Issue #146, March 2021

 

Last weekend, the clouds parted, the sun poked through and delivered two, glorious warming days. Slowly, signs of spring are rising through the winter earth and the grass is growing with verve again. My bees have emerged from their warm cocoon and are busy filling their saddlebags with golden pollen. My garden is starting to unfurl with colourful flowers emerging from the dormancy of winter which certainly adds a spring to my own steps. Snowdrops aplenty, masses of green foliage await their bluebell flower tops, primrose and crocus galore. Darwin’s barberry is scattered throughout the garden with its drooping racemes of rich orange flowers, which the huge bumblebees adore. My wisteria is showing signs of budburst and both magnolia trees are ripe with their tactile, downy buds. The cherry trees are blossoming beautifully – the field next door is home to a thirty foot Japanese cherry tree which is a spectacular sight in full bloom.

Soon, the neighbouring orchards will burst into colour and life, and along with my own gardens, will provide a wonderful source of food for my bees. My home backs on to a beautiful nature reserve which I love to walk around. Last year (I believe lockdown was a major contributing factor) many rare birds arrived including Glossy Ibis, Cattle Egret, American Coot, Baillon’s & Spotted Crake, Black-winged Pratincole, Red-footed Falcon, Penduline Tit and Savi’s Warbler. Hobbies are now a regular sighting along with Marsh Harriers. Last summer, a pair of Collared Doves spent most days amongst my garden trees which was a lovely sight. However, I have been most excited by several sightings of a Brown Hare in the apple orchard – It’s such a rare treat to see them in Kent. Soon, the twitchers will be arriving and camping out ready for hopefully another spectacular year for the birds.

Clearly, I have become distracted and should stop my poor audition for Springwatch or Gardener’s World and return to my day job…

Let’s start with some well overdue housekeeping and a look back at the past eight weeks.

 

Our 2019 Standish pre-arrival collection offer ended on Friday morning – for those whose inboxes were filled with work matters rather than the splendours of truly great, Barossa Shiraz, here’s a quick recap. Our final allocation is 576 cases, an increase of 192 above our original order which has sold incredibly well - 256% increase over last year’s pre-arrival collection offer. However, Lamella remained at the original count which is 50% lower than last year and has sold out (by the case).

The collection departs from Adelaide on the 25 March. If everything goes to plan and Mother Nature is kind, the collection is due to dock in the UK on or around the 5 May. Once cleared by customs and the journey to our bonded warehouse is complete, we hope to be able to distribute your orders week commencing 17 May however, the week of 24 May is a safer bet, if I am being perfectly honest. As ever, we will change the website delivery dates on each 2019 wine (this is the quickest way to check the vessel’s progress and ETA). Once everything is ready, we will be in touch to arrange delivery / transfers / storage. Stock will then be available by the bottle ‘live’ and available to order along with the four pack special (including the Lamella). Only forty packs are available.

 

Shipping to the EU and life with our new carrier, DPD: I have asked Shontelle to provide a little commentary. 

“Our start with DPD got off to a slightly bumpy one, due to the poor weather conditions we experienced in parts of the UK, particularly in our neck of the woods. However, as soon as the snow melted we were able to resume our usual next day delivery services. During the month of February and despite the inclement weather, DPD provided an outstanding service with a 99.7% delivery success rate. The level of communication is marvellous between DPD and our customers, whereby delivery updates are provided from start to finish.  I must add, please don’t be alarmed if you receive a message from DPD to say your order has been cancelled – this is never the case unless you’ve had a communication from us directly… It is usually down to a tracking number simply being amended.” 

“Starting with an update from our delivery partner who have confirmed this week that deliveries to (or from) the Republic of Ireland are currently, in a word; impossible. This is due to little or no preparation, nor knowledge of how to customs clear ‘controlled goods’ such as alcohol, following Brexit.  This is immensely frustrating, and we can only apologise to those of you who are keen to receive wine orders. Regarding other EU countries, delivery availability to various EU member states is updated or changed almost on a weekly basis.  To emphasise last week’s communications, local duties and taxes will be unavoidable for all deliveries imported to the EU, from the UK.  Please bear with us, we are completely reliant upon post Brexit rules and regulations, and it seems everyone is still learning how to handle it… “

Germany: Heavy backlog of deliveries sat in customs, they are accepting deliveries but it’s taking much longer than normal.

