Issue #149, March 2021

We are just thrilled to be Domaine Naturaliste’s new, UK agent as their previous representative has kindly handed the baton to us. Being the ‘exclusive’ agent provides a better feel for the producer which is important to The Vinorium. Ultimately, we make the decision on which wines are shipped to the UK and how they are marketed which is central to many of our relationships. I must say that Tony (the previous importer) did an amazing job and handled this important producer with great care and respect – we couldn’t have wished for a friendlier handover.

Magda and I sampled the entire range during the latter stages of 2020. Each wine impressed and we were commercially torn as shipping their entire portfolio (at this stage) proved impractical. We have plans to increase our offerings, but we are super-confident in the wines which we offer today.

Without drawing direct comparisons to Soumah, the Domaine Naturaliste collection follows a similar pattern in terms of quality versus their respective price points. The range builds from enjoyable, everyday styles to globally renowned and award-winning wines such as their Artus Chardonnay and Morus Cabernet Sauvignon. 

Another similarity is having a clear distinction between each wine which is important, as too many ‘larger’ collections can become blurred and often struggle to find their own individual identities. Terroir is important and these wines gloriously sing of their home in the Margaret River. The farming methods and how the wine is produced is crucial too, as we are true believers in allowing nature to speak, albeit in liquid form. We have no interest in wines which lack personality and do not reflect a specific vintage, and they all must clearly show respect to their motherland, which Domaine Naturaliste achieves admirably…

This week, Magda and I have reacquainted ourselves with the collection, with many of the wines showing better than our first sampling session, which bodes well. I must add that session one was a great success – after all, we would not represent any winery if we failed to enjoy their wines (this will always be The Vinorium’s gold standard).

I will hand you over to Bruce Dukes (Mr Domaine Naturaliste) who was given the task of providing a substantial response to a very long list of questions. Enjoy the read and we look forward to hearing your feedback post sampling (a subtle hint to treat yourself!)

Very best wishes to you all,
Stu

 
 

Firstly, and before we get down to the nitty-gritty, we asked Bruce to provide a short overview of the new wines together with a short vintage overview.

Each of my wines has a strong sense of identity because they have co-evolved alongside our local Australian coastal foods.  Aussies value freshness, flavour, texture, and province in our foods, and in our wines!  

My approach is not to be greedy.  Do not take too much from the soil; don’t take too much from the vine and don’t take too much from the fruit.  It is sometimes what is left behind, that showcases the excitement ahead.

Our 2019 vintage in Margaret River was characterised by having to wait for the natural acidity to soften enough for harvest.  I prefer to let the vines naturally achieve these balances in the fruit so the transformation to the wine is a smooth “non-interventionist” style journey.  

Our 2019 vintage reminded us how important it was to build tannin ripeness over the entire season with the reds, and how important the flavour farming is with green harvesting post veraison. 

It was a season to understand and work with from the early stages to get the crop balances correct early on.

The 2020 growing season was a little warmer over the entire season, resulting in a persona of vibrance in the fruit, and a terrifying chill in winemakers due to the fear of complete lockdown in late March due to COVID.  Being one of the world’s remote frontiers can have its drawbacks, but in this case, we have been blessed.

The 2020 Discovery Sauvignon Blanc Semillon is a local secret.  West Aussies love this style.  Sauvignon (87%) brings fragrance and a lift of cassis flower, hints of verbena, while (13%) Semillon contributes fig and mineral.  This wine is fermented and matured in 100 % seasoned oak, providing a textural element without ingress of woody elements into the wine.  Ideally paired with fresh air, this is a delicious aperitif or match to fish and chips.

 

What do you personally enjoy most about each of your 2019 Chardonnays; Discovery, Floris and Artus? Are there any distinct differences between these and your previous releases?

I love the fact that they all have bespoke personalities, they know who they are, and how they fit in our cultural mix. The wine's personality is that of the terroir, with the winemaking fine-tuned to allow an unencumbered translation.  Discovery Chardonnay speaks of the purity and texture, via cradling fermentation and maturation in seasoned oak, Floris speaks of white Jasmine like floral perfumes, and the conversation of Artus is centred around texture, mineral, stone fruit and brioche.

