Issue: 43 / Sunday 14 October, 2018
Exclusive to The Vinorium:
The Exquisite 2016 Petaluma
97 Points James Halliday
“The wine lives up to its reputation as one of Australia's greatest chardonnays, and you wonder why it isn't more frequently mentioned in dispatches. The answer is at least partly due to the very small amounts judged by Petaluma to be up to the strict standards set. Grapefruit leads the superb flavours of the palate, white peach in close attendance. The acidity is precise, the oak merely a means to an end.”
Planted in 1979 on friable red soils over 1800 million old basement rocks, the Tiers vineyard is the lowest and warmest vineyard in the Piccadilly Valley, Adelaide Hills. The Tiers Chardonnay is a single vineyard vine from a truly 'distinguished site' and we are thrilled to be their exclusive UK representative…
Special introductory Offer:
Under Bond by the Case @ £105.00 per case of six
By the Bottle @ £24.95
The 2015 can be purchased for £42.80 from Hedonism
*Delivery week of 29 October
A multi-award-winning Australian wine specialist without a single bottle of Australian sparkling got us thinking - This situation must change. We have partnered Australia's most awarded sparkling wine producer, House of Arras whose home is amongst ancient soils and the cold climate of Tasmania. Its climate is significantly cooler than the mainland, with long summer daylight and maritime influences, which are ideal conditions for long, slow and consistent fruit development. The House of Arras sources fruit from many outstanding vineyards in southern Tasmania and the south east coast, with each sub-region providing their unique element to the final blend.
Tamar Valley is the best-known sub-region and well-suited to Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. It is one of the warmer, wetter sub-regions and provides grapes with ripe, forward flavours with moderate intensity. Pipers River is their most important sparkling wine grape source and one of the coolest sub-regions, with moderating winds keeping the daily temperature variation low. Coal River Valley is sheltered in the south and is distinguished by its ability to produce very high quality, slow maturing, cool climate grapes of nearly all varieties and styles. With moderate temperatures and low rainfall, it embraces a variety of soil types and produces fruit with softness and perfume.
East Coast is centred around the beautiful coastal town of Swansea where growers produce Pinot Noir and Chardonnay of a robust, muscular nature with wonderful depth of flavour. Conditions in the area are relatively warm and dry, with the maritime influence minimising temperature variation and keeping the relative humidity high. Huon Valley is situated on the southernmost tip of and it is the coolest and wettest sub-region. House of Arras source many of their top sparkling grapes from the hardy and determined growers in this pristine corner of Australia.
Derwent Valley is divided into two very distinct sections; the Upper and Lower Derwent. The Lower Derwent is warm and sheltered, producing fruit with great richness and ripeness. The Upper Derwent experiences much colder nights and is the driest grape producing area they source from. This region supplies them with incredible quality sparkling wine grapes, producing wines with the greatest elegance, finesse and complexity.
The Art of Blending: Reserve wines are stored and kept in pristine condition at Hardys Tintara cellar in the McLaren Vale. Many individual parcels are woven together to create the final blend, each bringing its own profound character to the complete, finished wine. The world's leading sparkling wines require time to develop complexity and character with time on the lees being key.
We have sampled the entire range and have concluded that House of Arras produces world class sparkling wine. Certainly, the best outside of Champagne and better than many inside this famous region. We are also keen to ensure these great wines are enjoyed outside of celebrations and relished throughout our working weeks. Of course, this is difficult given the cost implications for delicious, well-produced bottles however, we have taken the bold move and committed to purchase over 3,000 bottles this year, which effectively gains us exclusivity, save a few cases which the likes of Harrods and a few department stores will take each year.
Given our wonderful relationship with Accolade Wines, who are fortunate enough to own House of Arras, we have forged a pricing structure which we are confident will please you all. It is important to note that we are not offering these great sparkling wines at reduced prices, although it is a given that you will not be able to find these wines in the UK at such super-prices. What we can provide is a direct relationship from grower to customer with the added benefit of The Vinorium’s unique position in the Australian wine market.
