Issue: 40 / Sunday 23 September, 2018
of the Year
The team and I spent Thursday evening with the leading UK supermarkets, wine merchants and independent retailers for the 2018 Decanter Retailer of the Year Awards. Winning retailers were announced during a special ceremony held at the OXO2 Tower and we were called to the stage first. Peter Richards MW, Awards Chairman presented the award of Decanter Australian Specialist of the Year, which of course,
we are overjoyed with.
We thank all the Decanter judges (Peter Richards MW, Peter Ranscombe, Matt Walls, Andy Howard MW & Fiona Beckett) for their kind and incredibly generous words “The judges were wowed by The Vinorium’s mouthwatering range, focused on premium Australian wines with impressive back vintages and a range of formats. In fact, this ‘good-looking, well run’ Kent-based retailer impressed the judges all-round”.
We are beyond flattered to collect two of the industry’s most prodigious awards this year - IWC Australian Specialist of the Year and Decanter Australian Specialist of the Year. Our Aussie journey has taken an awful lot of hard work and complete dedication from my team (past and present). I am incredibly grateful for their diligence, self-motivation as well as commitment which is inspirational.
Now, is not the time to sit on our laurels as our industry is filled with competitive and excellent merchants. We will certainly take full advantage of our awards and will build upon an incredible 2018.
Dr Edge 'North, East & South' Pinot Noirs
It has been another frenetic week with much comings and goings. We took delivery of our large shipment from Australia a week ahead of plan, which included the stunning wines from Nick Glaetzer (Tasmania), Yarra Yerings including the 98-point trio 2012 Dry Red No 2 and the 2011 Dry Red No 1. We enjoyed a bottle of the mature and beautifully poised 2012 Dry White No 1. From the Barossa comes Dan Standish wines, which are available under bond by the case and by the bottle. Three have scored 99 points and one 98 points which have made these fast-sellers.
Concordis, the collaborative winemaking project that unites four Barossa producers – Kaesler Wines, Seppeltsfield Winery, Torbreck Vintners and Two Hands Wines has arrived too. The majority will be lying and offered under bond with twenty-four magnums arriving at our HQ next week. Hobbs label makeover looks fantastic and a huge improvement on the old, rather dated labels. We believe Hobbs wines are seriously under appreciated and comfortably stand shoulder to shoulder with Torbreck high-flyers. With only 150 cases produced, their Shiraz from 1905 vines is something rather special. Joe Czerwinski (RobertParker.com) wrote “the wine actually made my hair stand on end when I tasted it— it's that exhilarating to taste such a magical amalgam of richness and drinkability” which we can understand.
With two weeks until our next Australian shipment arrives, including Winemaker of the Year, Julian Langworthy’s ‘solo’ project Nocturne and more stunning wines from the genius, Stuart Pym at Flowstone. A third, half-full container shipment left on Friday – From Tasmania comes, and for the very first time, Dr Edge Pinot Noir, which are made in tiny quantities and have sold-out domestically. We are shipping the full quartet; 'North' (Stoney Rise Vineyard, Tamar Valley), 'East' (Hazards Vineyard, East Coast) 'South' (Meadowbank Vineyard, Derwent Valley). These, three sub regional Pinot Noirs are made as similarly as possible from the same selected Pinot Noir clone within each vineyard. Same size batch. Distinct by locale. 'Tasmania' “is a blend of all sub regional wines with some additional clones and techniques thrown around to elicit emotion from wine journalists” declares the larger than life owner, Peter Dredge.
Despite the success of our sale, the realisation that we will struggle for room has hit home this week. Accordingly, we are selling-off large parcels of delicious drinking Shiraz which we have in abundance. An offer was sent earlier during the week which has relieved us of 1,000+ bottles (Thank you very much indeed). Just another 2,500 to go please! Respective offers are extremely well-valued with the ’04 Henry’s Drive Shiraz being sold for as little as £6.12 per bottle against our nearest UK competitor price of £14.80. Check-out the banner below for all the wines…
A majestic faux-pas from our leading high-street chain?
Rather worryingly, the person concerned wrote to Majestic to query the incorrect vintage, and was informed (and I'm copying directly from the actual email Majestic sent):
'I've been made aware of your complaint regarding the vintages of some of the wines that have been sent to you. Unfortunately, we cannot guarantee that you will receive wines of a specific vintage. It states in our terms and conditions that all orders are subject to availability and we cannot guarantee the availability a certain vintage. Although this should not make a difference as the two vintages will have been brewed together with the same grapes in the same place so to maintain consistency of the wine. This is not a substitution of the wine because it is still the same product just one from a different year if you try the wine and a still not happy with the taste we would be happy to refund you for it or you could take it back to store and swap it out.'
