A Taste of
The Vinorium

Issue: 26 / Sunday 27 May, 2018

Bordeaux En Primeur Highlight

In short, this week has been dire, with the entire campaign at serious risk of collapsing. 2017 is a vintage of quality but not of the same standard as the excellent 2015 / 2016 vintages, a fact agreed by all critics, negociants and wine merchants. As such, it does beggar belief why several Châteaux would release their wines at a higher price (Monbousquest) or the same release price (Château Kirwan paltry discount of 70 cents) as the previous two vintages.

Clearly, many Châteaux have little interest in selling their wines this year. I do hope the major negociants refuse their unsold allocations as this is the only way to teach them a hard but valuable lesson. Vinexpo Hong Kong kicks off next week therefore, we do not expect to see any major releases.

To buck the stupidity, the great Pauillac property, Chateau Lynch Bages made a significant gesture by reducing their very good 2017 price by 22%. This comes Highly Recommended and is the only wine worth considering buying from last week.


2017 Château Lynch Bages @ £442.50 IB per case of six


Our Penfolds Grange Collection Available by the Bottle

Penfolds Grange 2013

100 Points - Lisa Perrotti-Brown (RobertParker.com)

Remember that old Heinz Ketchup “anticipation” ad from the 1970s? The palate of this 2013 Grange does just that. It makes you wait with so much delicious promise being drip fed into the mouth at first—and then it bursts forth and delivers! This vintage is a blend of 96% Shiraz and 4% Cabernet Sauvignon, coming from the Barossa Valley, McLaren Vale, Coonawarra and Magill Estate. Very deep inky purple-black colored, the 2013 Grange has a profoundly scented nose of crème de cassis, preserved black plums, blueberry pie and licorice over nuances of baker’s chocolate, smoky bacon and fragrant earth, plus exotic spice wafts of cumin seed, cardamom, fenugreek and star anise. Unfurling and slowly building in the medium to full-bodied mouth with wonderful grace and depth, it reveals an incredible array of ripe black fruit, spice, meat and earth-inspired flavors, with a rock-solid frame to support this beauty (it should easily cellar for 40+ years!), while previously latent flavors emerge fully on the epically long finish, culminating in that ultimate Grange experience. Oh, yes.

£345.00 per bottle


Penfolds Grange 2012

99 Points - Lisa Perrotti-Brown (RobertParker.com)

Deep garnet-purple in color, the 2012 Grange sports an earthy/meaty nose with notes of tree bark, dusty earth, underbrush and chargrill over a core of dried mulberries and Christmas cake, plus hints of pepper and baking spices. Rich, medium to full-bodied and seductive, it has spicy layers and a long meaty/savory finish.

£350.00 per bottle


Penfolds Grange 2010

99 Points - Lisa Perrotti-Brown (RobertParker.com)

The 2010 Grange is a 4% Cabernet Sauvignon and 96% Shiraz blend made from Barossa Valley, Clare Valley, Adelaide Hills, McLaren Vale and Magill Estate fruit that was aged 17 months in 100% new American oak hogsheads. Very deep purple-black in color, this is classic Grange - amongst the finest produced - replete with fresh, vibrant and youthful black fruit notes showing some blueberry aromas and accents of camphor, anise and the slightest floral hint plus a whiff of oak in the background to lend a cedar-laced lift to this textbook Shiraz nose. Medium to full-bodied in the mouth, it is very taut and finely constructed showing typically firm, grainy, uniform tannins, great concentration and wonderful persistence on the finish. If I have any very slight complaint of this near perfect wine it is that it seems a little too clinical and appears to speak less of the land and the heart of South Australia and more of the very skilled winemaking than did the Grange from the magical 2008 vintage.

£325.00 per bottle


Penfolds Grange 2009

97 Points - Lisa Perrotti-Brown (RobertParker.com)

The 2009 Grange Shiraz is a comprised of 84% Barossa, 8% McLaren, and a little Clare Valley and a little Magill fruit with a small 2% of Cabernet Sauvignon in the blend. At this youthful stage, this deep garnet-purple colored wine puts forward a vivid expression of blackberry preserve aromas amid underlying cassis, black cherry, spice box, char-grilled meat and chocolate box notes. Surprisingly medium to full-bodied (it smells much fuller!) with taut flavors that are very closed in the mouth, it has firm, chewy tannins to structure through the long and earthy finish. 406 cases imported to the US. Drink it 2018 to 2035+.