House of Arras Chief Sparkling Winemaker, is Australia’s most awarded sparkling winemaker. He has long held the belief that Tasmania can, and should, produce exceptional sparkling wines equal to the world's best
Over the past 20 years Ed Carr has amassed over 60 trophies in Australian wine shows for the House of Arras. However, a world class sparkling wine can only be crafted with the finest fruit and the House of Arras viticultural team carefully nurtures the House of Arras vineyards through the vagaries of each and every growing season
In 2011, Ed was awarded the impressive title of ‘Winemaker of the Year’ at the prestigious Australian Gourmet Traveller WINE magazine awards. Judging for this concentrates on individuals whose hard work, commitment, individuality and inspiration has recently resulted in creating exceptional, world-class wines
2016 was an exceptional year for House of Arras, being awarded 8 Trophies and 16 Gold Medals. Notably the 2007 Grand Vintage was awarded Wine of Show at both the Royal Queensland Wine Show & The Royal Sydney Wine Show, the first time a sparkling wine has taken the accolade at either show
**Available w/c 29th October 2018**
House of Arras 2007 Grand Vintage
£26.50 per bottle
£109.00 per case (6x75cl) IB
97+ points Stuart McCloskey "Fruit (Chardonnay 78% & Pinot Noir 22%) for the ’07 Grand Vintage was hand-picked from cold climate Derwent Valley, Freycinet & Coal River Valley vineyards prior to gentle whole bunch pressing, from which only free run juice was collected. Primary fermentation was undertaken on light lees, followed by 100% malolactic fermentation. Disgorged after 8 years.
Served using Zalto’s Universal Glass (please do not use a flute!). Everything is sensational from start to finish with the level of richness juxtaposed with perfectly carved acidity. The nose is incredibly expansive with aromatics soaring from the glass, which gain with intensity with more air contact. The palate is deep, evolved, explosive with superb textural depth. My palate is washed with waves of red fruit, wild flowers and honeyed brioche, which are layered to perfection with minerals, a touch of citrus peel and nutty yeast autolysis character – Just divine. Without question, a very fine sparkling wine which offers sophistication and a wealth of pleasure. Thrilling and will continue to be so for a further 10+ years…"
House of Arras NV Brut Elite
£17.95 per bottle
£65.50 per case (6x75cl) IB
95 Points - Stuart McCloskey "Primarily based on the 2013 vintage with the fruit (57% Pinot Noir, 43% Chardonnay) sourced from Coal River Valley, Derwent Valley & Huon Estuary. The wine has gone through partial fermentation in oak barrels which has enabled Ed to significantly drop the dosage levels. Served in Zalto’s Universal glass and needs a little aeration to come alive. The ’07 Grand Vintage offers warmth whereas the ‘Elite’ comes to the fore with tension – perhaps a little reserved at first. Minerals, grapefruit, citrus and a touch of smoke. The oak influence is a masterstroke as this adds a layer of additional palate weight and complexity never found in wines of this extraordinary value. This is a great wine from House of Arras. Striking, brilliant and perhaps as no world equal for value. Disgorged after four years."
A New UK Exclusivity:
Wild Duck Creek Estate
We have officially partnered (UK Exclusivity) Wild Duck Creek Estate and will be offering their wines for years tocome. Many of you have enjoyed their superb wines which have forged a global following. Father and son team, Liam & David Anderson produce tiny quantities which regularly sell-out domestically however, our collection of their ‘top’ wines departs Adelaide in a few weeks and will be ready to take delivery before our Christmas celebrations begin.
Our shipment includes; 2013 Duck Muck, 2015 & 2016 Reserve Shiraz, 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve, 2017 Roussanne, 2016 Alan’s Cabernet & 2016 Yellow Hammer Hill Shiraz Malbec.
All wines are available to purchase which ensures you receive their ‘Reserve’ wines before they sell-out. For the interim, we will safeguard the new collection for private customers however, our trade customers have an insatiable appetite for Wild Duck wines and we must find a balance to keep everyone happy, which is not always easy…
Examining the Science Behind Wineglass Shapes
Written by Paul Adams: Senior science research editor at Cook’s Illustrated. He lives in New York City, where he writes about food and drinks.
