A picture is worth a
Before I share the data, I must start by thanking Wine Australia for their excellent resources, which have helped me to appreciate the bigger picture relating to wine exports to the United Kingdom. This solidifies our own position, but it does leave a question concerning the future and more importantly, the diversity of Australian wine in the UK and, indeed, at The Vinorium which is by far my greatest concern. The team and I have collated five-years’ of Vinorium sales statistics and compared our findings against Wine Australia’s figures, what you told us when you kindly submitted your responses to our survey (May 2021) and our current collection of Aussie wine producers whom we exclusively represent in the UK.
In the year ended September 2021, Australian wine exports to the UK increased by 7% in value to $460 million and decreased by 2% in volume to 251 million litres (28 million 9-litre case equivalents). Average value of wine increased by 9% to $1.83 per litre, the highest average value since mid-2011. The significant increase in exports to the UK over the past 18 months has led to the UK market solidifying its place as Australia’s number one destination by volume, and overtaking mainland China as the number one destination by value. Australian wine accounts for a large share of the UK off-trade wine market and has benefitted from a surge in off-trade purchases during the COVID-19 pandemic.
However, the UK imports circa 88% bulk wine which is of low value and quality. Of course, there is a home for all wines and their respective values however, I believe much work needs to be done to change the imbalance. The Vinorium remains the UK’s leading Australian wine importer and these figures certainly bolster our deserved status.
Vinorium Headline Figures & Facts
Covering the period January 2017 to 31 December 2020
Australian wines only
Total bottles sold: 400,692.
The average sales value exceeds £30.00 per bottle which firmly places The Vinorium into the ‘super premium’ bracket.
Sales by Varietal
Shiraz (including Shiraz blends) – 264,921 bottles
(72.60% of red wine sold and 66.12% of all wine sold)
Cabernet Sauvignon – 39,493 bottles
(10.82% of red wine sold and 9.85% of all wine sold)
Grenache – 26,969 bottles
(7.39% of red wine sold and 6.73% of all wine sold)
Pinot Noir – 15,009 bottles
(4.11% of red wine sold and 3.74% of all wine sold)
Bordeaux Blend – 13,521 bottles
(3.71% of red wine sold and 3.37% of all wine sold)
Merlot – 2,153 bottles
(0.59% of red wine sold and 0.54% of all wine sold)
Other – 2,844 bottles
(0.78% of red wine sold and 0.71% of all wine sold)
Total: 364,910 bottles
Chardonnay – 24,277 bottles
(67.85% of white wine sold and 6.06% of all wine sold)
Sauvignon Blanc – 5,248 bottles
(14.67% of white wine sold and 1.31% of all wine sold)
Riesling – 2,108 bottles
(5.89% of white wine sold and 0.53% of all wine sold)
Roussanne – 1,211 bottles
(3.38% of white wine sold and 0.30% of all wine sold)
Viognier – 1,147 bottles
(3.21% of white wine sold and 0.29% of all wine sold)
Semillon – 592 bottles
(1.65% of white wine sold and 0.15% of all wine sold)
Other – 1,199 bottles
(3.35% of white wine sold and 0.30% of all wine sold)
Total: 35,782 bottles
The pattern / leader board for 2021 continues
*1 January to 31 October
Shiraz (49.38% of red wine sold)
Cabernet Sauvignon (18.28% of red wine sold)
Pinot Noir (13.13% of red wine sold)
Grenache (12.36% of red wine sold)
Bordeaux Blend (5.97% of red wine sold)
Merlot (0.11% of red wine)
Other (0.77% of red wine sold)
Chardonnay (70.80% of white wine sold)
Sauvignon Blanc (10.63% of white wine sold)
Riesling (4.62% of white wine sold)
Roussanne (4.24% of white wine sold)
Semillon (2.37% of white wine sold)
Viognier (0.90% of white wine sold)
Other (6.44% of white wine sold)
How do our figures compare to that of Wine Australia?
$33.3 million (£18.2 million) of wine was exported from 1 January to 31 October 2021. *This figure is specific to all wines (all varietals and blends) exported under glass and with a price range of $10.00 and over. This represents a 38.2% increase over the same period 2020 ($24.1 million). Shiraz and Shiraz blends make up a whopping $13.8 million (circa £7.540 million) of the total value. This figure is also a sizeable increase over the 2020 figures ($9.7 million).
