Issue: 27 / Sunday 3 June, 2018
A Day at Lords
Written by Stuart McCloskey
“I can't really say I'm batting badly. I'm not batting long enough to be batting badly”
I confess, I am not a fan of cricket and following my first Test Match at Lords (England Vs Pakistan) my view remains firm. But, what a beautiful ground and I do wish my lawn looked as perfect. You have to appreciate the Pavilion architecturally offset against the futuristic Media Centre, which would make a fabulous home, if nestled amongst the mountains. A beautiful and historic environment to spend the day. Such a shame England forgot to turn-up!
Magda and I were joined by a dozen of our clients for a ten o'clock breakfast although, I am not entirely sure of the reasoning behind the embargo of alcohol being served before eleven, this is something I am not accustomed to. Tea, coffee and pastries were served as our clients got to know each other a little better. Before I continue, I must mention that we were all guest of Hardys wine who are the Official Wine of England Cricket sponsors. We were joined by their UK fine wine manager Toby and Paul Lapsley, Accolade Wines chief winemaker who flew over from Australia specifically for this occasion. Paul is a great winemaker and oversees their entire global portfolio – Houghton, Grant Burge, Arras and Petaluma to name a few.
Eleven o’clock arrived, and we all huddled into our private box whilst Paul introduced the first wine of many (the running cricket commentary coming through the ceiling speakers is great if you are a fan however, and Lords please take note, blooming annoying when great wine is being poured and introduced). The 2014 Heritage Reserve Bin (HRB) Chardonnay is a multi-regional blend with the fruit sourced from Pemberton, Margaret River and Adelaide Hills however, the quality is excellent, and I feel, as did the rest of the room, punches well above its price bracket. Next, Paul poured and presented the 2008 HRB (Bin D643) which was full of vigour and youthfulness. Perfectly balanced, fresh with a super long finish and thoroughly enjoyed by all… We scuttled off with our glass of wine, a small platter of elevenses which were delicious, and I believe we watched two or three wickets fall in quick succession. Watching the sports cameraman sprinting on to the ground, ensuring he films the walk of shame in full glory must be infuriating. Granted, the English batsman were pitiful however, and if I were in their shoes, I would have taken a hefty swing with my bat ensuring I connected with him and his camera kit!
We all moved onto Hardys premium Chardonnay’s which are world class in my opinion. The 2014 Eileen Chardonnay followed by the superb 2005. The ’14 was expansive, with buttery fruit, underpinned by citrus / lemon oil and toasty oak. Gorgeous and drinking beautifully now but certainly has another five to ten years left in her. The 2005, was simply sublime, a fact shared by the entire room. The palate was silky, graceful and ultimately high-class. Jam-packed with minerals, multi layered and showing little sign of its age.
Our clients were also privy to Riedel’s new glassware range called ‘Performance’, designed to enhance the wine tasting experience. We were officially the first people outside of Riedel to use their new glassware. The new series is the first range from Riedel to have bowls with a light optic impact. The design follows research that it conducted with the aim of improving the organoleptic wine experience. They claim by increasing the inner surface area of the glass it had a positive effect on the perception of the wines bouquet and flavour hence the creation of ‘Performance’. We used their Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Cabernet and Shiraz glasses and personally speaking, thought little of them. Certainly not a patch on Zalto.
We sampled several Eileen Pinot Noir’s with all the fruit being sourced from Tasmania. Their bouquets enthralling with waves of dark fruit, smoke, tell-tale Hardys spices fusing together to produce two effortless and enticing wines. Everyone broke for a one o’clock lunch which was served in our private box whilst watching the under six’s practice their cricket skills. Paul and Toby kept busy, pouring wave after wave of Shiraz from Hardys museum reserves. The standout declared by all was the Eileen 1997 served ‘en-magnum’ which reeked of farmyard (in the positive). The palate was beautifully balanced, very pure, elegant with a seductive quality. Superb and a real treat for everyone.
Sadly, the Cabernet Sauvignon’s disappointed which is a shame as I gave them such a build-up. In my view, these should have been served before the Shiraz as the mature vintages need a little respect and focus. Sensuous nose of leather, farmyard (almost Burgundian) and game were lost after a mini vertical of punchier Shiraz. Each wine was flawless and amongst some of the great Aussie Cabernet Sauvignons however, you will have to take my word for it as the effects of alcohol were taking their toll.
Afternoon tea was swapped for a delicious cheese board which Paul introduced along with the remaining wines of the day; two fortified wines from their old cellar collection. Paul explained the story behind the 1975 which was made by mistake. The Shiraz fruit was destined for Eileen Hardy that year but some ended up being fortified instead. I have never experience a wine quite like it – In some ways you can see the cock-up as it came across as a hybrid. Neither a red wine nor a fortified one. Light on its feet, elegant but something was amiss. Not to my taste I'm afraid. Finally, we received a glass coating 20 year old Rare Muscat, which split opinion. Christmas cake spices and old woody notes drifted-out from my glass. The palate was powerful, with startling viscosity. The layers of flavours are countless, from the finest dark chocolate, caramelized roasted nut to butterscotch and vanilla packed creme pat. This worked a treat with the blue cheese. Some found it a little too overt / sweet but I respectfully disagree.
Six thirty arrived, England were hammered by Pakistan and it was time for home.
A note to all customers' who purchased 2015 Bordeaux En-Primeur’s: All our stock has arrived in the UK. Please allow 2-3 weeks for LCB to land the very large quantity. Once we receive the landing reports, onward delivery / transfers will take place.
Who said a great marriage needs to last more than a few years?
