusiasm than I first expected.  To cut a long story short, we did take over her tenancy and quickly set to the task of creating a seated delicatessen filled with delicious cheese, obvious offerings and an abundance of goodies for the store cupboard. My wine friends were ecstatic and I was pleased I could provide some nourishment along with glasses of wine.

Quickly, our deli morphed into a 30 cover restaurant (hence the full-time chef and the need for waiting staff). It took a little time but we soon found traction as each Friday and Saturday were sell outs. The lure was twofold. The food which we served was delicious, unfussy and executed well with flavour being dominant over pomp and ceremony. But, it was our five Enomatic machines pouring 40 wines by the sample or glass which seemed to capture most.

Enomatic wine dispensing machines are both a curse and a blessing – the cost is eye watering. Before I commence, I have three machines available for sale should you wish to install a unit in the comfort of your home or office! They’re in perfect condition and available for £3,000 rather than £7,000+…shameful sales pitch I know!

On the positive, Enomatic allowed us the opportunity to pour forty wines with various measures ranging from 25ml to a large glassful – it’s a great way to show prospecting customers some of our goodies. They were fabulous during my Saturday morning wine school however, I believe these five machines were one of the attributing factors associated to the closing of our wine shop and restaurant, which may sound rather odd. I loathe paying extortionate restaurant wine prices – my blood boils as I study wine lists, as I know the majority of their buying prices. I acknowledge their arguments and justifications however, they fall on deaf ears. I offered my entire wine list at retail value only, no corkage and not an additional penny to serve each wine decanted and in the correct glassware. I was expecting customers to take advantage of this gesture whilst dining in my restaurant, but it failed and failed miserably.

Instead, customers loaded funds on to their personal Enomatic card and spent the evening wearing out my wooden floorboards whilst continually marching from their table to our tasting room. Friday and Saturday evenings became horrific – more akin to stag and hen parties arriving to see how many glasses a table can physically use during their seating. I kid you not, I would spend much of an evening shift collecting spent glasses (most had the tiniest sample pouring), cleaning them and then moving to the laborious task of hand polishing each one, before returning them to our tasting shelves just so I can start the cycle all over again. Rarely, did we sell a single bottle of wine which was never sustainable nor was my carpal tunnel injury caused by continuous glass polishing…

I loved our concept, but I am not one for front of house as I tend to speak my mind. More often than not (and following a sustained period of polishing) I would ask the restaurant to come to attention and to please understand that each table does not require fifty glasses. Most were in shock at the intrusion and often left great messages on Trip Advisor about the ‘rude member of staff who didn’t know diddly squat about wine.’ The restaurant was on a collision course caused by the aforementioned, tiredness of working 80-hour weeks, some daft members of staff and the reluctance for the majority of our customers not to take advantage of our wine shop, which funded everything. I even started to miss the Bordelaise!

Ultimately and to save my sanity and more importantly my wallet, I quickly wound down the restaurant element but continued to offer deli plates to much discord. I felt much happier and never spent another Friday or Saturday evening worrying if a member of my restaurant team would arrive for their shift.. I am unable to find the exact date, but I believe June / July 2014 was the closing date of our wine shop and adjoining deli. I celebrated the closing with three of my close team members – It started with an innocent lunch in our former restaurant which quickly turned into a wonderful discovery of epic Bordeaux. 1959 Château Lynch Bages, ’61 Château Latour, ’66 Las Cases (not great), ’59 Leoville Barton and then the lights went out around eleven pm…



SALE ends
Monday at 12 noon

* 61 wines have sold out *

Bestsellers from our
Summer Sale


Kay Brothers Block 6 Shiraz

97 Points James Halliday "Block 6 is a 1.4ha east-facing block of 125yo vines with very complex soils. Hand-picked, crushed and destemmed, 11 days on skins, matured for 20 months in French and American puncheons (40% new). If ever there was an iron fist in a velvet glove this is it, but with one qualification: the iron fist was created by a master sculptor, the wine quite special, and fully deserving its price."