On average, The Vinorium buys and sells circa £2 million ($3.6 million) of Shiraz and Shiraz blends each year, thus taking a substantial stake in Australia’s overall export market to the UK. Based on our 2020 performance figures versus that from Wine Australia, The Vinorium purchased and sold circa 37% of the total Shiraz and Shiraz blends exported to the UK, specific to wines bottled under glass and with a price range of $10.00 and over.
On the one hand, this is a strong position to be in and more reason why The Vinorium should be viewed as a critical player in the UK market – not only from a point of sales and trends, but from a logistics position (both domestically and internationally), where the Australian fine wine consumer sector is heading towards and what needs to happen to balance the imbalance. After all, we have the data and the sales to support our position.
However, I am concerned about the immediate future, the impact on The Vinorium and the wider Australian wine sector which we represent. In short, and despite your consumer survey response, one grape variety dominates, which alarms me, and has done for quite some time. We found all your responses fascinating and my team and I thank you for your time – several of you have questioned why we have not communicated the findings. Purposely, we waited as we were keen to see if your requests / wishes / comments etc. would physically transfer into reality. Moreover, we wanted to add context and a greater level of facts versus wishes and possible fiction.
This is not a question regarding volume of sales and the support of our customers, new and old. Specifically, this relates to the many comments relating to offering wines away from Shiraz. Alternative styles, whether that be wines with low or no sulphur, orange / natural wines, organic and biodynamic offerings, unusual blends and Mediterranean varietals. Interestingly, and with thanks to the global shipping crisis, we have only introduced one, new agency this year, and that was Little Reddie.
Last year, we introduced, nine new agencies which all covered your wishes and well ahead of our May survey. One, specifically, not only provides an orange wine, low sulphur, an eclectic mix of wines / varietals – essentially, those seeking a strong, but natural point of difference has failed, and failed miserably. These are the numbers – we imported 1932 bottles and sold 708 equating to a 37% sell through rate, which is very poor given these wines have been on our shelves for exactly 12 months.
Many of you requested more Rieslings, more white Rhône varietals and Semillon however, we have sold a paltry 1,372 bottles since the beginning of the year. In total, white wine sales to the close of October 2021 comes in at 11,308 of which 8,000 bottles are credited to Chardonnay. I have looked at Wine Australia’s figures for the 12-months ending September 2021 and the figures (albeit larger) share the same pattern of lacklustre interest. The same criteria applies – bottled under glass and price range from $10.00 and over.
Imported figures to the UK
Riesling: $688k (£375,000)
Roussanne: $8.5k (£4,644)
Marsanne: $25.4k (£13,880)
Marsanne blends: $28.9k (£15,800)
Chardonnay: $4m (£2.185 million)
Semillon & blends: $800k (£437,158)
We currently represent 38-wine producers and a wonderful collection of 250+ different labels. Our stock position is substantial – circa £2.5 million (retail value) which is huge for a company of our size. Here is the truth behind the facts and figures – we have identified over 100+ wines which we could delist tomorrow, with little affect to our sales. In fact, this would be financially beneficial as the cost of funding these wines is substantial. Furthermore, and if trends continue, which and given that our statistics are formed from five-years of quality data, we have identified that we should stop working with over fifty percent of our current agency list, which is a profound prospect when you pause for a moment.
Shiraz is not the enemy, far from it. Winemaking techniques and styles have changed the Shiraz landscape, producing world-class wines which deserve the attention of you, the consumer.
Australia is home to the world’s oldest continuously productive Shiraz vines, with some of the oldest plantings believed to date back to 1843. The history surrounding these ancient ungrafted, pre-phylloxera vines astounds – true, national treasures. We love the close interconnectional links from producers of old, to vine cuttings taken from historic sites, to where they are today. The story of Lamella being a perfect case in point. Under the guardianship of one of our producers, Hutton Vale Farm, Dan Standish (another producer who we are immensely proud to represent) produces one of Australia’s most collected wines from vine cuttings taken from Henschke’s Mount Edelstone Vineyard (circa 1962). It’s a wonderful story and one in a long list of many coming out of Australia. The same can be said for ancient Cabernet Sauvignon and Grenache plantings which Australia offers in abundance.
