Issue: 42 / Sunday 7 October, 2018
Sometimes we feel like a premiership football club signing one star exclusivity after another. Of course, we lack the funding of the likes of Man City however, our growing team of super-star wine producers is looking mighty fine. This week, we have officially joined forces with the McLaren Vale producer, Kay Brothers as their exclusive UK representative. Kay Brothers are firing on all cylinders and producing a portfolio of wine packed with quality.
Our order is being frantically labelled, readied for export and will be arriving in the UK prior to Christmas. We are shipping the 2016 Block 6 Shiraz, the 32nd release of their flagship wine, which is handpicked from ancient, 124 year old vines. Long held in high esteem as one of McLaren Vale’s finest Shiraz plantings, Block 6 Shiraz continues the tradition at Kay Brothers of producing full bodied red wines that have the grace and pedigree to age for decades.
For the very first time, Amery Vineyard Griffons Key Grenache is coming to the UK. The fruit was hand-picked from a remarkably expressive parcel in the Amery vineyard. Artisanal winemaking ensures a rich, concentrated and powerful style reflecting its name and character. Critics are clearly loving the wine with Joe Czerwinski (RobertParker.com) awarding 97 points for the 2016.
Parallels are being made with Clarendon Hills Romas & Onkaparinga Grenache. I wonder how long our 120 bottles will last?
2016 Amery Hillside Shiraz is heading our way too and a firm favourite with many customers. The Hillside vineyard was established in 1992 using cuttings from the century old Block 6. A classic example of full-bodied McLaren Vale Shiraz. Unlike Block 6, the Hillside Shiraz allows the Kay Brothers team to pick various parcels of fruit. Block 11, located at the top of the hill, are very exposed to the wind and sun. Consequently, the vines mature earlier in most years and tend to be low yielding, with intense fruit concentration and powerful tannins. The remainder of the Hillside Shiraz is located farther down the hill, in ‘new’ Block 6. The new Block 6 component provides the finesse and elegance to the overall blend with savoury flavours and tight structure. The blend of these two vineyards produces a perfect balance.
2017 Amery Basket Pressed Shiraz & 2016 Cuthbert Cabernet Sauvignon join the line-up. Both wines offer beautiful drinking and exceptional value. All wines will be offered by the case (under bond for those wishing to store) and by the bottle for those who cannot wait. Naturally, we will let you know when they have arrived. Grenache and Christmas Turkey sounds like a great pairing!
Glaetzer-Dixon Avancé Pinot Noir 2017
96+ Points - Stuart McCloskey “The Pinot Noir for the ’17 Avancé was sourced from three vineyards in Southern Tasmania’s Upper Derwent and Coal Valleys. Sweet, succulent entry with an abundance of red cherries, wild strawberry, plums and sweet spices all laced together with bright, perfectly judged acidity. Medium-bodied, with pure silky tannins. The quality of racy, plush fruit is exquisite however, it’s the wines overall balance and completeness which stands out the most. You will have to look very hard to find a better buy for the money.
A wine of pure and total pleasure. Just gorgeous and not to be missed”.
Served in Zalto Burgundy glass (Highly-Recommended by the way!), drinking beautifully now but will develop over the next 3-6 years.
Nocturne arrived on Friday after their long journey from The Margaret River. Nocturne is the husband-and-wife partnership between recently-crowned Jimmy Watson-winner and James Halliday’s Winemaker of the Year, Julian Langworthy and his wife Alana who also owns and runs the Yallingup Cheese Company.
Those of you who have enjoyed Deep Woods wines, will respect Julian’s skill across many varietals. We love Deep Woods and firmly believe they are on-par with Vasse Felix and Cullen. In terms of quality versus value, far superior!
We are proud to be the exclusive UK agent for Nocturne, which is a serious new venture producing single-vineyard wines from exceptional sites in Margaret River. This is the region where Julian grew up and where he’s honed his winemaking skills. The pair are acutely sensitive to the best fruit sources in the region including their pride and joy, the newly acquired Sheoak Vineyard with its beautifully mature Cabernet vines.
Both Julian and Alana are incredibly ambitious and highly skilled which will certainly manifest into Nocturne being some of the most sought-after wines coming out of Australia. We are convinced and look forward to sharing Nocturne wines with you for many years to come…
We are allowing the wines to rest for a few weeks before issuing our tasting notes. Earlier samples were incredible and their Nebbiolo Rosé the best we have ever sampled.
Nocturne Cabernet Sauvignon 2016
£27.95 per bottle
Nocturne Chardonnay 2016
£27.95 per bottle
Nocturne Nebbiolo Rosé 2017
£18.75 per bottle
Winemaker of the Year
Born in WA's Margaret River, Julian Langworthy has always had a roundabout connection to wine. His dad worked for the Department of Agriculture studying grapevines, so he spent in vineyards growing up, but he still didn't march into his career with absolute conviction. "I had a bit of a dalliance with marine biology, which I didn't do very well in," he says. "It sort of seemed fairer on the fishes if I jumped ship, so I moved to South Australia and studied winemaking instead." Popular among his peers and with a trophy cabinet overflowing with awards, Julian clearly made the right choice, having now been crowned Winemaker of the Year.