Italy: New regulation in place; “sanitary hold” whereby goods are being held in quarantine almost for around 7-10 days before anything happens with the clearance, let alone delivery.

Denmark: All okay, just taking longer than usual.

France: Technically, we can offer a delivery service to France, but it is a risk, much like deliveries to Germany. The customs clearance is lengthy and the costs are substantial.

Pleasingly, our deep sea shipping partner, Hillebrand appear to be recovering from a major bout of excessively long delays which bodes well as we have lots of wine soon to arrive and more soon to leave Australia. What is due to arrive this month? A raft of new wines from Margaret River producer Domaine Naturaliste, including their 2019 Artus Chardonnay which has sold out domestically. From the Artisans of Barossa gang, we have ordered some crackers including their 2018 Barossa Barrel Blend Shiraz, 2018 Small Batch Graciano and Shiraz, 2019 Grenache Project (no Shiraz I'm afraid) and the super delicious 2017 Rare Batch Eden Valley Cabernet Sauvignon…

My excitement is at fever pitch for the imminent arrival of Australia’s ‘best’ Rosé wine; Pinot Taché, crafted by the brilliant Owen Latta of Eastern Peake. The 2018 was a dream and I do believe I consumed more than I sold, which is a pattern I am very happy to repeat this year. This is the only Rosé wine I drink, which is quite a statement. Bear in mind that my finance and stock control team have my order! It’s been a long wait, but John’s Blend is set to arrive in April. The 2015 Cabernet Sauvignon was immensely satisfying and their 2018 Shiraz was a dreamboat. We have shipped 600 bottles of each wine which should last the year.

From Tasmania, Nick Glaetzer of Glaetzer-Dixon will be packing our latest order on Monday with an ETA into the UK at some point in May. We have finally got our hands on his wonderful 2019 sur lie, Nouveau Chardonnay (I believe this is the last as he unable to source the Chardonnay from the grower, which is bloody typical). A little 2019 Überblanc Riesling and new to us, his 2018 Goldpunkt Riesling which join two, regular favourites, 2019 Avancé Pinot Noir (new vintage) and Nick’s 2017 Mon Père Shiraz. Magda and I have several irons in the fire in terms of new agencies, which we will share once the deals are done…

We are receiving a huge volume of emails from you regarding the 2019 release from Utopos – thank you for them all. Aussie winemakers are super busy with their 2021 wines - leaving no time for emailing their global agents, which I respect.

We need to receive Kym’s ‘bottled’ samples ahead of our pre-arrival launch – these we expect in 2-3 weeks. If all goes to plan, we will launch the new collection in early April.

How is the wine industry coping with the prolonged lockdown and Brexit? In all honesty, we work within our own bubble and rarely converse with other independent merchants or importers. 

Thankfully, The UK Chancellor Rishi Sunak has extended the 5% reduced rate of VAT for hospitality for six months and has frozen alcohol duties for a second consecutive year which is a small blessing, but a blessing, nonetheless. I worry for many UK restaurants and those who supply them, and I am pleased that we have never canvassed their business which is unusual for an importer of our size. In fact, the entire way in which we operate is unique and this has kept us growing and healthy during these awful times.

However, we too are seeing the commercial impacts of both the global pandemic and Brexit and must adjust accordingly. At the current rate, we will lose circa 700 orders to private customers who reside in the EU and international trade (particularly in Asia) is moving at a glacial pace. However, and much like spring, there are signs of new shoots. Only this week, we sold close to 1,000 bottles of Clarendon Hills to one of our old Hong Kong trade customers (his first order in well over 12 months). He purchased a little Bordeaux stock too as many of our 2016s and 2017s are being offered below their respective ‘opening’ prices. 

Our growing list of Aussie greatness is attracting lots of domestic trade interest which we are happy to furnish. Soon, we will be launching a full trade offering which will cement our position as the number one place to purchase Australian wine. It goes without saying, that you, our private customers will always receive first offers, special launches and new finds… But, do expect to find the trade quickly hoovering up behind you. Of course, we have to ensure that we purchase sufficient wines to cover demand as the process from order to delivery takes around 12 weeks.