Save £5.45 per bottle
Now £41.50 per bottle


Kay Brothers Amery Vineyards Shiraz 2003​

Robert Parker "One of Australia’s most traditional winemakers, Colin Kay fashions old style, high quality, distinctive Australian reds. The dark ruby/purple-colored 2003 Shiraz exhibits dusty, earthy, truffle-like aromas interwoven with notes of licorice, blackberries, charred wood, and hints of underbrush and forest floor. Medium to full-bodied with moderately high tannin, good spice, and hefty alcohol."

Save £4.95 per bottle
Now £12.55 per bottle


Grant Burge Meshach Shiraz 2012

Decanter World Wine Awards Gold 2019

98 Points - James Halliday "The 22nd release of Meshach celebrates the great '12 Barossa Valley vintage. The colour is still deep crimson-purple, setting the pattern for the bouquet and palate to follow. A wine of the highest quality in the Olympian class of Barossa Valley shiraz, seamless, calmly powerful and perfectly balanced. Black fruits dominate, but this is no one-dimensional power play, with hints of licorice, bitter chocolate and graphite. The tannins and oak contributions are perfectly placed and paced."

*Every purchase of 6 bottles will include the original wooden case

Save £10.00 per bottle
Now £41.95 per bottle


Grant Burge Shadrach Cabernet Sauvignon

* Every purchase of 6 bottles will include the original wooden case


97++ Points - Stuart McCloskey “Sourced from the famed Corryton Park vineyard, high in the cool-climate Eden Valley in the Barossa Ranges. A decade on, the wine is deep and brooding with leather, liquorice, tobacco, cough-candy and warm earth unfolds from my glass – the bouquet is riveting. The palate is medium-bodied, fresh with a sweet opening of blackberry, raspberry and anise. There’s a lot of scaffolding in place which has held this wine in good order nonetheless, the palate is developing beautifully with many shades and dimensions on show. The tannins are dusty and the finish is honestly endless, but does eventually fade to dried blood orange. A lovely Cabernet experience… Decanted for 3 hours and served using Zalto glassware.”

Save £5.00 per bottle
Now £35.50 per bottle


James Halliday "Barrel and bottle ageing has led to the first stages of colour change; overall this cabernet sauvignon has remarkable synergy to its flavour, structure and texture inputs, resulting in a supple, ultra-smooth and beautifully balanced exercise in blackcurrant/cassis fruit."

Save £8.00 per bottle
Now £36.95 per bottle


Glaetzer-Dixon Avancé Pinot Noir 2018

Campbell Mattinson, The Wine Front “This is an impressive wine, from an impressive producer. This pinot noir is blessed as much with confidence as it is with length, its sour-smoky fruits littered with sweet herb and orange rind notes, a whisper of reduction not hurting matters at all. A dry, structural, fruit-pulsed finish makes for a beautiful exit. Quality and value are both on offer here.”

Save £3.55 per bottle
Now £18.95 per bottle


A very rare wine of utmost intensity
and exceptional quality.


The flagship wine from Wild Duck Creek and quite simply a benchmark wine. Made in tiny quantities from their original vineyards yielding just 1 ton an acre, Duck Muck is a wine of extreme concentration and complexity. Matured in 100% new French oak barriques, this is a wine of power, intensity and balance.

We don’t have much as very little is made but to put it simply, this is an extraordinary wine!


Wild Duck Creek Duck Muck 2013

Winemaker "Duck Muck was first made by a stroke of luck. Some super-ripe Shiraz was picked from our Original Vineyard and made into wine, which didn’t quite fill a barrel. The barrel was then topped up with Alan’s Cabernet Pressings, being the only wine available to David (Duck) at that time in 1994. The resulting wine was given away to our best customers. What David didn’t appreciate at the time was how the blend of these two vineyards, and that specific style, was going to create a wine that was not only of world class quality, but gain cult status all over the world. With a few refinements, Duck Muck is possibly the hardest wine for us to make. The vineyards are meticulously attended to. Cane pruned, shoot thinned, and fruit thinned to try and achieve the perfect balance in any particular vintage. The fruit is then picked and partly destemmed into small open top fermenters. The Original Vineyard Shiraz having 30% whole bunches left in the ferment. The wine is then gently basket pressed into 100% new Dominique Laurent barriques and matured for up to 27 months. Duck Muck when bottled is extraordinarily intense, with layers of texture, wonderfully complex aroma, and incredible length and depth."

