Issue #171, October 2021

The Vinorium warmly welcomes
a new team member

 

The Vinorium warmly welcomes a new team member, and we are thrilled by Sophie’s appointment post navigating the gauntlet of our interview(s). Given the scale of our operation, our team is small if compared to other wine importers. However, our systems, technology and a highly skilful team replaces the need to recruit a small army which in turn would reduce our working capital, our ability to support our winemakers and our ability to deliver new and exciting wines direct from Australia, monthly.

The Vinorium is a ‘true’ collaborative company with very few decisions made without full consultation with the team. Lots of companies like to believe they operate with a family-style ethos however, these are merely words rather than a reality. We’ve had a wee re-shuffle post Magda’s departure which has been super-positive, and yet again demonstrates the agility of each team member.

Natalie has moved into a new role as our brand manager, a position which (and after four years’ service) is very much befitting her skillset as a former buyer for Harvey Nichols and Harrods. Natalie has been the principal lead with Decanter, Zalto and our new website developer which have been managed seamlessly. Her role will widen and cover all day-to-day communications (not related to shipping) with our wine producers.

Shontelle remains on-hand for all of our and your enquiries. Consequently, the position of office manager was inevitable and she’s doing a great job. Essentially, Shontelle dots every ‘I’ and crosses every ‘T’ as well as managing all national and international logistics. Michelle has been with me for almost a decade and remains in charge of our day-to-day accounts, a role previously supported by Natalie however, and with the aid of new technology, we’ve set her free, and she’s doing a great job… Dan continues to listen to appalling music whilst organising our warehouse and dispatching your orders – we are super impressed with him and I am looking forward to seeing how Dan develops (particularly with the scale of our new, proposed warehousing).

…And back to Sophie – The team and I spoke of the opportunity we could provide for a trainee, but not on one of those ghastly low-paid schemes. The role is all-encompassing with every aspect of the business being available for the right candidate, from customer service, writing content, sales and buying, to brand management and warehousing… Applications arrived and we sifted through the pile to find the best candidates. Interview ‘one’ was held with me and face-to-face as it’s my job to ensure that each candidate would integrate seamlessly with my team. Our family-style ethos is where this comes into play as I must weigh-up their addition without disrupting the family balance.

Those who passed interview ‘one’ move on to stage ‘two’ which Shontelle and Natalie held, and without my attendance. I believe my teams’ opinion is equally important as they will be working closely with the new staff member. Finally, it’s round-three and back to me which is quite the endurance exercise for the right candidate(s) however, it’s in their best interest as we like all members of our family to stay for years…

 

Without further ado, I will hand you over to Sophie…

Whilst I sat in the garden enjoying more sunshine and family time than I’d experienced for years, I started to really reconsider the path on which my life was heading. When my industry was put on complete hold for half a year everything was uncertain, including how I felt about my place within it. I first reflected on the many things I’d learned and enjoyed during my time in hospitality, which spanned from pub pot wash to running the cocktail bar at a luxury hotel. Over these ten years, I’ve gained so many valuable skills and challenged myself within each role, gaining more responsibility along the way. In my later days I studied mixology in Amsterdam and embarked on cocktail art, eventually running a sequence of bars and implementing my own menus. The creative freedom in these positions revealed to me how much I like to craft things and apply my own style – both through the drinks I designed and the presentation of menus and social media posts.  As well as what you learn about yourself, people from all walks of life cross your path and there is so much to learn from others when working in service. The people that share your trade; chefs, sommeliers, suppliers, all are all invaluable sources of inspiration. Working long and unsociable hours means that those you work with become like family and I will consider many, colleagues and customers alike amongst my closest friends. These people have watched me throw an 11pm tantrum in the stock room and later we’ve shared a 3am glass of wine and plate of whatever we can get our hands on while we laugh away the night’s events.

I started thinking about how I could move on to a more fulfilling and stable endeavour whilst keeping hold of the things I loved most about what I did. I knew for sure that my passions would always lie with food and drink. I believe that the enjoyment of these things is something to be shared, and I will always take joy in being able to contribute to this: recommending or discussing products with customers was one of my favourite parts of working in service.  Whilst contemplating my future, the wine industry in particular called out to me, so when I was first interviewed by Stuart and given an outline of the business and the position it all seemed too good to be true. Not only is the role inclusive of endless learning opportunities, but Stuart and the team at The Vinorium have an infectious enthusiasm and knowledge of the job which makes me feel excited about my own prospects under their guidance.

