WE UNVEIL OUR MYSTERY WINES

Issue #133, October 2020

The 'New Normal'

I have been absent from my weekend muses for far too long, which I apologise for (the strains of work I'm afraid). I thoroughly enjoyed last week’s article ‘Is there honesty behind our wine reviews?’ which Magda wrote perfectly – it is worth a read if you missed it. Within days of this , Decanter revealed their 2020 World Wine Awards with one of our agency wines, 2018 Equilibrio Chardonnay from Soumah receiving the prodigious award of ‘Best in Show’ an accolade bestowed only to the very best wines. The timing between Magda’s article and the 2020 DWWA could not have been more perfect. Granted, Decanter awarded the wine 97 points against our score of 98 (horses for courses I suppose) however, it reinforces several key points. Firstly, our judgements / scores are accurate and never over inflated and for me, the most significant, we know our onions. 

Domestically, we believe Decanter has the same reputation as Halliday in Australia. Globally, Decanter’s authoritative name is super-strong as their presence in Asia and across mainland Europe is powerful. China boasts 80,000+ online readers with 580,000+ monthly from the ‘rest of the world’ which is impressive. 38% of the subscribers to their printed magazine (41,000 in circulation) are from the UK, 30% from the USA and Canada, 16% Europe a They state that 100 countries receive their magazine. These figures demonstrate how important it is for any wine producer to impress the judges. It is the same position for wine merchants who are declared winners in their respective category, as we were earlier in September. It can only help boost one’s profile.

On the subject of Decanter profiles – This week we have been liaising with their design team who are beautifying the Standish producer profile which is to be released (digitally and in their magazine) in November. We have assisted the author, Sarah Ahmed by ensuring Dan responds to all her questions in good time. Like you, we are not privy to the full content and very much look forward to seeing the full feature – We will share if we are allowed to! Dan and Nicole have been collecting huge scores for their 2018 collection. Along with Joe from RobertParker.com, our reviews have been visible since 5 February. Mid-September, Suckling.com declared the ’18 Schubert Theorem 100 points, which and as expected, saw a tsunami of trade contact and sales. One buyer purchased fifty cases this week which has seriously depleted our stocks, so much so that all trade sales have been stopped immediately. The 2018 Andelmonde, Lamella and now the Schubert Theorem have either sold out or are close to, which leaves little room for Decanter readers and Vinorium customers. There is nothing more frustrating than seeing a full, glossy magazine feature, which announces and inspires its readers to investigate and buy – they hurry to the relevant importer (moi) to find that most of the wines have sold out.  However, Decanter’s publish lead-time is too long and business must continue. To date, we have sold 3,170 bottles of the 2018 collection, declaring Standish wines as the most important producer in our entire Aussie portfolio.

Thankfully, we have finished our penultimate financial quarter healthy with sales dipping just under one million which translates to a 12.6% increase over the same period, 2019. The wine market is understandably in a state of flux with much of the hospitality sector on its knees or close to it. How they will survive the new 10:00pm restrictions are beyond me (particularly those who have previously enjoyed a second sitting for later diners). But they have shown much resilience and ingenuity which is wonderful to see. I am not entirely sure how the UK’s importers are faring, chiefly those relying on their restaurant / hospitality trade. One major name has refinanced and one, namely, Field Morris & Verdin has fallen apart, and most unexpectedly. I am not shy in coming forward and will stand by every word that I write – in this case, their owners, Berry Brothers & Rudd need to take a very hard look at themselves. I know some of the ex-FMV staff (now enjoying gardening leave) who have been treated appallingly and the dismemberment of FMV is difficult to comprehend. Wine producers are leaving or have left and found safety with previous competitors, some have been discarded under the ‘not wanted list’ as have the majority of FMV’s customers, save for one-hundred or so. The arrogance is beyond grasp.

