Issue #145, February 2021
Can’t see the woods for the trees?
That is perfectly understandable as we have launched a plethora of new producers…
We also share why we chose to partner with them.
Do we start or conclude with the ’19 Standish collection? Dan and Nicole are not new producers however, the collection is new and it’s a hot topic.
We officially launched the new collection on Sunday. Today (mid-afternoon on Thursday) we have sold just over £101,000 - which is staggering. This deserves the biggest thank you to all Standish supporters.
Six packs of Lamella are being sold on allocation with everyone taking their allocation (bar one customer). There are a few remaining customers to be contacted which is our plan for the coming days. Any remaining stock (and it will be tiny) will be offered to those who supported other wines from the 2019 collection. Unfortunately, we do not have additional stock available to allocate to those who didn’t buy 2018s and for those only seeking 2019 Lamella. On a glorious positive, you can purchase the Lamella as part of the 4 pack collection, so not all is lost…
I (Stu) sampled the collection on my own as the icy road conditions were too treacherous for my team – it’s a bloody good excuse and I'm sticking to it! Lucky for me, I also took the samples home and spent the next three days sipping and slurping at will. My tasting notes were based on my initial assessment which I stand by, save for The Relic which blossomed with each passing day. After 48 hours, it was simply perfect and my favourite wine of the quartet – I give it an ‘unofficial’ 100 points and will be reverting with a full assessment as soon as Dan provides a fresh sample bottle.
Stocks of The Relic and The Schubert Theorem are very low with 18 and 7 cases respectively being available to purchase on our pre-arrival special. I have requested an increased allocation of these two wines (requesting more Lamella is a pointless task). Keep checking the website as we will automatically increase stocks if we are successful.
IB Option Only
*Pre-Arrival Special: Each wine is being offered at
£380.00 IB per case of six
*The landed price post 5 March will be
£400.00 IB per case of six
2019 The Relic Shiraz Viognier
**Available for delivery End May 2021**
99-100 Points - Stuart McCloskey "Demure and beguiling are the best, two words to describe the bouquet. I am fascinated by the perfume which offers the full spectrum of ‘marine’ influences ranging from salinity to sea kelp, to hot oyster shell melded perfectly with cold stones, iron ore, black liquorice to milky earl grey. The palate is extremely well poised and ineffably pure. Despite the wine’s muscularity, this still manages to provide such grace and femininity which I find beguiling. Clearly this beauty is finely chiselled, agile and perfectly controlled despite its fleshiness. I love the whispers of white pepper which linger for an age. Ripe, black fruits tinged with orange rind flood the palate. Totally effortless, sensual, precise and without fault. An astonishing wine and one that will provide fifty years of pleasure. I cannot wait to resample in six months. Served using Zalto Bordeaux glassware.”
A few technical words from Dan: Hongell Family Vineyard, Krondorf. Planted on own roots in 1991. Clay Loam over weathered bedrock with intermittent bands of quartz. Shiraz grown in this part of the Barossa tends to be very aggressively tannic. We planted a single row of Viognier alongside the Shiraz which is picked altogether on the same morning. The co-fermentation of even a tiny amount of Viognier not only adds heady aromatics to the mix but also softens the otherwise firm tannins.
**Available for delivery End May 2021**
99-100 Points - Stuart McCloskey “The bouquet is a mesmeric and heady mix of dark cocoa, mocha, graphite, iodine, mineral accented black and blue fruit (almost liqueur-like), Crème de mûre, mulberry, woody spice box, so exotic, blood orange and all brushed with a wand of dried lavender. A little musk on round two with the dried spice box on the finish. The palate is extremely dense, full-bodied and demands your attention. As with Lamella, this packs a concentrated punch, but carries no excess weight. The fruits are sweet, expansive and reach those hard to find areas. Monolithic but with so much grace and skill on show. Spice cake and violet pastille interwind with damson and blueberry compote. Black cherry too with the faintest whisper of vanilla. The mineral laced fruit component builds and builds as does the power that knocks you sideways. This is exquisitely balanced with tannins that provide a little edgy grip. The finish is never-ending as it keeps giving. More spice and I adore the marine / saline tinge. Served using Zalto Bordeaux glassware. Drinking window; Yet another one for the cellar and requires a decade to truly unfurl, but and with 24 hours in the decanter, will provide you with a special, vinous moment. Unless you’re below the age of 30, this will outlive us all…”
A few technical words from Dan: Laycock Family Vineyard, Parbs Road, Greenock - 100% Shiraz. Planted on own roots in 2002 (5.39 Hectare – 9ft x 6ft spacing). Ironstone gravels and layered schist on a bedrock of solid ironstone at 314m above sea level. With its easterly aspect protecting it from the harsh western afternoon sun and the gentle sloped gravels draining away any untimely excess rainfall. Bedded deep on their own roots in fragmented ironstone and layered schist this Shiraz clone is in its element.