"The most influential period for me was when I moved to Coonawarra at about 22 - it wasn't really the place to live as a young, single bloke, but I got to work at Jamiesons Rub under Andrew Hales and at Wynns with Sue Holder. They're both immensely awesome winemakers and the taught me a lot," he says.
Julian credits his time in Coonawarra with expanding his skill-set and intensifying his interest in cabernet, but his fondness for the variety was cemented long before. "My dad loves wine and bought a lot of it when I was growing up, so I knew that Penfolds Grange was one of the best wines in Australia, but I'd always assumed it was a cabernet...
I remember finding out when I was nine or ten that it was a shiraz and thinking they must've gotten it wrong.
Even then, I had an affinity with the variety!" Another favourite wine style for Julian is rosé. "It's my Achilles heel," he says. "We spend an inordinate amount of time on it at Deep Woods, but the Harmony Rosé is now our best-selling wine, which is amazing considering six or seven years ago we made hardly any. We're lucky to be at the forefront of Australia waking up to how good these dry styles of rosé can be."
While Deep Woods, in Margaret River's Yallingup subregion, is Julian's main focus, he also works across the Fogarty Wine Group's portfolio, consulting to a team of twelve winemakers. "My hope is that I can add more perspective into our winemaking team, helping them to make nuanced wines they can stand behind and be proud of," he says.
And even with a busy schedule, Julian still finds inspiration all around, particularly judging at wine shows. He also points to Margaret River as a muse, calling it an "unspoilt winemaking nirvana". Margaret River cabernet and chardonnay are as good as from anywhere else in the world and I think if we keep working hard, they'll be recognised in the way they deserve."
"Julian's wine show success (and the team he has led) have gold medals flying around the room like confetti, with trophies (including the biggest of all, the Jimmy Watson) equally plentiful. And most of all, he is universally admired and liked by all who have had contact with him and/or the great wines he makes."
More to expect from the USA
& New Zealand
We are actively increasing our USA & New Zealand offerings over the coming months. Ultimately, we foresee our range increasing two-fold over the next six months and treble within twelve. We are importing the beautiful Sleepy Hollow Vineyard Chardonnay, located in the stunning Santa Lucia Highlands. The hillside vineyard is divided into three separate vineyard parcels, Sleepy Hollow West, South and North. Both the West and South parcels are planted on Arroyo Seco gravelly loam soil, which allows excellent root penetration, enabling the vines to pick up subsoil minerals that increase flavour complexity. These sparse, well-drained soils also reduce yields, creating rich, concentrated flavours in the grapes. The vineyard's predominately east-northeast exposure, combined with its proximity to the Pacific Ocean, contributes to a cool growing site with moderate vineyard temperatures. This results in a long growing season, giving the grapes the luxury of more hangtime to develop greater varietal character. I believe this will become a firm favourite with many of you – I was particularly impressed.
“His Midas touch with grapes from seemingly anywhere in the world, is unusual, but the brilliance of the wines, his creativeness and unparalleled blending talents have built an incredible portfolio…people looking for personality filled wines of considerable character and complexity need to check out the Orin Swift offerings.”
We are also importing Orin Swift Cellars which are an incredibly exciting and creative winery to work with. Dave Phinney (the chap Bob Parker mentioned above) communicates the message of his wines with a personal nod to the past, with minimum words and maximum impact. The entire collection is on the water and will be offered under bond and by the case… A full introduction to each wine will be posted next month when we expect them to land in the UK. In the meantime, please enjoy the below videos which says it all and prepares you for what is to come…
Check out the videos: 8 Years in the Desert
Our UK & European Courier
You may have already heard that our courier company UK Mail was acquired by Deutsche Post DHL Group back in December 2016. From the 1st October, UK Mail have started to rebrand and will now be known as DHL Parcel UK Limited. The rebranding exercise is ongoing but should be completed by early 2019.
Natalie and Jody met with our Account Manager on Friday morning to discuss any implications the rebranding could have on our service. They were assured there would be no changes to the service we currently experience and deliveries woould not be affected. They were also assured that the changes would mean our international customers received a faster and more efficient delivery service, which, we are already beginning to notice.
Although not perfect, UK Mail are still the most reliable courier company we have used, with 96% of our parcels sent during our sale in August being delivered
next day without issue.
You will begin to notice your deliveries will be made by DHL vans and drivers, your tracking system will have been rebranded as DHL and if you call customer service you will be directed to a DHL department. We will be continuing to monitor DHL’s performance and will work closely with our Account Manager to resolve any issues quickly.
However, one would have hoped this European giant would have a better feel for handling ‘fragile’ parcels. Sadly, not as this arrived back to us this morning!