Issue: 31 / Friday 6 July, 2018
Welcome to our six-month edition, which unusually comes to you on a Friday evening. If you, like us, are wondering where the past six months have gone, today may be a good time to stop, reflect and then set yourself up for the second half of the year. We’ve spent the week reviewing performances since my Directors Report was published in January (the companies performance for our last financial year which included our Top 10 Power List by Producer, Sales by Country and Power List by Grape Variety – It’s worth a read if you missed it).
As one would expect, Australia dominates our 2018 statistics with 95% of all Vinorium sales attributed to this great wine growing country. Pleasingly, New Zealand and USA sales are rising significantly whereas European wine sales are decreasing. This is a strategy which we set out in January and have kept to, as The Vinorium has gained a global reputation for our New World listings, which in turn attracts some of the best winemakers who wish to be exclusively represented (in the UK) by us.
We are keeping the hard facts under wraps until my 2018 Directors Report which will be published in January 2019 however, I will say that red wine sales still dominate as does the mighty Shiraz / Syrah grape. I purposely set out this year to introduce and work with more Chardonnay and Pinot Noir producers and pleasingly sales have increased considerably, but Shiraz still rules with 45,000+ bottles selling in the first six months.
Many of our mature wines have sold-out but are being replaced by an exciting line up of exclusivities, including the sensational Standish Wine Company, Nocturne, Glaetzer-Dixon, Dr Edge and Yarra Yering to name a few. The majority of these wines are being loaded out of Adelaide or Melbourne and set sail on the 20 July. The one frustration is the long lead-time from placing our order to its physical arrival, which comfortably takes three months, but that’s the nature of the beast I'm afraid.
Recently, I waxed lyrical about Nick Glaetzer’s Tassie wines, which are truly exceptional, and we are super-thrilled to represent Nick’s wines in the UK. Joe Czerwinski, wine writer / critic for RobertParker.com released his Victoria & Tasmania tasting report (29 June) and is of the same opinion. Joe wrote “Highlights in this report include the wines of Glaetzer-Dixon from Tasmania, whose limited-production, late-release 2014s under the La Judith moniker are nothing short of stupendous. With only around 250 bottles each of Pinot Noir and Shiraz produced, they’re the ultimate Tassie unicorns. Just thinking about them, I’m regretting returning the second bottles to the American importer. Hey, I am human”.
Joe awarded 97 points for La Judith Shiraz “It's a tour de force of Tasmanian Shiraz, albeit one produced in micro quantities of 232 bottles” and 96 points for the La Judith Pinot Noir “With only 251 bottles produced, this tasting note will be largely academic, but the 2014 La Judith Pinot Noir is as profound an Australian Pinot Noir as I've tasted”. Personally, I have tasted many great Aussie / Tassie Pinot Noir’s, La Judith is in a class of its own. Generally speaking, all of Nick’s wines are something special and are coming to the UK shortly. Our first dibs offer is being released to those on the list the week of 16 June.
One of our Margaret River exclusivities, Watershed has been sold to Vasse Felix. The acquisition will increase Vasse Felix’s vineyard holdings to more than 300 ha across four different sites in the Margaret River-Cowaramup region, and consequently increase its wine production by 10%. “The fruit has proven to be excellent, particularly the Chardonnay, so for us the opportunity to expand this asset is really exciting” says Vasse Felix chief executive Paul Holmes a Court. We love Watershed wines and their list of accolades is nothing short of extraordinary. Take a look for yourself. It’s reported that Watershed will continue to operate independently, selling its wine under its own label, which is great news for you and me however, how long this will remain will be interesting to follow. I envisage production levels for their iconic Vasse Felix Heytesbury Chardonnay will increase at the cost of Watershed’s Awakening Single Block Chardonnay, which will be a loss to us all. However, Negociant UK, exclusive agent for Vasse Felix (amongst others) is currently being wound down. Perhaps, a new agency up for grabs?