We received a charming email on the 24th September “I am writing to let you know that we will not be accepting any new orders on your account after 15th October 2020 (this will include landed, ex-cellar and en primeur offers). We would ask that you bring your account up to date by 15th October 2020 and collect any paid reserves before 30th October 2020.” In fairness, we buy very little from FMV, mainly as they have always championed their restaurant and hospitality customers, therefore our business is of no concern to them. That said, if I were running the show, I would have moved away from the broken model a long time ago. The Vinorium has faced the same challenging times, furloughed no staff and are seeing a 13% increase on the year to date. BBR has a long and proud history, but they have lost their way. Their email of the 24th was also sent to the one-hundred customers, who they wanted to keep! What a mess and I hope my friends and their staff find a safe and more respectful employer in the New Year…

As we returned to the ‘new normal’ the flurry of online orders reduced in the last quarter. Sadly, the need for daily wine consumption seems less important, or our local pubs and eateries are enjoying a share of your generosity which I think is smashing.

Even so, we report a respectable 37% increase compared to the same period, 2019. The year to date has increased by 52.9% which I believe to be a tremendous result. As ever, and I will never tire of writing the words, I thank you deeply for your continued kindness and support. We are super lucky to have you as customers and friends.

Like many, we are taking stock of our business with a full review currently underway. Logistics, packaging and costs associated with the same are primary concerns and must be tackled. I will let you into a few in-house costs. The total cost of delivering (domestic and Europe only) along with the packaging has cost The Vinorium a whopping £56,925. (January to September). From our HQ, we have shipped 4618 orders of varying sizes. All wines shipped from our UK bond, which is considerable, are chargeable therefore the costs to us, are effectively cancelled out.

Facts from a business with whom you deal with can be interesting, but what is the point of us revealing them? In this instance, it is prudent to do so and more so with each passing day. I understand customers hate to pay for delivery. A delivery charge is the plague of any online business and as the marketplace is squeezed harder, everyone expects to pay nothing. Our mystery wines arrived in the UK on Wednesday 30th September – We are hoping to receive them at our HQ by Thursday 8th (An official announcement will be released in the coming days regarding exact deliveries, once we are sure of their rendezvous with our HQ). All-in-all, we sold close to 1,000 bottles which I am delighted with. You too will be over the moon once you enjoy your order. Lots (in excess of 50) of our customers placed an order for Mystery wines, but also included with their order a selection of wines from our current stocks . The expectation of many of these customers, is to have the current, ‘physical’ bottles delivered immediately, and for the mystery wine to follow when it arrives. Most of these orders exceeded £100, therefore no delivery charge was levied during the checkout process. However, we have been a little swamped with slightly grumpy emails once it was explained that we cannot send two separate deliveries, when the total order value only just exceeded our £100 free delivery threshold.

You may wonder if we are being greedy? In short, far from it as we have run the figures on the costs of shipping wine from our HQ, to you. To date, the average cost per order equates to a staggering £12.33 – this sum is absorbed by The Vinorium, which is unsustainable, more so if we bow to customer pressure of splitting orders, which increases our costs further. I would love to offer you such a service however, it is simply not commercially viable. One of the greatest benefits of The Vinorium is the lack of a ‘middleman.’ Many wine importers of our scale sell to the on-and-off trade (other merchants / wholesale / restaurants etc etc). In turn, they sell to you - which is the norm. But you, the customer, are paying for an additional layer of profit which we feel is unfair and that is the reason why you can purchase from us directly. Our trade customers pay the same price as you, which is unheard of, but we have always championed our private customers, and we will continue to do so. Nonetheless, and with the aforementioned mounting costs, we cannot continue this way. The harsh reality would be a loss of 18% gross profit if we agreed to split these orders into two separate deliveries. No business can operate with such a huge loss… Please understand that we are not being greedy and far from unreasonable. 

But, and it’s a ‘big’ but, the fact we saw so many of our customers wanting to split smaller orders into several deliveries, has highlighted that our system of offering and operating, needs addressing. We are a constantly evolving business and one which places customer satisfaction and service at its core. We take full responsibility and I offer my personal guarantee that all future pre-arrival specials will be sent to you in a clear and unambiguous way.