2019 The Schubert Theorem
**Available for delivery End May 2021**
100 Points - Stuart McCloskey “The ’19 Schubert Theorem provides a bouquet which is quite frankly haunting in its beauty and leaves me struggling to find a starting point. The perfume is so exotic and is juxtaposed between mineral laced black fruit to a heady mix of wildflowers. Damsons, mulberry, cold steel, sea kelp, graphite, violets, lavender are just a few of the aromatics – this is quite honestly bottomless with its offering. The unerring sense of purity is staggering. The palate is saturated with super concentrated blueberry, blackberry and plum complemented by this overwhelming sense of mineralité. The palate feel is sensual and seductive – almost creamy in texture, but this camouflages the seriousness of the wine’s structure, which is huge. The chalky tannins provide a little relief as do the whispers of lavender, black liquorice and a marine undercurrent that I adore. There’s a density and richness that is obvious, but with no excess weight. A towering and remarkable wine, which simply leaves me in awe… . Served using Zalto Bordeaux glassware. Drinking window; Another one for the cellar but can be approached with 24 hours in the decanter. In many ways, this is already a perfect wine, but in 20-30 years’ time, will provide something otherworldly. Until then, be satisfied with perfection…”
A few technical words from Dan: 100% Shiraz - Sourced from various sections of the Schubert Family Vineyard – Roennfeldt Road, Marananga. Planted on own roots between 1994 & 1999 (12ft x 8ft spacing). Deep red/brown earths with eroded protrusions of crystalline quartz and mica-schist between 272-296m above sea level
**Available for delivery End May 2021**
99-100 Points - Stuart McCloskey “The ’19 Lamella is without question a powerful and concentrated release. The bouquet offers warm earth, espresso, violet, mineral, lead pencil, bay leaf, dried herbs wrapped in a blanket of concentred black raspberry and dark, brambly fruits. Iron ore and that unmissable drift of marine unfurl beautifully along with a stronger accent of graphite. The palate is, as one would expect, full bodied and hurtles forward with enormous power and the backbone of a blue whale. This is monolithic in stature, but the wine’s symmetry is masterful – the breadth, depth and length all categorised as ‘incredible.’ The oak is seamlessly integrated, the balance perfect and the acidity adding a faultless nip of freshness. Waves of multi layered black fruits infused with minerals, with glimpses of lavender emerging. There’s an exotic quality to the fruit which adds to the hedonistic pleasure. The sheen is to die for and I love the textural brilliance. It’s one of those rare wines which leaves you in amazement. Served using Zalto Bordeaux glassware. Drinking window; Alas, this is one for the cellar and requires a decade to unfurl, but and with 24 hours in the decanter, this will provide you with a special moment in your life. This will be perfect in 20-30 years and will live on for 50-70 years (if not a century).”
On Allocation only by the Case.
Please enquire if you would like to join the wish list
Duty Paid Options
Many ’18 mixed cases were sold during the past 12-months. Without emailing every customer and waiting for their response (which could take weeks), we have released a parcel which we hope will cover all pre-arrival orders. These are offered on a first-come-first-served basis…
*Displayed prices include UK duty & VAT
*These purchase options are not available under bond and will be removed from our website at 9:00am 5 March
Special Four Pack
1 x 2019 Standish The Relic
1 x 2019 Standish The Standish
1 x 2019 Standish The Schubert Theorem
1 x 2019 Standish Lamella
Pre-Arrival Four Pack Price @ £322.00
Landed Price @ £342.00
* 42 x cases available *
Special Twelve Pack
3 x 2019 Standish The Relic
3 x 2019 Standish The Standish
3 x 2019 Standish The Schubert Theorem
3 x 2019 Standish Lamella
Pre-Arrival Twelve Pack Price @ £966.00
Landed Price @ £1026.00
* 1 x case available *
Victoria is a fascinating wine region to discover and home to some truly exceptional wines and talent with more than 800 wineries located across its wine regions, including the Yarra Valley, Mornington Peninsula, Macedon Ranges, Geelong, Ballarat and Heathcote to name a few… We have been truly smitten by cool climate ‘Victoria’ and love the diversity on show. We already represent Cobaw Ridge, Soumah, Hoddles Creek, Eastern Peake / Latta Wines, Wild Duck Creek and Mulline however, and given the breadth and depth of this outstanding region, we desired more
A sizeable collection of samples arrived throughout 2020 with two producers in particular standing out; Shadowfax and Wantirna (we will come back to Wantirna shortly). We admit that the Shadowfax story is a short read however, what they are achieving with their wines more than makes up for the shortfall.
Their ultra-cool climate, high-altitude (not Himalayan in scale) wines are tremendous. The entire sample selection was flawless with each wine causing ‘raised eyebrows and nods of quiet approval’ during our two tastings. Their Macedon Ranges blends provide charisma at an affordable price, whilst their single vineyard wines were met with broad smiles and not a single drop made it into the spittoon… We declared their Straws Lane Pinot Noir as “Simply, mesmerizing. Truly an exceptional Aussie Pinot Noir and perhaps one of the very best (without being showy). I would dearly love to see this in a blind ’19 Burgundy tasting.”
