Issue #151, April 2021

Spring is the time for 
plans and projects…

With much anticipation, I opened my first bottle (three if I am being honest, and not in a row!) of Owen Latta’s 2019 ‘Pinot Taché On Lees’ which remains the best Aussie rosé money can buy. In fact, the best ‘global’ rosé in my humble opinion. Always 100% Pinot Noir, picked from a parcel in the vineyard designated for rosé, “made for purpose” as Owen likes to say. This is serious and left on lees for 16 months. Thoughtfully produced, no fining, filtering or tinkering. I will add, and given the sheer quality of this splendid wine, this will improve with bottle age – I believe a few years in the cellar will be perfect. So, this is my unofficial launch to get yourself a case as it’s simply amazing – my tasting note is coming very soon. I guzzled rather than deliberated as it’s so, incredibly moreish.

My worker honeybees took full advantage of Sunday’s warm temperatures too and escaped their hive in their thousands to find nectar, which my garden and surrounding fields provide in abundance. Winter is a worrying time for beekeepers (and my first as a newly fledged guardian) as colonies fall from 40,000 to a mere 5,000. The small colony cluster together, using their bodies to generate heat – they take turns to be on the cold outside, not unlike emperor penguins who huddle together to survive the cold, Arctic winter. That said, mine received a little more TLC from winter feed (high sugar content, in the form of fondant icing), and a warm roof lining of wool which also helps dissipate moisture as condensation can kill off the entire hive. Finally, a double layer of bubble wrap which I bungee to the external frame of my Flow Hive. Great insulation and stops woodpeckers from gaining access.

My local society have alarmingly reported full colony disasters – not a bee in sight post winter which is very worrying, as the time, effort and emotional attachment is tremendous. Thankfully, my colony appears strong and their numbers are impressive for this time of year.  I can honestly spend hours watching them as they fascinate the heck out of me. They are incredibly skilled and despite their size, are supremely fit athletes.  

The distance each bee flies in its lifetime is truly astonishing. It is possible for forager bees to fly about three miles for food, however the average distance would be less than a mile from the hive – perhaps closer if there is an abundance of pollen available, but they do love variety. Did you know that a strong colony flies the equivalent distance from the Earth to the Moon every day?

Their route-finding skills are equally impressive as they use the position of the sun to navigate. Evidence suggests that they are sensitive to the Earth’s magnetic field, which I can easily believe. Similarly, bees' eyes are sensitive to polarised light, which penetrates through even thick cloud, which is ideal for the UK climate. I could talk all day about my bees, but I should get back to what I am paid to do, and that is to communicate about wine and life at The Vinorium.

Like a spring flower, the UK is slowly unfurling from a long lockdown – I am delighted for the entire hospitality industry. Cautious steps are required, and I am sure, with the correct unified, national approach, we will start to enjoy the ‘new’ normal by the summertime. Personally, I believe we are a year away from assessing the full damage left in the wake of the pandemic. Everything is conjecture and I wouldn’t bet a fiver on how the UK wine industry unfolds over the coming eight to twelve months.

Life at The Vinorium for quarter two, 2021 will be measurably different to the same period, last year. Whilst many were forced to withdraw themselves from their daily routines, we appreciated the tsunami of online orders. In all honesty, I cannot see how we can compete this year. April, May and June 2020 saw online order rates increase considerably – 115%, 108% and 127% increases per month respectively, with each month becoming busier and busier. Sadly, the pandemic helped our business model enormously which is a peculiar statement to make. However, I am extremely aware of the devastation many endured and continue to endure. The loss of loved ones, homes, friends and businesses will forever be a reminder of these painful times. It is not a time to gloat about success, but and for those statisticians, it provides the full picture, which is important to understand. Nonetheless, my team and I were very happy to facilitate all your orders and we will be forever grateful…

Our HQ shop remains closed and will do so for at least three further months. I am sorry if you are itching to visit however, the entire floor space is taken with pallets of wine. We physically cannot open until these pallets are either removed to the shelves or our second warehouse, which is also full, but there is always room to add more! In truth, I am not convinced we will open the shop again, or certainly not in its former glory. Year after year, shop sales decrease against an increase in online orders, which is an endemic to the UK high street where we are seeing more and more store closures. The time and effort it takes to keep our HQ shop shipshape is considerable versus the ‘cash in the till’ returns which are less than ‘considerable.’ However, and once we have found our feet, we will open in some capacity, even to share a cup of tea or a glass of wine with our friends. We may have to navigate around the pallets, but and for now, let’s see what the next three months bring. 