Gary Mills (The man behind Jamsheed) spent two years at Ridge under the tutelage of Paul Draper learning how to balance power and finesse which clearly shows in his wines. ‘Everything I know about winemaking comes from Paul Draper… He set me on that path of authentic wines with great integrity that are single site, old vine and not messed with.’
His philosophy of minimal intervention and two specific winemaking techniques stood out: whole bunch fermentation and carbonic maceration, which were shunned by the vast majority of Australian winemakers back in Jamsheed's early days. Trends and tastes change and looking back Gary has to be seen as a visionary as these winemaking approaches have become vital to the evolution of Australian wine. Complemented by the rise of minimalist winemaking philosophies, these methods have exposed Australian wine to a more diverse audience. Gary has been central to smashing preconceptions of Australian wine around the world, sharing terroir-driven wines that speak of time and place. As a result, he has helped inspire many in the Australian wine community to do the same and is now widely respected as one of our most influential winemakers.
‘I’m trying to get the grape from the vineyard to the bottle by doing as little as possible. The hardest thing to do is not play with the wine, not try and fix it. I don’t make perfect wines. There’s all types of wrong with it but it’s a unique drinking experience that is representative of that vineyard. And that’s all we can hope to achieve’.
His wines are made with whole bunch fermentations and minimal use of sulphur. Gary’s wines are distinctively terroir-driven, elegant, complex and offer a real insight into his careful and skilful hands. Handpicked Roussanne, whole bunch pressed and racked with full solids into older 800 and 500 litre French oak, fermented with indigenous yeasts and left sur lees for 8 months.
Jamsheed, Beechworth Roussanne 2016
97 Points Stuart McCloskey “Unlike many Roussanne’s - The palate has a sense of natural balance and everything is played down, not a hair out of place. The palate is captivating with breathtaking purity and clarity. Structurally, think very expensive Burgundy. Buttered toast and lemon curd which I, quite frankly, find irresistible. The weight and quality of the fruit glides across the palate with much flair. The flavour profiles fan out gloriously towards a mineral-rich finish juxtaposed with candied lemon peel. Total inviting now but will undoubtedly be at its pinnacle in 3-5 years. Thrilling, individual and certainly one of my favourite Roussanne’s”.
We have an impressive line-up of New Arrivals including a small, mature parcel of 2013 Ramey Chardonnay (Sonoma Coast) which Stu declares as a sensation. We haven’t stocked Bonny Doon wines for many years – The ’13 Le Pousseur and ’14 ‘Proper Claret’ are both excellent and make a welcome return.
From the Chilean Colchagua valley comes a smashing pair of mature Cabernet Sauvignons (2010 & 2013). The producer, Viña Koyle adopted organic and biodynamic principles from its inception and more importantly, their wines are fermented without excessive extraction to allow the fruit to be expressive and the oak regime is designed to complement rather than overwhelm. These are one-off parcels, super-value and come highly recommended.
We received a small re-stock of Dog Point's beautiful 2015 Pinot Noir but are close to selling-out again. We’ve been advised that we will not be receiving a further allocation as all remaining stock is reserved for restaurants. Utterly ridiculous and that’s the reason why the UK wine industry struggles…
Take the time to explore the New Arrivals – Simply click the link and you’re away.
Kaesler Joins the Exclusive Line-up…
This week, we have finalised a new partnership with the Barossa producer, Kaesler, as many of our mature vintages have now sold-out. Our first order is being prepared for export and will be arriving towards the latter part of November. We are introducing several ‘new’ wines, which have not entered the UK market. With an annual production of 500 cases per year, the Alte Reben Shiraz will be making a rare appearance outside of their domestic market. 100% Shiraz sourced from Kaesler estate vines planted in 1899 at Marananga. This vineyard has a soil type that is unique and quite different to most of the Kaesler vineyards.
Joining the Shiraz is their Alte Reben Mataro (Mourvédre) vines which are some of the oldest remaining in the Barossa Valley. Kaesler, usually blends their Mataro with Grenache and Shiraz however in exceptional years the Mataro can shine all on its own, resulting in Alte Reben Mataro, which is one of their most limited production wines.
Of course, we had to ship their Old Bastard Shiraz, 1998 being the inaugural vintage. Fruit is hand-picked and sourced from Shiraz vines planted in 1893. Matured in 35% new and the remainder in one-year old French oak. The Bogan is returning too - Bogan Shiraz is well known to be a quintessential, full bodied style. The two Shiraz vineyards (Marananga & Nuriootpa) from which this wine is sourced complement each other incredibly well. The ancient The Marananga block provides intense, old vine produce with blue fruit offerings. The Nuriootpa block provides more black fruits.
A small quantity of mature 2010 Viognier is heading our way. Whole bunched pressed with the juice being fermented in French oak barriques (30% new and the remainder 2 & 3 year old oak) with 100% wild yeast and fermented cool for the next 20 days. Delicious, highly textural and a real treat…