Read our Q&A with winemaker
Shadowfax Straws Lane Pinot Noir 2019
98+ Points – Stuart McCloskey “Planted in 1987 and perched at 800 metres on a north facing slope of Mt Macedon. The bouquet is utterly seductive and gently unfurls with sweet, wild strawberry and orange sorbet. There’s a cooling briary edge – do I detect a little rosemary and sage? Sweet, Morello cherries and raspberries for sure. Menthol too. Clearly, an ever evolving bouquet. Simply, mesmerizing. The palate is medium bodied and builds gently. It’s so natural and laced with crisp red berries. The tannins are laced with silk and the acidity judged to perfection. Touches of blood orange on the finish which I adore. This is effortless and a deeply moving wine to sample. The flavours fan out gloriously and seem everlasting with every sip I swallowed, and I filled my glass three times. Truly an exceptional Aussie Pinot Noir and perhaps one of the very best (without being showy). I would dearly love to see this in a blind ’19 Burgundy tasting. Drink now to 2040. Decant for 1-2 hours and serve using Zalto Burgundy glassware.”
RRP £37.95 per bottle
Special Price £34.95 per bottle
Shadowfax Midhill Chardonnay 2019
97-98 Points - Stuart McCloskey “The bouquet is explosive but does require a little aeration (30 minutes in a decanter will do the job nicely). Lemon oil, citrus, limestone and chalk aplenty – it’s so fresh and taut (the zippy acidity really crackles), which are all terroir indicators referencing this wine’s elevated (550m) site in the Macedon Ranges. The palate feel, fruit, structure and acidity are all in harmonious chorus. Similar to the bouquet, the palate strides forward with citrus in abundance – almost lip smacking. The texture is deeply satisfying with satiny ribbons of lemon curd and Yuzu. The vineyard was planted back in 1993 which aids the wine’s tremendous concentration. The finish is racy and super long… A wonderful Chardonnay that speaks of its surroundings. One for the cellar and I very much look forward to revisiting the wine over the coming years. Drink now to 2035. Served using Zalto Bordeaux glassware.”
97-98 Points – Magdalena Sienkiewicz "Exuberant and complex perfume radiates from the glass with an abundance of orchard fruit, citrus and an entire meadow of spring flowers. Notes of crystalline minerality add to its aromatic elegance. Ripe pears, apples and white peaches make an introduction on the palate before leaving the stage to allow grapefruit, lemons and lime take control. There is a pleasing roundness to the plentiful citrus, which are hard to pin down at this stage, but suggest underlying complexities yet to blossom. Even though this is such a young wine, its ample flavours coat every facet of your palate with perfectly judged weight. This will evolve beautifully over the next 5-10 years, but don’t hold back if you love the flavours described. Tasted using Zalto Bordeaux glassware, which often brings out more savoury notes in wine I find. Please decant for 30 minutes at the very least, longer if you can."
RRP £34.95 per bottle
Special Price £31.95 per bottle
Shadowfax Macedon Ranges Pinot Noir 2019
96-97 Points – Magdalena Sienkiewicz "This wine really opens up and expands when decanted, even one hour makes a difference. The aromas reveal wild, dark berries, juicy cherries and raspberry with a wonderful lift from rose petals and mint. There is a good dusting of sweet spice too along with pencil lead and gentle cedar notes. Pretty fruit opens the palate with a little citrus zing, juicy cranberries and a good bite of blood orange. The palate feel is generous, succulent and unforced. The finish is long and the tannins powdery. It’s delicious today, but I’m super curious to see how it develops over the next 5 years. Sampled using Zalto Burgundy glassware."
RRP £23.75 per bottle
Special Price £21.75 per bottle
To many Aussies, Wantirna is a special estate where exceptional wine is handcrafted. Their reputation befits them which made our partnership as distinctive as the wine itself. The trio of samples showed magnificently and provided a tangible connection to what we had read in the press over the past few years. They are ‘classical’ in the sense of being European in style. They are beautifully judged, handcrafted and terroir driven, and effortlessly compete with Bordeaux and Burgundy, albeit with their own footprint.
Production levels are tiny, which only adds to the excitement. They are the embodiment of the word ‘boutique’ as even top Aussie restaurants count themselves lucky when they receive an allocation of a mixed case.
Our portfolio was screaming out for a wine producer who weaves a magical tapestry between the new and old world. We are proud to represent a great winemaking family.
Read: A brand new Vinorium exclusive and the first time they have set foot in the UK.
Amelia Cabernet / Merlot 2018
97+ - 98+ Points - Stuart McCloskey “This is not powerful per se – more ethereal, terroir driven and as close to a left bank Bordeaux I have ever sampled from Australia. The wine needs coaxing from the glass - 4-hours in a decanter does the trick and delivers an extraordinary sense of minéralité. Supremely focused with tightly coiled fruit. Time being the only key to unlock its full potential. Violets aplenty which work wonderfully, along with brooding, dark fruits, laced with fine herbs, bay, graphite, minerals and sea salt. The balance is astonishing, the flavours slowly creep up on you. A wine which is utterly effortless, so pure and so precise. Today, this wine exudes intellect and detail – the best years are yet to come. Nonetheless, it is outstanding in its youth, but will be close to perfection in its prime (10 years in my opinion). In short, a very special wine which must be served with consideration and the mood to match. Served using Zalto Bordeaux glassware.”
98+ Points - Magdalena Sienkiewicz "Classical aromas of currants, juicy cherries, dark chocolate, fresh bay leaf and undergrowth. Notes of roasted coffee emerge with aeration, which adds to the allure. Lots of ripeness and confidence presented in a controlled and elegant manner. A self-assured and very fine perfume. The palate follows suit and builds beautifully with trademark cassis, cedar spice and savoury tannins. Wantirna provides an utterly compelling and powerful Bordeaux blend with exemplary finesse. Much of the Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot are part of the original 1963 plantings with small additions of Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot. There is much class on show with captivating generosity and layers of texture which will provide amazing drinking over the next 10-15 years or more. Nevertheless, and as with any great wine, it drinks beautifully today with 3-4 hours of decanting. Sampled using Zalto Bordeaux glassware."