Online sales for quarter one, 2021 increased by 34.8% which is a tremendous result. Trade and some private customers prefer to receive an invoice and we are happy to oblige. Put everything in one pot, and we are very happy with the statistics. We have sold 19,220 bottles of wine with 16,185 being attributed to the country of Australia. One step further – 81% of all first quarter revenue is credited to great, Aussie wine. Our average bottle sale comes in at £32.87 which is a high number and certainly bolstered by such strong Standish sales.

Shiraz accounted for 68% of all Aussie sales with Chardonnay coming in second place with 12%. Cabernet Sauvignon accounted for 6% and despite our best efforts, Pinot Noir reports just 5% which I struggle to understand. I quickly put my ‘PC’ hat on and openly state that each customer is entitled to enjoy whatever they so choose… I acknowledge that our Shiraz offerings are highly impressive with two producers standing out from the crowd – Standish and Utopos. Sales from these two producers amount to a staggering 5,130 bottles (bear in mind these are first-quarter figures and exclude the 2019 Utopos collection). 

Chardonnay has faired a little better with sales predominantly arriving from Fire Gully, Soumah, Eileen Hardy, House of Cards and Shadowfax. I am fascinated to understand our customer buying patterns as some producers are perhaps going unnoticed. Is our current portfolio too large / an embarrassment of riches?  I do hope not, as we are actively communicating with new producers and hope to work with 10-12 new, Aussie producers by the end of the summer. Are you struggling to navigate our large selection? Could we do more to help you and all newcomers to our website? Do we need to communicate with you more regularly? We are respectful of everyone’s time and do not want to bombard you with too many emails. In terms of our range – should we consider introducing a lower tiered price range - Circa £10.00…? However, and I will add the caveat now, we have consistently struggled to find wines that deliver on quality, hence the reason why we are working with Kym at Utopos to produce our own range next year – not for ten-pounds! And to the biggest question – would you like to see more variety and regular offerings from around the globe?

My team and I would welcome your candid feedback as we believe we’re in this together. Please drop us a wee email when you have the time.

We introduced two new agencies, Coulter Wines and House of Cards, the latter proving to spike more interest and sales. I appreciate this, as I will openly admit my fondness for their Royals Chardonnay, which is a dream of a Margaret River wine as is their sensational Malbec which will sell out shortly. Previously, we introduced Domaine Naturaliste however, we recently unveiled their new collection a few weeks back as their exclusive, UK agent.

I believe I have commented previously on the journey from initiating contact with a wine producer (or vice versa), to receiving their samples, communicating and forming a relationship, shipping the wine through to the grand reveal. This takes time, with many relationships slowly developing over six months. Post reveal, we too can overlook a producer and for many reasons. However, and I will admit this openly, we are missing out as many of the wines, which have been resting in our warehouse for the past 6-18 months have changed. Granted, the change is thankfully not significant, as this would be a concern, but many are simply glowing – more so than our sampling sessions. 

This year, and save for the odd bottle, I made a conscious decision to enjoy wine from The Vinorium cellar only (rather than my home collection) which is no hardship. I enjoy half a bottle per day everyday which I know is naughty and against medical guidelines, but the pleasure that wine provides, far outweighs long, boring nights with a hydrating glass of water. I save this for time spent on my bike which is regular and I hope, tips the balance slightly in my favour! 

My wine choice is purely driven by my mood and what my tastebuds desire – what I am eating is of no consequence as I never drink wine with food. Controversial for some but I prefer to enjoy the flavours without food compromising them. If wine ‘needs food’ then it’s not for me… I often find that sitting in the comfort of one’s home, away from the hustle and bustle of the office allows you to connect with a wine and to appreciate the finer nuances. I know what you are thinking – what a load of twaddle, but it’s true. Well, for me anyway. I must add that I do not sit there swirling my glass and pontificating like a prat.