The great thing about the role I’ve been given is that the possibilities for growth are what I make of them, depending mainly on which areas I thrive in and what I put in. Ideally, I would like to learn enough from Stu to develop a tasting and writing ability befitting The Vinorium. I would also love to find a way to incorporate my own skillset and knowledge into the role, and if the on-trade business grows then this is something I would love to be involved in. I believe my main challenge is in finding the confidence to express my own creativity and making a space for what I want to be. With the guidance and support of the team, I think in time it will become clear what that is, until then I’m keen to familiarise myself with the company portfolio, get to grips with the day to day duties at HQ and just get stuck in to any and every challenge.

 
 

"One, huge tick for the bouquet – sensational."

"Every fan of Standish and Utopos will love this..."

"A dream for the money and it’s a joy to drink!"

 

Artisans of Barossa Small Batch Graciano 2018

Stuart McCloskey - "Graciano thrives in hot and arid climates and clearly loves the Barossa. Unquestionably, this is the best Aussie example I have enjoyed and after a year of ignoring it (there’s no justification) I am left with a whopping big grin across my face. Putting this into context (given the twenty-quid price tag), this is an outright winner. What a marvellous perfume which fills the glass with blueberry, blackberry pastille, woodsmoke, liquorice, black olive tapenade along with a powerful undercurrent of dried, Mediterranean herbs and iron. One, huge tick for the bouquet – sensational. The palate is sure footed and unapologetic with its style. Rich, but balanced – the fruit mirrors much of the bouquet with pastille-like blue and black fruits. The fruit sweetness is intensely glorious and interestingly not overbearing. The tannins are ripe and rounded and the length is incredible. Ripe fruit leads to a savouriness and that same, cooling iron feel which provides interest and complexity. Every fan of Standish and Utopos will love this – try it and tell me otherwise. What have you to lose as it’s only twenty quid (save for twenty-quid, of course!)? A dream for the money and it’s a joy to drink today but will happily cellar for 10+ years (it’s that good). Decant for 2-3 hours. Served using Zalto Bordeaux glassware. P.S. It includes a dash of Tempranillo (14%). How do you score a wine like this? It’s faultless for the money but you cannot award 98 points, but I know a lot of people who would – are they wrong? Let me know…"

Was £21.95 per bottle
NOW £20.50 per bottle

 
 
 

Our New Website

Since the start of the year we have been busy working on our new website.  As the business has grown and changed over the past few years we have become increasingly aware of what we need internally from our website and the kind of experience it needs to deliver to our customers.

Back in January we set out to find a web development company who could design and implement a brand new site for us which would allow us to continue to grow as a business. We spoke to several companies of all different sizes but it took some time to find the right fit. We are a small, dynamic team and we really need a website that allows us to continue to work in a flexible, customer focussed way. We want the agility to offer frequent product launches, updates from our winemakers, exclusive promotions and special offers and we need the systems in place to allow this to happen. 

We had our first look at the back-end of the website this week and already we can see how much it will improve the speed and flexibility of how we work.  The new website is a massive financial investment for us and whilst this investment will vastly improve our customer’s experience, it is of equal importance that it helps streamline the way we work too. We currently work across several different systems, some of which refuse to communicate with each other and all of which require huge manual input from the team. This can make many of our day to day tasks long, repetitive and arduous and often totally restricts what we can do with the website. The new system will all be in one place, which will improve not only the speed we can work at but also the accuracy. The new reporting tools (a huge leap from the painfully manual system we currently battle with every day) will allow us to better understand what our customers like to buy. In turn, this will allow us to tailor our range and better guide our buying plans. The new order despatch system will simplify the picking process which, as our stocks at HQ currently sit at over 20,000 bottles, should assist Dan enormously in the warehouse. We are also planning to open our own bonded warehouse, allowing us complete flexibility as to how we manage our stocks. In the meantime, the new inventory management system will make moving stock from our bond to our HQ an easy, one step process. This results in stock movements being far more fluid and opens the door to allow us to sell both to our current private client base but also to the on and off trade across the UK and overseas. 