Glassmakers and wine experts weigh in on glassware design and the sensory perception of wine
In 1958 the Austrian glassmaker Claus Josef Riedel added a new wineglass to his catalog. With a large bowl and a gently flared lip, the Burgundy Grand Cru was specifically intended to hold Burgundy wines. At that time, a glass made for a particular wine was a first. According to Maximilian Riedel, a grandson of Claus and the current CEO of Riedel, until then nobody else had recognized that the “taste, bouquet, balance, and finish of a wine [could be] affected by the shape of a glass.” His grandfather, he says, “took notice [whenever] a slight change in his glassware made a change in what he was drinking.”
The Burgundy Grand Cru was followed by a line of 10 more wine-specific shapes: Alsace, Bordeaux Grand Cru, Chardonnay, Hermitage, Loire, Montrachet, Riesling Grand Cru, Rosé, Sauternes, and Zinfandel. Today, Riedel makes dozens of specialized glasses; the company’s 2018 catalog specifies which of dozens of shapes are appropriate for some 200 different wines, which include familiar grapes like Malbec and Sauvignon Blanc (in oaked and unoaked expressions); less familiar grapes, such as Bacchus and Zierfandler; appellations, like Hermitage; and styles, like rosé.
Embracing Different Shapes and Sizes
The idea that particular shapes are appropriate for particular wines has become so accepted that other makers of high-end glassware, such as Zalto and Gabriel-Glas, now differentiate themselves by explicitly offering “universal” glasses—wineglasses that are suited for drinking any kind of wine.
At Eleven Madison Park in New York, the assistant wine director, Andrew Rastello, pours from a 200-page wine list into 17 different Riedel shapes. “For a customer to have a different glass for red Burgundy, versus Napa Cab, versus Bordeaux—it’s a luxury,” he says, “but I believe it makes a drastic difference to the experience of the wine.”
Scientific research into the effects of wineglass shapes has provided somewhat equivocal support for the aficionados’ position. In 2001 the Journal of Wine Research published a study in which blindfolded enology students sniffed wines in different glasses, including Riedel Burgundy and Chardonnay glasses. The study’s author found that any wine served in the Burgundy glass was said to have more “total intensity” but that no particular sensory attributes were enhanced more than others. In other words, there was nothing that made the glass more appropriate for Burgundy wines in particular. Another pair of researchers worked with untrained subjects in a similar experiment; they summarized their findings, which were published in the Journal of Sensory Studies: “An impact of the glasses on the perception of the aroma appears to exist, but it is a subtle effect.”
So, what exactly can a wineglass do to change the way we taste what’s inside it?
The loose explanation one encounters in the marketing materials presented by Riedel and other manufacturers typically refers to particular regions of the drinker’s tongue. For instance, Riedel suggests that the slightly flared rim of the Burgundy Grand Cru glass “directs the wine to the tip of the tongue, highlighting the fruit and balancing the naturally high acidity.” Such claims echo the “map of the tongue” model, in which sweet tastes are detected by the tip of the tongue, sour by the edges, and so forth—a model that seems to have been based on a misunderstanding of research reported in the early 20th century. Contemporary science tends to agree that perceptual differences are minimal from one part of the tongue to another.
Moreover, “taste as a sensory system actually plays a limited role in wine taste,” explains the Yale neuroscientist Gordon Shepherd in his book Neuroenology: How the Brain Creates the Taste of Wine. “By contrast, smell plays a large role.” And wineglasses, with their bulbous bellies and narrower openings, highlight smell.
Understanding the Sensory Impact
The aroma of wine is made up of hundreds of different molecules, each with different degrees of volatility, and as the wine develops in the glass, those molecules rise and hover, and their concentration in the air above the wine changes over time.
The fill level of the liquid is typically close to the widest diameter of the glass, which means that the wine spreads out and that contact between the wine and the air is maximized—more so when you swirl the wine in the glass. Aromatic molecules evaporate from the wine’s surface, and the glass’s constricted opening retains them in the headspace, the portion of the glass above the wine.
