Issue: 36 / Sunday 19 August, 2018
Historically, July and August are the quietest months for The Vinorium. Oddly, our rosé and white wine sales were modest whereas our red wine sales were bountiful, heaven knows why given the scorching temperatures. Perhaps barbecues offer the answer? Personally, I preferred to keep dipping in and out of the fridge with cooling glasses of white wine particularly after a hard training session on my bike (a chilled glass of white wine is a great thirst quencher (my sort of recovery drink) following a forty miler in thirty degrees!). Pinot Noir has been the occasional escape, and some offered beautiful alfresco drinking after spending a short time in the fridge.
The intense heat has also delayed sampling many, many wines as, and this may come across as being rather precious, which I am far from, but I prefer to sample wines when I am ready. Sampling Barossa Shiraz when I am hot, sticky and a tad agitated is simply going to make my assessment of the wine less objective. I recently read a short report from an expert in clinical psychiatry and behavioural science regarding the effects of heat. In short, it is agreed that hot and especially humid weather is known to increase aggression and violence, as well as a lower general mood. During these times, the specialists advise avoiding making important or life changing decisions, which you may later regret. Wineries and potential suppliers are less sympathetic however, I believe this to be sound advice hence the reason our sample wine fridge is packed tight.
Prior to my summer holiday, we took receipt of a lovely parcel of samples from the US. Rightfully, a few bottles joined me with one particular standout, Talbott’s Sleepy Hollow Vineyards chardonnay which nestles in the Santa Lucia Highlands, close to Monterey Bay. Pleasingly, far less expensive than my other chardonnay companions, namely Flowers Camp Meeting Ridge and Wayfarer’s which were both exquisite, which you would expect for north of one hundred pounds sterling per bottle. Previous bottles of Talbott were a tad clumsy, even old-fashioned but the Sleepy Hollow Vineyards offered a sense of balletic balance which amazed. Needless to say, I sent an email whilst holidaying in the hope to take the entire (albeit small) UK allocation. I await their response and will report back accordingly.
I am a classic Virgo – I am disciplined, I am industrious, efficient and cannot abide mess which is the main reason behind our huge sale. Interestingly, it has little to do with increasing sales as we are enjoying another successful year. We have too many loose bottles, bin ends and half-filled shelves which make a Virgo rather uncomfortable and simply too much wine which cannot be stacked in perfect rows in our two warehouses. Of course, it’s great that all of our customers can pretty much pick-up favourites at a discounted price, which pleases you and keeps my shelves and stock lines in a disciplined order.
This is also the opportunity to de-list full stock lines. In some cases, entire countries will be de-listed once the last bottle leaves our packing and despatching warehouse. The Vinorium is renowned as an Australian specialist and our New Zealand and US portfolio grows in quality monthly. Spain, Italy, Germany, Austria and entire regions of France have found less favour with you all, which poses the following question. Given our strengths and increasing sales in these specialist areas, do we effectively delist the rest of the world (save a few special offers)? This is a big decision for an independent wine merchant and the impact enormous. Note – It is a comfortable, slightly overcast day with temperatures hovering around twenty degrees!
It is unusual for a wine merchant to share their commercial views but I do feel we have a loyal following and perhaps this decision is one we should consider together. My team and I are swaying to a full delist (outside of specialities and Bordeaux En-Primeur being one) however, and before the final decision is made, I would welcome your personal views. Please drop me an email directly.
The preparation of our sale has been a huge task. The sheer numbers of bottles we sit on is quite staggering, which is not helped by the owner constantly searching for new and exciting wines to offer. On the one hand there’s a sadness to see our remaining bottles leave for a new home. Many of our mature Aussie wines will undoubtedly sell-out over the coming days (as I write, some are already on the ‘gone-forever’ list. In fact, we have sold over 1,000 bottles within the first hour). Mature stocks from Australia has firmly placed The Vinorium on the world map, hence the emotional connection but the future is incredibly bright.
We are now listing some of Australia’s truly best winemakers which we cannot wait to share with you. A degree of patience is required as the majority are on the water heading for our shores and a few thousand bottles departed Australia on Friday. We are also in talks with producers you have been enjoying over the years. Mature stocks from Two Hands have been a roaring success and we are currently in talks regarding working together as their exclusive UK agent however, I wonder if you are ready and prepared to pay their latest vintage release prices.