Conversely, Aussie Shiraz has a bad reputation and is often scoffed at by many of the old guard. This reputation is unjust and often born from boorish snobs who lack the wine intelligence to explore varietal differences outside of their classic homelands. The same level of contempt is thrown towards Pinot Noir, Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay – those with an intelligent approach to wine simply rock back on their chairs, take a deep breath,and roll their eyes whilst muttering scathing remarks under their breath. However, and what does not help is Australia’s bulk wine exports which the UK market laps up. We welcomed $74.5 million worth during the 12-months ended September 2021, of which $65 million came from wines under $2.49 – the average value for the year being $1.36 per litre. It is worth mentioning here that the cost of UK duty (for a still bottle of red wine and below 15% alcohol) currently stands at £2.23 ex VAT.
For the moment, let’s brush this aside and focus on the biggest dilemma, and that is 1) The Vinorium feeds off diversity, both in style and by varietal. 2) I wish to be a safe home for hardworking non-Shiraz wine producers who care for their vines as much as they do their families – this is clearly in the balance and deeply saddening. 3) Snobs aside – some customers simply do not like the style that Shiraz offers, which I understand and fully respect. Can we afford to list ten, twenty, thirty non-Shiraz producing producers (say that quickly, and after a bottle!). In short, no, and that’s the crux of our position and clearly, we are not alone. Would a fresh group of new wine customers help? Interestingly, we receive over 30% of new business each day – these customers clearly favour what you and the rest of the UK does, and that’s Shiraz, and that’s okay. We could always stop selling Shiraz or drastically limit our collection however, I would need to make much of my team redundant and revert back to a limping one-man band – of course, this is not going to happen…
4) Do we honestly want to operate a wine company principally based on Shiraz sales? Outside of wine, selling one product or a limited number of products is the norm. Perhaps I am putting my own interests first as I wish to offer the full, and wonderful spectrum of wines that Australia has to offer. Additionally, I want to educate and provide wines which customers ordinarily would not consider purchasing. Perhaps I should hang-up my Aussie wine evangelist hat and concede defeat, to the lone varietal which has overthrown my ambition.
…But, at the very heart of me is a fighter – I always have been and conceding does not come easy to me. So, what are we to do?
A bloody huge shop in central London would certainly help. Face-to-face education whilst sampling is the best way versus e-communications which statistically have a much lower success rate. However, I am not a fan of visiting London, lots of people in one place and the thought of leaving the county border brings on rapid hyperventilation! Online tastings generally fail – great for a little lockdown PR however, and speaking from a commercial perspective, they yield little if anything. Wine Australia (UK office) have hosted some great tastings showcasing diversity and including a few wines from several of our producers. These tastings are for trade or press members only – they are well attended however, and save for one wine, failed to provide one commercial sale or lead.
We are taking a two-pronged attack – one is immediate, and one is long-term. We take possession of our new website week commencing 10 January with a launch soon after. We are taking our full portfolio to the independent wine trade (some 900 wine shops being located throughout the UK). The trade will have their own access and have the rare opportunity to order 24/7, and without the need to wait days for a wine rep to respond to their request for availability or pricing. They will receive the same service as you – no minimal order, stock is shown available in real-time, online checkout and next day delivery service, of course. Fundamentally, I hope they will take a different route and opt for our non-conventional collection as a great wine shop loves a wine with a point of difference. Of course, this will not happen overnight, and our relationships will take time to build… Equally, and given the current import statistics, this route may also lead to an influx of Shiraz sales!
Next week, I will unveil more plans and imagery for our new HQ, which and if all goes to plan, the build will commence next Spring. If Mother Nature is kind to us, we should be residents by early Summer 2023, and that’s when the real hard work starts as I plan to host a large series of press and consumer tastings in our magnificent new home. If the pandemic is globally under control, we will be inviting many of our producers over for a weeks’ vacation. Instead of traipsing the streets or wine shows – they will be housed in a local, country hotel and subjected to a grand lunch or dinner each day (care of our in-house chef and produce). Along with our producers, we will host the press by day and private clients by night, as many of our wines deservedly require more attention. I will reveal the full plans next week.