 

Our performance in ‘real’ figures for the first eight weeks of 2021.

• We have started the year phenomenally well with a 70% increase over the same period 2020.

• 2019 Standish sales have been a major boost with a 256% increase over last year’s pre-arrival collection offer.

• Our average 2019 Standish order being £1,943.00

• Our average order (without the ’19 Standish collection) stands at £321.59

• If we combine all website orders together, our average order value is £428.03 which is an extraordinary number and many, many hundreds above the national average.

• We gave a warm welcome to 151 new customers in January and a further 172 in February. I do hope we exceed all your expectations. If we fail, email me directly as I am only happy with 100%...

On behalf of my team and I, I remain humbled by your continued support and generosity. It has taken a long time to achieve some of our main objectives, and many against our industry’s ‘norm’ however, you are showing me that we are on the right path. Again, please email me if I step off…

Enjoy your weekend break and I trust a few bottles from The Vinorium.

Very best wishes,

Stu

 
 
 

We say a sad farewell to Devotus, Marlborough, New Zealand

Devotus is the first wine venture of Don McConachy and Valerie Worsdale. Upon returning to New Zealand in 2013 they purchased the established vineyard with two hectares of old Pinot Noir vines planted originally by Neil McCallum of Dry River. The vineyard is in the heart of the Martinborough Terrace, directly next door to Dry River.

I have always admired their commitment and approach to natural, minimal intervention methods in both the vineyard and the winery. I am also envious of their surroundings and the wholesomeness in the way they live and raise their children. However, and for whatever reason (we both shoulder a little blame) Devotus sales have been poor. This is a crying shame as their wines are glorious but do require a few years’ bottle age to fully shine – I am drinking their 2015s which are sensational.

Sadly, and with a heavy heart, this is the end of the road for Devotus and The Vinorium. We have reduced the prices if you wish to stock up. All unsold stock will be removed from our website at 9:00am Tuesday 9 March with the remainder being shipped back to New Zealand.

 
 

Exciting new arrivals from one of our favourite winemakers…

 
 

Lobethal Chardonnay 2019

 

BARREL FERMENTED, LEES AGED FOR 18 MONTHS
ZIPPY, TIGHT AND TOASTY

JC's Notes "Being a Barossa guy at heart, I’ve always worked with varieties that fit in this landscape, think Viognier, Marsanne, Riesling, Semillon. So, for the past decade or more I’ve been ageing these broader white varieties on less for nearly a year - I love the texture it builds and the body and character it gives.

I wanted to push this ‘sur lie’ technique a bit further and I needed a variety that would have the balance of acidity and structure that would handle extended lees ageing in barrel. Chardonnay was the obvious choice, and with great vineyard sites in the Adelaide Hills under an hour away, there was no reason not to take a punt and have a go.

For me this example of chardonnay shows a bit of my Barossa breeding, a bit more oxidised, structured and full bodied than the normal hills examples, but the zippy acidity that interplays with toasty lees characters was exactly what I was looking for."

TECHNICAL STUFF

VINEYARD:

• Lobethal, Adelaide Hills.
• 480 metres altitude, north facing slope,
• Quartz and mica schist on weathered sandstone.

WINEMAKING:

• Hand harvested and pressed as 100% whole clusters
• Pressings remaining separate.
• Barrel fermented in new and seasoned French oak puncheons and barriques
• Aged on lees for 18 months before bottling with no fining or filtration.

1,206 bottles produced
Bottled 3rd September, 2020

97+ - 98 Points - Stuart McCloskey “There is so much to like about JC’s new release; texturally the wine is on point for me which is a direct result of the wine being aged on the lees for 18 months. Bottling without fining or filtration adds another layer of textural interest. The bouquet expands with ripe apples, poached pear, Florence fennel, a little salinity, confit lime and minerality. I recommend some time in a decanter which will help the perfume to expand. Warming ginger creeps through. JC prefers to have fun with his wines however, there is a serious edge to this one. Medium to full-bodied, expansive and oozes generosity. There’s an oxidative character which I really enjoy – the textural grip, firm structure and vein of acidity are fabulous. It’s refreshing to see an Aussie winemaker producing a Chardonnay which exudes character. I am tired of sampling fashionably shy, limp and searing acidic wines. For me, this is as ‘texturally’ perfect as a young Chardonnay gets. There is tangible mineralité character which works tunefully with zips of lemon, lime, a light spicing and oxidative orchard fruit. The way the flavours fan out on the finish is delightful – the length is super impressive. The sculpted, textural personality makes this one of the top Aussie Chardonnays of 2020 / 2021. Sold out domestically (no wonder) and I believe we are the only ‘physical’ stockist.’ Do not overchill. Drink from now to 2030. Served using Zalto Bordeaux glassware.

98 Points – Magdalena Sienkiewicz "Always lots of joy bottled under JC’s labels. The perfume is vibrant and complex, abundant in orchard fruits and orange marmalade. The aromas build in the glass as the wine aerates revealing a graceful vein of minerality and beeswax. The palate is equally compelling. On entry, zesty citrus and juicy yellow peaches open up before the show is stolen by cascading confit lemons, minerals and ginger with a dusting of warming spices. JC’s wines are packed with intrigue and vivacity, which I absolutely love. The Lobethal Chardonnay is no different – it is exciting, beautifully textural, grippy and full of charisma. Stunning! Sampled using Zalto Bordeaux glassware without decanting."

Full price - £27.50 per bottle

Weekend Special - £24.75 per bottle

** Offer ends 9am Tuesday **

 
 

Morialta Pinot Noir 2019

 

COLD SOAKED, CEMENT FERMENTED, VIBRANT AND STRUCTURED

JC's Notes "I spent a few years living in the eastern foothills of Adelaide and would regularly grab a beer at the pub at the top of the hill, watching the sunset move across the city to the coast. I used to pass a newish vineyard on the way there, but never gave it much notice. Now twenty years later, after seeking out a new pinot vineyard in the Adelaide Hills, I found myself back at the same pub after sampling or picking grapes at this vineyard. A little full circle moment for me.

Leading up to harvest, I had been ruminating on a style of medium bodied pinot that reflected the vivid intensity the sun gives shimmering off the ocean. I always chase brightness in wines, so high altitude fruit suits this as a start – box ticked. I had imported a few concrete fermenters for the clarity and energy they give to Grenache. As Grenache ripens after pinot, i had a chance to ferment this wine in cement, to see if it would give the same vitality. The style is pretty much as I intended - is it the vineyard, is it the fermenter – a bit of both? Pull a cork and decide for yourself."

TECHNICAL STUFF

VINEYARD:

• Morialta, Adelaide Hills.
• 420 metres altitude, south facing slope
• Sand and loam overlying brown clays.

WINEMAKING:

• Hand harvested,
• 100% destemmed and cold soaked for four days
• Fermentation in a 1,000l cement tank
• Held on skins for two weeks
• Basket pressed then aged in seasoned barriques for 16 months. Bottled with no fining or filtration.

576 bottles produced

Bottled 3rd September, 2020

97+ Points - Stuart McCloskey “Another domestic sell out with only 576 bottles being produced. This is our second bottle in two days as it fascinated the hell out of us – bottle one was consumed throughout a day as the flavours developed (we forgot to write our notes if truth be known). I hate to say ‘this will suit a certain type of wine drinker’ as I feel this is disrespectful. However, and for the very first time (perhaps the ‘only’ occasion), this is a Pinot Noir for all lovers of bright, enthusiastic Grenache. The bouquet is epic and so different to most Aussie Pinot Noirs. Wild, savoury, lavender, sweetly spiced, dehydrated strawberry, dusty earth and orange peel. In short, the bouquet is heroic. The palate is savoury, incredibly satisfying, filled with juicy, spiced fruits juxtaposed with woody herbs. Overall, it is alive with waves of freshness – the sorbet-like blood orange finish is a dream. Ludicrously good and will convert non-Pinot Noir fans across to the dark side. Drink from now to 2030. Served using Zalto Burgundy glassware.”

Full price - £27.50 per bottle

Weekend Special - £24.75 per bottle

** Offer ends 9am Tuesday **

 
 

Sierra Nevada Foothills Chardonnay 2018

 

SKIN CONTACT, BARREL FERMENTED, LEES AGED, TEXTURED AND FLINTY

JC's Notes "I first started heading to the northern hemisphere in 2015 to hang out during harvest with my friends at forlorn hope wines. They’ve planted everything you can think of on their vineyard and are always pushing the boundaries on new and interesting wines.

Conversely, surrounding the winery and residence there is some 1970’s plantings of chardonnay they sell to other wineries and they tend not to use these grapes for their own production. As we would be having dinner, drinking and discussing the days work overlooking this vineyard, i would often go to sleep wondering what this fruit would be like. High altitude chardonnay on a limestone base sounds like a proper thing to do – right?

So it took three years for me to convince myself to then convince my mates into hand picking a few bins for me to have a bash at it. Wanting a structural side to the wine and maybe prioritising the dinner and drinking part, the bins were treaded and left to hang out before pressing the next day. Not how they would do back in the 70’s but where’s the adventure in conformity." 

TECHNICAL STUFF

VINEYARD:

• Sierra Nevada, California.
• Exposed and broken down limestone
• Elevation of 2,000 feet giving cool nights.

WINEMAKING:

 • Hand harvested
• Foot treaded and soaked for 24 hours to oxidise the juice and extract phenolics from stalks and skins.
•Pressed to tank and settled overnight
• Fermentation and ageing in seasoned barriques for sixteen months.

552 Bottles Produced

Bottled 10th February, 2020

97+ Points - Stuart McCloskey “A mere 552 bottles produced which, and save for our small offering, the remainder of his barrel is sold out. The bouquet is fascinating and I am scratching my head to pinpoint the exact aromatics (given the kaleidoscopic range on display). Citrus, yuzu, salt / saline, minerals fall into breathtaking jasmine. Vivid, immaculate and so, so pure… As planned, there is noticeable phenolic grip but the overriding texture glides on a sheet of silk. The flavours range from a delicate floralness, a little green apple, citrus peel, pangs of grapefruit, chalk and a lovely, warming sense of freshly grated ginger which lasts for minutes. The palate feel is outstanding, fresh and beautifully balanced. So vivid and full of energy… This beauty served with a large bowl of fresh west coast langoustine and lemon mayonnaise would be nirvana. Do not overchill. Drink from now to 2028. Served using Zalto Bordeaux glassware.”

97 Points – Magdalena Sienkiewicz "Impressively poised perfume filled with pears, citrus and delicate floral notes. Much more sophisticated than I was expecting from the region of heat-loving Zinfandel and Syrah. But the foothills of the Sierra Nevada mountains also benefit from higher altitude and cool nights, which makes many pockets of their hilly slopes a perfect home for Chardonnay. The palate is much softer and less grippy when compared to JC’s Lobethal Chardonnay, but nevertheless, it carries great structure. Supple textures flow gracefully with juicy pears and limes, while a touch of ginger warms the palate gently on the finish. JC’s non-conformist spirit shows in what is clearly another exciting wine in his curious line-up. Sampled using Zalto Bordeaux glassware without decanting."

Full price - £27.50 per bottle

Weekend Special - £24.75 per bottle

** Offer ends 9am Tuesday **

 
 

JC's Own Originale Grenache 2016

Jaysen Collins (winemaker) "I started this JC's Own project in 2015 with this wine. I started making wine based on a love of grenache but had moved away from this in the wines I was making. I was trying saperavi, tannat, primitivo, barbera - the list goes on and on. The grind of making wine to a style and a market had slowly worn down my passion for the industry. So I kicked myself in the bum and set out to make a wine just for me - hence the JC's Own. 

I like grenache that is a bit funky, gassy and reductive, a bit more along the line of village Beaujolais. So I picked a vineyard I'd been using a bit earlier, went with 100% of the bunches and just started foot treading it to see where it would end up. I'd seen some street artwork in my travels in Spain, got a friend to knock up a label based on my recollection, so for me this was a bit orginal (or orginale for the Iberian connection) in its concept"

£28.95 per bottle

 
 
 

JC's Own Sierra Nevada
Foothills Pinot Noir 2016

Jaysen Collins (winemaker) "In 2015 I finally got to spend an extended amount of time on an amazing holiday property in California, right amongst the Sierra Nevada range. I have travelled back every year since and have come to know this vineyard like a second home.

This site well away from the razzle dazzle of the Napa. Exposed limestone, 2,000 feet above sea level - a bit foreign to my Barossa home. So I was able to grab a tonne of Pinot Noir and have a bash at something different. So I kept it simple - 100% whole bunches, foot stomped, large oak ageing and into a bottle. So I've brought back with me a bit of a reminder of home away from home."

£21.50 per bottle

15 bottles remaining

 
 

JC's Own Wermut NV

Jaysen Collins (winemaker) - Vermouth, the name derived from the German 'Wermut' for wormwood, was usually made to cover up some flawed wine. Add some aromatics and a bit of spirit and all is made right again. I wanted to try it on the opposite spectrum, make the best white wine I could, source some premium herbs and spices and have a bash at it. So this 2016 vintage dry Wermut is made from permium Marsanne, grown on the western ridge in the Barossa Valley. The wine is wild fermented and aged on lees for texture and body.

The organic herbs and spices are infused into the wine base for around two weeks to fully extract aromas and flavours. After removing the botanicals, neutral spirit distilled from premium Barossa grapes is added. The Wermut is aged for six months to mature before bottling without fining an filtration.

Botanicals used: Wormwood, Juniper Berries, Rosehips, Lemon Peel, Lemon Myrtle Leaf, Chamomile Flowers, Dandelion Leaf, Angelica Root, Hibiscus Flowers, Ginger Root, Vanilla Pods, Jasmine Flowers, Hawthorn Berries, Allspice Berries."

£17.95 per 50cl bottle

 
 

JC's Own Greenock Shiraz 2018

97++ Points - Stuart McCloskey "The perfume is simply glorious and unfurls with coffee, chocolate, blackberry, dark cherry, raspberry, leafy / herbal notes, sweet spice, clove, warm earth following a downpour, liquorice and a dusting of white pepper. The palate is supple, with satiny fruit effortlessly sailing across my palate. There is richness but it’s handled judiciously – minerality striking a firm cord. This is a grown-up, sophisticated Shiraz which is immensely pleasing. Dark raspberry sweetness juxtaposed wonderfully with the French oak and lithe tannins. This is beautiful. Really beautiful and in all honesty, has taken me by surprise. The spice develops as do the flavours (plums) which expand with each passing minute. This is full of charisma and will only get better (drink now to 2035). Ensure to decant for 2-4 hours. Served using Zalto Bordeaux glassware. A standout Shiraz.”

£36.50 per bottle

 
 

JC's Own Greenock Shiraz 2017

Jaysen Collins (winemaker)  "I cut my winemaking teeth in the heavy red soils of the North West of the Barossa, where Greenock is the jewel in the crown in my option. My winery is here, the pub does a good burger and by chance there’s some pretty good shiraz vineyards knocking about.

A few vintages ago I came across a vineyard just on the north of the Greenock township that hides behind some big gum trees. It runs down a small hill facing east, with lean soils, cooler afternoons, tiny yields, small berries – how asleep had I been to drive past this vineyard for several years? But I’m definitely alert now! I like shiraz that is big on fruit intensity but is more supple and svelt on the palate, powerful yet velvety, structured but sensual – I could go on but I think I’ve conveyed my point. So this is a rare single site treat from my part of the word and a true connection to my beginnings in making wine."

 

£36.50 per bottle

 
 

JC's Own Angaston
Foothills Grenache 2018

Jaysen Collins (winemaker) "Old vine Barossa Grenache vineyards are a rare treat. Walking amongst the old bush wines gives me such a wonderment of what has transpired in the years gone by to get to this moment in time. It’s like I am breathing the air of times past – it can be truly something quite moving and somewhat magical.

I’ve been working with Barossa Grenache since my first vintage and whilst versatile, it can easily become overly sweet and some people can even call it lolly water. But not this site – no way jose. It gets cool air draining from the Eden Valley across the red sands, so I’ve found it leans more toward complexity and structure, which is what pushes my buttons. How do I treat such a special site – pretty simply is the answer. 100% whole bunches get a foot treading over several weeks, I press it to large oak barrels and bottle it un-fined and unfiltered. That means when I taste this wine I’m still caught up in the magic from the vineyard that has transpired for well over a century. I’ll wipe the tear from my eye as I have another glass."