I broke from these musings for thirty minutes, to sample six wines from one of the McLaren Vale’s top producers. There was a mix of young to mature-ish vintages as the wine producer was keen for Magda and I to see how their wines develop with a little bottle age. They were lovely, the Grenache was joyous and uplifting and perhaps my favourite. The wines are detailed, polished, unforced and very beautiful – they should be, as they would retail for around £52.95. Their Shiraz would sit at £68.95 which is just below Standish. They are different in style to Standish and our mystery wines which I like and have been seeking, but is their Shiraz worthy of a price-tag double that of our mystery Shiraz? As I explained in our opening ‘mystery wine’ offer – we believe them to be undervalued but we must work within the parameters which we have or believe in. I am looking forward to the day when we can sit down with a dozen or so customers and sample together. Our new HQ will be the perfect base and a home to while away the hours and discuss flavours, styles and prices. I am thinking of creating a customer tasting panel. Twelve customers (those who have a wide understanding of our portfolio) will spend an afternoon / evening in our company to sample through a range of wines – lunch / supper would be provided and accommodation is close by for those wishing to stay. Perhaps a quarterly meeting to sample 25-40 wines. A full tasting report from the panel will be published for all to read.

Please email the team if you would like to put your name forward.  

 
 

"My company is conscious of its environmental footprint. For years, we have run an almost paperless office, we recycle all of our glassware, all cardboard and paper used is recycled and our packaging is biodegradable. But, we can do more..."

 
 

To make way for our new HQ, the demolition of the grain store was planned for this month however, everything has stopped due to ecology. I love nature and my life and home sits at its heart. I am a bee keeper (a novice but an enthusiastic one), I grow my own fruit and veggies and I garden and cultivate organically. Mulch, leaf mould and compost come from my homemade efforts – I have five compostable bins each being six foot by six foot and I place everything from dead plants, flowers, shrubs and household peelings to brown cardboard in them. The plants and flowers which require feeding are nourished from either a wonderfully aromatic tincture of seaweed or my homemade comfrey which grows in abundance in my woodland area. Its leaves are full of nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium, the best nutrients required by growing plants. An amazing plant and the flowers are pretty…

As part of our pre-planning application, an ecology survey was completed, which is how it should be in my book. The curse of the Great Crested Newt survey is that any waterway / pond within 250 metres of your proposed development must be investigated. Allegedly, I understand three newts were discovered on our land which is some feat given it’s one hell of a walk from the nearest pond and a six foot fence stands in their way. Nonetheless, you have to believe ecology and the SAS abilities of these slippery beauties.

I received a panicked email from my architect who declared that ecology require a Great Crested Newt licence and a reptile translocation. Conventional GCN mitigation licencing would not be possible until next year given Natural England’s reviewing times. The only way that the newt issue can be addressed this year is registering the site under the Kent District Level Licencing strategy for GCN. In regards to the reptiles, once the translocation is set up, only 30 trapping sessions are required which (weather permitting) could be done at a frequency of two sessions a day. However, the issue is that the fencing can only be installed upon the granting of any newt licence, meaning that the reptile translocation can only start once a newt licence is granted.

Under the above strategy, it would still be possible to resolve the newt licence and reptile translocation issue this year however, no works (including demolition of the building) can commence until the issues of reptile and GCN have been addressed. I received their invoice and was flabbergasted at the content – Fuming is more accurate. The hypocrisy is galling and my anger pierced a large hole in my office ceiling. Firstly, a fee of close to £10,000 has been billed - £6,250 for 60 trapping sessions. A whopping £2,000 for 200 metres of exclusion fences (clearly, they forgot about the six foot fences the newts had skilfully abseiled off), £330 for two log piles (I received at home a cubic ton for £190) and the most shocking of all, the ‘destructive search’ which entails the suitable habitats within the development site being combed through using the toothed bucket of a 360-degree mechanical digger. This process is conducted in a slow and controlled manner and is estimated to take approximately one day to complete, costing around £1,000. Knocking the poor blighters unconscious with a bloody great digger seems anti-ecology in my books. Money aside, how can an ecologically conscious company justify coming to site (60 times) and erecting a non-biodegradable fence of some 200 metres? The damage to the greater environment with excessive exhaust fumes and the use of plastic is hypocrisy at its best. The bullshit (I am sorry!) is shocking but wait for this (an extract from their quote) …