Our 2019 vintage in Margaret River was characterized by having to wait for the natural acidity to soften enough for harvest. This gift allowed the accumulation of amazing fragrances, flavours and textures in the fruit, along with the most minerally and succulent natural acidity.  It is the verve, freshness and suggestions of freshly sliced Bartlett pear of the 2019s which I love!

My Discovery Chardonnay represents the personality of the northern fruit, Floris the personality of central Margaret River and Artus is an expression from the cooler south of Margaret River.  The traditional winemaking approaches are bespoke for each vineyard plot.

Although your Discovery range is not new to Vinorium customers, the Discovery Chardonnay specifically, is a new introduction. How would you describe this wine to a new audience? 

The intention of this wine is to have a purity of Chardonnay flavour and texture, so that it can complement, not dominate, delicate foods such as beef carpaccio or white fish.

Discovery is parented from the Gin Gin clone of Chardonnay from vineyards in northern Margaret River. This fruit is characterised by generous textures, flavours and naturally balanced acidity. The slightly warmer north means that acidity levels are naturally balanced with no need for a malolactic softening, hence no secondary ferment in this wine. 

This cuvée is fermented and matured in seasoned French oak, sur lie for 7 months before bottling in November of the vintage year. The seasoned oak allows the wine to breathe and soften without the introduction of obvious oak elements, thus preserving the inherent fruit. Fortnightly bâtonnage for the first five months mainly seems to contribute texture, while the autolytic or yeasty brioche and bread dough characters seem to be expressed more in the latter stages of maturation.

Most keen gardeners and fruit growers understand that different plants / trees / fruit species require either full sun, semi-shade or full-shade. Most would believe that grapes grown in the Margaret River would benefit from long days of sunshine. However, your Artus vines are managed to allow only dappled light into the fruiting zone. Do the bunches have a longer hang time (over those which experience full sun) thus promoting better flavour development and riper tannins? It would be great to understand your thoughts and the vineyard management process.

I like to think of the vines as people. 

As I spend time in the sun, I develop a suntan due to increased amounts of melanin in my skin. This tan is a natural barrier to protect me from the sun.  The grapes behave in the same way.  The more sun they have, the more sunscreen they make in their skins in the form of tannin. Too much tannin in the skin, via too much sunshine on the fruit leads to bitterness and astringency in the wine. Therefore, the dappled light bathing the fruit allows for a very gentle ripening of the fruit, and the fruit having only the most delicate tannins.  The dappling is also allowing a gentle breeze to flow through the canopy, which works with the sunshine to dry the fruit after rains or morning dew.

Would you be so kind to talk us through and describe each of your Cabernet Sauvignons; Discovery, Direction (Rebus) and Morus?

The long and gentle growing season of Margaret River suits the biology of the Cabernet vine.  This plant needs the long season to accumulate its flavours, perfumes and physiologically ripen its tannins. We have success in agriculture when the crop suits the growing environment and can be translated into a food with minimal guidance. This is the case with Margaret River Cabernet.  

The Discovery Cabernet Sauvignon is a very pure translation of fruit to wine.  Like the Discovery Chardonnay, it is matured in seasoned oak, although for 12 months as the Cabernet tannins need a little longer to achieve harmony.  Discovery Cabernet speaks of vibrant fruit perfumes and svelte fruit tannins (sans oak tannins), which seems to translate to accessibility in youth.

Rebus Cabernet’s namesake reflects the complexities and interests of a Rebus picture puzzle. Margaret River Cabernet Sauvignon can enjoy a long life, so I am always contemplating the details of this wine.  Rebus is the integration of pristine Margaret River Cabernet grown in around 40% new oak.  Rebus, and my style in general favours tannin ripeness, freshness, fragrance and texture over overt power.

Morus Cabernet Sauvignon expresses a distinctive character of mulberry perfumes and flavours. These mulberry characters are very attractive and unique to fruit and wine of my region. Morus is the genus of the mulberry tree, hence the name indicates the personality of the wine.  The Morus fruit is quite concentrated, so it typically needs 14 to 18 months maturation in around 55 to 60% new, traditional 225L casks, to achieve its harmony for bottling.

What is your favourite grape variety to work with and which creates the biggest challenges? 

I enjoy working with the Queen (Chardonnay) and the King (Cabernet Sauvignon); which may indeed be an evolutionary preprograming as I am Western Australian.