Sarah Ahmed - thewinedetective.co.uk "The vineyard is not only unusual in location. It is also unusual because the original 1963 plantings of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Cabernet Franc are a true field blend. Petit Verdot joined the party in the 1989. The vines are dry grown on clay soils. The blend typically comprises 65% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Cabernet Franc and Merlot, and 5% Petit Verdot. The wine is fermented in cement tanks, then aged in French oak. Ever so fragrant and enticing, a waft of mint, tea tree and twiggy tinder-box with fresh blackcurrant whisks you off to Australia. Notes which follow through in the mouth, together with juicy blackberry, mulberry and blueberry. Mouth-watering savoury tomato paste and balsamic nuances with earthy puy lentils and gravelly minerality pull you in. Fleet of foot, fresh, persistent acidity and soft, seamless tannins make for an elegant, medium-bodied palate. With lovely intensity and flow, it drank beautifully over three days. On song, this is a characterful, class act. If you can resist it, the Egans expect Amelia to age for 15 years or more. Sure enough, when I visited in 2018, the 2009 vintage was just starting to develop tertiary notes."
Winemakers Notes "The 2018 Amelia Cabernet Sauvignon Merlot is showing trademark Amelia elegance and finesse with a little bit extra in ripeness. The grapes matured beautifully with generous fruit flavour, showing off the uniqueness of this single vineyard blend. Small amounts made, the 2018 was an exceptional year."
£36.50 per bottle
Wantirna Estate Lily Pinot Noir 2019
97-98 Points - Stuart McCloskey “The bouquet is a captivating mélange of wild berries, raspberries, wild strawberry, rose petal, orange rind with subtle and savoury nuances developing in the background. The tannins are silken and gently clutch to the fruit which glide effortlessly across the palate. Wild berry flavours fan out with a positive undercurrent of sorbet-like blood orange which I love. Clearly, Wantirna style centres on femininity, charm and a gracefulness without losing sight of the fruit or its place. Spectacularly harmonious with a long, mineral laced finished. Lily is just beginning her journey and will provide so much drinking pleasure over the coming 10-15 years. I am looking forward to resampling in a year or so. Decant for 1-2 hours and ideally serve using Zalto Burgundy glassware.”
97-98 Points - Magdalena Sienkiewicz "I will begin by saying – please, please decant these wines. I came back to my glass of Lily’s Pinot Noir after 3 hours and it unfurled beautifully. The perfume is simply wonderful displaying an array of sweet and savoury red berries, citrus and wild flowers. The palate has great depth and a fantastic weight – not light, not heavy, but perfectly delicious. Cascading berries are supported with an effortless structure which flows with much grace. The flavours melt away softly but they do not fade. A beautiful, beautiful wine. Plenty of class and elegance without turning lean. Superb! Sampled using Zalto Burgundy Glass following 3 hours of decanting."
Winemakers Notes: The 2019 Lily Pinot Noir is wine with a generous fruit weight and flavour. Again the grapes were picked across the season, allowing different blocks to get to optimal ripeness. Drinking well young but like all our Pinot Noirs will develop beautifully with time. A great 2019 vintage.
Wantirna Isabella Chardonnay 2019
98 Points - Stuart McCloskey “Time in the glass is the great benefactor (mine was left for an hour) resulting in a bouquet that blossoms and comes alive with buttered lemon, citrus peel, quartz, salty sea spray and chalk – vibrant and captivating. The palate delivers wave after wave of seductive buttered citrus fruit underpinned with razor sharp acidity. The density and palate feel are truly remarkable for such a young wine. I fear you would miss the amplitude, sheen, depth and glossiness if poured straight from the fridge (word to the wise). Yet another suave, seamless and immensely pleasing wine which will only get better over the next 10+ years. For Burgundy purists or those seeking something special, but do not want to part with £100 – this is the one for you. Compelling drinking. Decant for an hour and serve using Zalto Bordeaux glassware.”
97-98 Points - Magdalena Sienkiewicz “Another superb and chic offering from Wantirna. Time in a glass / decanter and preferably for an hour will work wonders. With aeration, the perfume becomes more expressive and unfolds with an abundance of fruit, sweet buttered pastry, oyster shell and citrusy freshness. The palate feel is equally compelling. This is a Chardonnay which exudes confidence (whilst retaining its modesty), it is generous and beautifully balanced. One of my ‘new’ favourites. Sampled using Zalto Bordeaux glassware following 2 hours of decanting.”
Winemaker "The 2019 Isabella Chardonnay is a beautiful balance of restraint along with good ripeness. A season that allowed one parcel to be picked a little earlier than usual, with the balance of grapes picked after a warm spell. It is drinking beautifully, showing elegance and softness, with lovely acid backbone, and will certainly age gracefully."