As the new site is now nearing completion we wanted to reassure you that it will still have all of the functionality that we know you love from our current site but it will offer a far more streamlined (and beautiful) experience.  The search function alone will offer a more intuitive experience making searching through our vast portfolio much more enjoyable, we’re hoping it will feel more like browsing a real life wine shop with the help of an experienced assistant.  The plan is that this will make it far easier to navigate our range and ensure you can find the exact bottles you are looking for. It will also make discovering new wines or producers, specifically suited to your taste, much easier too.

 

"You can view your stored wines in your very own Vinorium online cellar, at your convenience and request delivery/transfer at the click of a button."

 

One of the key points we stressed to the development team was improving the online experience for our existing, loyal customers.  As our range has grown, so too has the volume of wine we store both at our HQ and at our bonded warehouse. The new website will provide a far improved system for managing customers’ reserve accounts.  This will allow a smoother process for the team to move your wines to personal, in-bond storage accounts. But more importantly, the process will be more visible to our customers. You can view your stored wines in your very own Vinorium online cellar, at your convenience and request delivery/transfer at the click of a button. Your order history will also be accessible online along with all tasting notes for each wine you’ve purchased, giving you instant access to a wealth of knowledge for all of your Vinorium wines.  

In addition to an improved experience for our existing customers, we will also be able to offer our online ordering system to trade customers across the UK.   As our list of exclusively imported wines has grown and grown, we have been inundated with requests from wine merchants who wish to stock our wines and the new website will allow us to provide our excellent range and service to the trade, further increasing the exposure we are able to give to our wine producers.

With separate trade accounts, wine merchants around the country will be able to instantly access our available stock at trade pricing and they can order as much or little as they like and have their wines delivered on the same, next day service that we offer our private customers. The frustration of working with many of the UK importers has aided us to develop a platform which enables the on and off trade to purchase wines twenty-four-seven without the need to wait for a rep to confirm prices, allocations and even confirm if the stock is available – often this takes days. Our new trade portal is open to legitimate customers, which will be vetted prior to access. Moreover, brokers who care little for a brand’s reputation or price will automatically be denied access. This is far from ground breaking for our industry, but it’s very much needed.

Although this is a new market for us, we are determined that it won’t be at the detriment of our existing customers. We are creating a new wine club into which we will automatically enrol our existing customers. This will provide exclusive benefits including club level pricing on our entire range, priority access to our bestselling wines, guaranteed allocations on high demand wines and special access to our events and tastings. There’s much more to be revealed about the club and how it will benefit you… Stu will be unveiling the nuts and bolts of the wine club and the all-important pricing structure in the next week or two.

Until then, the team are struggling to find a suitable name for the new wine club – Can you help us?

Should we choose one of your suggestions, the chosen customer will receive free lifetime membership and a few bottles of wine…

 
 

New Arrivals

 

Jaysen Collins “The JC’s Own wines actually started as a bit of a professional revival for me, being in the industry for a while I found I was a bit jaded and lost a bit of verve. So I started making a few small batches of wine just for me in 2015. I then took off later that year to the US and spent Harvest with my good mate Matthew Rorick at Forlorn Hope in the Sierra foothills of California. This sort of jolted me back to enjoying the wine business more and that’s what the JC’s Own stuff reflects, a bit of fluidity, a bit of fun and also searching out some great vineyards, not limited to the Barossa. So, I go back to the US to make wine there every year and I’ve also started getting some Pinot and Chardonnay from the Adelaide Hills too. I’m creating a bit of a monster with regards to logistics, but I really enjoy expanding my horizons. I love the winemaking process, so the joy comes from doing what I feel like doing, when I want to do it.”

We believe JC is a super-gifted and naturally talented winemaker. In fact, JC’s wines are in a league of their own (for the price). They are insanely good, and we implore you to try them…

To tempt you further, we have some super special prices on the new releases. 

Offer will end Monday 8th November

If you haven't read our introduction "In conversation with JC" then take five minutes and acquaint yourself with the man behind these spectacular wines.