I drink more white wine than I do red. I drink more Pinot Noir than I do Cabernet Sauvignon. I drink more Cabernet than I do Shiraz which must come as a shock, as so much of our Shiraz is amazing. I could, if HMRC allowed, tuck into a bottle of Standish or Utopos each night, but I choose not to. Why? That’s an excellent question, certainly based on my glowing reviews. Time, preparation and my mental / emotional state at the end of the day would be my answer. Save for our Christmas break and bank holidays, I rarely take a holiday and this has been the same for at least a decade. I love my work and do not feel the need to be away from it. However, life does creep up on you and I presume one day I will finally feel the effects. My way of life certainly moulds my wine choices as I am tired in the evenings and the thought of a behemoth Shiraz would feel overwhelming – I simply would not enjoy it. Ergo, my daily wine choices are more sympathetic, but I must stress, they all need to be bloody amazing and pack lots of great flavour and texture.

Here's another insight – each evening, I walk around my warehouse seeking tonight’s bottle of choice (I often have two going at the same time!) I walk the same route until one bottle jumps out and grabs me which I believe is a great way to satisfy one’s mood. It works a treat for me and I have reacquainted myself with some fabulous bottles, which I had previously ignored. Given my aforementioned consumption rates, providing a list would be too long, but I will declare a few of my current favourites.

Midhill Chardonnay from Shadowfax and their amazing Little Hampton Pinot Noir (I am distraught as this is my absolute favourite and we’re down to 11 bottles!) However, I will find solace with my second favourite, Straws Lane, but our stock position is low. Perhaps I am the cause of such low stocks! My go-to Chardonnay must be House of Cards, The Royals Chardonnay which never fails to put a big smile on my face. I love Wantirna’s Isabella Chardonnay which is starting to show its pedigree – this is such a suave, sophisticated wine. The Hexham Chardonnay from Soumah is a regular companion. I now serve this in my Zalto Burgundy glass (I recommended the Bordeaux in my original tasting note). Wow, what a difference and simply magnificent for twenty-quid. I now try all our Chardonnays in both Bordeaux and Burgundy glassware to assess the difference.

For evenings when I am seeking more texture, I opt for two wines from Tassie producer, Grey Sands. Their Pinot Gris is epically good and certainly justifies my score of 98+. I am also loving their Pinot Blanc too (two, great customer reviews from Gavin and Nick – thank you). And it’s rare for a week to pass without me opening my home stash of the truly sensational 2015 Eileen Hardy Chardonnay. I had every intention of abstaining for 4-5 years as I believe this could be perfect at the age of 10 years, but I cannot help myself. We have a few bottles available online as one of our trade customers thought it acceptable not to pay their invoice – they’re up for grabs. We have also communicated with Accolade wines as to our desire to purchase every bottle they store in Australia – this conversation is looking favourable.

"We believe we offer a very good service and experience, but we want to offer you much, much more…"

Precisely, 16,500 bottles of great Aussie wines are on the water and heading to the UK, which is a considerable number – this equates to virtually twenty eight pallets which in turn, fills a both a 40ft and almost a 20ft sea container. There is more, lots more as we are starting to plan a new shipment from Two Hands (their, new Garden Series and their full, Single Vineyard collection – a few surprises too). Talks continue with several new producers and one major group owner who has a fabulous string of wineries under their ownership and care. Samples are incoming along with the new collection from Massena, Hutton Vale, Soumah, Mulline and Rymill to name a few. Soon, we will be bursting at the seams…

Thankfully, we have a new team member joining shortly – Daniel.  He will be overseeing the warehouse and will be responsible for incoming and outgoing orders along with getting to grips with the world of complicated logistics, all under the supervision of Shontelle. Some may consider a warehouseman’s role as inferior and unskilled however, a good warehouse person is like gold dust and particularly if they are working with high value products. Daniel will be a tremendous asset and will provide more time for the remainder of the team to focus on their roles.

This week, we have signed the contract to commence work on our new ecommerce website, which and if all goes to plan, will be launched in four months.

It will offer a radical change to our current site with a focus on your personal experience, including your very own, private cellar. This is a huge investment, but very much needed as our aspirations and the online service which we currently provide are not aligned. We believe we offer a very good service and experience, but we want to offer you much, much more…

Finally, the vessel containing the long awaited arrival from one of Australia’s true icons and one of the most respected producers, John Glaetzer docked at midnight on Thursday. The current releases from John’s Blend include the dreamy duo ’15 Cabernet Sauvignon and ’18 Shiraz which were showing magnificently a few months back. We have a further set of samples that have been resting at our HQ – we will re-sample and publish our views shortly. 

