Issue: 47 / Sunday 11 November, 2018
Written by Magdalena Sienkiewicz
It is hard to believe it has been a year since we formed a closer relationship with Barossa’s great Hentley Farm winery after the founder, Keith Hentschke, visited us in the Kentish countryside last year. At the time, we held an impressive collection of Keith’s older releases, including the inaugural bottlings of his iconic Clos Otto Shiraz from 2005 which, shortly after Keith’s visit, travelled all the way back to their home cellars in Australia – no wonder given we were selling six bottles for £510.00 against 800 Aussie dollars per bottle back at home. Little remains of our library collection however, it still ignited Keith’s interest and prompted a curious look at our shelves during his second visit to us, which was earlier this week.
We always enjoy Keith’s company, he is witty and laid-back. Four hours of chatter and sampling whizzed by in a flash. We had the pleasure of sampling Keith’s newest releases which are a mixture of 2016s and 2017s. Clos Otto, Von Kasper Cabernet, H-Block Shiraz, The Creation Shiraz and The Quintessential Shiraz Cabernet blend are currently set back one year however, Keith and his team are actively working on aligning their releases in the near future.
Immediately after sitting down for the tasting, Keith could not help but comment on Stu’s recent article about Penfolds, which initiated fascinating discussions. In the article, amongst the list of our collective recommendations tipped to be a better choice to Penfolds wines and their extortionate prices (you can read the full article here), Hentley Farm Quintessential Shiraz Cabernet wins over the famous Bin 389, with a score which is 4 points higher, not to mention the savings to our pockets… Keith was chuffed with such a tribute and remembering our love and preference for Cabernet Sauvignon from his previous visit, assured us that the new 2016 bottling had been blended especially for us, with the proportion of Cabernet increased to 49% with only marginal dominance of Shiraz.
Interestingly, Keith is extremely modest with his impressive dominance on the critic scores front and more importantly, he doesn’t chase for press favours. Hentley Farm have the highest number of wines with scores of 95 points and above, compared to any other neighbouring winery – and the list of names is striking with Torbreck, Greenock Creek and Seppeltsfield being the tip of the iceberg. Still, Keith sees himself as a winegrower with a passion for the Barossa and the unique sites he is so lucky to have under his helm. He supports his local community with the annual Barossa Valley Wine Show being the only single show he participates in with a feeling of duty. He also explained the respect which James Halliday carries amongst the entire Australian wine community, hence his only submissions.
Amongst a number of the aforementioned grand wineries in the neighbourhood, Keith remains focused on bringing a point of difference to the classic Barossa styles. Make no mistake, Hentley Farm wines possess a beguiling richness and beautiful textures that one expects to find in Barossa however, there is also an overwhelming sense of harmony, poise and a gracious freshness throughout the range. As such, their wines hold a unique sense of place and character, which we fell in love with at our first exposure and we continue to admire and cherish today. A stunning example of the sheer quality of Hentley Farm wines is the 2016 The Marl Grenache. Ultimately representing an introduction to the range, it offers immense drinking pleasure with alluring perfume and lush fruit - simply a joyous drink. Perhaps an underappreciated variety in the UK however, it is loved and widely enjoyed across Australia. James Halliday rewarded 2016 The Marl Grenache a staggering 96 Points and a Star for Special Value. Indeed, it is only £15.95 per bottle and we couldn’t agree more.
Keith began to describe the reason behind the unique style and supported what Andrew Quin, the chief winemaker explained to us during their visit last year. The fruit on Hentley’s sites is carefully looked after in order to retain the natural harmony (found in the highest quality of vines) and bright freshness of each variety. All fruit is picked at the optimum ripeness levels, which may seem like an industry standard technique and requirement however, not for many in the Barossa where it is often overlooked or
even purposefully missed, pushing the ripeness levels to a maximum or even leaving it on the vines until it is basically overripe. Hentley’s care for the fruit extends not only to the vineyard but to the winery as well. Delicate basket press is used to gently extract the juice, which again helps to maintain the soft texture of their wines and avoid any sharpness or harshness of acidity and tannins.
Another major factor to the unique character of their wines is quite simply their exceptional sites. Situated at the iconic Seppeltsfield road, Hentley Farm vineyards are located in the V-shaped hollow, directly opposite Greenock Creek winery. Various carefully selected blocks spread across the hill with great diversity of east and west facing slopes and altitude variances, including one of the coolest blocks in the close surrounding area at the bottom of the hollow. This variety of exceptional sites allows Hentley Farm to create some of the most exciting single block wines to come out of Barossa Valley, as well as exciting and unique blends.