£36.50 per bottle
It is agreed that our collection of Tasmanian wines is one of the largest to be found outside of Australia however, it really does not satisfy our passion for this truly magical island, which is quite a bold statement as we represent some of the best – Nick of Glaetzer-Dixon, the Pooley family, Sailor Seeks Horse, Dr Edge and Domaine Simha (Mewstone is no longer but we have some great wines from brothers Matthew and Jonathan Hughes).
Our only criticism of the Apple Isle is the pricing of many wines. However, not for one minute are we suggesting that each wine fails to provide amazing drinking as we have awarded several wines 98 to 99 points. We have been on a mission to find wines that provide our customers with outstanding Tassie drinking without breaking into one’s piggy bank.
Today, Ghost Rock fits this difficult niche perfectly and we are over the moon with Justin’s wines… Justin farms well-established vineyards and produces a string of ‘Lo-fi’ wines - wild ferment driven, unfined, unfiltered and minimal SO2. Small batches, of course. One-off production is a given.
His Bonadale Pinot Noir and Chardonnay are sublime as is his textural Fumé Blanc. His Supernatural Pinot Noir is a sensation and never fails to impress. His sparkling wines are superb and serious contenders to House of Arras. The only difference being time on the lees which gives Ed’s vintage wines the edge. However, sample Arras Brut Elite Cuvée NV at £30.00 whilst comparing to Justin’s Catherine Cuvée 2015 (97-98 points) and a wide gap will emerge, with Catherine far superior.
Next week, we join a webinar entitled ‘Australian and New Zealand Chardonnay – The cooling ocean influence’ hosted by Natasha Hughes MW and Ronan Sayburn MS (organised by Wine Australia). Justin’s Bonadale Chardonnay has been chosen and will be shown to 80+ press and key trade buyers. We are joining in too and will let you know the outcome…
Ghost Rock Supernatural Pinot Noir 2019
96++ Stuart McCloskey “Supernatural is the trial portfolio with creativity and deliciousness ruling the roost. There is one rule: high quality, estate grown fruit as the source component. The rest is in the imagination and the craft. The range follows a ‘LoFi’ mantra of being wild ferment driven and exclusively unfined/unfiltered/low SO2. Small batches. One-off productions. Things that make you think. Things that make you go ‘wow.’ I forgot how delicious this was and I do prefer it over their estate wine… With a little aeration, the bouquet explodes rather than unfurls, with an extraordinary perfume of peony, rose petal, orange blossom, orange zest and minerals – the sweet, red fruits are expansive and far too numerous to mention individually. I love the palate feel – unforced, silken with filigree tannins. There’s a sorbet-like freshness with orange sorbet infusing the raspberry fruit – touches of autumnal hedge laden with fruit and rose hip. This bristles with energy and will appeal to those wishing to experience a joyful and damn-right delicious Pinot Noir. Served using Zalto’s Burgundy Glassware. Drink now until 2025.”
£18.50 per bottle
* 34 bottles available *
Ghost Rock Catherine Cuvée 2015
97 - 98 Points - Stuart McCloskey - "The bouquet is highly finessed with orchard fruits, fine floral notes, whispers of brioche and almond. The palate is equally fresh, incisive and shows all the hallmarks of elegance and grace which Chardonnay can deliver. I believe the ’15 Catherine Cuvée has reached an important crossroads which is exciting. Today, it’s charming, tensile and carries crystalline purity with ease, but and with a little aeration, the wine opens beautifully to reveal layer upon layer of fruit with touches of honey. I believe this will turn a corner in five or so years to reveal a real gem as all the qualities and characteristics are peering through – it is tightly wound for the time being. This has been a true joy to sample and is certainly one of the region's very best. Served using Zalto Universal glassware. Do not overchill."
97++ Points - Magdalena Sienkiewicz - "Lovely nose – elegant, but not shy. Orchard fruit, brioche and almonds ooze gracefully from the glass. The palate is supremely elegant too. The wine opens with a lovely sweetness from ripe pears and juicy apples. The palate weight and creamy complexity is on point but has the room to develop. Terrific purity and balance. Clearly it has potential to age (5-10 years) however, I will personally struggle to find enough patience as it is utterly delicious in its current form. Mouth-watering and simply brilliant. Sampled using Zalto Universal glassware and please do not overchill."
Winemaker's notes: "Made in the 'methode champenoise' style, hints of apple and brioche aromas are enhanced by the creamy complexity and yeast richness on the palate. This premium sparkling shows lively fruit characters and an elegant crisp fresh finish."
£32.50 per bottle
Ghost Rock Bonadale Chardonnay 2018
97+ - 98 Points - Stuart McCloskey “The ’18 Bonadale Chardonnay is displaying both vibrant and youthful characteristics ranging from buttered citrus, lemon oil, spring flowers, spiced orchard fruit – a faint waft of pastry cream is building… The vineyard is elevated and sun-exposed providing wonderful depth and roundness mid-palate, which works a treat with the chewy extract. Minerals (chalk in particular) provides structure and some textural grip. Tensile, finely tuned (fine boned is stature) and despite the exposure to the sun, provides a ‘cool’ feel which may be indicative of the vintage. The fruit is ample, ripe and the balance is nigh on perfect. It is easy to imagine how this wine will evolve over the next ten years – the shoulders will broaden, the minerality and acidity will scale back, allowing buttery, orchard fruits to flourish. Really exquisite without the bottle age. Decant for 30 minutes, do not overchill and serve using Zalto Bordeaux glassware”
Winemaker "Fruit for this wine was selected from 10 year old vines within our Bonadale Vineyard – an elevated, sun-exposed site. The I10V1 clone (85%) and 76 clone (15%) were selected for this wine. Vines were winter pruned to 20 -25 buds for optimal fruit to vine ratios, and underwent vigorous leaf plucking toward season’s end, to ensure optimal light exposure and ripening. This wine was handpicked and whole- bunch pressed under inert conditions. Following overnight settling, juice was gravity racked and fermented in French oak – a combination of puncheon, botte and barrique. Fermentation was partially wild, following which, the wine underwent partial MLF and regular, rigorous lees stirring. After 9 months maturation in oak (40% new) the wine was bottled. No fining. No filtration."
£29.50 per bottle
Originally a work in progress as we anticipated to bring Bob and Rita’s wines to you well over a year ago. However, tight EU regulations stopped our relationship from officially forming. For the same reason, you will not find House of Arras vintage wines in the UK for quite some time (aside from those already here).
Nonetheless, both sides persevered and against their normal release pattern (as they like to mature the wines for 3-5 years prior to releasing), we received our first order which we are chuffed to bits with.
Why, when we have so many Tassie producers? The answer is simple as there are few mainland Aussie producers (let alone Tassie ones) who produce Blanc de Noir, Pinot Gris and Pinot Blanc at this level. In our opinion, Grey Sands is the best for these three wines. We awarded 98+ for the Pinot Gris and Stu declared it as “without any doubt, the best new world Pinot Gris to have passed my lips – a dazzling triumph. The nose is wonderful and coaxes you in with spiced pear, banana bread, apricot preserve and crammed with minerals. Texturally this is sublime, the palate feel is sensual – almost elixir with its opulence.” Expensive, one would presume? You would be wrong as it’s a snip below thirty pounds… We mustn’t forget their reds too, their Malbec is a joy and will bring so much pleasure over the next 10-15 years. You really should try them, you will thank us…
Read: A warm welcome to Tassie producer, Grey Sands who joins our list of UK newcomers.
Grey Sands Pinot Gris 2018
Bob Richter "Pinot Gris was my first choice of white in our early plantings. I had seen some aged Alsatian examples that showed how opulent and exotic this variety can be. Our wine is rich, round and very long on the palate and some cellaring will add spiciness and honey notes with time. A good pairing for a rich pork dish."
"Without any doubt, the best new world
Pinot Gris to have passed my lips"
98+ Stuart McCloskey “Without any doubt, the best new world Pinot Gris to have passed my lips – a dazzling triumph. The nose is wonderful and coaxes you in with spiced pear, banana bread, apricot preserve and crammed with minerals. Texturally this is sublime, the palate feel is sensual – almost elixir with its opulence. There’s impressive density and stunning overall balance. There is bags of personality on display along with countless amounts of white and yellow stone fruits. Spiced pear, citrus and a deep core of minerals infuse in perfect harmony. It is easier to appreciate this as wine today however, its evolution over the next 10-15 years is going to be remarkable. Today, complexity and clarity are evident, but they have just been born. Purchase a case for the cellar and watch this extraordinary wine flourish. This would pair wonderfully with oysters, langoustine, crab and I believe it would be the perfect white wine to serve with a Christmas goose… Do not overchill and best served with a smile and Zalto Bordeaux glassware.”
98++ Points - Magdalena Sienkiewicz "The perfume strikes with complexity and elegant fullness. Beautifully lush and expressive with an abundance of spiced fruit at the fore and a richly mineral background. Do not serve too cold otherwise you will miss out on the aromatic richness. The unctuous ripeness of the fruit gives a lovely sweet entry on the palate. The structure seems endless as the wine expands and broadens to an extraordinary level. Mesmerising complexity and the textural depth is truly impressive. A world class Pinot Gris and certainly the best I have had for a very long time. It’s a serious wine and it requires to be treated as such. Please decant. Sampled using Zalto Bordeaux glassware."
£29.50 per bottle
Grey Sands Blanc de Noir 2019
Bob Richter "We have some upright clones of Pinot Noir with larger berries that I wanted to leave out of our Pinot Noir. So in 2017 we made two barrels of a white wine made by whole bunch pressing these grapes. The wine has some opalescence in colour and a delicate aroma of wild strawberry. There is a richness of flavour but a dry finish that would pair nicely with smoked salmon."
"divine over the decade to come.
Simply, a beautiful creation."
97+ Stuart McCloskey “100% Pinot Noir. The bouquet is ripe, highly elegant and defined by orchard fruits underpinned with subtle baking spices and the slightest hint of marzipan. The palate oozes with the same sensual charm as the Pinot Gris – just with a touch more grip on the finish. There’s a generous core of orchard fruit, which reminds me of my neighbour. My home adjoins a large orchard, and this reminds me of my journey home after taking a long walk around the nature reserve – I would help myself to a dew-drenched apple that satisfies my thirst with a little puckering grip. The acidity is racy, it’s super bright with a little chalk / mineral finish. The finish is long and mouth-watering. Of course, very much an infant and will be divine over the decade to come. Simply, a beautiful creation. This may form a natural deposit. Stand upright for approx. 30 mins before pouring and pour the last glass carefully… Do not overchill. Served using Zalto Bordeaux glassware.”