The powerhouse partnership in winemaking between California's Robert Mondavi and Australia's Rosemount Estate was brief, but they produced one memorable wine which has not been available to purchase in the world market, until today. Kirralaa (pronounced KEERA-lah) ‘Indelible Reserve’ Shiraz originates from historic, extremely low-yielding vineyard estates in Victoria. In the Great Western district, these vineyards yield tiny, concentrated Shiraz berries with elegant aromas of raspberry and exotic spices, while the vineyards in the warmer Pyramid Hill district of Bendigo contribute heroic, spicy Shiraz of power and great depth. These superb sites are known for their infertile, decomposed granite soils that contribute silky, seductive tannins, savoury aromatics and smooth, velvety flavours.
Ian Shepherd, the winemaker in charge (who was previously with California’s Seven Peaks winery), worked with Rosemount’s Philip Shaw and Tim Mondavi to ‘nurture the new wines and focus on the details’. They carefully harvested small clusters from prized old vines in small lots to ensure optimum flavour and balance. After crushing, they fermented the must in small, temperature-controlled open-top fermenters. Additionally, a fraction of the wines were fermented in barriques to contribute further complexity. After a week Ian and his team drew off the still fermenting wine, gently pressed it and carefully aged it in small, hand-hewn French oak barriques for 18 months.
After several rigorous selections, only 34 barriques of dark, aromatic nectar were bottled unfiltered.
Our relationship with the Mondavi’s grows as does the recognition we are firmly one of the (if not the No:1) leading Australian specialists in Europe. Subsequently, we are offered exceptional, well cellared parcels unavailable to the world market, which is a privilege. As I type, the team and I are all enjoying (an understatement if I am to be honest) Mondavi’s exceptional 2007 Chardonnay, which also formed part of our recent Aussie purchase. An extraordinary wine, multifaceted, a multidimensional masterpiece which sadly is nearing the end of its life. We have one bottle left which we will save for a special occasion.
Quantities are tiny but both the 2001 and 2002 Kirralaa are superb and will form part of our ‘once in a lifetime’ opportunity to pick up something special, unique and not available from any other wine merchant in the world. The price is more than respectable as we simply wish for you to snap them up and enjoy with our good wishes. We poured the ’01 on Thursday which was showing beautifully and blossomed after time in my glass (I suggest you carefully decant and leave for 30 minutes). Harmonious, refined with thrilling natural balance. Lots of tobacco evolving to forest floor. Just a joy!
2001 Kirralaa Indelible Reserve Shiraz
97 Points Stuart McCloskey “The 2001 Kirralaa showed beautifully and blossomed after time in my glass (I suggest you carefully decant and leave for 30 minutes). Lots of tobacco evolving to forest floor with a tinge of wood smoke on the nose. The palate is medium-bodied with beguiling complexity. The texture is seamless with beautifully sweet tannins. Harmonious, refined with thrilling natural balance. Simply a beautiful wine and a joy to drink now or over the next 2-3 years. Unfortunately, this was made in tiny quantities and has disappeared from the world market. Count yourself lucky if you are able to grab a few bottles of either the '01 or '02”.
£24.95 per bottle
Also available as a 6 pack OWC
2002 Kirralaa Indelible Reserve Shiraz
Central Victoria's cool, mountainous terrain, ancient granite soils and very old, low-yielding vines yielded an exotic Shiraz, that defines its name with deep colour and a long, unforgettable finish. Only 33 barrels (1,675 six bottle cases) were bottled
in November 2003.
£24.95 per bottle
Also available as a 6 pack OWC
Hardys has very kindly allocated 200 cases of their stunning 2015 Eileen Hardy Shiraz ahead of their official world launch. What is more impressive is their kind pricing gesture as the ’15 will be launched around £340.00 IB per case of six, making our Pre-Arrival offer incredibly attractive. This week, the results from Decanter’s 2018 World Wine Awards were released. The 2015 Eileen Shiraz was awarded Platinum and 97 points with the panel describing the wine as “Floral, dark plum, chocolate and coconut nose, the palate has lashings of sweet dark blackberry fruit, lovely well judged oak, very elegant structure and long satisfying finish of chocolate and spice”.
Our sample arrived on Thursday, which we will tackle after a week’s rest – Our tasting note will be posted next Sunday.
The ’15 leaves Australia next week with an estimated arrival date of late
August / early September.
This incredible offer is valid until Monday 2 July.
All remaining stocks will be offered in-line with the world market price.
Buy Now @ £157.50 IB per case of six
2015 Chanin Wines
Sanford & Benedict Pinot Noir
The 2015 Pinot Noir Sanford & Benedict Vineyard is bold and racy, but also shows a good bit of freshness. Dark cherry, plum, lavender, mint, violet and sweet spices are front and center. Pliant and ripe, but with good supporting energy, the 2015 is all about balance.
£52.95 per bottle
2015 Chanin Wines
Los Alamos Chardonnay
Gavin Chanin's 2015 Chardonnay Los Alamos Vineyard captures a striking middle ground that expresses both the richness of the year and the focus that is possible from this site. As always, the flavors are bright and focused, but there is quite a bit of textural depth and richness. This is very nicely done.
£39.95 per bottle
“The late Max Schubert was not a close relation of Steve and Cecilia Schubert, but I am sure he would be impressed with the estate’s Shiraz. Output is tiny, but the quality is truly outstanding, and will repay prolonged cellaring – a feature which Max Schubert sought to achieve when he embarked on the creation of Grange in the early 1950s”
James Halliday — Australia’s foremost wine critic