Our sale is a super opportunity for you to pick-up some cracking bargains. There are too many favourites to highlight however, and to point you in the right direction, I would certainly look at the 2015 Eileen Hardy Chardonnay which many of you now respect the sheer quality of this superb wine. £26.80 is an utter bargain as are their museum stocks of 1996 & 1997 Eileen Shiraz Magnums. Stuart Pym is one of Australia’s unsung heroes and is the man behind Vasse Felix, Voyager, Stella Bella / Suckfizzle (offered in the sale) before moving to his own venture, Flowstone. Production across Stuart’s range is tiny with many coming under one hundred cases. His Queen of the Earth Chardonnay and mature Sauvignon Blanc’s are, in my opinion, some of the best produced in Australia.
Henschke wines also join the sale, which was a tough decision as our stocks are very low. It’s impossible for us to re-purchase the vintages which we hold however, they’re all up for grabs. ’01 Keyneton Estate is available (I doubt for long) given the price of £27.95. The iconic Mount Edelstone has come down to £55.95. Those seeking a real Aussie bargain may want to look at the excellent Oliver’s Taranga – We drop as low as £8.25. We are very keen for you to try another one of our Margaret River exclusivities, Watershed. The entire collection receives some healthy discounts with, and perhaps the obvious standout being, the recently awarded 98-point 2016 Single Block Chardonnay which is now available at £26.55 (down from £33.95). James Halliday’s 2019 Wine Companion Awards placed this amongst the top 10. If you love a Grave-esk white, then may I suggest you try Yarra Yering’s 2014 Dry White No:1? What a superb wine (decant for 20 mins) and hurry as our final bottles are being offered at £26.00
Our entire New Zealand collection is discounted. Margins in these quarters are much tighter however, we have tried to be as generous as possible. You cannot find a better chardonnay than Kumeu Rivers 2016 Village at £10.50. Those seeking out some of NZ’s most famed producers may wish to grab Felton Road single block Pinot Noir, which is offered untied and discounted. Magnums of the 98 point Auntsfield Sauvignon Blanc offer particular value at £25.65.
Our US collection is strong with some very fine offers. Both Eyrie wines are drinking beautifully and for me, hold particular importance as this was the first US producer I purchased wine from (some 25 years ago). Great wines and bargain prices in my opinion. Our remaining fifteen bottles (225 sold) of the 100-point continuum receives a discount too. Granted, it’s not huge but US cult wines are incredibly expensive to buy with sales margins pathetic. Two of my all-time favourites, Anthill 2014 Campbell Ranch pinot noir and Gavin Chanin’s 2014 Sanford & Benedict chardonnay just get better and better. The Sanford & Benedict chardonnay is an eighty quid bottle of Burgundy in disguise. Grab it for £34.25.
There are lots of bin-ends too, which effectively means they will not be returning to our shelves. The Krug beating English fizz, Digby 2010 Vintage Reserve Brut being one as are the mature pairings from Château Musar. Italy and Spain are all considered bin-ends as is Riedel glassware and all spirits. I believe the tray of twenty-five Riedel glasses represents super value particularly given the custom-made tray cost seventy-pounds alone.
Enjoy the sale and remember, it ends on Monday 3 September at 9:00am. No further discounts or wines are being added.
Finally, please remember to order on-line as this is the only way to secure your wines. I fear the entire team and I will be warehouse bound all day on Monday therefore, excuse the lack of email and telephone contact – We’re very busy picking, packing and dispatching all your orders.
Torbreck, The Steading Collection:
Prices as low as £17.00 per bottle (duty paid and IB)
It is sourced from Grenache, Mataro and Shiraz vines that survived the worldwide phylloxera outbreak of the 1880s, and a century later, the vine-pull scheme in the Barossa in the 1980s. The wine is a result of the serendipitous discovery of small remnant patches of withered ancient vines, some well over a century old, that have been carefully nurtured back to life. The protection of this old vine resource of the Barossa Valley is central to the Torbreck story and this wine, more than any other, is an indication of what is possible from these historic cultivars. The Steading is a collection of 45 different sources of fruit, some from our own vineyard estates as well as from growers on a share-farming basis. These precious grapes are vinified separately and blended once their individual virtues have been assessed.