Great Crested Newt District Level Licencing -  “Having confirmed the presence of GCN within the waterbody within 250m of the Site and that the proposed development will result in the loss of suitable GCN habitat, an appropriate EPS licence will need to be sought and approved from Natural England prior to the commencement of any works likely to impact areas suitable to support the species.  Traditionally, only the full PESM licence has been available for this process, however, Natural England have recently released the District Level Licencing strategy for GCN, a method which enables calculation / contribution of a ‘Conservation Payment’ to enable the mitigation for GCN to be conducted off site; thus alleviating the pressures put on to developments / planning application due to seasonal constraints.
Given the seasonal timing constraints we suggest this is the only route available which would enable the project to commence prior to May/June 2021.

However, to determine the financial contribution required, a District Level Licence application must still be submitted to Natural England.

For an administration fee Natural England then generate the financial contribution payment required to enter into the scheme, which if agreeable, is then paid to Natural England, whom then generate a formal EPSS licence, a certificate which allows an individual to commit what would otherwise be an unlawful act (which in this instance would be the destruction of GCN habitat).”

Tell me – how lawful is Natural England being, in taking what seems to be a backhander in return for a licence? I wonder what financial contribution is required to enter the scheme, as it has not been disclosed. This, along with the onsite ecology personnel is the biggest rip-off I have come across in a long time. It is shameful, truly so…

My company is conscious of its environmental footprint. For years, we have run an almost paperless office, we recycle all of our glassware, all cardboard and paper used is recycled and our packaging is biodegradable. But, we can do more and we must, as global warming is taking its toll to a devastating effect. Initially, we plan to be carbon neutral by the summer of 2021 and a slightly longer term project is our new HQ which is built with our environment in mind.

Our new building is substantial in size (some 75 metres long) however, every inch of the building has been planned with the utmost detail. Heating and our hot water arrives by a ground source heat pump system which harnesses natural heat from underground by pumping water through it in pipes. We do require electricity to run the system, but the idea is that they use less electrical energy than the heat they produce. The pump performs the same role as a boiler in a central heating system. But it uses ambient heat from the ground, rather than burning fuel to generate heat.

The thermal property of the building has been examined closely to ensure that the thermal mass will maintain the building’s temperature.  This way, its occupants are comfortable during the winter months and remain cool in the warming summers. No air conditioning or any cooling system is being installed. Instead, the physical design itself will provide all the cool air we need. Our windows are huge (some 15 feet high) but these will work to our advantage. Each section is split into three – similar to sash windows. In the summer, the top section will be open to allow the warm air to escape whilst the bottom section allows cool air to enter the building. The team’s work space is surrounded by water which will also provide a cooling element during the summer, they are able to either dangle their tootsies in the water or go for a full dip in our natural pond (some 20 metres long).

Our roof area is huge (almost 1,000 square metres). We will take advantage of the space by planting a wild meadow which will be a great source of nourishment for our onsite bees. The water captured from the roof will make its way down to a harvest point and be stored for use in our vegetable garden, for our flowers, plants and small orchard. We are not wasting water from our taps, showers or toilets either. Even the water used in our winery, which is classed as hazardous and must never be poured into the main water system, will be sent through our underground water treatment plant. We are installing a Bio-Bubble which is a fabulous system. The deep balance tank receives all the grey water and any hazardous water from the winery. The water is transferred to a deep reactor tank (3m by 4m) which empties into the valve chamber and then onto the final effluent scree / sample chamber before it is discharged as pure water into the ground. Ideally, you would discharge directly into a stream (it is that clean) however, the ground will have to suffice…

Like my home, our vineyard and veggies / fruits will be farmed organically with no sprays or pesticides used whatsoever. It’s a no-no for our bees but I am keen to see how we can manage the vineyard without spraying. We will not cultivate mid row, maintaining the natural grasses and wild flowers, which will be cut twice a year, thus giving back organic material to the soil. We plan to plant asparagus between several rows of vines which is an old tradition used in orchards. 