Greg Hirson, a wine chemist who wrote his thesis at the University of California at Davis on the sensory impact of wineglass shape, studied the evolution of aroma in the glass in depth using five different-shaped glasses. The parameter that seems to have the most obvious effect on aroma development is the ratio between the maximum diameter of a wine glass and the diameter of its opening. “Immediately on pouring,” Hirson says, “there was no real difference between the concentrations of the volatiles” from one glass to another. But after waiting 5 or 10 minutes for the evaporation to develop, his gas chromatograph analysis of the headspace found that “there were very small changes in the intensities of flavor components based on glass shape.”
According to Maximilian Riedel, “The impact of empirically small changes to glassware’s shape or size can be dramatic to the wine drinker’s senses. Our goal is to be as precise as possible in varietal specificity.”
Although Riedel can cite general rules of thumb—a wider opening deemphasizes overpowering aromas; a narrower opening concentrates subtler ones—he explains that the development of a new wine-specific glass is a process of trial and error. “There is no strict calculus,” he says. “I gather vintners and experts with a great depth of experience in the varietal for which we are creating a new shape.” The team agrees on which characteristics of the wine they would like enhanced and which diminished. “Together,” Riedel says, “we go through several rounds of tasting and retasting in existing Riedel glass shapes. We build up a vocabulary of cause and effect … how the wine’s aroma, flavor, body, or finish is enhanced or diminished with each [shape] difference.”
Making the Case for a Universal Glass Shape
The Gabriel-Glas universal glass is also designed to enhance and not merely hold wine. Like the similarly shaped Zalto universal glass, its bowl has a shallow, cone-shaped bottom, which means that a smaller pour of wine can spread to the maximum diameter of the glass—the designer René Gabriel calls this feature bouquet drive. It then tapers inward toward a narrow opening, the size of which, Gabriel says, is intended to match that of a rose: “A rose doesn’t smell when it’s too open.” And the concave curve of the taper, he claims, allows heavier and lighter volatile aromas to combine in a way that a bowl with convex sides doesn’t.
When Jancis Robinson set out to create her own wineglass design, her considerations were different. “I started with the aim of producing one glass for all wines,” she says, “regardless of varietal, color, strength, and fizziness.” Based on her decades of tasting experience, she had a shape in mind even before beginning the design—“a generous, wide-bottomed tulip shape.” After experimenting with her design partner, Richard Brendon, she says she was “delighted to confirm how effective [her] suggested bowl shape was for both aroma and palate impact.”
Unlike some universal-glass users, Robinson is not a glass-shape skeptic. She’s found that a Riedel glass whose shape is matched to a wine is “usually a small percentage better.” But, she says, “life is just too short to have … lots of slightly different but similar glasses.”
For those who do enjoy a multiplicity of glasses, the options continue to multiply. One of the newest Riedel products is a line of glasses called Performance, which have tiny ridges covering the interior surface of the bowl that may or may not influence the flavor of the wine by slightly increasing the surface area where it contacts the air.
“At home, I stick to one kind of glass,” Eleven Madison Park’s Rastello says. “But I feel one of the reasons for going out is to have something you don’t have at home.”
For Greg Hirson, the effect of the glass, though detectable, is a fractional part of the wine-drinking experience. “Atmospheric pressure, mood, health, company, lighting, sound, wineglass shape, temperature, focus, and an infinity of other factors will change how the wine is perceived,” he says. “My initial reason to study this was to see if there was a scientific basis for having the ‘correct’ wineglass. I don’t think there is.”
What Stu Says
“Regardless of the shape or size of my glassware, I only drink to my mood, which fundamentally delivers a much better wine drinking experience. Like many, I have over twenty-five years’ experience and I do believe that choosing the correct glassware will ultimately deliver an enhanced experience. I am yet to find one glass that fits all despite the efforts from Jancis MW and Zalto’s Universal. At home and in my office tasting room, I use three glasses, and all from Zalto; Universal, Bordeaux and Burgundy which perform brilliantly. My team and I often compare the same wine using Riedel and Zalto with the latter normally producing a better sensory / tasting experience”.