Eileen Hardy Chardonnay 2015 @ £26.80 per bottle
“Eileen Hardy Chardonnay is, in my view, the Grange of Australian white wines”.
98 Points - Stuart McCloskey "Less expressive than some 2015’s however, decanting for thirty minutes to an hour and serving in a large Burgundy glass brings this wine alive. The wine is silky, graceful with mouth-coating waves of life affirming minerality. Real breadth and depth here with a laser-like focus. I love the juicy yellow stone fruits and spices. I imagine this will be utterly spectacular in another 6-8 years. It is the nectar of the Aussie Gods and would shame many a white Burgundy at double the price. I recommend drinking this stupendous wine from now to 2028 and beyond (in good cellar conditions)."
98 Points – James Halliday "From Tasmania, the Yarra Valley and Tumbarumba. Gleaming straw-green; manages to effortlessly combine power and intensity with elegance and glorious varietal fruit expression. White stone fruit is at the very heart of a palate that aspires to perfection. Quality French oak and minerally acidity play their parts, albeit largely forgotten in the wealth of fruit."
2016 Awakening Single Block A1 Margaret River Chardonnay: Now only £26.55
One of the highest Aussie Chardonnay’s in James Halliday’s 2019 Award.
98 Points “The soaring intensity and precision of the wine obliterates any comment about the oak. It is one of those uncommon chardonnays that demands you give it time, the more the merrier. Grapefruit is the masthead, but it gathers around it a suite of flavours that keep its energy and drive on track”
2007 Two Hands Bellas Garden @ £17.75 per bottle
The Flowstone Collection:
Production across Stuart’s range is tiny with many coming under one hundred cases. His Queen of the Earth Chardonnay and mature Sauvignon Blanc’s are, in our opinion, some of the best produced in Australia.
The RunRig Large Format Collection:
Less than half our world competitor prices!
The RunRigoften draws comparison with the beautifully fragrant and tautly structured wines from the steep slopes of the Northern Rhône Valley’s Appellation of Côte Rôtie. Shiraz from old dry grown Barossa vineyards is blended with Viognier, complementing the strengths and complexities of these individual parcels of fruit, whilst giving the resulting wine a further dimension. Although wonderfully aromatic, RunRig also exhibits a power and latent richness making it more akin to the hugely concentrated wines sourced from the sun drenched hill of Hermitage – the historic home of Syrah and some of the world’s most powerful and longest living wines.
Villa Maria Ngakirikiri Cabernet Sauvignon 2013 @ £75.70
100 Points - Sam Kim, Wine Orbit "Is this perfection? No, it is better than that, if that is possible. The wine is perfectly formed and composed, and is very proper, but it offers more. Exceptional concentration, brilliant structure, impressive fruit purity and layers of delicious flavours with seamless mouthfeel make this stunning wine thought-provoking and sensually awe-inspiring. This predominantly cabernet sauvignon from their Ngakirikiri vineyard in the Gimblett Gravels district exhibits cassis, plum, floral and cedar characters with subtle cigar box, vanilla and game complexity. Powerful and graceful at the same time with plenty of fine, chalky tannins."
The sheer numbers involved, and the range is vast - The deals extraordinary.
From 1945 ex-Château legends to a host of
Excluding one solitary wine, we have discounted the entire collection
Akitu, 98 Point Auntsfield, Bell Hill, Devotus, Dog Point, Dry River, Felton Road, Giesen, Kumeu River, Valli, Vidal Legacy Range and the 100 point Ngakirikiri Cabernet Sauvignon
Over 2,200 bottles are discounted
Along with our all-time favourite, the 99-point
Chanin Wines Sanford & Benedict Chardonnay 2014
Is a home to our personal favourites and a reference point for something a little special. The criteria is simple; outstanding quality, drinks amazingly well, super-value or (preferably) a combination of all.
Tray upon tray of 25 Riedel Vinum restaurant glasses @ £100.00 per tray
Collection from our HQ only