Chardonnay and Cabernet both have their major challenges, which to me are mainly related to getting my farming systems fine-tuned to my site and the season.

You studied Agricultural Science at the University of Western Australia which shaped your vineyard values, practices and provided you with your passion for soil management and crop production, both being key aspects in the vineyard. What holistic practices do you apply and what benefits do you physically see over ‘normal’ vineyard practices? Essentially, do you favour natural materials, soils, and composts to sustain the vineyard over chemical fertilisers and pesticides?

The first part of my approach to farming is to understand that my role is as a temporary custodian of the land, and that it is my responsibility to leave the land and its surrounding ecosystems in better condition than when I started.  It is important to step back and look at the big picture.

Holistic and sustainable agriculture is about focusing on cultivars which are well suited to the local growing conditions, and that the composition of these crops can be translated to meaningful foods. Therefore, I focus on (and seek mastery of) Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc and Cabernet.  It is all about running with the natural strengths.

Biodiversity in the vineyard is a significant part of my approach. For example, our cover crops on the vineyard floor and below the vines are complex mixtures of local clovers, medics and grasses. All are selected so they can complete their life cycles enabling subsequent annual regeneration.  The clovers and medics enrich the soil with complex nitrogen which is naturally incorporated in the clover’s nodules from the air. The grasses provide a deep placement of organic matter via their roots, which also create drainage and aeration channels as they decompose in place.  Another advantage of our cover crops is that they form an under-vine mulch, suppressing weeds, as well as providing a lovely carpet to stabilize the delicate and ancient granite-based soils.

The mix of cover crops create a long window of flowering, providing “long stay accommodation” for insects, small animals, and soil microbiome, which are all working together to keep our biological systems in balance!

My 35 ha farm, with 21 ha of vineyard is all fenced into 7 sections. When the vines are dormant in winter, we selectively graze sheep, which keeps a lovely balance between the different species. This eliminates tractor diesel, herbicides, and soil compaction. Our neighbour, Russ, is also delighted that we can feed his sheep for a few months.

Bottom line is that the soil is healthier, which flows to the vines and to the wines and to the people as improved flavour, perfumes, and textures.

We have come to appreciate that biodynamic practices (whether certified or not) craft wonderful purity in the finished wine. Are you taking Domaine Naturaliste towards a fully certified organic or biodynamic future? If not, what are the reasons behind your decision…?

My observations are that healthy and balanced biological systems, with the right cultivars, soils, climate, and the interphase with passion, intuition, and skilled management lead to purity in wines.

I believe and embrace freedom of religion; in the same way I believe different producers will adopt approaches which best suit them. My approach is evidence based learning. I seek to understand the nuances of my systems and respond to that in a sustainable and responsible way. In seeking to understand systems, it is important to consider the treatment (say management system) and what the treatment is applied to.

Several years back, I read an interview with Aubert de Villaine of Domaine de la Romanée-Conti, Aubert said, "I can't correct anything in the cellar." He insisted that the most important decisions about making wine take place in "the garden" the beautiful, simple phrase he used to describe his vineyards. Do you believe that the wine is shaped on the vine rather than in the winery or is it a combination of both? 

My experiences are in complete agreement. The vine garden shapes the wine, and for this translation to be successful, the winery needs to understand what the vineyard has to say.

Nothing is more difficult than simplicity with many winemakers falling at this hurdle. Do you tinker in the winery or are you a completely ‘hands off – let the grapes speak for themselves’ winemaker?

I seek to understand winegrowing, particularly the nuances of the fruit, so that I can assist with its journey to wine by working with the inherent strengths of its personality.  

The grapes need to be listened to and understood, so they can then speak for themselves. To me, part of the wine is the human interaction. It is all about balance and respect. I quite often reassure myself by saying, trust the fruit, trust the microbiology!

A vine, uncared for by the human hand, will grow like a creeper, and have its fruit turn to vinegar, so a degree of nurturing is needed.

Today, do you believe that Domaine Naturaliste has reached its full potential, or do you accept there is always room for progress and there is never an end? 

If I ever believed that Domaine Naturaliste had reached full potential, then it would be time to hang up the secateurs and admit to delusional mental illness! Domaine Naturaliste will always be a journey of refinement of understanding and adaptation to evolving growing conditions and cultural requirements. The exciting thing about wine is that the fruit is different every season.