Keith’s dedication to Barossa Valley is amazing although, he does betray it in one aspect. As a keen cyclist, he openly admitted that Adelaide Hills are better for it and in his opinion, they offer the best cycling routes and views in the world. A comment instantly picked up by Stu, who is a rather competitive cyclist himself…
At this stage, we were enjoying Keith’s Cabernets which are flawless, almost textbook incarnations of the classic varietal notes of eucalyptus, violets and blackcurrants - notes which are often neglected or purposefully tamed nowadays, especially in Australia and the USA, where the most famous Cabernets often become its own caricatures, overblown and over extracted, carrying very little (if anything) of varietal character.
We were chuffed to inform Keith that he managed to convert a good friend of ours, who is long on mature Burgundy and Bordeaux and stays away from young wines and rich styles found in the New World and yet, he fell in love with Hentley Farm wines and continues to express his surprise with a gamut of a life changing discovery. Keith welcomed the comment with a mischievous chuckle and immediately begin to express his own frustrations with the expectance and dominating demand for the rich and heavy styles of Australian wines (particularly in the Barossa), which effectively paints the global conception of their wines. While leading tastings, Keith admits being repeatedly asked only for samples of Clos Otto Shiraz and The Beast or simply ‘the biggest Shiraz you have’, which is not a bad thing at all since these are exceptional wines and we were looking forward to sampling them ourselves however, it leaves a little bit of a heartache seeing not enough interest in other styles and varietals, which in our opinion, people simply miss out on…
Needless to say, sampling through Hentley’s new releases was utterly joyous, with every wine providing much pleasure. Keith asked us to name our top wines of the day - Stu voted for Von Kasper Cabernet and The Quintessential Shiraz Cabernet. I struggled to limit the choice to two wines and ultimately failed the task – a failure which, for once, was met with huge approval. Cabernets were stunning, so was The Quintessential blend and so was The Creation Shiraz, which I find mightily impressive with its undeniable intensity (the winemaking process here is almost identical to that of Clos Otto), deceptively dark in colour, it carries a great sense of harmony and elegance, which is very welcoming. One of Keith’s favourites, The Beauty Shiraz, is another highlight which is a beautifully feminine expression of Barossa Shiraz, wonderfully fragrant (thanks to a touch of viognier) and simply irresistible.
We cannot finish without mentioning Clos Otto Shiraz, which is a remarkable wine and one which sticks in your memory with much fondness. Putting personal preferences aside, both Stu and I agree that the H-Block Shiraz Cabernet tipped the scales for being the stand-out wine of the day. Deeply complex and expressive, it possesses a striking balance with layers and layers of deliciousness and great textures flowing effortlessly on your palate. We could not expect anything less from a blend of the best blocks, which are Clos Otto Shiraz and von Kasper Cabernet. Thank you, Keith!
Hentley Farm The Marl Grenache 2016
96 Points - James Halliday
You see the attention to detail with this wine: 94% on skins for 6 days, 6% for 52 days, all picking batches kept separate, matured in used oak for 7 months. This is space age Barossa Valley grenache, showing it is possible to make great wine at 13.5% alcohol without any confection/Turkish delight characters, just a delicious flower vase collection of red fruits. Big time bargain.
£15.95 per bottle
Hentley Farm Von Kasper Cabernet 2015
97 Points - Magda Sienkiewicz
You cannot escape the expectation of great intensity here with deep, saturated black core however, the old saying is – never judge a book by its cover. Incredibly aromatic and uplifting nose filled with blackcurrant, mulberry and eucalyptus. The palate is expansive and expressive. Abundant fruit takes the lead over beautifully judged acidity and svelte tannins. Incredible poise and polish. Multi-dimensional and rich without heaviness or over extraction. Covering every facet of your palate and leading to a long and elegant finish, this is a sensational Cabernet which deserves a firm place amongst the very best of Barossa Valley and Australia as a whole.