It is early days, but we are in discussions with an Australian powerhouse regarding developing premium wines to a super-premium level of quality. Our aim is to identify specific blocks of fruit which consistently produce outstanding levels. For me, these deserve special recognition and should be vinified and bottled separately. Careful oak management and types of barrels are being considered as is the use of concrete eggs. These wines will be offered exclusively by The Vinorium. More to come around October time…
We are currently developing and improving the customer website experience. Within weeks, we will be launching a new account area for you all to utilise which includes your online (only) order history. We have capped historical website orders to November 2014. A smart function allows customers to re-purchase the same wine by a simple click of a button (negating the need to search our stock list). We have created your very own tasting note library which can be shared with our global customer base and finally, a careful list of recommendations, which and to make clear, is not to replace Magda or myself.
SALE: We are huge stock holders and we have an enormous amount en-route which simply leads to a physical problem of space (or lack thereof) as both our HQ warehouses are tightly packed. For this reason, we have identified key wines which we are offering at a rather sharp price to put it mildly. Old favourites, such as Henry’s Drive, Oliver’s Taranga and Kaesler come with highly attractive price tags, some as low as £6.50 which is the price you will be paying for supermarket tutt and not something as deliciously mature as our wines. There is one caveat for many of the super-duper priced wines – The minimum order is six bottles however, this seems insignificant on a six-pack of wine inclusive of duty and VAT. Free delivery for all orders exceeding £100.00 remains too.
To finish, we are all off to the IWC Wine Merchant awards next Tuesday evening as we have been shortlisted for two awards; Specialist Australian Wine Merchant and Small Independent Merchant of the Year. Please, fingers crossed for us all…
Have a great weekend, enjoy filling your boots and good luck to England on Saturday afternoon, which I fear clashes with our Saturday opening.
L'Avion Roussanne 2015
97 Points - Stuart McCloskey
The 2015 L’Avion (90% Roussanne 10% Chardonnay) is substantial, unctuous and as I have previously commented, I would love to place this alongside Château Beaucastel Roussanne Vieilles Vignes & Sine Qua Non in a blind tasting. Wine destined for L’Avion must go through three cuts. First, only the two older blocks of Roussanne are eligible for L’Avion followed by the best, evenly “Rousse” or sun-tanned clusters which are selected. Finally, only their favourite barrels for L’Avion make it to bottling on the label, which translates to a tiny production of a mere 500 cases. The result being a mesmerising kaleidoscope of honeysuckle, acacia flower, tangerine peel all supported by a fine thread of minerals and piquant acidity. It is simply amazing that a wine of this full-bodied richness can retain perfect definition and refinement. Needless to say, this is a stunning wine and a rare glimpse of something very, very special at this price level.
£44.50 per bottle
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Penfolds poised to produce wine in California’s famous Napa Valley & Champagne.
Treasury Wine Estates deputy chief marketing officer Angus Lilley said Penfolds winemakers will craft wines consistent with the label’s characteristics and flavour profile using the company’s existing facilities in the Napa Valley, beginning from the California 2018 harvest later this year. Their Champagne is expected to be released next year in time for the brand’s 175th anniversary, as part of a new range called Penfolds
“It obviously signals an intent for us to support Penfolds and to invest in Penfolds moving forward,” Lilley said. “This is the first foray into potentially looking at other regions.”
Chief winemaker Peter Gago said the renowned Penfolds “house style” didn’t preclude the company making wine outside Australia.
“Our Penfolds house style certainly allows and embraces the freedom to explore premium viticultural regions across the world,” he said. “We are striving to add outstanding Californian-sourced wines to our offering by fiscal 2022.”
There has been some connection in the past: cuttings from Penfolds’ Kalimna vineyard in the Barossa Valley were taken to Camatta Hill’s vineyards in California in the 1990s. In September, Penfolds will release a more exotic creation: a fortified wine made from Barossa shiraz and infused with the Chinese alcoholic spirt baijiu – one of the most widely drunk liquors in the world. “We are really excited to see how consumers throughout the world and in China respond,” Lilley said of the baiju creation.
Penfolds has also added a 28-year-old single batch brandy to its range. Placed in barrels in 1990, their Brandy has been slowly maturing for nearly three decades. Finished with a splash of Grandfather Tawny…
Lalique 55 Years Old 70cl Single Malt
• £65,500 IB per bottle
• Decanter number: 346/420
Contact me if you would like to treat yourself
Our sale comes to a close
9:00 am - Monday 23 July
Or browse by a specific producer
We are open tomorrow,
Saturday 7 July
10am - 4pm