As ever, I hope you are all keeping safe and well. Moreover, I thank you for your continued support. We’re lucky to have such great customers / friends – we truly are.

Best wishes,

 Stu

PS: The 2019 Standish collection is due to arrive in the UK on or around 5 May. Inevitably, we expect a few delays at the port however, the collection is almost touchable… We will keep you all posted with exact delivery dates.

 

We’ve gathered a small selection of fabulous wines which are the perfect partner for outdoor entertaining. As an added extra, our spring collection enjoys a price clipping to match our beautifully manicured lawns.

 
 

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."

Was £32.50 per bottle

Now £27.75 per bottle

 

Ghost Rock Zoe Brut Rosé 2016

96+ Points - Stuart McCloskey “60% Pinot Noir / 40% Chardonnay. I like the nose very much as it wafts from my glass with a crescendo of red berries, pomegranate, crisp green apples and chalk. The palate is super fresh and comes across more succulent and fuller compared to the Cuvee Catherine. The mousse is rich and the mid palate weight adds further depth and a lovely mouthfeel. The fruit is fresh and sings with ripe raspberry, wild strawberry, pomegranate and a little bitter orange rind on the long finish… I detect a little chalkiness and salinity too, which brings a welcome distinction to the fruit. The balance is textbook and the structure provides some girth. I like it very much, but I feel the cold, outside temperature and driving rain is playing havoc with my senses (take note to my score!) - the colour and flavours talk to me of the summer and not the deep winter. Unquestionably, this drinks fabulously now, but I would like to see a further five years bottle age. Served using Zalto Universal glassware. Do not overchill.”

Winemaker's notes "Our Brut Rosè is true to the principle of Methode Traditionnelle. From the stunning 2016 vintage, the Pinot Noir dominant blend has been elevated by lees ageing and stylistic finishing. Strawberry and floral notes drive this wine, its Brut style creating a truly moorish, fresh palate."

Was £24.50 per bottle

Now £20.95 per bottle

 

Shadowfax Macedon Ranges Chardonnay 2019

97+ Points – Magdalena Sienkiewicz "The perfume is so inviting with an abundance of citrus and minerals infused to perfection. The aromas are super pure but intense at the same time (give it a few minutes in the glass). Notes of lemon oil, chalk and oyster shell build up with aeration, together with a lovely touch of nougat, ginger and nashi pear. The flavours follow suit with elegance. It is generous, but equally composed, super smooth and even slightly viscous (amazing texture). No wonder this is the go to wine of team Shadowfax. Sampled using Zalto Bordeaux glassware following 30 minutes of decanting."

Was £23.75 per bottle

Now £20.50 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."

Was £23.75 per bottle

Now £20.50 per bottle

 

Soumah Single Vineyard Upper Ngumby
Chardonnay 2018

96+ Points - Stuart McCloskey “The Upper Ngumby vineyard is within the confines of Yarra Glen, sloping gently east. It is protected from the late afternoon sun by the Christmas Hills, rising up to the west. The fruit was barrel fermented with 100% wild yeast, matured on lees for eight months with some secondary fermentation to create depth and finesse, which team Soumah succeed effortlessly. The nose offers a mix of lemon zest, minéralité and ozone. Serenely pure in two words. The palate is long and sophisticated. Full of drive, vigour and energy – lovely freshness and very moreish. This will flourish with more time in the bottle, drink now to 2025.”

96+ Points - Magdalena Sienkiewicz "Elegant struck match on the nose reveals white nectarine with aeration. Although it is slightly leaner than Hexham, there is still an incredible sense of precision here. The palate is textural bliss as it balances effortlessly between ripe stone fruit, citrus and minerals. Svelte and perfectly composed – a testament to Soumah’s great vineyards and skilful winemaking. Delicious today, but a little rest in the cellar will be rewarded."

Was £19.95 per bottle

Now £17.85 per bottle

 

Soumah Single Vineyard Upper Ngumby Pinot Noir 2018

96–97 Points - Stuart McCloskey “The nose is more classical – herbal, rusty metal, cranberry, warm earth, leather and tea. The flavour profile is expansive and impeccably pure. Less flamboyant compared to the Hexham but the open-knit complexity is a delight. Finely tuned with a delicacy and a gentleness which I really enjoy. I am intrigued to see how this develops over the coming 5 years. Ambitious yet sensitive winemaking. Unforced and natural. Admirable length and will offer immediate pleasure”.