£62.50 per bottle
Hentley Farm H Block Shiraz Cabernet 2015
97 Points - James Halliday
A 67/33% blend, fermented separately, 9 days on skins, matured for 22 months in French oak (50% new), blended after 6 months in oak. As expected, a very complex wine, the complexity primarily coming from the duel between blackberry and blackcurrant fruit, oak a second for both parties. So yes, oak is obvious, yet integrated, and impossible to dislike. The tannins are impeccable in usual Hentley Farm style, and when you wrap it all up, it's irresistible.
£115.95 per bottle
Hentley Farm The Quintessential Shiraz Cabernet 2015
97 Points - James Halliday
A 60/40% blend, destemmed and crushed, 70% with 35 days on skins, 30% 8 days on skins, matured in French oak (30% new) for 12 months. The blackcurrant/cassis/herb notes of the cabernet unexpectedly come out on top of the blackberry and plum of the shiraz. This medium-bodied wine has been carefully handled in the winery during both the fermentation and maturation phases, emerging with absolutely perfect balance.
£44.50 per bottle
Hentley Farm Clos Otto Shiraz 2015
97 Points - James Halliday
Individual estate parcels, machine-harvested, destemmed and crushed, open-fermented with cultured yeast, 8 days on skins, matured in French oak (70% new) for 22 months, blended after 6 months in oak. An exotic bouquet with new shoe leather and a sprinkle of sultry spices, the full-bodied palate with supple blackberry fruits to the fore and an underlay of integrated French oak. There is a finesse to the overall texture, structure and flavour that is remarkable.
£122.50 per bottle
Hentley Farm The Old Legend Grenache 2016
96 Points - James Halliday
Estate-grown, 15% picked early with a large percentage of whole bunches in the ferment adding plush fruit and vibrancy, 60% spent 40 days on skins for earth, spice and tannins; 20% was picked late in the season providing richness and colour. As intended, the result is a rich and powerful wine with texture and structure to burn. Closer to traditional style, but without confection. Will be long lived.
£43.00 per bottle
96 Points - James Halliday
Medium- to full-bodied, redolent with blackberry and satsuma plum fruit,
with very good oak integration, balance and length.
£26.95 per bottle
Docking in the UK Tomorrow
The most hotly anticipated arrival out of Tasmania…
Dredgy (as Peter is known) produces four Pinot Noirs - North, South, East and the Tasmanian blend. They are made almost identically, in the same (tiny) batch size. The regional characteristics are the only separation. True wines which show-off Tasmania’s regional terroir superbly.
Year-in-year-out, Dr Edge wines sell-out within weeks to a loyal, cult following. We have worked incredibly hard (it has taken almost a full year of communications) to bring Dredgy’s wines to the UK for the first time.
‘Tiny’ allocations translates to exactly that – We only have 36 x bottles of the North, South, East. The Tassie blend offers more quantity and offers the same,
Decanting for an hour is essential and please try them in Zalto Burgundy glass. The investment in one glass takes your drinking pleasure to a higher level.
*Please also allow a few weeks of R&R as they’ve been on a very long journey*
Kaesler wines are arriving on the same vessel and we are introducing several ‘new’ wines, which have not entered the UK market before.
Of course, we had to ship their Old Bastard Shiraz, which is one of the Barossa's most evocative wines. Based on a small patchwork of "old bastards", planted around 1893 on sandy clay loams over clay, it captures the essence of contemporary Australian winemaking philosophy where individual vineyard site is the ascendant star. The wine with its distinctive Ralph Steadman caricature label is a highly individual style with elegance of fruit, density and richness, savoury muscular tannins and underlying oak. Fermented in stainless steel and matured in 'Burgundian' oak for 12 to 19 months, depending on the character of the vintage, it is bottled “au naturel”, with no fining or filtration.
Special wooden cases (6 pack) have been produced for Vinorium customers. In addition, we have secured Vinorium customers the very best price in the world market with prices ranging from £640.00 (Australia) to £750.00 (Singapore / Hong Kong). We are offering a six-pack for £435.00 IB per case.
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.
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 available too. Whole bunch 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…
Like so many, I stumbled into the wine business. On a lark, I travelled to Florence, Italy to study abroad for a semester. While I was there I was exposed to, and fell in love with, wine. Back in Arizona I had been studying Political Science and History with a post-graduate plan to attend law school… but, after my time in Italy, the die was cast. I returned to the States, graduated from university, and four days later moved to the Napa Valley. I had sent my resume to fifty wineries in the Valley and only one replied: Robert Mondavi. I showed up to my temporary harvest position interview wearing a suit and tie. They literally laughed at me, gave me a very basic math exam and asked if I could pass a drug test. A few weeks later I was hired.