£27.50 per bottle
Bob Richter "What a versatile grape, growing from sea level to 2000 metres in the Andes of Argentina, but what about 42 degrees south in Tasmania? This wine has a very deep red colour with a distinct purple edge. The aroma has strong aromas of wild berries (think mulberries, elderberries, loganberries). Despite the ominous colour the tannins are plentiful but fine grained and sit well with the fresh acidity and the palate ends long with aromatic fruit. A great pairing would be meat off the barbeque such as spiced hanger steak for the full experience."
Paul Howard “The 2018 Grey Sands Malbec is marvellous. Although very young it already has subtlety and complexity and I can only imagine how good it will become with age. Thanks again for bringing Grey Sands to our shores!”
"One of the most enjoyable Malbecs I have sampled for a long time with hidden power and concentration. The flavours last forever."
97+ Points - Stuart McCloskey "My first Tassie Malbec and what a fabulous debut. The bouquet is deeply serious with savoury and oceanic aromatics from sea kelp, oyster shell (an overwhelming sense of marine) leading to pen ink and violet. There is lovely ripeness and brisk acidity, translating into a powerful but fresh wine. There is some fruit opulence with deep plum leading to an assortment of black fruits. There’s a little fresh pencil shaving, violet, blueberry and a wealth of minerals… It's compact in stature, concentrated and balanced perfectly. Tannins in abundance, but these are ripe and work wonders with the fruit. To summarise, one of the most enjoyable Malbecs I have sampled for a long time with hidden power and concentration. The flavours last forever and I love the salinity on the finish. A serious Malbec which will last 10-15 years in the cellar. Decant for 2-4 hours and best served using Zalto Bordeaux glassware”
98+ Points – Magdalena Sienkiewicz "I wasn’t sure what to expect from a Tasmanian Malbec, so you could say it’s easy to exceed expectations. However, this wine is truly special and it does remind me a little of The Schubert Theorem from Dan Standish, which is quite an accolade. The perfume is highly seductive and oozes with blackberries, blueberries, violets, sage and those beautiful, evocative notes of warm minerals, oyster shell and seaweed. Just wonderful. The palate follows suit with lovely concentration and savoury texture. What a delight, I’m utterly amazed. Superb today with 5-6 hours of decanting. Stash away a case or two as well, as this will provide much pleasure in the next 10-15+ years. Outstanding New World Malbec which should comfortably take its well deserved place amongst some top world labels. Sampled using Zalto Bordeaux glassware following 6 hours of decanting."
£29.95 per bottle
Topper’s Mountain is our first, exclusive winery from New England which is an exciting, re-emerging wine region. What captivated us about Topper’s Mountain was the unforced beauty of their wines, many of which are made from typically Mediterranean varieties. Wild Ferment Nebbiolo, dry Petit Manseng and their maturing 2013 Wild Ferment Tempranillo are distinctively unique and utterly delicious.
Sadly, Topper’s Mountain were affected during the disastrous bushfires in early 2020. There is but one survivor wine, the Hill of Dreams Sauvignon Blanc, which was picked before the fires engulfed the surroundings. It is a thrilling and uniquely different wine. Plenty of skin contact and barrel maturation resulted in a super complex and textural style of Sauvignon Blanc. Minimal intervention also means that the wine was bottled completely unfined and unfiltered to preserve as much of its natural character as possible. To that end, please do not be afraid of the sediment as it forms an integral part of this wine. Simply stand upright for 24-48 hours allowing it to settle at the bottom and carefully decant - et voilà!
Read: New & Exclusive: We welcome
Topper’s Mountain to the UK
Topper's Mountain Hill of Dreams Sauvignon Blanc 2019
97+ Points - Stuart McCloskey “I love it – it’s as simple as that. The colour is a riot of autumn – fallen Ginkgo biloba leaves and honey. So beautiful. The bouquet reminds me of Paul Lato’s uber-expensive Malvasia which I adore equally. Baked Russet apple filled with sweet spices and honey tincture. A little caramelised pineapple and cinnamon come through with more aeration. The bunches were de-stemmed and crushed, but the skins were included in the fermentation, creating wonderful mouthfeel and texture. The grip and tang of the Russet being a perfect description. This wine speaks fluently of minimal intervention to express its place of origin. There’s exceptional length and depth – Everything about this wine should be admired, including the fact that these grapes were rescued at the last minute from the Tingha Plateau Bushfire that ravaged their vineyard in February 2019. I love the honesty and I love the skill and dedication. Unfiltered, unfined and a miniscule 516 bottles produced. Served using Zalto Universal glassware. Drinking now to 2023/25. Do not overchill and there’s no need to decant.”
Mike Bennie, The Wine Front, May 2020 “This is sauvignon blanc from Topper’s Mountain vineyard. That might be a plain statement in normal circumstances, but this was the only fruit that survived the devastating and complete bushfire that wiped out the rest of Topper’s Mountain vineyard. A survivor wine. The fruit was picked, fermented on its skins and matured in old oak barrels. Skin fermentation seems to have minimised smoke character here, if that was present, which is curious. These guys have been through the ringers over past years… This is good orange wine, really chewy, dry, flavoursome, savoury, loaded with fresh acidity and bursting out of the glass with perfume. There’s a slightly ashy character over strong, tart citrus fruit, light passionfruit, green herb. That faint ash seems whipped into the wine, neatly. Impressive tannins here, great length, a vibrancy and generally just a very moreish drink. It’ll perform best with rich food, I suspect, and best not drunk on its own, such is the intensity of tannin in this wine. I like it.”