 

Newest Releases

JC's Own Angaston Foothills Grenache 2019

Was £31.50 per bottle
NOW £27.75

Was £144.10 per case of 6 IB
NOW £125.37

96+ Points - Stuart McCloskey “Produced from old vine Barossa Grenache vineyards (circa 150 years of age) which is quite the story. The bouquet is a real beauty, reserved and you must work a little to unravel the complexity which is locked away. Black raspberry liqueur but not in a heavy, sweet sense – more to demonstrate the concentration and depth. There’s lots of sweet spice which provides an exotic feel, a lovely marriage against the savoury herby character. Minerals are at play (imagine how deep those roots go down) with violet and graphite too. The palate feel is graceful and the fruit flows in willowy ribbons. The tannins provide the gentlest hug and merely offer a supporting role to the fruit, which very much matches the bouquet. Perhaps more mineral-led. The sweetness of the fruit (courtesy of ancient vines and thoughtful winemaking) contrasts beautifully with the spicy lift. Wonderfully fresh and I love the long white pepper finish. Despite being unfined and unfiltered – this is polished. I love the shape and mouthfeel, everything weaves magically. Decant for 1-2 hours. Drink now to 2026 (a few more years wouldn’t hurt). Served using Zalto Bordeaux glassware.” Tasted 29.10.21

JC: Old vine Barossa grenache vineyards are a rare treat. Walking amongst the old bush vines 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 special site - no way josé. 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 unfined 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.

 
 

JC's Own Ferine Grenache 2020

Was £22.95 per bottle
NOW £19.95

Was £101.35 per case of 6 IB
NOW £86.37 

94 Points - Stuart McCloskey “Fun, super-enjoyable and pitched perfectly, would be my summary (and I believe best served on the ‘cooler’ side). The bouquet is filled with soused cherry, raspberry, cola and sweet fragrant spice. The palate is ripe and juicy, the acidity feels brisk which I love against the backdrop of sour cherry. There’s a sweet and sour, edging towards a Campari feel (and in a good way) to all the fruit along with a ‘crunch’ which intrigues. Far from heavy; bright and brisk being the best descriptive words. Very enjoyable. Drink now to 2025. Served using Zalto Bordeaux glassware.” Tasted 29.10.21

JC: 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.

 
 

JC's Own Greenock Shiraz 2019

Was £39.95 per bottle
NOW £35.50

Was £186.35 per case of 6 IB
NOW £164.12

97 – 98 Points - Stuart McCloskey “Oh, I do like this – very much… This shows JC’s work perfectly. Respect the power, but delivery with elegance – amen to that. The tannins are wonderfully resolved. In all honesty, I skipped sniffing and dived straight in – sorry! The fruit exudes minerals, the clarity is impressive. There’s a sweet-spice-laced character to the damson and boysenberry. Violets too. Reflect for a minute or two and I am left with a summary of pastille fruits, lavender, violet and spice cake which our Mothers and Grandmothers would make. This is concentrated but in a pared back sense, wonderfully pure, sensual with tannins that flow in ribbons of silk. Masterful work and undoubtedly a brilliant wine. This is a keeper and should spend 5-8 years in the cellar to achieve maximum satisfaction. Decanted for 3-4 hours. Served using Zalto Bordeaux glassware.” Tasted 29.10.21

JC: I cut my winemaking teeth in the heavy red soils of the north west of the Barossa, where Greenock is the jewel of the crown in my opinion. 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 svelte 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 world and a true connection to my beginnings in making wine.

 

JC's Own Rock: It GSM 2019

Was £30.50 per bottle
NOW £27.75

Was £139.10 per case of 6 IB
NOW £125.37

96 Points - Stuart McCloskey “The bouquet is a tad reductive and needs time to develop. Once sufficiently aerated, wild strawberry, raspberry and wild hedgerow fruits mingle with spice, cinnamon, a whiff of cardamom, liquorice and dried herbs. The palate is fresh and medium-bodied. The fruits feels ripe, fresh and juicy (I love the anise quality, but you know that’s my thing) nothing is overworked. It feels modern and respectful. I prefer this to many Torbreck GSM releases. Everything feels cool and natural, the long kick of spicy dried mint is great – green olive after a few minutes. Perfectly balanced, as you would expect. Excellent, in a word. Drink now to 2025 and decant for an hour or two. Served using Zalto Bordeaux glassware.”

JC: 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.