I spent the harvest of 1997 working the night shift – The only Anglo on an all Latino crew. When they realized I was there to work hard they took me in, gave me a nickname, and showed me the ropes. I loved it! But I quickly realized that if I was going to work this hard, eventually it would have to be for myself. The very next year I started Orin Swift. Orin is my father’s middle name and Swift is my mother’s maiden name. The first vintage in 1998 was less than spectacular. It was a tough harvest, and I bought fruit from the wrong part of a great vineyard. I learned first hand that, “Experience is what you get when you don’t get what you want.” The truth is, when it comes to winemaking there are no silver bullets, no secrets. We as winemakers are only as good as our fruit source.
Our winemaking philosophy then was the same as it is today: find the best fruit from the best vineyards. Farm it right, harvest it right, bring it into the winery,
and don’t screw it up.
Thank you for reading my story and I hope you enjoy my wines.
Dave Phinney (Winemaker)
Impressed by the wines and by the way the brand powerfully connects with consumers, E&J Gallo Winery was thrilled to add Orin Swift to their family of brands in June 2018. Gallo has long admired Dave Phinney and Orin Swift's innovative blends, expressive wines and imaginative, thought-provoking labels.
Dave says he's just as thrilled because now he gets to focus on his work in the vineyard, the cellar and the creative packaging. "I'm like a kid in a candy store," he says. "I'm freed up to do all the things I love. That's what I'm supposed to be doing."
Dave also says he knows Orin Swift wines are in very good hands. "It's important to me there's good stewardship of the brand," he says. "The philosophy at Orin Swift is to be humble and to over deliver, and that describes Gallo's philosophy too. There's not a lot of flash, just a really smart ways of doing business. I know that selling wine is the hardest part of this business and we're putting Orin Swift wines in the hands of people who know what they're doing."
Orin Swift now has increased access to better vineyards, more control of the farming practices and greater resources than ever before. "Orin Swift wines will only get better," says Dave. "What I'm most excited about is working with the Gallo family and the targets we have way out into the future. I've sourced fruit from Gallo vineyards in the past and I know what assets they are."
"We're always challenging ourselves. We don't have competitors--we compete with ourselves. We've never made a wine we're completely satisfied with," he says. "I'll be shocked if over the next 2-5 years, we're making not just better wine, but appreciably better wine. 2016 is an important vintage and I'm excited about what the future holds."
"If there's any message I want to send," he says, "It's that I take what we do extremely, extremely seriously. I view it as a responsibility, and it would be disrespectful to the product, the company and the consumer if I didn't. I said this to Wine Spectator and I'm still saying it: This is going to be Orin Swift, no holds barred."
Mannequin California Chardonnay 2016
I often get asked, what comes first with a wine? Is it the name, the label or the wine itself? It's different for every wine and for this one, it was the name. I was driving, listening to a song and it had a line, "You at a stand still, mannequin." It got me thinking about mannequins and their purpose to serve as a stylized representation of the human form to showcase clothes, or in this case, a wine. Clothing, much like wine, evolves over time to reflect trends, nature and creative whims, yet the mannequin always remains static.
With this image of mannequins, I knew it should be a white wine. It was conceived as a white blend, but it gradually developed into a cuvée dominated by Chardonnay and blended with aromatic varieties that change vintage to vintage. We choose grapes from vineyards with particularly cool climates to provide lush flavours with bright acidity.
£31.95 per bottle
Orin Swift Abstract Red Wine 2016
I travel internationally and spend a lot of time in airports, so I'll buy about 10 magazines from whatever country I'm in. For Abstract, I was inspired by a photo of a collage that an Italian designer had tacked up in his living room, and for the next three years, I spent time on planes ripping out images from magazines--just things I liked. When I had enough great images, I pieced them together. It was not easy at all. It took about two weeks. I would come into the office at night, working on a big table. After the third day, we closed off that part of the office for fear that someone would open a door and a gust would blow everything apart. Every night I'd take a picture as a safety measure. When it was done, we got on a big ladder and shot it. That was the only easy part.
I like the complexity we get by using fruits from different geographical locations. Abstract is a Grenache-based blend with Syrah and Petit Sirah and it represents all of California - all of the pieces, climates and features that tell a story of the state. I start with over 100 different lots of wine, searching for the right components of the blend. Individually, they're good wines, but together, they tell a full, complex story, like a collage.