97 Points - Magdalena Sienkiewicz "Intense aromas of ripe fruit, pomegranate, sweet spice and dried herbs emanate from the glass. I adore this perfume – an intoxicating mix of sweet and savoury. The palate is just as vibrant which is such a delight. Abundant fruit gives a nice touch of ripeness and sweetness laced with gentle acidity – all in perfect balance. So soft on the finish. Simply put, this is cracking Pinot Noir which instantly puts a smile on your face. An absolute steal for the price, as is the entire Single Vineyard range."

Was £19.95 per bottle

Now £17.85 per bottle

 

Gemtree Wines Cinnabar GSM 2019

96 Points - Stuart McCloskey “This is a beautiful wine to drink. Seamless, the fruit is ripe and plush, the tannins pillowy with some lift from a judicious line of acidy. I will say that the tannins and acidity provide wonderful shape and support. All-in-all, everything is perfect for a wine of this quality. It reminds me of putting on a cashmere jumper… The fruit leads with raspberry which provides yin & yang of sweetness and acidity. The texture is striking simply due to the silkiness. I detect a sprinkling of dried herbs and earth. Long and balanced to perfection. Drinking fabulously now and will continue to do so until 2025. Decant for an hour or two. Served using Zalto Bordeaux glassware”

Was £18.50 per bottle

Now £16.25 per bottle

 

Cobaw Ridge Pinot Noir 2017

97 Points - Magdalena Sienkiewicz "Tasted throughout the day which is such a lovely way to discover a wine’s true character. It was a touch cold when first opened however, after two hours of aeration, it unfurled beautifully. Evocative aromas of bramble, sour cherries, hedgerow fruits and sweet spices are lifted by elegant herbal notes and a whiff of undergrowth. Pristine fruit shines on the palate with wonderful purity before the textures expand to reveal its deep and earthy complexities. The balance is retained throughout and the savoury finish is delectable. Excellent and a unique Pinot Noir with a difference. Thoughtful, not a hair is out of place and its friendly character is most appealing. Sampled using Zalto Burgundy glassware. Enjoy now and over the next 5-7 years."

Was £29.50 per bottle

Now £25.95 per bottle

Cobaw Ridge Syrah 2015

This stunning Syrah comes from the singular Cobaw Ridge Estate, the only biodynamically farmed vineyard in the Macedon Ranges. This high-altitude site sits at 610m above sea level, yielding Syrah imbued with floral aromatics and spicy flavour profile. The fruit is always impeccable when it enters the winery, every effort taken in the vineyard by the Coopers to ensure little needs to be done in the winery to bottle a pure expression of their unique vineyard.

Alan Cooper, Founder & Vigneron “Very much typical of our Syrah from a cooler year, aromatic on the nose, savoury spice and a fine dusting of black pepper to finish. The essence of granite. Focussed and expressive of our amazing terroir. The classic iron fist in a velvet glove. Huge latent power and structure to burn. This wine will reward you even more with age!”

Was £29.50 per bottle

Now £25.95 per bottle

 
 

Elderton Barossa Shiraz 2017

Winemaker "Full bodied, rich & classic in style. Aromas of Black forest fruits, dark chocolate and vanilla with hints of coconut. Plum and berries on the palate with chocolate and a spice finish.

The 2017 vintage was characterised by steady ripening of fruit across the Barossa. From our vineyards we were able to get great fresh flavours particular to each site, with some tight just-ripe tannins behind to balance the fruit. We love the freshness that 2017 brings, and the elegance in the wines as a result."

Was £18.50 per bottle

Now £16.15 per bottle

Elderton Barossa Cabernet Sauvignon 2017

Above average rainfall during winter, followed by a cooler than average spring, ensured adequate soil moisture for healthy canopy development. The cooler unseasonal conditions prevailed during January and February delaying veraison. Autumn saw the start of an Indian summer which continued well into April, resulting in perfect ripening conditions on the Valley floor for gradual development of flavour, with very fine grained tannins and excellent retention of natural acidity. The 2017 Elderton Estate Barossa Cabernet Sauvignon is a fresh and very pure fruit driven wine with an underlying elegance, depictive of a cooler Barossa vintage."

