Issue: 50 / Sunday 2 December, 2018
Written by Stuart McCloskey
November, in our industry is typically the calm before the Christmas storm with independent wine merchants receiving over a third of their annual turnover during this festive window. We have seen a substantial increase in November on-line sales surpassing 2017 figures by 29% and, quite extraordinarily, exceeding December’s figures too, which is remarkable and bodes well for the remaining weeks of the year. Using website analytics, an essential reference tool when operating an e-commerce website, we welcomed (during November) a snip under 4,000 new users to our website. Some browsed our website and left without being tempted, others were more curious and filled their baskets but forgot to checkout (or were disturbed in the process!) and 44.5% loved our offerings and received their first order from The Vinorium, which I hope you will thoroughly enjoy. To our new and existing customers, may I thank you all for your kind and generous support.
Last week was particularly impressive, helped by the standout and our best value wine of 2018, 2015 Bay of Fires Chardonnay which I believe comfortably eases into a price range of £20-£25 per bottle which and something we kept secret last week, is exactly the price it retails for back home in Australia. Many of you purchased this superb Tassie Chardonnay based on my recommendation and tasting note. We would love to hear all your views. Please drop us a few lines with your thoughts as we would like to share these next weekend (with your approval of course).
This time of year makes me a tad anxious as many shoppers prefer on-line purchases over the high street, inevitably placing more pressure on the network of UK delivery companies. We have worked hard to safeguard a seamless service and our November delivery figures support the hard work of my team and our delivery company. I believe you are now receiving a one-hour delivery window by text-message or email which adds a layer of assurance as to when to expect your Vinorium parcel(s). Unavoidably, these slots may be missed and this is not always the fault of the network drivers. The majority work incredibly hard and generally care about the service they offer. The minority, if truth be known, are less respectful and often forget to engage their common sense. An example from last week; It was raining throughout the day and our customer lived in high-rise accommodation in London. The driver, in his wisdom, ignored the delivery instructions and left the cardboard parcel in the rain and outside the main lobby door for anyone to simply pick-up and have a free case of wine on The Vinorium. Stupidity happens, and we are powerless to stop it however, may I provide two pieces of advice in the busy run up to Christmas. Firstly, please pay attention to our delivery schedule and plan ahead to save you unnecessary stress. Save the odd act of insanity, everyone is trying their absolute hardest to make sure you receive the perfect Christmas on time. Let’s, and a note to myself, take a deep breath and remember our Christmas spirit.
We have resisted the unveiling of Christmas until today as I believe it comes a little early. It’s such a wonderful time of year but I do wonder if the spirit wears off when the decorations and advertisements arrive in October. Our website has received a makeover and the team has prepared a selection of festive wines and gift ideas to assist. We are also available for personal recommendations as we have an exceptional understanding of food and wine pairings.
Given our global delivery network (and we deliver to many countries) we are the perfect choice and partner to ensure your corporate, friends & families’ gifts are delivered in time. Please contact the team as we are ready and perfectly able to assist with all your gifting requirements.
We are looking forward to sharing many, personal messages from our winemakers although, and given their historical reluctance to read their emails, these may arrive around Easter!
Merry Christmas from the Kay Brothers team! Whilst the northern hemisphere is dreaming of a white Christmas we're dreaming of a Rosé Christmas.
It’s bound to be warm in McLaren Vale during the Festive Season and Grenache Rosé is the perfect wine for the summer months - it seems we can't get enough of this delicious pink wine! Not only is it refreshing and lighter than a red wine, but it still retains the complexity you come to expect from a Kay Brothers wine. It will perfectly match the ‘Australian’ Christmas seafood feast.
Our 2017 Griffon’s Key Grenache is popular year-round, but should definitely have a spot in your Christmas wine rack. This top drop is a pleasure to drink, with alluring aromas of rose petal and dark cherry to bring back memories of Christmas’ past. With concentrated fruit flavours of strawberry, raspberries and dark cherries, this Grenache is another perfect accompaniment to your Christmas ham. It just was reviewed by Tyson Stelzer – Wine Business Magazine and scored 96 points “one of Australia’s most sophisticated Grenaches achieves even accord between exacting varietal definition”.
Christmas time is a special time of year and as we enjoy time with family and friends a ‘museum vintage’ of Block 6 Shiraz will certainly be one of the precious wines served during celebrations. We recently hosted a Shiraz McLaren Vale master class to UK & EU media and the 2004 vintage was in stunning form. It demonstrated the aging capability of our enduring signature wine superbly. While the rest of the world freezes through the holiday season, in Australia we enjoy the sun, surf and sand.
Thank you for your support - all the best wishes from the Kay Brothers custodians!