£33.95 per bottle
Orin Swift Machete Red Wine 2016
I was driving home from San Francisco, probably going too fast, and I saw what I thought was a cop ahead of me. Then I realised it was an old police car that had been resold. As I pulled alongside it, there was this postal worker with his arm hanging out the window, smoking a cigarette. On the side of the car, someone had keyed the word "KILLERS." I thought that's pretty graphic and cool.
We did the photo shoot at the dumps in Calistoga because it's like a moonscape out there. We were going to key "MACHETE" onto the side of the car and have the model behind the wheel, holding a machete out the window, but I quickly realized that wasn't going to work. We shot for two days and had about 10,000 shots. We ended up doing a series of 12 different labels, and you'll notice that the model is always around the same size or high up in the frame. She's always in a position of power.
That was most important to me.
It's always been a goal to showcase Petite Sirah in a dynamic blend, so we searched for the right vineyard throughout Northern California to give us a matrix that creates layers and depth. Machete blends Petite Sirah with Syrah and Grenache, and the result is a wine that has the attitude to go with 12 individual labels.
£45.55 per bottle
£417.95 per case (12x75cl) In Bond
Orin Swift Palermo Cabernet Sauvignon 2015
I was looking through National Geographic and I found this photo by Vincent Musi. He's been a regular contributor to them forever. It's a shot of a kind of mummified priest in a 16th-century catacomb in Palermo, Sicily. There is such a sense of power and dignity and reverence to the image, and I thought that's kind of how we think about great Cabernet - that we just really respect it. I think it makes a statement about the wine, which I like to call, "Separate among equals."
I'm proud that some of the same wine that goes into Mercury Head and Papillon goes into Palermo. They are not "kick-outs," we just have more that we need. Palmero could be considered our most approachable Cabernet and it's a true representation of Napa. It changes every year, but I get the great fruit from all over, usually Rutherford, Saint Helena, Atlas Peak, Coombsville and other places, too.
£45.55 per bottle
£417.95 per case (12x75cl) In Bond
Orin Swift Papillon Red Wine 2014
My daughter was about 3 years old and I was walking through the vineyard with her on my shoulders. A butterfly flew by and she pointed and said, "Look, Dad, Papillon." I was like, wow when did you learn French? I had been thinking about my next label and I knew I wanted a prison style tattoo on somebody's knuckles. It clicked. Papillon is eight letters. I love the juxtaposition of this beautiful French word on these really gritty hands. I got one of our growers to be our hand model. He's one of the nicest guys and an old-school farmer, and we wanted that farmer's hands look. The photograph was taken by Greg Gorman, who shares my passion for wine.
Papillon is our Cabernet-based blend that's composed of all five Bordeaux varieties. The goal was to incorporate all the majesty of Cabernet Sauvignon with the subtleties of Cabernet Franc and Merlot and the power of Petit Verdot and Malbec.
£61.95 per bottle
£287.95 per case (6x75cl) In Bond
Orin Swift Mercury Head Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2015
A while back, I got a handful of change and I found a Liberty Dime - its nickname is Mercury Head - and it reminded me of how much I liked collecting coins when I was a kid. The Mercury Head was always my favourite because it just looks cool. It hasn't been made since 1945, so when I thought about our flagship wine, the name of my most prized coin was exactly right. Then it seemed like the right way to do the label was to put an actual Mercury Head dime on each bottle. It took a little effort at first finding the dimes from dealers and collectors, but now we have a good supply. The great thing these days is, people send us the coins off their empty bottles.
Mercury Head Cabernet Sauvignon emphasises our guiding principle: Without quality grapes, great wine is impossible. It comes from my best lots from very select vineyards in Napa Valley and the wine is a testament to those vineyards, to our principle and to what is possible in Napa Valley.
£119.95 per bottle
Orin Swift Slander Pinot Noir 2016
In the third vintage of Slander, we were on the receiving end of a beautiful harvest , especially for Pinot. Similar to previous vintages, this blend is primarily a mélange of hill side Santa Rita Hills fruit. This year also included a new source of Pinot — our first foray to the William Wesley vineyard in Annapolis on the Sonoma Coast—which turned out to be one of the best lots of Pinot we’ve ever had. At the end of trials, Dave picked up a glass and said , “Now this is the type of Pinot I want to drink.” Do you agree?