Our vines will be rigorously hand-pruned to reduce yields, which in turn will ensure quality. We will hand-manage the canopy to enhance fruit exposure to the sun and wind – this is a great way to naturally reduce diseases and to promote riper fruit. And it goes without saying, all our grapes will be hand-picked…

My God – I have not contributed for a month, but once I get going, I don’t stop… I wish you a restful weekend and I trust you have four Vinorium bottles lined up (white or light red for lunch and something deeper and darker for the evenings).

Keep safe and well.

Cheers to all, Stu

 
 

Our Wine of the Week

 
 

"Currently my favourite Chardonnay in our portfolio"

Stuart McCloskey

 

Hoddles Creek 1er Chardonnay 2017

97+ - 98+ Points - Stuart McCloskey “It’s taken some time for this beauty to develop and certainly has a bright future ahead. Do not overchill and allow the wondrous bouquet to unfurl to crisp yellow stone fruits, lemon oil, its rich with minerality (wet chalk), buttered citrus, spring flowers and nashi pear. I adore the bouquet which I find so evocative. I could happily spend the day swirling and sniffing without the need to taste (it’s that alluring). The palate is tight knit, finely boned, endlessly long and built with cellaring in mind. The elegant textural element is wonderful. The purity and balance are exceptional. Tensile whilst providing fleshy orchard fruits.  Structured but the flavours amplify with aeration and provide a real sense of volume. The wine is as long as you are willing to travel and finally ends with a lick of salinity. Magical and I absolutely adore it… Currently my favourite Chardonnay in our portfolio. Drink now to 2030. Served with Zalto Bordeaux glassware.

98 Points - Magdalena Sienkiewicz "The label on this wine is a statement to it being no less than a Premier Cru Burgundy. The quality shows straight away with an elegant and classy nose filled with citrus, flowers and flint. Give it time in a glass and you will discover notes of white peach, freshly baked sourdough and spice. You cannot deny the underlying power of this wine, disguised under a mask of poise and self-assured dignity. The palate is complex and layered with incredible detail. All elements fall into place with natural grace, revealing each nuance in peaceful harmony. The length here is breathtaking. Clearly, a serious Chardonnay which demands you to treat it as such. Enjoy this beautiful wine on its own as food will only take away from its detailed texture. Alternatively, put it in a cellar and enjoy over the next decade."

Buy from our HQ

£30.50 per bottle

 59 bottles available

Buy from our Bonded Warehouse

£139.00 per 6 IB

12 cases available

 
 

A most perplexing delivery

We regularly send cases of wine to customers overseas; all over Europe, as far as Australia and many to Hong Kong. However, this week we had such a strange delivery arrive with a customer that it was a complete first for us all…

We use a mix of couriers, including specialist wine shippers who are experts in their field (allegedly).  This particular episode started as usual with an order from a new customer for four six packs of our bestselling 100-point 2018 Standish Schubert Theorem and a request for a shipping quote to deliver the wines to Switzerland.  Nothing unusual there.  We received the quotes and the customer opted for the fully insured, specialist service. The wine was duly collected from our bonded warehouse and shipped to our customer’s home in Switzerland.

Fast forward a few days and our customer received notification that his order was due to be delivered. How splendid as we pride ourselves on our super-fast door-to-door European service (often no more than 48 hours). Four handsome cardboard Standish cases were delivered safely packed within a larger carton.  However, what our customer did not expect was for all four cases to be totally empty!  A packing list was included confirming that the shipment contained “4 x boxes and 0 x bottles.”  I can only imagine how confused and concerned this customer was when his first order from a new wine merchant arrived missing such a key component – the blooming wine!

We received rapid but humorous contact from him. In turn, we immediately contacted the courier regarding the Standish wine fairies. Their justification was as extraordinary as the event itself – “the wine required customs clearance and was therefore delayed. The boxes are not subject to tax and therefore free to be delivered. So, they went ahead and shipped them separately.” Who on earth ships empty cardboard wine cases?