 
 

JC's Own Freestyler 2020

Was £22.95 per bottle
NOW £20.50

96++ Points - Stuart McCloskey “By far one of my favourite annual releases, as I am fascinated by the wacky blend (Old Vine Chenin Blanc and Crouchen, Angaston; Sauvignon Blanc, Adelaide Hills; Chardonnay, Krondorf; Pinot Gris, Adelaide Hills) and the textural feel too, the wine provides glass after glass of uncompromised satisfaction. The grapes are lovingly hand harvested, foot treaded and left on stalks and skins for 24 hours. JC ages the wine on the lees for 11 months and bottles unfined and unfiltered, hence a little cloudiness. Bring everything together and you are presented with a textural beauty which will gain complexity over the coming 3-5 years, but there is no harm in drinking this wine now as it’s so irresistible. I adore texture and I love wines that do not conform – The caveat being that I am not a fan of daft / wacky wines which are created to disrupt. More often than not, they are produced for social media and rarely succeed. For me, JC is a brilliant winemaker with his natural skill for white wines being his ultimate gift. This man can produce bloody amazing wines which are thrilling, sensuous and just outright delicious. The nose is a riot – I actually find myself unable to put the glass down. There’s a touch of oxidation (perfectly acceptable) along with a savoury mélange of hay, wild grass, a milky chalkiness, perhaps a little bruised apple and sweet spice. The palate feel gets my juices flowing – waxy and grippy - my cheeks puckering a little. Savoury, with that fresh grassy character. This is stunningly explosive on the palate. A riot of… Actually, I am struggling to be succinct as there is so much going on. In short, and following a very long tasting note, this is simply a must have. It’s a joy and will be the only wine to serve in the garden this year. Drink now to 2025. Served using Zalto Universal glassware.”

 
 

Buy the new releases in this special pack

JC's Own New Vintage Releases Case - 5 Pack

£131.35 per case

Save £16.40

1 x JC's Own Greenock Shiraz 2019
1 x JC's Own Angaston Foothills Grenache 2019
1 x JC's Own Ferine Grenache 2020
1 x JC's Own Freestyler 2020
1 x JC's Own Rock: It GSM 2019

 

Bestsellers

 

JC's Own Morialta Vineyard Pinot Noir
Adelaide Hills 2019

Was £27.50 per bottle
NOW £23.95

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.”

 
 

JC's Own Sierra Nevada Foothills Chardonnay 2018

Was £27.50 per bottle
NOW £23.95

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.”

Customer review “Always excited to try a new JC’s wine and this didn’t let the side down.  A beautiful glass of wine - subtlety (for a chard!), freshness and balance.  Really enjoyed with a stack of Ottolenghi dishes and it seemed to be right at home.  What did the bouquet remind me of?  Well, as a kid I found the smell of (unleaded!) petrol sweet and incredibly attractive,  This wine took me back to walking into our shed in the summer and the warm, welcoming smell of the mower.  I’m sure you wanted to know that!”

Last bottles of Jaysen’s previous releases…

 

JC's Own Ferine Grenache 2018

£21.50 per bottle

Last 3 bottles

 

JC's Own Bluebird Grenache 2019

£21.50 per bottle

Last 7 bottles

 

JC's Own Greenock Shiraz 2018

£36.50 per bottle

Last 9 bottles

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.”

 

JC's Own Ferine Grenache 2019

£21.50 per bottle

Last 17 bottles

 

JC's Own Wermut 2015

£17.95 per bottle

Last 25 bottles

Customer Review “Vermouth is for sloshing into cocktails right?  That was until I discovered JC's. Take a Zalto Universal; drop in a slice of lemon and a chunky ice cube; pour in a good slug of this; boom - aperitif perfection.”

 
 

JC's Own Greenock Shiraz 2017

£36.50 per bottle

Last 19 bottles

JC's Own Angaston Foothills Grenache 2018

£28.95 per bottle

Last 34 bottles

 

JC's Own Rock: It GSM 2018

£28.95 per bottle

Last 22 bottles

 
 
 

It’s week two of our new feature, where we share the results from our in-house tastings. 

This week so far we have re-opened a few old favourites and unearthed a previously ignored gem. We’ve also tried two new, high scoring Chardonnays from one of our favourite Margaret River producers, Domaine Naturaliste.