Was £18.50 per bottle

Now £16.15 per bottle

 

Elderton E Series Shiraz Cabernet 2017

Winemaker "A Classic Australian medium bodied blend. Plum, cherry, cassis and hints of vanilla. Drink now. - E is for excellence, it is for excitement, evolution, epicure, elegance and euphoria. E is for Elderton. E is for earth. Embrace and enjoy. Easy!"

Was £13.95 per bottle

Now £11.50 per bottle

 

Vinden Estate Headcase Semillon 2019

Winemaker "Sourced from the Howard family Somerset Vineyard where I once worked; I know this vineyard almost as well as my own. Planted in 1969 over fine sandy loam soils, the fruit was hand picked in early February. The juice was fermented on solids in tank/ neutral oak and given extended lees contact to building complexity and texture. The wine shows the character of the old gnarled vines, balancing fruit with minerality."

Huon Hooke, The Real Review "Light, bright yellow colour with a malty, almond meal-like bouquet that overlies the lemony varietal notes. Very pleasant. The palate is similar: light-bodied, soft and rounded, with a mild personality but refreshing acidity on the back-palate and finish. Soft, round, harmonious. Good drinking. Generous fruit."

Was £18.95 per bottle

Now £16.95 per bottle

Vinden Estate Fountainhead Shiraz 2018

97+ Points - Stuart McCloskey “Sourced from the Howard family Somerset Vineyard and a blend of three slopes: Eastern, Northern and Western – planted 1966, 1968, and 1970. Warm earth, dried spices, raspberry, green olives and vanilla waft from the glass. Medium-bodied, layered, elegant and immensely appealing. The tannins are super-fine and meld beautifully with the fruit, which is ripe, crunchy and juicy. I love the subtle star anise, spice, liquorice, touches of violet and toast which I imagine emanates from the French oak in which the wine rested for 16 months. Incredible length and finely polished – sensitive winemaking and will drink beautifully over the next decade. Ideally, leave this in the cellar for 3-5 years. Served in Zalto Bordeaux glassware”

Was £31.95 per bottle

Now £27.50 per bottle

 
 

Wild Duck Creek Yellow Hammer Hill Shiraz Malbec 2018

Winemakers notes  

"Garnet red colour. The nose is so alluring. Sniff after sniff reveals earth, cut meats and blood sausage. Its intoxicating dark boysenberry aromas keep you coming back for more. The flavours are bold yet silky, supple, gritty and tightly wound.  It’s opulent with a palate full of blue fruits. Blueberry, plums and tart red cherry are wonderfully primary. The back palate is long and sophisticated. Partly matured in concrete vats to further highlighting the pristine fruit in this wine. Enjoy over the next 7-15 years. 15.1% Alc. Shiraz 79%, Malbec 12% and Cabernet Sauvignon 9%."

Was £17.95 per bottle

Now £15.55 per bottle

Wild Duck Creek Ducks & Drakes Cabernet 2018

96 Points - Magdalena Sienkiewicz  "Dark and deep colour as usual from Wild Duck Creek. The perfume is expressive and bursting with blackberry liqueur, blackcurrants, pen ink, cedar and a wonderful lift from fresh bay leaf and sage. The mirroring flavours (along with the addition of liquorice) coat the palate wonderfully. The tannins are silky smooth – almost suede like in their plushness. Stylistically, I would declare the wine to be generous in style, but the generosity comes from the exquisite, ripe fruit. It is far from an OTT wine. Ripe, balanced, and a real ripper of an Aussie Cabernet Sauvignon. Decant for 2+ hours or cellar and enjoy over the next 5-10 years."

Was £24.95 per bottle

Now £22.50 per bottle

 
 

Wild Duck Creek Cornella Shiraz 2018

97+ Points - Stuart McCloskey “A subregional blend, produced in tiny quantities and will bring a huge smile to those seeking a wine which delivers on flavour (which it does in bucket loads) and drinkability. The aromatics are explosive and take no coaxing. Warm earth, camphor, tobacco, cedar, ink and coal blend perfectly with a heady mix of dark berries and plums. The palate opens to a rush of sweet fruit which provides a wonderfully sensual gloss and mouthfeel. The tannins support but are supple. The sense of symmetry is deeply impressive which is a nod to a great winemaker. The wine builds and builds in the mouth… I would categorise the wine as sensual, structured and showing some masculinity. Black fruits, tobacco and smoke lead to a very long finish. Excellent and a real charmer with grip. Decant for 2-3 hours. Served using Zalto Bordeaux glassware.”