Bright ruby in the glass, the aromatics concentrate —cherries, raspberries, dried rose petals, a touch of sweet oak and a hint of forest floor. The entry is silky with a classic Pinot Noir palate: loads of ripe red fruit, savory under tones and a principled backbone of acidity. Balanced, lean and complex, the wine finishes softly at length.
£45.55 per bottle
£417.95 per case (12x75cl) In Bond
Orin Swift Blank Stare Sauvignon Blanc 2017
The 2016 Blank Stare was our first venture into the cooler Russian River Valley to make a different expression of Sauvignon Blanc from its Napa Valley sister, Veladora. For 2017, we wanted to continue crafting a wine with livelier acidity and a distinctive minerality —akin to old world Sauvignon Blancs — while still retaining our signature style. Sourced mainly from hand picked blocks in the Laguna Ranch and Mac Murray Ranch vineyards, this vintage is truly representative of its locale .
Pale yellow with a chartreuse tint, the wine opens with bright aromatics of lime zest, lemon, green apple and a touch of honey. The entry is refreshing with ripe pineapple and grapefruit, framed by a nervy back bone of satiating acidity. Amid - palate of white peach and a hint of pith melds seamlessly into a long, energetic finish of
wet stone and key lime.
£31.95 per bottle
Kumeu River Hunting Hill Chardonnay 2016
17.5 Points - Jancis Robinson
Light struck-match nose and then quite opulent fruit on the palate. Tense and vibrant. Very long. The most appealing 2016 so far.
95 Points - Joe Czerwinski (RobertParker.com)
The voluminous yet weightless 2016 Hunting Hill Chardonnay continues this bottling's successful run of vintages. Hints of roasted cashew accent tropical fruit, but thanks to a zesty line of citrusy acids, the wine powers forward without ever seeming overly broad or heavy. It simply coats the mouth with a stunning array of complex flavors, lingering gently on the finish.
£32.50 per bottle
Kumeu River Coddington
Vineyard Chardonnay 2016
17.5 Points - Tamlyn Currin (JancisRobinson.com)
Similar smoky nose to the Kumeu Estate but an edge of baked creamy oats porridge here. Much more stony on the palate: peaches carved in pebbles. Smart, sophisticated, intense, tight as harp strings. Long and fabulous. I’d gladly pay the extra £5 – this is such a big step up.
96 Points - Bob Campbell
Ripe, quite lush chardonnay with stone fruit, peach, apricot and nectarine flavours, with citrus and a seasoning of hazelnut and ginger characters. A very attractive wine with an impeccable balance and a lingering finish.
£27.95 per bottle
DuMol Clare Chardonnay 2015
98+ Points - Lisa Perrotti-Brown (RobertParker.com)
The Clare Chardonnay is sourced from the Hyde Vineyard on the Napa Valley side of Carneros, planted to Old Wente clone vines that are now 22 years old. The 2015 Chardonnay Clare is a doppelganger for a great Meursault, featuring gloriously seductive pink grapefruit, lemon meringue pie and mandarin peel scents with hints of lime blossoms, fresh ginger, struck match and toasted almonds. Medium to full-bodied, the palate is super intense, with layer upon layer of electrically charged citrus and floral notes, framed by lively acid and a silken texture, finishing very long and very minerally. Wow!!
£67.50 per bottle
DuMol Estate Chardonnay 2015
97+ Points - Jeb Dunnuck
The 2015 Chardonnay Estate Vineyard is another steely, concentrated, almost austere wine from the estate that’s going to demand cellaring. Dried herbs, citrus, white flowers, and salty minerality give way to a medium to full-bodied, concentrated, backward Chardonnay that has awesome potential, yet needs another year of bottle age.
£67.50 per bottle
DuMol Estate Pinot Noir 2015
96 Points - Lisa Perrotti-Brown (RobertParker.com)
Medium ruby-purple in color, the 2015 Pinot Noir Estate Vineyard is beautifully scented of red roses, oolong tea, dusty soil and cinnamon stick with touches of cranberries, rhubarb and fungi. It displays incredible structure on the medium-bodied palate with very firm, very ripe tannins and an electric backbone of freshness supporting the densely packed perfumed red fruits, finishing with great length and depth.
£83.50 per bottle