Oakridge Wines LVS Willowlake Vineyard
Chardonnay 2017

 £24.95 per bottle

97 Points - Stuart McCloskey “The bouquet is a dream of cool climate heaven – Stone fruits, grapefruit, a little struck match enveloped in a briny hug. White pepper comes through with more aeration as does ripe peach and mandarin (I suggest decanting for 30 minutes and serve at garage temperature). Sensational aromatics. The palate begins with chewy, pithy grapefruit, flint, chalk, quince, stone fruits, sea spray, with some spice too – sweet spice. The acidity cuts through the palate with laser like precision. I love how the wine uncoils at a pace all of its own. Equally, I respect its individuality. Precise, fine, very memorable and difficult to find fault at this price level. Drinking wonderfully now however, I would love to see another five-or-so years bottle age. Served using Zalto Burgundy glassware.”

 

Domaine Naturaliste 2020 Purus & Artus 
Pre-Arrival Offer

 

Bruce has kindly airfreighted his new, flagship Chardonnay duo, which received rave reviews from James Halliday.

The 2020 Purus (not produced since 2014) is a translation of pristine flavours, textures and the climate of southern Margaret River Chardonnay into wine, which has caught the attention of everyone – James Halliday has rated the 2020 vintage 98 points, making it one of the highest-scoring Chardonnays in Australia this year. Moreover, pound-for-pound, Purus is comfortably half the price of its peers and the reason why, 1. It’s sold-out at most domestic offerings and 2. We only received a tiny allocation of 120 bottles, but we are grateful nonetheless… The 2020 Artus received 97-points however, and if I am being perfectly truthful, Mr Halliday’s tasting note lacks a tasting note! Anyhow, who am I to argue with the Godfather of Aussie wines…

I thoroughly enjoyed sampling them side-by-side, both wines being distinctly different and showcasing the Margaret River in a glorious light. Stylistically, I edge towards the Artus (the best vintage to date) as I welcome the fleshy and weighty mouthfeel which I miss from many Western Australian wines. Purus is exactly what Bruce set out to achieve – pristine, pure and with no place to hide. Brave winemaking indeed and an exceptional wine.

Domaine Naturaliste Purus Chardonnay 2020

 97 - 98 Points – Stuart McCloskey “Markedly mineral - the purity is astonishing. Some may find this level almost searing however, scents of flower blossom and citrus along with a hefty splash of sea spray permeate, with a little aeration. Already complex, but it’s a baby and does require at least five-years in a cellar before attacking. The palate is distinctly saline and pared back. ‘Pristine’ being a great choice to describe its presence on one’s palate. I would certainly include this in the style which many Margaret River producers and Aussie consumers love. It’s certainly intriguing and does require your absolute attention. I love the minerality - wet limestone works wonders with the soft chalkiness, which in turn dampens the zip and zing of fresh acidity. The balance is perfect; unified without a question of doubt. This is brimming with energy and will cellar for at least a decade. A wonderful expression of modern winemaking and terroir which the Margaret River has in abundance. Outstanding as well as intriguing – I cannot wait to resample in a few years. Decant, do not overchill and served using Zalto Burgundy glassware.”

98 Points James Halliday "Dijon clones 76 and 95 hand-picked and whole bunch-pressed, the juice settled clear before wild fermentation in French barriques (40% new), mlf prevented. The wine is riveting with its incisive flavours of grapefruit, pear and Granny Smith apple, sparkling acidity another vector. Drink to 2030."

Domaine Naturaliste Artus Chardonnay 2020

97+ - 98 Points - Stuart McCloskey “Richer in style compared to the Purus however, it’s very much crafted in a ‘savoury’ style; very grown-up and feels evolved in terms of territory complexity, which and given its age, is a rather daft thing to write. Taste it and you will understand my gist… The bouquet is a touch reductive, a little struck match - but that’s okay with me. Toast, wheat which has been left overnight in milk and cashew work in harmony with subtle stone fruits. This feels very grown-up… I must applaud Bruce as few Margaret River producers release their Chardonnays with such a difference – it is not forced. In fact, it feels wonderfully natural. The palate feel is generous but not exaggerated. I love the phenolic texture which is a huge plus for me. This is only the beginning as the years ahead will reveal the layers of flavour and complexity. Bravo to Bruce - this is so, so individual.  Kudos, it’s bloody brilliant.  Drink from 2023 to 2030. Served using Zalto Burgundy glassware.”