Was £24.95 per bottle

Now £22.50 per bottle

Wild Duck Creek The Dabbler Cabernet Carmenere 2018

97 Points - Stuart McCloskey “A single vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon (67%) with Carménère taking up the remainder of the blend. The small addition of new oak aligned with the blend reminds me of a young Bordeaux. The wine opens with beautifully expressive notes of black cherries, blackberries, touches of redcurrants, a little menthol, dark, bitter chocolate and cloves. Despite its age, the mid palate provides richness and heaps of sweet black and red fruits, all tinged with dried herbs (sage). The palate is vivid with perfectly balanced fine, pillowy tannins. I detect a little graphite and tobacco infused black fruit on the long finish. This is really going to blossom over the next 5-10 years. This one comes highly recommended. Decant for 1-2 hours. Served using Zalto Bordeaux glassware.”

Was £22.50 per bottle

Now £19.75 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."

Was £24.95 per bottle

Now £20.25 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).”

Was £22.95 per bottle

Now £17.95 per bottle

 
 

Topper's Mountain Bricolage Blanc 2014

96+ Points - Magdalena Sienkiewicz 

"Although Bricolage blends are a permanent feature of the Topper’s Mountain range, the composition varies from vintage to vintage. The 2014 Blanc is a fascinating blend of Chardonnay, Gewürztraminer, Viognier and Sauvignon Blanc. The Gewürztraminer influence is clear as it takes centre stage with its highly aromatic profile. Rich citrus and lychee dominate the perfume however, the aromatics are incredibly complex nevertheless. Wet stones, sweet vanilla, red grapefruit, cantaloupe melon and sea spray. Wholly unique. The palate is much more savoury than the perfume suggests but the freshness prevails. An abundance of citrus and minerals are delectable and they linger with impressive length. Such a distinctive wine. Unusual blends often present wacky styles however, Bricolage Blanc is rather fine and incredibly textural. Hats off! Bottle age served this wine well – there is no need for further cellaring and you should enjoy this beauty on the day of opening."

Was £22.95 per bottle

Now £20.25 per bottle

Topper's Mountain Bricolage Blanc 2015

Bricolage Blanc is a traditional Topper’s Mountain white blend. Its assemblage varies every vintage as we always put together our best performers of the vintage. The 2015 contains four classic French varieties: Chardonnay which brings body and structure to the blend. Sauvignon Blanc and Gewurztraminer are responsible for the complex aromatics and flavours while the last contribution, Petit Manseng adds a brisk acidity providing freshness and an extra kick in the finish.

Although two varieties (Sauvignon Blanc and Gewurztraminer) of the blend are highly aromatic, this wine is rather noble, elegant and indeed complex on the nose. Every variety has its aromatic footprint – apples, green pears, ripe gooseberries, ripe peaches, rose water and macadamia nuts. The wine is rich, textured, long and very young which altogether indicates long cellaring potential. Mainly ripe citrus flavours like pomelo, grapefruit, lime or red orange rule on the palate but there is more – ripe peaches, lychee, touch of honey and vanilla. Slightly bitter touch in the finish is a trade mark of Topper’s Mountain terroir.”

Was £22.95 per bottle

Now £20.25 per bottle

 

Greenock Creek Casey's Block Shiraz 2017

China Wine & Spirits Awards 2019 - Gold Medal

Winemaker "Purple red blush with garnet hues. Blackcurrant jelly with cherry and coco powder. Generous and fruit driven. Dark chocolate and vanilla bean round out the dense layers of plums and blueberries. Inviting, soft tannins give a sense of plushness to the palate with buttered toast and dried figs to finish. Hand harvested and de-stemmed without being crushed. Fermented in concrete open fermenters for 7-10 days with 4 pump overs to maintain a fermentation temperature of 20-22’C. Drained and pressed though our wooden basket press before being transferred into seasoned American oak for 27 months. Bottled un-fined and unfiltered."