£325.00 per bottle


Penfolds Grange 2008

100 Points - Lisa Perrotti-Brown (RobertParker.com)

Very deep garnet-purple in color the 2008 Grange reveals a truly decadent nose with tons of spices, fruit cake and black & blue fruit compote notes along with nuances of chocolate and potpourri. The full and rich, multi-layered palate has a little oak still showing, it is going through a little bit of a structural stand-out stage, but it doesn't detract on the long and complex finish. It still needs a good few years to develop, though this very opulent, expressive Grange shows the very best of this vintage and the vineyards it hails from.

£395.00 per bottle


Penfolds Grange 2006 Magnum

98+ Points - Lisa Perrotti-Brown (erobertparker.com)

Made from fruit coming predominantly from the Barossa Valley this year (97%) and containing 2% Cabernet Sauvignon, the 2006 Grange has been added to my list of favorite recent vintages. Deep garnet-purple colored, it’s still a little youthfully mute, offering notes of warm cherries, black currants, anise, coffee and toast with underlying hints of soy, yeast extract, black olives and Indian spices. Tight-knit and solidly structured on the medium to full bodied palate, the concentrated fruit is densely coiled around the firm grainy tannins and very crisp acidity at this stage, but promises something very special in the years to come. It finishes very long, complex and layered with the cedar poking though the fruit purity. Patience is required for this vintage; it should begin opening out around 2016 and drink to 2030+. 

£750.00 per bottle


Penfolds Grange 2002

98+ Points - Lisa Perrotti-Brown (RobertParker.com)

Deep garnet with a touch of brick, the 2002 Grange is locked in a time capsule, like many of the 2002s, yielding a very youthful nose of red currants and red cherries, kirsch and violets with some lovely exotic spices in the background. Quite perfumed and pretty in terms of fruit expression in the mouth, the structure is rock solid, with a lively backbone cutting through the muscular fruit and great purity to the finish. If you're looking for that real "Grange" experience, best to keep cellaring it another 5-10+ years.

£300.00 per bottle


Penfolds Grange 1998

98+ Points - Lisa Perrotti-Brown (RobertParker.com)

A wine that flirts with perfection, and should rival the 1986 as one of the legendary Granges produced, the 1998 has one of the highest alcohol contents (nearly 15%) as well as one of the highest percentages of Shiraz in the blend (97%). Its stunning purple color is accompanied by exceptionally sweet aromas of blackberry liqueur intermixed with barbecue spices, an endearing, smoky earthiness, pepper, roasted meats, and coffee. Huge, massive, unctuously textured, and extraordinarily youthful, this impressive wine is a candidate for perfection. It should continue to evolve over the next three decades. 

£267.00 per bottle


Penfolds Grange 1995

97 Points - Wine Spectator

A massive wine, majestic in its proportions, combining power and grace in equal measure. Flavors of plum, blackberry, chocolate and pepper, with hints of cedar, licorice and mint, swirl through the exotic finish. Tannins swarm but don't overwhelm the finish, which echoes all day and night.

£255.00 per bottle


James Suckling posted a great article on Wednesday titled “The Surprise of 2015 in Napa”. He found four perfect 100-point Napa reds from 2015 including Colgin Cellars Syrah Napa Valley IX Estate, Realm Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley Oakville To Kalon Vineyard, the stratospherically expensive Screaming Eagle Napa Valley. Most importantly, Continuum Napa Valley Sage Mountain Vineyard, which we purchased directly from Tim Mondavi earlier this year also received 100 points which is a great result off the back of Antonio Galloni's 98+.

Tim expressed to James “Personally, I have been around longer than just about anyone else in this business.” “I think my 2015 is the best wine we ever made. Everything evolved into this great wine.” Which I agree with following my vertical tasting with him last year.

The majority of our stock has sold with the added flurry of activity from UK brokers attempting to take all our stocks. We have put the brakes on and set aside our remaining ten cases for our private customers. We also offer the 100 pointer by the bottle.

