Issue #152, May 2021

 

Let’s start by getting the bad news out of the way… Regretfully, and the joys of post-Brexit, deliveries to EU countries is difficult to put it mildly, with uninsured options impossible. Our delivery partners provide occasional updates which all follow the same, negative tune. Each EU country has different regulations in place for importing alcohol from outside of the EU. Therefore each country is treated separately, which creates too many headaches and huge costs, resulting in most couriers simply throwing their flailing arms up in despair whilst waving their white flags in surrender. We start the fifth month of 2021 with the situation not improving. Moreover, there are no glimmers of hope for delivering wine (uninsured) to the EU this year. Insured options for some countries are viable, but expensive. This week, we shipped 36 bottles to one of our customers in Munich – he paid close to £300.00!

Our earlier promise of refunding ‘existing’ EU customer orders is now in full swing as, and perfectly understandably, the ‘insured’ option is unpalatable for most. Shontelle is working through the list (if you have not heard from her by the time you have read my communication – expect an email in the coming days). We also retain our promise of storing wines for all EU customers this year (at our HQ location, and without charge for storage). A few of our customers feel aggrieved if I mention politics however, and from a business owner who, once enjoyed a strong presence in the EU, Brexit was the undoing of this country and has damaged most UK wine importers. Personally, I feel we have lost the ‘Great’ from Great Britain.

We will add cancelled orders back to stock or for wines which are in high demand or previously sold out, we will ask you to contact us if you would like to place an order. First-up is the double sell-out from the Margaret River, the 2019 Fire Gully Chardonnay which many of us adore. Please email the team with how many bottles you would preferably like, and we will do our best to oblige – we will revert on Tuesday with a thumbs-up, an invoice, or we are sorry, but it’s sold-out (again). The price remains unchanged at £19.95 per bottle. We will be sampling the new, 2020 vintage in the coming weeks with delivery of our allocation due later this year.

Thank you kindly for all of your feedback relating to our current collection, our prices and suggestions for our future together. Many of your emails were considered and detailed which I am very grateful for – your insights were an invaluable source of information which we intend to use to create a ‘better’ Vinorium. I will prepare a synopsis in the coming weeks and share the content with you all however, we have actioned one of the requests (received by more than a dozen customers), and that is to offer more mixed cases. So, your wishes have been quickly granted with a new, and impressive line-up. See, we do react if you respond.  

That said, we need more data, thoughts etc, but I appreciate many of you are reluctant to send detailed emails. Instead, and for speed, we have created a simple online survey which only takes a few minutes to complete – each response is saved online and there are no annoying compulsory questions (simply, complete as much as you wish to).

What is the purpose? It’s twofold – We commence the development discussion with our new website team during the month of May. June, July and August are the months when all our plans are physically developed with September being the launch of our new website. The look and feel of the site will change substantially, better usability, comprehensive but simple navigation and a flawless checkout which can handle every variable we throw at it. But so much of the development centres on our new wine club membership and the list of attributes available at your personal disposal (and only accessible by you). In an ideal world, what features would you like to see in your personal, online wine cellar? The more information we receive in the coming weeks, the better the results will be. Ongoing development is par for the course however, we wish to launch with a complete offering. Adjustments and new additions will happen as life and the business develops.  

Communication is such an important part of our role and frequency of the same. We are conscious not to be one of those merchants who sends daily emails – we send emails which we believe are valuable, but there is a small group of customers who find two emails in a week, a little too much, which we respect. Some suggest that a weekly summary would be their preference, and in an ideal world, this would work however, some of our wines sell-out within hours. I see little point in summarising sell-outs as (and I guarantee you) I will receive angry emails stating, “what’s the point of that when it’s sold-out?”

So, and I am directing my next question specifically at customers who wish to receive just one communication per week – In an ideal world, what do you propose? Would you prefer to have specials / highlights pushed to your online cellar (however, and without being supercilious, how would you know it’s there, unless you checked your cellar each day?) To customers who are happy to receive more communications from Team Vinorium – what would you like to see? More emails, or a quick notification that something of interest has arrived in your cellar? The sky is the limit, and I am sure you have some fabulous ideas. We have a few weeks to get these down on paper, therefore please take a few moments and share your views.

Our selection is a very important issue, but and for the record, our heart lies with Australia and this will never change. That said, we all enjoy variety and speaking candidly, we would like a share of that ‘variety’ too without changing our ethos and integrity, of course… Part 2 of our survey will allow us to understand the viability.

Our Aussie shipments are starting to mount with several new orders processed this week, including six pallets from Two Hands – I hear the cheers for the new Bella’s Garden. Currently, we are shipping a full container each month (often more) which is a fabulous progression for The Vinorium. There are some ‘key’ names arriving soon including the 2019 Standish collection and 2019 Utopos . We have provided an update below with ETAs into the London ports. Post docking, please allow up to 14 days for physical receipt into our warehouses. As ever, we will provide exact dates nearer the time, but the below should settle your eagerness… Today, we hoped to offer the sensational duo (2015 Cabernet Sauvignon and 2018 Shiraz) from John’s Blend however, and despite the shipment arriving over a week ago, this is still being held by the port authorities, allegedly! We plan to re-sample next week and release both wines. We are also sampling the 2015 Shiraz from Fire Gully which should be interesting and a few new releases from Moss Wood (including their 99 point Cabernet Sauvignon). We shall let you know our thoughts…

I must confess; I have fallen head over heels in love with JC’s 2019 Lobethal Chardonnay. Hands down, this is my favourite Chardonnay of the year (so far). I have enjoyed several bottles over the past few weeks which have been astonishing. Of course, Jaysen Collins is best known for his reds, but this is the best wine I have sampled / sipped from him. Sod’s law, he’s sold-out as we wanted to purchase more… Anyhow, and a call to all lovers of textural whites, you must try a bottle. Do not overchill, decant for 30 minutes and if you have them, serve using Zalto Bordeaux glassware.

Any news from the wine trade this week? It’s been a very quiet week with few skirmishes on social media which is refreshing. I believe the wine trade are working incredibly hard following the opening of hospitality which is fabulous for all. Internationally, Wine Australia have reported strong sales in exports to Europe, including the UK, which was up 23% to AU$710m, the highest value in a decade. Well done to all Vinorium customers as you are helping to offset the Chinese tariff debacle.

Given this has been such a quiet week, this neatly brings me to a close. I wish you all a fabulous, long bank holiday weekend (if only there were a little more sunshine – never mind).

Keep safe and well,

Stu

 
 

Shipping /Arrival Dates

ETA to UK Port

 

23 April 2021

5 May 2021

 

26 May 2021

26 May 2021

 

1 June 2021

23 June 2021

 

New Agency

We will keep you posted

 
 

Wine of the Week

 
 

JC's Own Lobethal Chardonnay Adelaide Hills 2019

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."

£27.50 per bottle

 

Customer Survey: Your responses are super-important

 

We have created a simple online survey which only takes a few minutes to complete – each response is saved online and there are no annoying compulsory questions (simply, complete as much as you wish to).

 
 

Specially curated collections

We understand that our huge collection of wines might seem daunting to begin with, so why not try one of our delicious mixed cases, curated with you in mind? Our 'Discovery' cases provide a great, first introduction to our range of wines. While our 'High Scoring' cases are a special selection of our favourite wines, those which we have scored in excess of 97 points and all guaranteed to impress.

After many customer requests we have also added a collection of cases which are a perfect introduction to some of our favourite producers.  With one click you can add a tailored case to your basket and enjoy sampling a selection of wines from a new producer.