I have a few alternative plans, but I shall keep them a secret for now…
As ever, keep safe and well and please do not stop supporting Aussie Shiraz – why should you? Perhaps, once in a while, take a leap of faith and try one of my non-Shiraz recommendations. You never know – you could be converted. Alternatively, you know where to find me if it doesn’t go to plan
The Vinorium have a long-standing relationship with the Gallo team as we source our large collection of Orin Swift wines from these USA giants. This relationship is what led to us receiving a ‘first dibs’ offer on a wine, which and if we’re being truthful, has sat on our tasting table for God knows how long…
Now, and in true Vinorium style, we’ll be completely honest and confess that we were highly sceptical about this wine (hence we did not rush to sample it!). Why? The price seemed too good to be true… Clearly a lesson learnt.
Outside of Bordeaux we have found very little favour with Merlot, (as the predominant grape variety) of course there are exceptions. Wines of this price point tend to be very average but it’s always great to be proven wrong and we doff our cap to a very delicious bottle of Merlot. In fact, this currently stands as our Best Value Wine of The Year 2021, and we do not see it being toppled.
We demolished the bottle and the subsequent 2019 sample bottle – not a drop of either was left.
Speed up, and get to the point, I hear you say…
Decanter World Wine Awards awarded 97 points which was the highest score given to any wine from the USA (regardless of price) and it also gained one of only six platinum medals given to a US wine.
Almost sold out - just 72 bottles remain
Please ignore any DPD notifications relating to your Frei Brothers orders. All wine will be shipped the week of 6th December and despatch notifications will be sent.
Decanter World Wine Awards 2021
Platinum Medal Winner
Frei Brothers Sonoma Reserve Merlot 2018
97 Points – Decanter “Nicely perfumed with layers of red floral elements and a spectrum of just-ripe red fruits. Big, succulent black fruit on the velvety soft and mouthcoating palate, with a wonderful textural element. Very inviting and charming.”
Varietal content : 90% Merlot, 9% Petite Sirah, 1% Zinfandel
£17.95 per bottle
Save £13.20 when you buy a case of 12
£16.85 per bottle when you buy 12 bottles, including free delivery
Also available to buy under bond for £128.00 per case of 12
Delivery scheduled for the week of 6th December
We have purchased all available UK stocks, but there's not much! We have split the stock between duty paid by the bottle and under bond by the case.
Learn from our mistake and don't delay ordering.
Last chance for our pre-arrival Special Offer
Ends Monday 22nd November at noon
**Available for delivery from 20th December 2021**
Please select the IB option when purchasing Two Hands wines if you wish to store your wines under bond and we will arrange the relevant storage charges or an under bond transfer once the wines are landed.
Please select the DP option if you would like your Two Hands order to be delivered once they have landed and we will deliver your Two Hands order free of charge, directly from London City Bond.
For ease of administration, please can we also ask that you checkout separately for any pre-arrival Two Hands wines.
2009 Two Hands
Coach House Block Cabernet Sauvignon
Possibly the most sought after wine from the Single Vineyard collection
The Coach House vineyard was the first estate vineyard purchased by Two Hands back in 2002. Located just outside the small village of Greenock in the rolling Western Ranges of the Barossa Valley, this is arguably some of the best viticultural land in the Barossa. The vineyard was first planted in the early to mid-1990s.. The wine produced from this site is always rich in fruit showing shades of blackberry with tannins that are regal and firm. Historically this wine was labelled under its own estate bottling called Branson Coach House Block. In 2006, this became part of the Two Hands portfolio with its very own Single Vineyard wine.
Only 2 x six packs remain
£265.95 per case of 6 In Bond
2014 Two Hands
Mystic Block Cabernet Sauvignon
First vintage and never repeated. Truly a one-off.
96 Points - Campbell Mattinson (Wine Companion) "Drastically rich and, to boot, beautifully well polished. This is a cracking wine. Earth, bitumen, blackcurrant, eucalypt and dusty clove notes smoke their way through a seriously concentrated palate. Tannin uncurls slowly but surely. Everything here is in a good place."