Over the past five years, we have shipped hundreds of thousands of bottles and this is the very first time we’ve had a customer receive empty boxes.

We’ve been reassured that the wine is now en route to the customer and will be delivered shortly. The customer is happy, if slightly baffled as to why we decided to send some additional recycling on a 615 mile trip from Kent to Switzerland!

 
 
 

The
Team insider:

Which is the red wine the team drink most frequently? (out of hours, of course…)

 
 

Soumah Single Vineyard
Hexham Pinot Noir 2018

 
 

…And why?

Very moreish is an understatement. The best Aussie Pinot Noir you are likely to find at twenty-quid. Simply delicious and faultless for the money.

 

97 Points - Stuart McCloskey “I love the bouquet which is so inviting with a mix of soured red fruits, dried orange peel and an entire pantry full of sweet spices – there’s a little Christmas feel to the aromas which I find wistful. The flavour spectrum is immensely pleasing and follows a similar pattern to that of the nose. Sweet and sour fruit intermixed with a Smörgåsbord of spice cuddled with filigree tannins. Fleshy, ample and mouth-filling with palate drenching satisfaction. Very moreish is an understatement. The best Aussie Pinot Noir you are likely to find at twenty-quid. Simply delicious and faultless for the money. Drink now to 2025, but there is no need to wait.”

97 Points - Magdalena Sienkiewicz "Burying your nose into a glass of Hexham Pinot Noir is a delight. Bags of spice, clove in particular, with more sweet spice, a healthy waft of wonderful forest floor and wild forest fruit. Texturally, the Hexham is another triumph. Flavours dance on the palate with effortless grace and melt away into a soft finish. Do not mistake elegance and softness for lightness – it carries a perfectly judged intensity and balance. A real charmer and huge kudos for outstanding value."

£19.95 per bottle

 
 
 
 

October

 Mystery Wine

Topper’s Mountain, New England, NSW

Stolpman, USA

 

November

Wild Duck Creek, Heathcote

Ghost Rock, Tasmania

Gemtree, McLaren Vale

Soumah (New releases), Yarra Valley

Wantirna Estate, Victoria

Grey Sands, Tasmania

 
 

December

Shadowfax, Victoria

House of Cards, Margaret River

Ghost Rock (Their Sparkling wines), Tasmania

 
 
 
 

Elderton Barossa GSM 2018

95 points - Nick Butler, The Real Review 2019 "Dark, ripe plums, cedary oak, graphite and charcuterie - plenty to consider when swirled in the glass. It's ripe and balanced - built on the sure foundation of quality fruit. The shiraz portion dominates the blend and it is all the better for it. Great work at the blending table. Delicious."

Winemaker "Shiraz is typically the first to ripen and was open top fermented alone, with co-fermentation for the later ripening Grenache and Mourvedre. Both parcels were transferred separately to older French oak puncheons. The Shiraz was later added to the blend to enrich and balance the colours, aromas and flavours. Shiraz offers structure with black pepper and richness, Mourvedre gives earthiness and liquorice with Grenache offering roundness to palate and blue fruits."

£18.50 per bottle
Also available In Bond for £158.25 per case of 6

 

After Five Wine Co
Single Vineyard Blend Serata 2017

95 Points - James Halliday "Shiraz, aglianico and montepulciano, made and matured separately for 17 months prior to blending. All French oak, mostly older. The juicy plumminess of shiraz is evident, but the savoury red cherry character likely coming from its partners. More pertinent is that the blend has worked well, providing a seamless mouthfeel with length and depth of flavour."

Craig Stansborough “The Serata was really the main reason why I planted the two Italian varieties in the first place, to produce our version of a Super Tuscan. I always enjoyed the complexity of those wines and the idea that there were no boundaries. I had a hunch the natural acidity and the tannin would lend itself to blending with Shiraz and we have been so pleased with the results.. I just wish I could get in a time machine and see what they look like in ten years, I am pretty confident they will look bloody smart!

This is a single vineyard wine, as are all of the After Five Wine Co. The main idea behind these wines is to showcase the sites from which they come from. The name really stemmed from when Mark and I spend most of the early days working on Purple Hands Wines, after five! But it also does reflect when we tend to open the first bottle.

Out of all the wines I would have to say probably the most difficult wine to blend, 2-3% difference in the varietal mix can play havoc with the structure so it takes time and care but the results are rewarding.”

Was £26.95 per bottle
Now £24.50 per bottle

 

NEW

Anthill Farms Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir 2016

Antonio Galloni "The 2016 Pinot Noir (Sonoma Coast) is endowed with terrific depth in this vintage. Beautifully expressive and resonant, the 2016 offers notable richness in its succulent red cherry, plum and spice nuances. This open-knit, juicy Pinot will drink well with minimal cellaring. This is a fabulous appellation-level Pinot."

Winemaker "This appellation is widely described as “sprawling” as it encompasses half or more of the county. Our fruit comes from two of the coolest, most coastal parts of this appellation: the low coast, west of Sebastopol on the edge of the Petaluma Gap; and the high coast, the first or second ridge inland from the ocean farther to the north. These sites are united by the direct influence of the Pacific‘s cool, marine air, delaying ripening well into October."

£32.95 per bottle

 
 

Eastern Peake Intrinsic Pinot Noir 2016

97 Points - Stuart McCloskey  “Wow – the bouquet races out of the glass with hedonistic impact. Briary, autumnal, deep, earthy and broody (wood smoke / fire hearth / bacon fat / soy / mushroom) uplifted with sour cherry and sweet spice – fresh rubbed rosemary and bay too. This is one of those beauties which keeps giving. You will never tire of swirling and sniffing.  The flavours fan out wonderfully across the palate with filigree tannins keeping pace. Sour cherry and cranberry cascades with a soupçon of soy, briary fruits and a little backdrop of smoke. A very individual wine created by a truly gifted winemaker. Powerful but the earthy goodness provides an honest balance. Incredible length, dried blood orange on the finish and a wine which will appeal to those who love By Farr wines… Decanted for an hour and served using Zalto Burgundy glassware. Drink now to 2030.”

97 Points – Magdalena Sienkiewicz "Incredibly complex nose with morello cherry, blackcurrants, eucalyptus and spices luring in its depth. It doesn’t stop there with wafts of sweet warm earth, lots of bramble, iodine, green olive tapenade, herbs and smoked spices continuing to pour from the glass. This mesmerising mixture washes across the palate with a beautiful savoury edge. Sour cherry blends with spices and soy leading you to a warming earthy finish. This is a hedonistic effort reflecting a darker side of Pinot Noir. Filled with individuality, it is yet another amazing wine from the talented Owen Latta and his team."

£27.50 per bottle

 
 
 

Flowstone Queen of the Earth
Cabernet Sauvignon 2015

Top Rated Cabernet Sauvignon - 2020 Wine Companion Awards

97 Points - James Halliday "Open-fermented, plunged three times daily, before 17 days on skins, 3 years in barrel plus another 15 months of settling prior to dispatch, the result is a lustrous cabernet. Crushed herb melds effortlessly with cassis, violet, gummy bear pastille, black olive and a swab of bay leaf tannins. There is so much glycerol, that it is already a nice drink. Perfumed and inviting. However, my suggestion is to test your patience, cellaring it for 8 years onwards."

£41.95 per bottle

 

Powell & Son Roussanne Marsanne 2017

Vinorium Award - 2019 White Wine of the Year: Silver

97+ Points Stuart McCloskey "Sharply focused, linear with a vibrancy which I wasn’t expecting. The floral character comes to the fore which compliments the nashi pear, peach, melon and suggestion of jasmine brilliantly. The palate is expansive with swathes of buttered citrus fruits underpinned with a core of minerals. I’ll be brutally honest, I was expecting a voluptuous Barossa bombshell. Instead, I received an unexpected balancing act between litheness and precision which is extremely impressive. This is one of those rare wines which floats on the palate but delivers to every millimetre.  Drinking beautifully now (decant for 20 mins) but will cellar for 8-10 years." 