£28.95 per bottle

 
 

JC's Own Angaston
Foothills Grenache 2017

97++ Points - Stuart McCloskey “Sourced from old bush vines ageing 150 years in the Angaston Foothills. The bouquet is explosive and perfumed with blueberry, sweet spice, spiced cherry, cola, smoke, warm earth and minerals. The palate delivers a smörgåsbord of dark raspberry, pomegranate and blood orange with glimmers of liquorice in the background. The flavour profile continues along the same line with sweet, black raspberry, cassis, and sorbet-like blood orange. The flavours are deep and the palate wonderfully textured. There’s a spiced black pastille character which builds and builds. The tannins are sappy and fresh. There’s a seriousness but with equal measures of fun and built for those seeking an interplay of power and finesse. Mightily impressive. Drink now to 2027+. Served with Zalto Bordeaux glassware.”

£28.95 per bottle

 
 

JC's Own Rock: It GSM 2018

Mike Bennie (The Wine Front) "From Jaysen Collins of Massena fame, this is a punchy wine from this excellent producer. All those varieties are co-fermented – a defiance of the blending norm of many Barossa producers. It’s thick and slick with deep flavour, inky consistency, muscular tannins and a soft, syrupy finish. All that said there’s a tension in the wine despite the heft and flavours, though mostly about ripe berry, plummy fruit, show licks of sarsaparilla, savoury spice and malt with some meatiness. It rolls full and ponderous through the palate in the best possible way. It’s a thumper done with shape and form in mind. It’s very good."

£28.95 per bottle

 
 

JC's Own Rock: It GSM 2017

Jaysen Collins (winemaker) - "I grew up across the road from a famous old school winemaker who was known to be one of the best blenders of his generation. So for years I followed this ideal in the wines I was making. For a hands off winemaker, you actually feel like you are doing something. One day pondering life, the universe and everything I thought about why I hadn’t challenged this notion. Grenache and friends work well together – I’ll just pick them within a few days of each other, chuck it all in one fermenter and let the ferment rock it in its own way. So my theory is that the different varieties bring something complimentary but they also bring something individual – so equal but opposite reactions in the ferment. I then remembered my high school physics and worked out it’s actually the same way a rocket works. Go figure."

£28.95 per bottle

3 bottles remaining

 
 

JC's Own Bluebird Grenache 2019

Jaysen Collins (winemaker) "I always get mesmerised when I see a flock of birds floating and drifting in the wind. It brings a sense of freedom and joy to me. I knew the bluebird is the symbol of happiness so I had a concept for the label – I just needed the wine!

So with this idea floating about in my head, I set out to make a great drink that brings a true sense of delight. I found an east facing vineyard in the shallow soils of the Adelaide Hills that just gets the morning sun – no baked flavours here. I got rid of the stalks and just fermented this as whole berries. Just before coffee in the morning and after a cold beer in the afternoon I quickly give it a plunge by hand, nothing too serious or strenuous. It’s bottled early to catch the brightness I’m looking for, meaning it’s dangerously drinkable whenever you need a pick me up."

£21.50 per bottle

 
 

JC's Own Ferine Grenache 2019

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."

£21.50 per bottle

 
 

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."

£21.50 per bottle

14 bottles remaining

 
 

Read our original interview with Jaysen: 
In conversation with JC...

 
 

Tasting Utopia

Eight months on we retaste the Utopos Shiraz and MSG wines. Sadly, both Cabernet Sauvignons are long gone, but we have the 2019 to look forward to later this year...

 
 

"...The palate feel is simply glorious, expansive, richly textured, powerful"

Coulter Wines are minimal intervention, small batch wines that focus on cleanliness and purity. Fruit is sourced from premium growers in the Adelaide Hills, Barossa Valley and Riverland. We have imported their C1, C4 & C5 wines to the UK for the very first time.

 
 

A warm welcome to our new Margaret River agency, House of Cards

House of Cards is owned and operated by Elizabeth and Travis Wray out of Margaret River. We sat down with Elizabeth to find out what makes their wines so unique.