97 Points, James Halliday "Whole bunch-pressed, fermented and matured in French oak (40% new) for 10 months. Cloudy juice ex whole bunch pre ferment, mlf, and the gingin clone all help create a wine of stellar complexity and length. drink to 2029."

 

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Champagne Andre Roger
Grande Reserve Grand Cru NV

£30.50 per bottle

97+ Points - Stuart McCloskey “There’s a lovely depth to the bouquet which opens beautifully to crisp orchard fruit, lemon zest, toast, baked apple, wild honey, and a cornucopia of spring flowers. As anticipated from Grand Cru fruit, the palate feel is highly textural, broad and multidimensional. It sparkles on the palate with a core of crisp, orchard fruits. The acidity races across one’s palate which works miracles with the rich, honeyed creaminess. Salinity, acidity and minerality drive the wine and provide wonderful tension and a juiciness which I love. Chalk on the super-long finish. A Champagne which surpasses itself and a wine which will be drinking beautifully for the next 7-10 years. Do not overchill and keep it away from flutes. Try Zalto’s Universal glassware as we did (great result).”

Leeuwin Art Series Cabernet Sauvignon 2017

£45.95 per bottle
or £432.75 per case of 12 In Bond

 97+ - 98+ Points - Stuart McCloskey “It’s one of those bouquets which pins you to the spot and doesn’t let you go. This is beautiful and immediately appealing with mineral-rich fruit (laden with Crème de cassis, blackberry, violet) and cooling graphite. I would love to see how the aromatics develop in my glass however, I keep drinking it!  This is far from heavy but medium-bodied with wonderfully svelte tannins. I love the cedar infusion which and along with the acidity, provides freshness, a little textural grip and pitch perfect balance. But it’s the extraordinary sense of harmony that will be the hook for many. The length is fantastic (spiced fruit) and mineral driven. Mercurial and I believe will be a dream with a further 5-years in the cellar, which is where my case is heading. Decanted for two hours and served using Zalto Bordeaux glassware.”

97 Points - Erin Larkin, James Halliday "Wow. Silky smooth aromas of red berries, grey minerality (granite, graphite, etc) and breaths of oceans air whispered about. The palate is exactly as the nose promises, elegant and refined. Length of flavour is where this really kicks into gear, extending seamlessly across the palate, lingering and swirling in its profile. Beautiful, classical cabernet from a cool vintage. What a pleasure this is."

97 Points - Huon Hooke, The Real Review "Brilliantly deep, brooding red/purple colour. The bouquet is fresh and vibrant, with loads of cassis, violet and blackberry varietal fruit, expertly infused with cedary oak notes. The wine is very intense and powerful, full-bodied and well structured, the cassis flavours rocketing through on the very extended finish and aftertaste. A majestic cabernet."

Gemtree Wines Small Batch Cabernet Sauvignon 2019

£30.95 per bottle
or £141.35 per case of 6 In Bond

97++ Points - Stuart McCloskey  “Quite frankly, how long have you got? This tasting note could take all day… A serious, savoury bouquet which offers a profusion of bay leaf, clove, graphite, dusty sweet spices, lavender and violet – the fruit feels wild / hedgerow-esque juxtaposed by a glorious perfume from iris and blackberry pastille – quite unmistakable when you focus. Lots of minerality too. Seriously brooding. The palate is nothing short of a joy and flows with intense, sweet, ripe fruit seasoned with oak and a lovely saltiness, not detected last year. The acidity is bright, the tannins grippy which add both texture and framework. This is a sumptuous wine which will offer at least a decade of wonderful drinking. I love the white pepper finish (you’ll need to wait a minute or two). Yet again, this is a deeply impressive wine and one of my favourite Cabernet Sauvignons in our collection… Drink now to 2035. Served using Zalto Bordeaux glassware.” Sampled 27.10.2021.

 

Sarah Crowe continues to take Yarra Yering to new heights, which was highlighted with the ultimate accolade from Halliday; ‘Winery of the Year’ for 2022. Jane Faulkner and Tyson Selzer summarised Yarra Yering’s outstanding win by saying, “Sarah is an intuitive winemaker with a profound insight into the contribution of each component in a blend. Her acute attention to the finer details has elevated the beautiful fruit from this site, through less reliance on new oak, and the resulting wine is immaculately preserved under screw caps."