£40.95 per bottle

 

Mulline Bannockburn Fumé Blanc 2019

2021 Best Sauvignon Blanc Wines - Wine Companion Awards

98 Points - Stuart McCloskey "The bouquet is ultra-pure and sings with honeyed quince, touches of apple, apricot and warming ginger with more aeration. The palate is confident, unforced and a joy to sample. More complex than most Australian Sauvignon Blancs and full of charisma. I love the youthfulness which provides good bite and pithiness, although the palate offers much depth and breadth. Sumptuous in parts despite its infancy. Very impressive and certainly one of the best examples of Aussie Sauvignon Blanc currently available. Long, incredibly satisfying, juicy, moreish and sophisticated. This will be incredible in 5 years.”

Mike Bennie, The Wine Front "A superb rendition of the oak-rested Sauvignon Blanc sect of wines, here marrying gently nougat-like characters with ripe citrus, a splash of passionfruit and faint but comely green herb characters. It's got superb texture, lots of complexity and feels compelling to drink. Kudos."

£32.95 per bottle

 

Eastern Peake Intrinsic Chardonnay 2018

97++ to 98 Points - Stuart McCloskey “Different and rightfully individual, but I can see glimpses of my old friend. The nose is evocative and builds with more aeration. Grilled, creamy nuts, buttery pastry, crème pat, fresh vanilla pod underpinned with confit lemon, crisp orchard fruits and the most striking mineral freshness imaginable. The palate is a little subdued but that’s ok with me as this beauty will last a decade or more. It’s 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 all of its own by an indescribable sense of completeness. One of the highlights of my year and I am pinching three dozen for sure. Do not overchill, decant for 20-30 minutes and ideally serve in Zalto Bordeaux glassware or similar. Drink now to 2030+ (I believe this will be 99 points in 5-8 years)”

98 Points - Magdalena Sienkiewicz "Tasted after decanting. Perhaps a little more feminine compared to the exuberant 2016 but nevertheless, the Intrinsic Chardonnay 2018 is a wine of sheer depth, which is simply incredible for such a young wine. It’s beautifully aromatic with abundant nectarines and apricots unfolding in the glass together with citrus oil, crystalline minerals and a whiff of vanilla. The tremendous texture is where this wine really shines as it covers every facet of your palate with incredible precision and velvety softness. The graceful acidity only aids a sense of poise and seamless balance, harmonising the textural, creamy sensation. This real beauty proves irresistible today but will reward those with an unyielding degree of patience."

£28.95 per bottle

 

Wild Duck Creek Roussanne 2017

Winemakers notes "Only produced in exceptional vintages in the cooler southern sub-region of Mia Mia, 3 kilometres from the winery at Adairs Lane Vineyard, pressed in the traditional basket press and barrel fermented in 100% new French oak puncheons. The wine is kept in barrel for a further 9 months and to add texture, the lees were stirred every 2 weeks with the wine being bottled un-fined. Only 1200 bottles were produced, this is a wine that rivals many top Rhone whites."

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."

£23.95 per bottle

 

Massena Stonegarden Riesling 2018

96++ to 97++ Stuart McCloskey “A very grown-up style of Riesling and more similar to Alsace than many new world styles.  The nose is restrained but provides glimpses of lemony minerality, fresh lime, wet stones and mineral salts. The palate is mouth-watering, incredibly pure, tightly knit and clearly has the ability to age for 10-20 years. The Stonegarden single vineyard sits almost 400-metres above sea level and forms part of an ancient seabed. The vineyard's rocky, loam topsoil sits above a substrate of red clay containing rose quartz and black mica schist fragments, which this wine amplifies. The heat of summer and low night temperatures provide the long, slow ripening of fruit resulting in complex flavours and fine-boned acidity. I believe this wine lives and breathes its natural terroir and stands proudly amongst Australia’s finest Rieslings. I look forward to seeing how this wine has evolved in five years’ time. Delicious now but the investment is in its future. Served in Zalto Universal glassware”

£19.95 per bottle

 
 

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