Was £29.95 per bottle

Now £24.00 per bottle

 

Greenock Creek Cabernet Sauvignon 2017

Mike Bennie, The Wine Front "While tasting through a suite of 2017 Greenock Creek releases I kept gravitating back to the non-shiraz wines, specifically the cabernet sauvignon and mataro that were sent. This is one of the wines that sees French oak at Greenock Creek. Unfined-unfiltered to bottle. Bold, luscious and assertive style of cabernet sauvignon but it holds its muscular physique well. Rich cassis, new leather, lavender, woody spice and sandalwood characters emerge. Tannins are chewy, slightly woody, and finish the wine in chomps of wood spice and slight bitterness, though that feels apt after the thick, generous front and mid-palate stuffed with ripe fruit and lavish flavour. Strap in."

Was £34.95 per bottle

Now £28.50 per bottle

Greenock Creek The Sibling Cabernet Sauvignon 2016

Winemaker "Harvested from vineyards in the Northern Barossa sub-region of Ebenezer. The soil profile is sandy clay loam over solid limestone. Layered and full. The fully ripe blackberry and liquor cherry fruits are unpinned with the savoury edges of cigar, leather and dark chocolate. Oak tannins frame the body of the wine adding spiced toast notes, whilst fleshing out the fruit tannin profile to meld with blackcurrant notes, creating a seamless finish. Cherry red with blood orange hues. Raspberry, fig and white cherries with hints rhubarb leaves."

Was £30.50 per bottle

Now £25.95 per bottle

 
 

Greenock Creek Alice's Shiraz 2016

Winemaker " The Alices is our largest vineyard, being 15 acres, and is named after Annabelle’s mother and Michael’s favourite aunty, both of whom were named Alice. The vineyard is on our Radford Road property and the vines were planted in 1997, and like all the other wines, the grapes are kept separate to produce a single estate wine. The vines crop at 1.5 to 2.0 tonnes per acre and as with all our vineyards the grapes are picked and kept separate to produce a single estate wine. They are picked on phenological ripeness and flavour at a baume range of 14 to 16º. This baume sometimes produces a naturally occurring high alcohol, although this will depend on seasonal conditions.

Was £34.95 per bottle

Now £30.50 per bottle

Greenock Creek Alice's Shiraz 2017

Winemaker "Cranberry red with brick red hues. Blackberry and prune with savoury spices. Aromatic and spicy. Red currants and bitter cherries are supported by a high and defining tannin profile creating a flinty aspect the wine. Black berry fruits evolve towards the finish and are meet by anise and sage flavours carried by a cranberry acid line. Hand harvested and de-stemmed without being crushed. Fermented in concrete open fermenters for 7-10 days with 4 pump overs to maintain a fermentation temperature of 20-22’C. Drained and pressed though our wooden basket press before being transferred into seasoned American oak for 27 months. Bottled un-fined and unfiltered.

Was £34.95 per bottle

Now £30.50 per bottle

 
 

Greenock Creek Apricot Block Shiraz 2017

Winemaker "This vineyard was planted in 1995 on an old apricot orchard which we removed from our Roennfeldt Road property at Marananga near Greenock. The vines crop at 1.2 to 1.5 tonnes per acres from the short rows, and 1.5 to 2.0 tonnes per acre on the long rows. The grapes are picked and kept separate to produce a single estate wine. As with all our grapes they are picked on phenological ripeness and flavour at a baume range of 14 to 16º. This baume sometimes produces a naturally occurring high alcohol, although this will depend on seasonal conditions. This rich, dark red wine has complex aromas of spice and fruit, plums, berries and a splash of dark chocolate with a lingering velvety finish."

Was £36.95 per bottle

Now £31.50 per bottle

Greenock Creek Seven Acre Shiraz 2017

Winemaker "The grapes for this wine are picked from our Seven Acre vineyard which was planted in 1990. It is located on our Radford Road property at Seppeltsfield just south of Greenock, and as the name suggests is approximately 7 acres in size. The vines crop at 1.5 to 2.0 tonnes per acre and are kept separate to produce a single estate wine. As with all our grapes they are picked on phenological ripeness and flavour at a baume range of 14 to 16º. This baume sometimes produces a naturally occurring high alcohol, although this will depend on seasonal conditions.

Was £39.95 per bottle

Now £33.95 per bottle

 
 

View our recent USA offer

 

With the help of Barossa born and bred Jaysen Collins, we explore Australia’s rich heritage with many of the oldest vines on the planet. How old is ‘old vine’ and do they make better wines? Read more to find out…