2020 Two Hands
Hell Freezes Over Chardonnay
Hell Freezes Over is a Chardonnay from single vineyard in Ashton, Adelaide Hills. “This is what happens when an old mate rings you out of the blue and tells you he owns one of the best vineyards in the Adelaide Hills, and would I take a look – 30 year old vines of the Gin Gin clone on a steep westerly slope based on sandy loam over sandstone at the superior Ashton end of Piccadilly Valley. After years of saying ‘We’ll make a Chardonnay when Hell Freezes Over’… well here you have it and it’s delicious” Michael Twelftree
£142.50 per case of 6 in bond
2015 Two Hands
Yacca Block Shiraz
Perched high up on the hillside of the Eden Valley, this beautifully positioned vineyard is surrounded by ancient Yaccas. Yacca Block sits at the top of Menglers Hill and is a prime example of the role sub-regionality plays in serious winemaking, with this vineyard only a 25 minutes drive from the western ranges of the Barossa Valley. The soil here is a mix of both quartz and ironstone and the vineyard’s high altitude allows for slow ripening that leads to a very soft and elegant shiraz.
Only 6 x six packs remain
£199.95 per case of 6 in bond
2012 Two Hands
Windmill Block Shiraz
The inaugural vintage
Only 1 x six pack remains
£270.00 per case of 6 in bond
2019 Two Hands
Wanderlust Cabernet Sauvignon
Crafted exclusively for the cellar door. The first time this wine has ever been exported. You're the guinea pigs!
£147.00 per case of 6 in bond
Culture, Connection and Country
During our recent ramblings across the wild plains of Instagram, we stumbled across the most intriguing post from Gemtree Wines about one of their many immersive and informative events held on their winery lands: Tirkandi! We loved the concept so much that we felt we needed to write about it and pay reverence to the incredible work done by Gemtree in their relentless endeavour for quality and ethical processes, products and eco-tourism.
Aboriginal culture is the oldest living culture in the world, stretching back over 60,000 years and preceding the likes of the Acropolis, the pyramids and Stonehenge, by far. What’s more incredible, is that this culture can still be experienced today, with Aboriginal people across Australia keen to share their ancient and unique history and ways of life. There are so many great ways available to start listening and learning and at Gemtree they aspire to do just this through their wonderful immersive experience of Tirkandi!
Gemtree Wines is family owned and operated, based in the McLaren Vale of South Australia and headed up by Mike and Melissa Brown. They are dedicated to producing biodynamic and organic wines using regenerative farming methods in the vineyards resulting in fruits of exceptional quality and wines of elegance and purity.
For Mike and Melissa, it’s not just about what they do, but how they do it. Whether that’s deciding how to farm their vineyards, craft their wine or create ecotourism experiences at their Tasting Room in McLaren Vale, their approach stems from a deep respect for the land. Gemtree’s organic and biodynamic credentials have roots as deep as their decades-old vines because they firmly believe in their responsibility to improve the land for future generations.
The Gemtree Tirkandi tour celebrates indigenous culture and the unique history of the local area. A walk that rewards the wondering, set amongst towering ancient gumtrees, the immersive experience creates a circle of conversation. The recent history of the winery’s commitment to conservation has seen the Eco Trail, once a barren piece of land, become a biodiverse wetland and haven for native birds, plants, and animals.
Ever tasted saltbush, muntries or pepper berries? These indigenous and unique flavours can be sampled in the tasting room following on from the Tirkandi guided trail with plates of native bush food and flights of Gemtree’s own biodynamic and organic wine selection. With over 50,000 native plants, there’s no better place to provide a pairing which emits a sense of place and country.
During Tirkandi, Karl Winda Telfer- an award-winning artist, designer and creative cultural producer with ancestral tribal bloodline links to the Mullawirraburka Yerta - his Grandfather’s country, the Mullawirra Meyunna (dry forest people) - winds a small group through the Gemtree Eco Trail native reserve while sharing stories of the koala, the emu, the gum trees and the sheoaks. These are stories that have been taught generation after generation, explaining their deep ancient connections to the land, plants, and animals. He is joined by biodiversity conservationist Dana Miles who speaks to the importance of the native species endemic to Australian soils and Melissa, as Gemtree’s chief viticulturist, shows how and why her farming decisions today, protect the land for the future.