Save £48.50 per bottle
Now £126.50 per bottle


Wild Duck Creek Roussanne 2017

Magda Sienkiewicz "I was extremely excited to see Wild Duck’s expansion on to Southern Rhône varietals, which personally I would love to see more of in Australia. Simultaneously, I quickly became to worry that my increasing anticipation of receiving and sampling their pure Roussanne will raise the bar a tad too high. Absolute nonsense! Wonderful perfume of honeysuckle, stone fruit, fennel and gentle wild flowers pouring out of the glass put an instant smile on my face. The flavours are beautifully knitted together with bracing white nectarine and fresh apricots, giving a wonderful balance of acidity and ripeness. No hard edges, no disproportions, but a seamless flow of creamy and well-rounded textures. The overall sense of harmony is superb and every sip brings plenty of joy."

Customer Review

"I loved the Wild Duck Roussanne. Really good example of how well the grape drinks young." - Jonathan


Save £2.80 per bottle
Now £21.15 per bottle


Wild Duck Creek Springflat Shiraz 2003

Winemaker "Springflat Shiraz is our original flagship wine having been made every vintage since 1991. Springflat Shiraz is a blend of 4 distinct estate grown vineyards in the Heathcote region. Parcels of fruit are made separately, utilising a small amount of whole bunches in the ferments for added texture, hand plunged, basket pressed and then matured in French and American oak hogsheads for up to 22 months, 40% of which are new."


Save £6.00 per bottle
Now £28.50 per bottle

Save £60.00 per case of 12
Now £258.25 per case of 12


Save £5.00 per bottle
Now £28.50 per bottle

Save £58.95 per case of 12
Now £249.30 per case of 12


Wild Duck Creek Yellow Hammer Hill
Shiraz Malbec 2012

Winemaker "Originally just a Shiraz / Malbec blend, we added Cabernet Sauvignon to this wine to give greater textural diversity. The grapes are sourced from the same vineyards every year, fully and gently de-stemmed, hand plunged and basket pressed. The wine is then matured for up to 23 months in older French and American oak barriques, hogsheads, and large format vats, as well as some concrete vats for added complexity. Yellow Hammer Hill is a wonderful all round red wine to be enjoyed with almost any occasion."

Save £2.55 per bottle
Now £16.95 per bottle


Close to selling out & 
Our Highlights


Flowstone Sauvignon Blanc 2013

96 Points - James Halliday "Hand-picked from a single vineyard in southern Margaret River, whole bunch-pressed, fermented in used oak barrels and one new 600l demi muid, 11 months maturation in oak followed by 18 months bottle maturation. Gleaming straw-green, it has the hallmark complexity and depth to its fusion of tropical fruit with cashew and toasty oak."

Save £5.05 per bottle
Now £19.95 per bottle

* 23 bottles available *

Two Hands Charlie's Garden 2016

95 Points - James Halliday "Hand-picked fruit with 20% whole bunches, on skins 15 days in open top fermenters, pressed to seasoned French puncheons and hogsheads for 18 months. While this shines the spotlight on the fruit, there's certainly oak flavours and tannin seeping through to the wine but just the right amount. Also in the mix are blackberry essence, plum compote, molasses and savoury, persimmon-like tannins."

Save £2.00 per bottle
Now £25.50 per bottle

* 11 bottles available *


Flowstone Queen of the Earth Cabernet Sauvignon 2011

97 Points - James Halliday "Hand-picked from a single dry-grown vineyard in Wilyabrup; open-fermented in 1-tonne pots, 17 days post-fermentation maceration, matured for 3 years in new French barriques, plus 15 months bottle age, 9 dozen made. Briefly tries to hide its beauty, but has to let the rivulets of cassis caress the tongue and cheeks of the mouth, supported by persistent, but extraordinarily fine, silky tannins.'