The Margaret River wine region enjoys a gentle maritime climate of cool, wet winters and idyllic Indian summers, ideal conditions for wine production. Terroir as the French like to call it is the idea of wine being related to its location. Are you a believer in ‘Terroir’ and how would you best describe Margaret River’s? 

Oops, I thought that “Terroir” was a French Wine Marketing book?  

Margaret River parents fruit, and subsequently wines, with lovely perfumes, textures, purity and freshness. This is how our terroir is communicated.

In a blind tasting of Australian Chardonnay – Would you be able to easily identify the tell-tale characteristics of a Margaret River wine within a line-up of wines from Mornington Peninsula, Geelong and the Yarra Valley? What revealing features would help you during the blind tasting? 

Australian Chardonnays have enjoyed a lovely evolution over the last three decades, with winemakers seeming to value subtlety and purity, over overtness.  Some of the signatures of Margaret River Chardonnay are a textural presence, elements of grapefruit, white peach, succulence and mineral. Most Margaret River Chardonnays are made from our local and highly prized Gin Gin clone, which seems to lead to a distinctiveness in our wines.  You can taste the textural elements from the juice stage. Generally, these personality traits can be used to identify Margaret River. 

Do you believe there is the ‘perfect’ vineyard location in the Margaret River? Or, and to add a little complexity, is the winemaker as important to the land and vines themselves?

Perfection is a difficult concept for me to grasp. I believe perfection is similar in concept to infinity. There are many lovely vineyards in my area. My interpretation of wine is that it is a holistic result of numerous interacting influences, and yet they cannot be individually quantified – the vine, the land and the winemaker are all intrinsically linked. This is one of the reasons why I love working with vines. 

Let’s get back to Domaine Naturaliste... Congratulations on winning (and deservedly so) the 2020 James Halliday Best Value Winery of the Year. How did you celebrate, and can you explain what winning a ‘Halliday’ award means to an Aussie winemaker? 

My wife, Wendy and I went to Melbourne to receive this wonderful award.  The awards night was a great party in itself, but being a professional winemaker, we managed to extend the celebration for many weeks!

Winning the Halliday 2020 Best Value Winery award is a big deal to an Aussie Winemaker, it is a nice form of recognition; and especially good timing as I had just purchased a beautiful 21 ha mature vineyard set in 35 ha of land in Wilyabrup, Margaret River. This was a scary proposition, however a natural evolution for me, completing a lifelong dream of being a farmer, winemaker, and purveyor of wine.

We have enjoyed much local, national, and international interest in our wines.

James Halliday is unquestionably the titan of the Australian wine scene and will be sorely missed when he finally retires. Currently, he will still have a hand in his annual Companion, but a new era has begun with the selection of respected wine critic Tyson Stelzer as editor. With your commercial hat on, will the Australian wine scene suffer without his endorsements? 

James Halliday is indeed the king, who extracts depth and complexity in his wine communications as only a passionate and talented veteran can. I believe that James has created the infrastructure, which when he retires, will continue to evolve with the very capable Tyson at the helm.  The new structure of having individual state based expert contributions sounds cool. 

Critically speaking, the wine world is obsessed with lauding praise from global critics. Clearly, it’s marvellous when the scores work to your advantage however, it can be equally disastrous when a wine is lambasted and declared average. As a winemaker and business owner, what is your opinion on the need for awards, scores and critical opinion? 

Australian winemakers have grown up with a very strong wine show system; with wines ranked by (perceived) quality. It was a benchmarking system, which gave honest and brutal feedback, and in my opinion has helped remove faults from the overall industry.  

Awards, scores and critical opinion are important to assist in consumer choice, however, they are just a guide. Remember, that most critics do not actually buy the wines they review, and they may have a different set of values and drivers to the consumer who actually buys the wine.  

My main driver is my emotional connection to the producer, as the sensory side is just one aspect of enjoyment. I also like to know a bit about the personalities of the producer, where the fruit is from, and that it has been farmed ethically, and have the wine fit into my culture and lifestyle.

Tomorrow, you have the opportunity to teleport you and your family to any winery on this planet, to begin life as the new chief winemaker and owner. Which winery would you choose and why? 