“It’s an honour for us to partner with Senior Cultural Custodian Karl for Tirkandi. Tirkandi is a celebration of Aboriginal culture, connection and country unique to Australia. It’s an experience that expands our understanding of terroir and sense of place. It’s an opportunity to explore the distinctive cultural landscape of our corner of the world.” – Melissa
In honour of the Tirkandi celebrations at Gemtree we thought we would re-taste several of Gemtree’s wines and offer the latest collection at specially discounted prices for the weekend.
Gemtree Wines Small Batch Marsanne 2020
£24.50 per bottle
Also available under bond
£109.12 per case of 6
97 Points - Stuart McCloskey “To one of my favourite varietals, Marsanne which I love in most guises. The bouquet develops with some aeration with mineral accented orchard fruit, poached pear, a little zip and lift from lemon, the faintest suggestion of fennel seed / anise and a resonating finish of minerals. Suave, calming, gentile, thoughtful and reflective best describes the wine’s presence. The mineral and floral notes repeat across the palate – wonderful definition and impressively focused. So natural and unforced – a real charmer. The textural element is incredibly soothing – back to that gossamer sheen of silk which gently drapes across the entire palate. Dreamy in an understated sense and one of those wines which deserves time to itself. The combination of depth and finesse is admirable. Drink now to? That’s a good question and one I am unsure of. This wine will age with the most graceful of arcs however, I am not sure at what point it will hit its peak. Perhaps 2025 / 2026. Let’s see… Do not overchill. Serve using Zalto universal glassware or Bordeaux glassware - the latter being a better choice.” Sampled 22 July and 8 November 2021.
“A beautifully complex, structured and savoury white. Definitely improved between the first and second glass, perhaps as we’d had a chance to unpick the different elements. This is an excellent wine, regardless. But truly stands alone with quality v price when compared to some old world examples.”
“We drink a lot of Rhône and Marsanne is such a joy. Living with a red wine drinker, negotiation around a white can be complex - Marsanne greases the wheels. I opened Gemtree’s with two classic Northern Rhône classics and this seriously held its own with its sweet, herbal drink ability. Agree that this example is punching well above its weight vs. old world. Another great addition to Gemtree’s fab line up.”
Gemtree Wines Bloodstone Shiraz 2019
£15.95 per bottle
Also available under bond
£66.40 per case of 6
96 Points - Stuart McCloskey “How daft of me to sample the most junior wine after the magnificence that is Subterra. Another way of looking at it is – is there breadth and depth to Gemtree’s entire portfolio? In short, the answer is affirmative as this is a joyous beauty strutting with confidence, despite its respectable price tag. The nose offers some warmth from clove and sweet spices. Brooding and actually proving more adult than I expected. The palate is washed with sweet, ripe fruit. Interestingly, this wine lacks the ‘coolness’ of its big brothers, but it misses nothing for it. This is a really joyous slap and tickle of delicious quaffable Shiraz (I have omitted using our Aussie friends’ description, ‘smash-able’). It’s drenched with plums, blueberries, blackberries, mint, vanilla, coconut, kirsch and olive all wrapped in a gentle hug of tannin. The length is super-impressive. In fact (and a little secret) I have a few wines at 25 quid which are not as good! Decant for a few hours and serve using Zalto Bordeaux glassware (this will make all the difference). Drink now to 2025+.”
If an alien landed and wanted to try wine I would dig out a Gemtree. I am still working through the range but in my mind they get back to the basics of preserving grape juice for enjoyable drinking. Out of the two ‘foundation’ reds this wowed the most at this stage. Penetrating fruit smartly wrapped up in a gentle and moreish softness that made this an exceptional and cheery end to the weekend. Big respect to GT for basic lightweight bottles and simple labels showing an eco-friendly confidence in the purpose of these wines.
Gemtree Wines Ernest Allan Shiraz 2019
£28.95 per bottle
Also available under bond
£131.35 per case of 6
97-98 Points - Stuart McCloskey "This has been opened for 48 hours (although not decanted) and sampled after the Obsidian. The bouquet pulls you in as the fruit is incredibly deep and brooding – extraordinary concentration. In short, the palate is broad and loaded with ripe, black fruits – the tannins are suede like. The overall feel is impeccable and moreish and a very different animal compared to the Obsidian. In long, this straddles potency and finesse, with a masterful touch – quite a skill. There’s a date-like richness with minerality and florality, providing lift. This flows with charisma and ribbons of silk, those seeking textural paradise need to look no further. I will add a caveat – the tannins do provide a framework which keep building, but I believe this is very much needed to balance the plushness. Yet again, this is driven by purity and nothing dominates. There’s a stony minerality which is fascinating and works a treat alongside the dark, inky fruit. A magnificent wine and one which will keep delivering for a decade or more… Served using Zalto Bordeaux glassware." Sampled July 2021.
Gemtree Wines Small Batch Cabernet Sauvignon 2019
£28.50 per bottle
Also available under bond
£129.10 per case of 6
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
Gemtree Wines April's Dance Sparkling NV
£25.95 per bottle
Sampled 22 July 2021. Stuart McCloskey “Team Gemtree have nailed the description for the bouquet - Nashi pear, apple and fresh citrus aromas unfurl with such grace and poise. I also detect delicate floral notes that linger. Composed from Savagnin and Chardonnay and plucked at the perfect instant of ripeness (I stole this from Mike’s description!). The wine shows outstanding clarity – I enjoy the mineral-tinged character. The palate follows a similar vein with gentle citrus and orchard fruit characters (the faintest appearance of honeysuckle) unfolding at a gentle pace. The fruit is underpinned by chalky minerals, which give the wine an impression of smoothness / chalky creaminess if that makes sense. Spritz and vitality is evident, but I am left with a sense of calmness rather than verve. I especially like the way the wine evolves in the glass. Lovely clarity and balance - I can see myself enjoying the entire bottle in the garden along with a dozen Scottish langoustines. Drink now to 2023. Served using Zalto Universal glassware.”
“This is superb. Great freshness and fruit without the overbearing sweetness than many sparkling wines have. Very, very moorish; a great way to start a BBQ!”
Gemtree Wines Obsidian Shiraz 2019
£38.50 per bottle
Also available under bond
£179.10 per case of 6
98 Points - Stuart McCloskey “Pull up a chair as this is going to be a long one! What an incredible bouquet, exquisite in fact. Occasionally, you get the opportunity to sit down with a wine which provides a story – similar to a novel that you can’t put down. You race through the chapters as you wish to reach the climax, and when you do, you are saddened by having rushed the experience. Here is no different, but I would suggest spending the entire afternoon and evening with this one. The bouquet is utterly thrilling and lucid – the fruit is deep, sweet and contrasts between mulberry and damson, leading to blueberry compote and then moving to red varietals. Sweet spices exude with cinnamon and anise. The floral lift from lavender and violets is beautiful and the white pepper seasons the bouquet perfectly. Even at this tender age, the palate is a textural dream, there’s grip from the tannin and bountiful amounts of acidity – plushness too. Very Margaret River in this aspect. It’s incredibly succulent with a fresh cool feel to the fruit, the brightness is mouth-watering from start to finish. This is ultra-pure, vibrant, perfectly poised and full of detail, almost classic-like, but the depth and intensity of the fruit removes that label. Mulberry, boysenberry and ripe raspberry flow along with a cooling mineral feel. The tussle between power and finesse is a gentle one but fascinating nonetheless – incredibly skilful winemaking and viticulture. Without being too obvious, the biodynamic influence is centre stage and shows the world how amazing natural wines can be. As I stated at the beginning, get comfortable, decant for a few hours, drink this on the ‘cooler’ side of room temperature and bask in a beautiful wine. Profoundly beautiful and a story in its own right… Drink now to 2035. Served using Zalto Bordeaux glassware.” Sampled July 2021.
“My favourite Gemtree so far. Rich, and fantastic straight out of the bottle. Proper Shiraz. Goes down so easily. Yummy!!!”
Gemtree Wines Small Batch Grenache 2019
£28.50 per bottle
Also available under bond
£129.10 per case of 6
97-98 Points - Stuart McCloskey “Unquestionably, the sexiest Grenache bouquet which I have come across for a very long time. The profusion of aromatics is heady, heavenly with a wonderous exotic twist of juniper, mint, clove, raspberry and sweet spice – spiced blood orange with a little more aeration. The floral bouquet is something rather special but difficult to pin down at this stage. As a whole, the bouquet invites you in like a temptress – it’s impossible not to be seduced! The palate is equally alluring with ribbons of sweet, soft fruit which cascade effortlessly and naturally. The tannins are willowy and the acidity juicy. The flavour profile is akin to the bouquet with a little salinity and savouriness in the background. Hands down my favourite Grenache and I am utterly stupid for not buying more – what on earth was I thinking? This is so charming, sexy and really doesn’t require more than an hour in a decanter. It will cellar, but from a point of intrigue alone as this beauty is ripe and ready now. Served using Zalto Bordeaux glassware. Drink now to 2025+”
Gemtree Wines Small Batch Oak Barrel Ferment
(SBO) Grenache 2020
£28.50 per bottle
Also available under bond
£129.10 per case of 6
96-97 Points - Stuart McCloskey “The same tasting conditions apply (as the Gemtree Grenache ‘Egg’) which provides clear definition between the two wines (if such a thing exists?). The bouquet provides many of the same characters - Sweet, spiced aromatics intermixed with peony, liquorice, orange peel and candied lavender / violet pastille however, this one has been turned-up a notch or two. More sweetness and concentration. The palate has received the same ‘dial-up’ as the fruit is sweeter and concentrated. I do like this (very much) – this is super sexy. The blood orange sorbet-like freshness is a dream. Ripe cherry, pomegranate and flowers galore – candied rose if such a thing should exist? Try it and you will understand my reference. The tannins are equally dreamy – woven with silk. Vibrant and alive. Truly brilliant. Drink now but will age for years to come – Again, I prefer the youthful exuberance. Served using Zalto Bordeaux glassware.” Sampled 22 July 2021.
Gemtree Wines Small Batch Concrete Egg Ferment
(SBE) Grenache 2020
£28.50 per bottle
96-97 Points - Stuart McCloskey “I have always enjoyed wines which have been fermented and aged in concrete – there’s a cooling and calming transference of energy which changes with the external atmosphere. The purity of fruit is more expressive without the loss of texture – unadulterated and there’s nowhere to hide. We served the wine directly from the bottle which has been resting in our temperature-controlled sample room – it’s cool and around 14 degrees which brings out the purity of the fruit. I do not recommend serving this warm (sounds dreadful). The bouquet opens with a strong sense of sweet, spiced aromatics intermixed with peony, liquorice, orange peel and candied lavender / violet pastille – Burgundy meets Grenache… Wonderfully fragrant. The palate is super-clean, fresh and packed with ripe red-blue-berry fruits dusted with sweet spices. Blood orange and a ripe citrus peel is a masterful touch.. The tannins grip gently and provide, along with a judicious line of acidity, a juiciness – thirst quenching. I love the natural polish, the floral character and spicy finish. The clarity is electrifying. Shaped by nature and bottled by people who understand and live amongst the same. Terrific wine. Brilliant, in fact. Drink now but it will age for years to come – I prefer the youthful exuberance. Served using Zalto Bordeaux glassware.” Sampled 22 July 2021.
“A rather delicious wine. Vibrant, fresh, and juicy. Has a gorgeous raspberry tint and strawberry mouth feel. Delicate, balanced, and substantial in the mouth. Quite sophisticated.”
• Last orders will leave our HQ on Wednesday 22nd December at 3pm
• HQ collection available: Cut off for collection is
12 noon on Thursday 23rd December
• Our HQ closes at 2pm Thursday 23rd December.
We reopen at 8.30am on Tuesday 4th January
• All orders placed after 3pm on Wednesday 22nd December
(unless you are collecting) will be despatched on Tuesday 4th January 2022