Save £4.70 per bottle
Now £37.25 per bottle

* 3 bottles available *


Clarendon Hills Piggott Range Syrah 2007

Jay Miller, "The 2007 Syrah Piggott Range offers a kinky, sexy bouquet of earth, bacon, game, incense, and assorted black and blue fruits. Rich and layered, this is a dense, packed, and impeccably balanced powerhouse that will require 8-10 years to reveal its full potential. This lengthy effort will easily provide pleasure through 2027."

Save £3.45 per bottle
Now £41.50 per bottle

* 4 bottles available *


"All-in-all, a particularly exquisite wine which will offer much happiness"

Stella Bella Serie Luminosa Cabernet Sauvignon 2009

97++ Points - Stuart McCloskey “The years have been kind however, it’s got a bright future ahead (perhaps another five or so years). The aromas are deep, rich and savoury ranging from scorched earth, briar, leather, lead pencil, liquorice, exotic spice and a touch of menthol which intermix beautifully with ripe blueberry and blackcurrant. The palate is the truest expression of Aussie Cabernet Sauvignon and offers a lavish wash of the same blueberry and blackcurrant fruits and those who (like me) are fanatical home harvesters, will spot oodles of fennel seed. There’s warmth from the earth rather than alcohol – dried herbs and cedar too. A smidgeon of vanilla and plum… All-in-all, a particularly exquisite wine which will offer much happiness. Served with Zalto Bordeaux glassware – Decant for 1-2 hours.”

Save £6.80 per bottle
Now £33.15 per bottle

* 29 bottles available *


Stella Bella Wines Otro Vino The Italian 2018

** To be delisted **

Winemaker: In homage to the classics of Tuscany, this vino evokes the essence of Italy. Wild fermented Sangiovese with a splash of Merlot, it is captivating and filled with charm. Vespa red in colour it oozes with scents of cherries, violets and red currants. Medium bodied and light on its feet with subtle tannin, the palate is driven by raspberry and cherry fruit. Defined by fresh acidity and savoury curves that give length, depth and lineage. Pure charisma and Italian style... Bella!

Save £1.15 per bottle
Now £16.80 per bottle

* 13 bottles available *


JC's Own Ferine Grenache 2018

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."

Save £3.55 per bottle
Now £17.95 per bottle

* 17 bottles available *


"Wines for the adventurous. Spanish and Portuguese varieties grown near Donnybrook in Western Australia. Premium, small batch, delicious."

Mazza Tempranillo 2006

James Halliday "Some colour development; cigar box and spice nuances to the bouquet, then some bottle-developed complexity, moving the black cherry fruit towards the sour cherry; has overall balance; less than 500 dozen made."

Save £3.00 per bottle
Now £18.95 per bottle

* 22 bottles available *


Glaetzer-Dixon Avancé Pinot Noir 2018

Campbell Mattinson, The Wine Front “This is an impressive wine, from an impressive producer. This pinot noir is blessed as much with confidence as it is with length, its sour-smoky fruits littered with sweet herb and orange rind notes, a whisper of reduction not hurting matters at all. A dry, structural, fruit-pulsed finish makes for a beautiful exit. Quality and value are both on offer here.”

Save £3.55 per bottle
Now £18.95 per bottle

Hutton Vale Farm
Shiraz 2014

97+/98+ Points - Stuart McCloskey “A pure bouquet of blackberry intermixed with warm, dry earth, musky herbs, menthol, graphite and pen ink. To be honest, you would run out of superlatives as the bouquet is endless and constantly changes with more aeration. The tannins are a touch chalky contrasted with magnificent layers of perfectly ripe, black fruits. .. read more

Save £6.45 per bottle
Now £29.50 per bottle


From James Halliday's
Winemaker of the year 2019: 
Julian Langworthy

Deep Woods Estate Reserve
Cabernet Sauvignon 2017

Best Cabernet Sauvignon - Royal Sydney Wine Show 2019

98 Points - Nick Stock ( "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."

97 Points - James Halliday "Sourced entirely from the original estate vines planted in '87, matured for 18 months in new and used French oak. A wine of immediate power, coupled with the balance to guide it through the decades ahead. The flavours are grounded on blackcurrant and bay leaf, the tannins ripe."

Save £9.80 per bottle
Now £38.75 per bottle

* 48 bottles available *