Hmm, I don’t want to appear too self-absorbed. I am committed to my current journey. Margaret River is my home. I am now 31 vintages in and I think my kids will remove / commit me at 75 years, so I only have 21 more years on the tools. I need this time for refinement of my current journey.  

I love to visit and holiday in great wine regions; it’s fun and I find inspiration in discovering the passions and flavours of other winegrowers.

Australia on the world wine map

Australia’s wine craft has changed considerably over the past few decades. Many advances have had an indisputably positive outcome. Where do you personally see the Aussie winemaking scene heading? 

I am loving being an Aussie wine consumer at the moment. I am enjoying a depth and richness of different styles from across the country. The grass is green in my own back yard. The Aussie winemaking scene is heading to showcase regionality, all the way from the very eastern Coal River in Tasmania to Margaret River on the west coast. We have some amazing sites and stories captured over this 3000km as the crow flies. I am enjoying these bespoke and personality driven wines!

Also, as a winemaker with an extensive experience rooted deeply in the Margaret River. Have you seen an evolution of the wines and styles which emerge from the region?

I have seen a huge and what I consider to be a positive evolution in Margaret River over the last 30 years. As a young region, dating back to 1967, we are now seeing many vineyards enter the prime of their lives at 20-54 years.  These mainly own rooted vines do not have to compete with phylloxera, and our set of natural conditions corresponds to low disease pressures.

The grapevine canopy management work of Dr Richard Smart in the mid 1980s created much awareness on how to optimise our farming systems to achieve ripe tannins and improve flavours and fruit health from the vineyard.  Aussies love adapting to agricultural innovation. I believe that sustainability philosophies, including picking on flavours and acid balances for the whites have also been driving our styles to greater levels of refinement and excitement.

Stylistically, we have observed a major shift in Australian wines from showcasing rich and often highly extracted styles to incredibly refined styles. Consumers all over the world had largely embraced the Aussie drive for producing bright, highly fruited wines. We now have an emergence of ‘cool-climate’ regions and an effort to introduce more balance and refreshing acidity even in the warm parts of the country. Nevertheless, there is certainly a group of people who miss the flamboyant style that Australia is fully capable of producing (a number of our own customers included). Has producing rich styles become recognised as an outdated approach? Is it frowned upon nowadays?

A strength of the Aussie wine industry is the production freedoms we enjoy and the geographic diversity of our growing regions, which flows onto style diversity. It’s not one size fits all! My preferences are generally toward the cooler climate styles. However, every now and then a richly flavoured and flamboyant wine is a perfect match with richly flavoured and flamboyant food.  Stilton and Port seems to ring a bell.

It is inspiring to see that Aussie winemakers benefit from extraordinary freedom and an open-minded approach where new and progressive practices are welcome and often experimented with. Personally, what developments excite you the most and which do you see as a short-term fashion?

The freedoms of farming and winemaking in Australia have enabled a rapid learning curve. Trialling, succeeding or failing and retooling is an approach which I enjoy. I am most excited by refinement of the basics, for example; I have a collection of five different Cabernet Sauvignon clones at my Wilyabrup vineyard.  These selections have only recently become available, mainly due to our strict quarantine regimes. My journey is to better understand how these cultivars perform in my soil. Aussies are quite a collaborative race, and when you throw wine into the mix, the information exchanges, usually matched with nice foods are rewarding.

I think a short term trend in wine may be wines in which the winemaker’s “fashion requirements” are deemed of greater importance than the fruit and place.  

I strive for my point of difference to be greatness in my wines, not that my wines are different.

In your opinion, is Australia the best place in the world to make wine? If so, what makes it superior? What challenges lay ahead for Aussie winemakers?

My life is a celebration of wine and the culture which it embraces.  I love winegrowing in Margaret River and it is an awesome cultural fit for me and my family. I could not think of a better place for what I or my family want in life.  My 17 year old son, Oscar, could not survive if we moved away from his favourite surf breaks like “Three Bears,” “Shallows” or “Rocky Point” which surround Cape Naturaliste.

Aside from the gift of Margaret River wine, we enjoy some awesome Australian coastal foods like olives, tomatoes, beef, lamb, and seafood; it’s nice to be able to swim in the pristine Indian Ocean, surf the powerful waves, explore the subterranean limestone caves and wander through ancient forests.