Please note: Hill of Dreams is bottled unfined and unfiltered. Our experience and our advice is to leave the bottles standing upright for a minimum of 48 hours before decanting which will ensure that all sediment sinks to the bottom of the bottle.
£25.95 per bottle
Topper's Mountain Pinot Noir
Chardonnay MT Sparkling 2014
97 Points - Stuart McCloskey “Made using traditional Méthode Traditionelle methods and aged on lees for 36 months. 70% Pinot Noir and 30% Chardonnay. In many ways, this reminds me of some of House of Arras’ mature releases. The nose is super evolved revealing a wonderful medley of autumn, orchard fruits, nuts and I am detecting a little mature cheese rind, which is more intriguing rather than offensive (touches of bacon fat with more aeration). Similar to House of Arras, the palate is evolved and rich. A shrill of effervescence, but more of a wine with a delightful spritz rather than full on fizz. The fruit is bright and focused – chamomile tea with lovely grip. There’s lots of minerality and orchard fruits - Quince and apple… Exceptional texture and finesse are the signatures for sure. Serious, complex and certainly thought provoking. Impressive, very much so. Served using Zalto Universal glassware. Enjoy once opened and do not keep remnants for tomorrow.”
Winemaker “Made using traditional Methode Traditionelle (those used in the Champagne region of France) and aged on lees for 30 months. Made from 70% Pinot Noir and 30% Chardonnay grapes from the Topper’s vineyard.
This single estate sparkling has a fine bead and complex savoury red berry, nutty & toasty aromas with a rich palate of intensity, balance & length. “
£26.95 per bottle
Topper's Mountain Wild Ferment Tempranillo 2013
96++ 97 Points - Stuart McCloskey “Tempranillo is a temperamental beauty which places so many demands on the winemaker - from warmth and sun for perfect ripeness as well as cooling evenings to retain freshness. AKA, perfect conditions. Topper’s sits 900 metres above sea level which aids the deliverance of daytime warmth and cooling air of the night time. The nose is fully mature and alluring with saddle leather, tobacco, cedar, rose hip, blood orange and dark cherry cola. The palate texture is perfecto – crushed velvet with ribbons of sweet and sour cherry, cola, smoke and sweet spice. The tannins are svelte and the acidity adds a judicious slap of freshness. There is much to like - superb energy and a very long, sappy finish. We sampled in Zalto’s Bordeaux and Universal glassware with the latter being our preference. It’s in its prime, but will keep for a few years longer (although I really don’t see the point personally).”
Winemaker “Juicy, elegant and already quite approachable Tempranillo. Cherry cake, dark cherries, black berries underlined with a hint of mint and dash of cinnamon on the nose. High acidity gives the wine freshness and long finish which is balanced by ripe and smooth tannins. Sour and sweet on the palate with flavours of sour cherries in chocolate, black berries, black cherries and vanilla. Typical Tempranillo – smooth and quaffable yet serious and complex.”
£22.95 per bottle
Topper's Mountain Bricolage Rouge 2014
96++ - 97 Points - Stuart McCloskey "The blend changes with each passing vintage. The ’14 includes Tempranillo, Nebbiolo, Tanat, Shiraz and Viognier. The perfume is brooding and laced with fauna and flora complimented with ribbons of dark, ripe red fruits (Very much reminds me of red fruits found in high quality, bitter chocolate). The palate is incredibly fine, the tannins silken, the structural element wonderfully feminine. All-in-all, exquisitely balanced, refined and full of charm. The rose hip / petal, wild mint and liquorice combination is a joy to taste. Profound it is not, but I am truly smitten by its overall charisma. This would be wonderful if paired with rare loin of venison served with a sweet berry and juniper sauce. En pointe now and will keep for a few more years, but this is one to be enjoyed sooner rather than later… We sampled using Zalto’s Universal glassware."
Winemaker “Bricolage Rouge is a traditional Topper’s Mountain red blend. It’s assemblage varies every vintage because we always put together our best performers of the vintage.
The 2014 release is an exciting blend of Tempranillo, Nebbiolo, Tannat and Shiraz Viognier. Aromas of raspberries, forest strawberries, cherries, liquorice, hint of mint and pine tree. Savoury, balanced and elegant on the palate with flavours of forest strawberries, cassis, ripe raspberries & a touch of toast and chocolate. Long and focused peppery finish. Is it the best one so far? I wouldn’t mind this one slightly chilled (approx. 15 C) with prosciutto and other cured meat or some great homemade BBQ sausages.”
Huon Hooke, The Real Review, Oct 2018 "Medium to full red colour with a bare minimum of purple. The bouquet is a mixture of raspberry and fresh mint, stalks and berries. A curious wine, well outside the mainstream, and possessing a lot of charm. The sweetly-scented nose is captivating; the palate fruit-sweet, light-bodied, low tannin and delicious in what seems like a whole-bunchy style. Serve in a large glass to fully appreciate the layers."
£24.95 per bottle