Our final deep-sea shipment from Adelaide arrives at Tilbury port on the 10 December. The cargo is precious, and time is running out to get these gems to your Christmas table on time. Inside the container lies wines which have not set foot on UK soils before including Two Hands Yacca Block, Heartbreak Hill, Holy Grail to name a few. Wild Duck Creek and Kay Brothers also form part of this final shipment. I am looking forward to enjoying a bottle of the 2012 Wild Duck Creek Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve and their 2017 Roussanne which is a first for me. I am also looking forward to tucking into a bottle of Kay Brothers Amery Vineyard Griffon's Key Grenache and very excited to see how the new, 2016 Block 6 is drinking. Of course, young, but drinking shiraz from vines dating back to 1892 is always something special.
We have planned which wines are coming to our HQ shop – These will be available by the bottle and with the added advantage of buying the entire range directly from the producers, without upsetting Santa’s budget! All three producers are now live (by the bottle). Pre-Christmas delivery is going to be tight, but we will do our utmost and will, of course, keep you posted with exact delivery days.
Christmas at The Vinorium
Introducing the House of Arras
Late Disgorged 2003
12 years on the lees / disgorged June 2015
99 Points Stuart McCloskey
Extraordinarily left on the lees for 12 full years and disgorged June 2015. This is far from a New World gimmick - Mind-bogglingly brilliant and without question, the greatest sparkling wine outside of Champagne and better than many within. A sublime blend of 61% Chardonnay & 39% Pinot Noir which offers a profusion of aromatics and flavours. The wine delivers mouth-filling generosity with nutty honeycomb, toasted brioche, bread (a factor of the extended lees contact), toasted grains, caramel and citrus notes. I detect some ocean sea salinity which makes sense given the marine location. Clearly, the wines maturity is for all to see however, the purity and finesse is quite staggering. A towering masterpiece, riveting, difficult to share as several glasses is never enough and I honestly can't imagine it getting any better. Truly epic and the New World benchmark. Almost perfect! Served using Zalto universal. Only 2,200 bottles produced.
A Very Special Christmas Offer
Presented in a Stunning Gift Box
£77.95 to £90.95. All prices exclude taxes
and are available from Australia only.
98 Points - James Halliday
First fermentation in stainless steel. Gleaming straw-yellow; 6.5g/l dosage, disgorged June 2015, and has acquired exceptional length to its toasted, buttery brioche, honey, spice and nut flavours. Despite its age, it has kept its freshness and vibrancy thanks to its core of acidity.
Our Price & 147 bottles available
£57.95 per bottle
House of Arras
Vintage Rosé 2005
96 points - Stuart McCloskey
I was curious to sample the ’05 as I am not a huge fan of sparkling Rosé. A beautiful copper colour with cranberries, red stone fruits, sweet raspberry, orange peel and a little rosewater. In fact, the wine builds with endless layers and has the structure (as with the entire Arras range) of great, Grand Cru Champagne. There’s no holding back with this wine – It’s been released to be relished. There’s real depth and a destiny on show which takes this Rosé to the head of the class and deservedly so. I could imagine a dozen grilled, Loch Linnhe langoustines partnered with a chilled bottle of the ’05.
£26.75 per bottle
House of Arras
Grand Vintage 2007
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…
UK Price Comparisons
£33.50 to £50.40
Our Price £26.50 per bottle
£109.00 per case (6x75cl) In Bond
House of Arras
Brut Elite NV
94 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 has no world equal for value. Disgorged after four years.
£17.95 per bottle
£65.50 per case (6x75cl) In Bond
Christmas Domestic (UK) Delivery
Schedule from our HQ
• We are advising all our customers to place their orders before
4.30pm on Wednesday 19th December to ensure delivery before Christmas.
• We will be despatching all orders placed before 4.30pm on Thursday 20th December on the same day but please note that these are not guaranteed to arrive pre-Christmas.
• We will be extending our same day despatch promise until 4.30pm from
Monday 10th December.
• All orders placed after 4.30pm on Thursday 20th December will be despatched on Thursday 3rd January.
Domestic (UK) Delivery
Schedule from our UK Bond
• We are advising all our customers to place their orders before
12pm on Wednesday 20th December to ensure delivery before Christmas.
• Orders for the following postcodes must be placed by:
HS, KA, KW, PA, ZE
AB, BT, DD, DG, FK, IV, KA, KY, PH, TD
EH, FK, G, LD, ML, PA
European Delivery Schedule
• European delivery cut offs are yet to be confirmed.
Our Office and Shop Christmas Hours
Monday - Friday
• The shop will be open Monday to Thursday from 9am-5pm and Friday from 9am-3pm (extended until 5pm on Friday 14th and 21st)
Weekend Opening Times
1st December – 10am-4pm
8th December – 10am-5pm
15th, 22nd and 23rd December – 9am-6pm
The shop will be closed on Christmas eve
• Our office will close on Friday 21st December at 5pm
and re-open on Thursday 3rd January.