Communication is the challenge for Aussie winemakers. For many years, some loud voices communicated simple fruity sunshine; a message that suited these few.  It takes a long time to turn this ship around, but those who do explore, find treasure.

The reality is that most of the smaller passion-fuelled winemakers like me have continued with making soulful and delicious wines which speak of their variety, site, and culture.

Spend a few minutes with Bruce
and let him talk you through the wines

(video will open in a new link)

Bruce introduces the new line up

Bruce 'What's in a name?'

 

Introducing the NEW collection

 

Domaine Naturaliste
Artus Chardonnay 2019

97+ - 98 Points - Stuart McCloskey “This is a serious step up from Floris, as you would expect. I will be truthful and declare that all three bottles (since arriving in the UK last week) have been significantly more enjoyable than our sample bottle pre-Christmas 2020 (I will add that we purchased 360 bottles from our first sample!) At first, the bouquet provides a nostalgic twist of popcorn which dissipates with a little aeration. We move onto a nutty savouriness - toasty, a touch tropical (more caramelised). Savoury transitions to Yuzu and sea spray which in turn moves onto a delicate floral character. I detect a little bitter orange peel on the finish – I could be wrong? The flavours are built around perfect structure with everything being aligned and unforced. The fruit sides with citrus – lemon, Yuzu and lime with delicate oak spices providing a point of difference. The palate feel is luxurious, ripe but far from being overripe. There’s an honest purity to the feel and flavours. Citrus clean acidity and minerally fruit. Ambitious, but keeping one hand on the Margaret River style. That said, I am pleased to see a move away from some of the more ‘slender’ examples. Wonderfully bright, balanced and dances on the palate with mouth-watering acidity and a dusting of spices… Extremely long and will provide ten years of cellaring. This will be fascinating in five (note to keep a few cases back). Decant for 20-30 minutes. Do not overchill. Served using Zalto Bordeaux glassware.”

97-98 Points - Magdalena Sienkiewicz "Tasting all three Domaine Naturaliste Chardonnays side by side is fascinating, as each wine builds and raises to a new height. Artus Chardonnay offers a top-class bouquet oozing with caramelised pineapple, passionfruit, citrus oil and minerals. What I really love about the perfume is the whole array of white flowers, which is extremely graceful and luxuriant. Toasted almonds emerge with aeration. The palate is equally lush, brimming with citrus and minerals before the flavours expand onto toasty, slightly spiced nutty complexities. It is utterly sublime and ultra fine. Artus Chardonnay is an outstanding showcase of quality to be found in Margaret River, but it stretches far beyond the typical style of focused citrus and marine character. Difficult to resist today although it has every potential to evolve beautifully in the cellar for the next 5-10 years. Sampled after decanting and using Zalto Bordeaux glassware."

£31.50 per bottle

 
 

Domaine Naturaliste
Rebus Cabernet Sauvignon 2017

96+ Points - Stuart McCloskey “The bouquet is brimming with freshness and brooding with cedar, graphite, violets, liquorice and dark fruits with juniper, cassis, plum and damson being the main contenders. The flavours expand and draw you in with aeration (I suggest 2-3 hours in a decanter). The palate is medium bodied, the tannins svelte and the acidity providing freshness. There is an effortless quality to this Margaret River Cabernet which provides bags of flavour and wonderful length. Lots of finesse. Remarkably unforced and will suit fans of young Pauillac (those fans will pick up the lead pencil character). Drink now to 2025. Served using Zalto Bordeaux glassware.”

96 Points - Magdalena Sienkiewicz "Stunning perfume filled with dark fruits, plums, graphite, juniper and cedar. Violets and bay leaf give a wonderful lift to this rather classical nose. The palate is equally fine, certainly in the darker, more savoury spectrum of Cabernet. The flavours build steadily and reveal superbly balanced textures. Incredibly polished with not a hair out of place. I love the way the structure combines all elements in perfect harmony. The finish is super long and impressively intense. Plenty of class on show. Please decant and enjoy over the next 5 years. Sampled after decanting and using Zalto Bordeaux glassware."

£19.50 per bottle

 
 

Domaine Naturaliste
Floris Chardonnay 2019

96+ Points - Stuart McCloskey “The aromatics are a delight and dance a wonderful tune of maya lemon, homemade lemonade, jasmine in all its perfumed glory, more white flowers and the maritime climate speaks in volumes. Silky texture with flavours comparable to the bouquet; lemon juice and zest melded with stony minerality. Yuzu too but spiced – super racy. I thoroughly enjoy the pretty floral character which softens the wine slightly. Extremely satisfying, moreish and approachable now, but does offer the ‘keeper’ a further 5+ years of cellarage ahead of it. In fact, a few years in the cellar will bring this wine on… Full of energy, lots of tension and the finish is long and zesty. Wonderful intensity for a wine of this price. To summarise, a very classy offering from team Domaine Naturaliste… Served using Zalto Bordeaux glassware.”

96+ Points - Magdalena Sienkiewicz "Expressive bouquet filled with rich citrus, nectarines, minerals and gracious white flowers. Superb intensity and class. The flavours show fantastic layers mirroring the lavish perfume. The palate has a fuller feel comparing directly to Discovery Chardonnay. There is a lot to like in the Floris with its impressive depth and mouth-watering flavours. A hint of spice completes this generous wine perfectly. Such a beauty, which simply doesn’t stop on giving. Sampled after decanting and using Zalto Bordeaux glass."

£18.95 per bottle

 
 

Domaine Naturaliste
Discovery Cabernet Sauvignon 2018

94 Points - Stuart McCloskey “Crafted to be enjoyed sooner rather than later. Nevertheless, there is so much to enjoy from the leathery / herbal nose which flows into cassis, blackcurrant and blackcurrant leaf. The fruit provides a lovely sweet entry with dusty tannins providing balance. Today, this is fun and immensely enjoyable. Well made, well balanced, energetic with a light, spiced bite on the end. Unquestionably, this will provide lots of satisfaction to those seeking a well-priced wine which delivers time after time. Served using Zalto Bordeaux glassware.”

94 Points - Magdalena Sienkiewicz "You have to admire the vibrancy of the Discovery wines. The Cabernet Sauvignon is no different and it offers a great aromatic interplay of blackcurrant, cassis, bay leaf and mint. A touch of new leather emerges with aeration, completing the perfume beautifully. Ticks all the boxes in the textbook description of the varietal. The palate follows suit and reveals a sweeter character than the nose suggests thanks to the abundance of ripe fruit. It is quickly balanced by the lovely herbal elements adding lift and freshness. An awesome drop which won’t ruin your bank balance. Sampled after decanting and using Zalto Bordeaux glassware."

£14.55 per bottle

 
 

Domaine Naturaliste
Discovery Chardonnay 2019

94+ Points - Stuart McCloskey “An incredibly appealing Chardonnay which oozes charm and offers superb value. Stone fruits intermingle with a little grapefruit, lemon oil and that wonderful jasmine character which appears to be the Domaine Naturaliste signature. Textural and the flavours fan out fabulously – the finish is admirably long which emphasises the excellent quality to value ratio. Pristine and no shortage of fruit. Overall, so enjoyable, so much pleasure.” Served using Zalto Bordeaux glassware.”

95 Points - Magdalena Sienkiewicz "Lively aromas of ripe stone fruit - pears and white peaches jump to the forefront with delicate citrus and florals playing a supporting role. The palate mirrors the perfume beautifully and combines its vibrancy with harmonious generosity. Intensely fruity and filled with class, which is most impressive given that this is Domaine’s introductory wine. Clearly, this offers outstanding value without compromising the quality. Sampled after decanting and using Zalto Bordeaux glass."

£15.50 per bottle

 
 

Domaine Naturaliste
Discovery Sauvignon Blanc Semillon 2020

93+ - 94 Points - Stuart McCloskey “At this youthful stage, more Sauvignon on the nose than Semillon. Intensely aromatic with stone fruits, grapefruit and blackcurrant leaf. Herbal, floral and ripe… There’s a synergy between the bouquet and the palate which is equally vibrant and ‘alive’ – some gooseberry and elderflower. Lovely weight (which is often lacking at this level) and the soft textural feel will appeal to many. I love the fresh minty finish, I detect Florence fennel too (eaten raw – you’ll see what I am referring too). Appetising and delicious now, not really a wine to put in the cellar, but a few years will do it no harm.”

£14.55 per bottle

 
 
 

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