100 Points - James Suckling

This is sensational with blackberries, blueberries and mineral. Extremely floral, too. Full-bodied but so seamless and refined with polished tannins that just melts into the wine. Goes on for minutes. A subtle and glorious wine that will be a new classic for Napa Valley. An emotional red that touches your soul. Energy. 46% cabernet sauvignon, 31% cabernet franc, 17% petit verdot, and 6% merlot. Very approachable now but better in 2022.


News Snippet

D'arenberg's $15m 'cube' wins 2018
good design award


The d’Arenberg Cube is glass-encased steel and concrete structure that sits five storeys high, in the middle of a vineyard, with its design inspired somewhat by a Rubix cube, with rotated “modules” that give the illusion of floating above the ground floor entrance.

Opened in December 2017, it houses public and private tasting rooms, several bars, a restaurant and an art gallery, with the cellar door open seven days a week. A restaurant (which includes a 3D food ‘printer’ as part of its equipment) serves lunch from Thursday to Sunday (there is also the longstanding Verandah restaurant at the winery). The restaurant is run by a South African husband-and-wife team, Brendan Wessels and Lindsay Dürr.

A rooftop bar provides panoramic views over McLaren Vale, the Wilunga Hills and the Gulf of St Vincent.

The project was praised at The Good Design Awards, held at Sydney Opera house yesterday on what was its 60th year, receiving the Architectural Design category.

“This installation has captured attention and driven a massive increase in visitor numbers. The Jury applauds this innovative project,” the jury commented.

The annual Good Design Awards is Australia’s most prestigious Awards for design and innovation, and dates back to 1958, with this being its 60th year. Winners of the Good Design Awards will be showcased to the general public during Vivid Sydney, the world’s biggest festival of light, music and ideas in Sydney from 25-27 May 2018 at the Overseas Passenger Terminal, Circular Quay.

The Extraordinary Wines from
Domaine de la Janasse

“Domaine de la Janasse is one of the great winemaking estates of not only France, but of the world”

“A killer wine that's going to flirt with perfection on release”

“Year in and year out, the wines, both reds and whites, are among the finest one will find ... anywhere!”

“The 2016s are deeper, richer and truly profound”

Robert Parker.com / Jeb Dunnuck

A note from Jeb Dunnuck on the quality of the 2016 vintage

 (Jeb is the most experienced Rhone critic for the past twenty years)

“The 2016s are on another level. The vintage started with a mild spring resulting in a large even crop set. This was followed by a dry, hot summer featuring numerous days over 95° Fahrenheit and less than 3 inches of total precipitation. However, while hot and dry, the driving characteristic of this vintage was the incredibly cool nights which helped maintain acidity in the grapes as well as resulted in terrific aromatics and freshness in the final wines. Harvest occurred from the middle of September through the early part of October. The large crop, even, hot daytime temperatures, little precipitation and cool night resulted in a beautiful vintage that comes closest in style to 1990, or even a hypothetical mix of 2010 and 2007. The wines are beautifully concentrated and structured – on par with 2010 – yet have a more open, sexy, voluptuous style due to the larger yields. The tannin quality is beautiful, the wines have notable freshness and purity, their alcohol is integrated, and quality is incredibly high across all the regions. In fact, the biggest surprise was the consistency of the vintage, which is even more homogenous than 2015. This is truly an extraordinary vintage”.


2016 Chateauneuf-du-Pape Cuvee Chaupin 
(100% Grenache)

Bottle Price @ £64.00

4  x @ £280.00 IB per case of six (OWC)

97-100 Points Jeb Dunnuck “Made with close to 50% stems (the highest in a while) and brought up in foudre and demi-muids (20% new), the 2016 Châteauneuf-du-Pape Cuvée Chaupin sports deep ruby/purple color as well as sensational notes of kirsch liqueur, black raspberries, crushed flowers, crushed rocks, and incense. Just a huge, rich, unctuous wine, it offers everything you could want from Grenache and is certainly going to challenge the 2007 and 2010 as the greatest expression of this terroir to date”


2016 Chateauneuf-du-Pape Tradition

Bottle Price @ £37.95 

6 x Cases @ £160.00 IB per case of six (OCC)

94-96 Points Jeb Dunnuck “Incorporating 10% Syrah and 15% Mourvédre, the Grenache-dominated 2016 Châteauneuf-du-Pape (there's a touch of Cinsault) sports a saturated ruby/purple color. It shows hints of new oak in its black raspberries, blackberry, cured meats, crushed violets and spice-driven aromatics. This gives way to a rich, incredibly concentrated base cuvée that could easily be mistaken for the Vieille Vignes from another good year. Polished, concentrated and young,
it's going to need bottle age”


Hardys Museum Release

It’s such a pleasure to work with Hardys. They’re a great bunch and their passion oozes affectionately, which we love. Additionally, we are being utterly spoilt with special parcels, wines unavailable anywhere in the market and tastings of wines yet to be released. What a fabulous relationship, which and as customers of The Vinorium, you benefit from enormously. Below, is a parcel of wine shipped from Hardys cellars. The wines are outstanding and their incredibly generous pricing makes them all highly attractive. We have listed our nearest worldwide competitor’s pricing which highlights Hardys generosity.


Eileen Hardy Shiraz 2010

97 Points – James Halliday

100% McLaren Vale from 106yo vines in Upper Tintara and from McLaren Flat. Open-fermented with pneumatic pigeage/punch down, 3 days cold soak, 14 days on skins. The vivid, deep crimson-purple hue tells of an intense mix of blackberry and blackcurrant flavours, with breathtaking texture, the ultimate fist in an iron glove. A 25-year life span is extremely conservative.

17 Points – Jancis Robinson

Very warm and well balanced with some tight-knit elements. Still very young but clearly a lot of thought has gone into this. Sweet buttery nose.

£39.95 per bottle

Nearest worldwide competitors price £66.88 per bottle


Eileen Hardy Shiraz 2012

97 Points – James Halliday

Shiraz from 100+yo vines, wild yeast open-fermented, matured in 70% new French oak. It proclaims its extreme class from the first whiff of blackberry, plum and licorice, but equally quickly disavows what might be characterised as a McLaren Vale cliche: overt dark chocolate. Instead spicy, savoury, beautifully structured tannins (and quality oak) add both textural and flavour complexity - all this with perfect line, length and balance.

£39.95 per bottle

Nearest worldwide competitors price £48.16 per bottle


Eileen Hardy Shiraz 2013

98 Points – James Halliday

The texture of this wine makes an instantaneous and exquisite impression, making the moderate alcohol seem even lower than it is. This is an old money aristocrat, elegantly unfurling layer after layer of red and black fruits, licorice and spice on the prodigiously long palate. The best Eileen since '71.

£39.95 per bottle


Thomas Hardy Cabernet Sauvignon 2012

97 Points – James Halliday

70% Coonawarra, 27% Margaret River and 3% McLaren Vale, a blend Roger Warren would have been proud of. Margaret River contributes cassis, herbs and spices; Coonawarra an elusive touch of mint, olives and acidity; McLaren Vale a hint of dark chocolate. The cumulative effect is a wine with a fragrant, cedary bouquet, the tannins superfine and mouthwatering. All up, shoulders up convincingly to Bordeaux.

£39.95 per bottle

Nearest worldwide competitors price £62.09 per bottle


Thomas Hardy Cabernet Sauvignon 2013

97 Points – James Halliday

Margaret River, Coonawarra. Full red-purple; a potent, powerful cabernet, the focus on blackcurrant fruit, complexity provided by bay leaf/black olive/mint nuances; French oak is where is should be (on the shoulder of the fruit) and the tannins, while firm, hold no terrors.

£39.95 per bottle

Nearest worldwide competitors price £44.51 per bottle


Wine of the Week


Chanin Wines Sanford & Benedict
Chardonnay 2014

99 points - Stuart McCloskey

Almost a repeat of my introduction from the 2013 vintage - “In short, this is one of the most astonishing Chardonnays which I have enjoyed for many years”,  however the 2014 just eclipses the stunning 2013. A difficult wine to describe as superlatives do little, if any justice. Incredibly graceful, almost a weightless elegance, feminine, magnificently detailed bouquet which expresses minerality like no other US chardonnay. The palate is developing all the time with a core of minerality. Presently, this is a wine that is all about finesse and elegance, as flavours will develop with a little more bottle age. Utterly magnificent! (Please decant).

£40.50 per bottle


Coming next week: