Issue: 51 / Sunday 9 December, 2018
Written by Stuart McCloskey
Last Saturday, Magda and I hosted our annual, super-special Christmas tasting which allows us the opportunity to spend one entire evening, pouring some of our most exciting wines, with a small group of customers, which and over the years, have become cherished friends. We spent much of the day dressing both our seven-foot Christmas trees and the afternoon preparing the wines for the evenings event. Decanting carefully, sampling to assess each wine's quality (One, one hundred pound bottle was corked!) and judging and controlling the correct level of aeration for each wine. This is by no means an ordinary tasting. In fact, and if one times it from start to finish, it lasts for six hours. Our guests arrived to our house Champagne, Champagne Salmon, which is beautifully crafted from 100% Meunier and went down a treat with crisp cheese twists and bowls of pigs in blankets. A combination which signifies the start of Christmas.
Flight 1 consisted of three, House of Arras wines all of which were served in Zalto’s Universal glassware. The 2007 Grand Vintage, a blend of Chardonnay 78% & Pinot Noir 22% was met with common appreciation, and as one had hoped, got our guest's undivided attention. The nose was incredibly expansive with aromatics soaring from the glass, which gain with intensity with more air contact. We explained the extended time on the lees (8 years in this case) developed the honeyed brioche and nutty yeast autolysis character, which was a hit with all. Our special price of £26.50 was an interesting discussion point as the entire table would have happily added another ten pounds to the price, which simply proves this superb wine punches well above our price offering – Something we will be examining in January 2019.
The 2005 Rosé followed, and the copper / orange colour looked beautiful in the glassware and intimate Christmas lighting. A wine which was met with much appreciation. So much so, a good proportion of guests classified this as their fizz of the night. This is not, by any stretch of the imagination, one of those ‘all fur coat and no knickers’ wines. There’s real depth and a density on show which takes this Rosé to the head of the class and deservedly so. Again, our special price amazed and many orders ensued.
The Arras 2003 (61% Chardonnay & 39% Pinot Noir) was sublime and won the hearts of our guests. Some, and rightly so, placing this above several, very expensive Grande Marques. There are no negatives to the brilliance and patience of this wine. 12 full years on the lees and disgorged June 2015 delivers an almost perfect wine. Mouth-filling generosity with nutty honeycomb, toasted brioche, bread (a factor of the extended lees contact), toasted grains, caramel and citrus notes. A towering masterpiece, an opinion shared with some of our lucky guests.
Flight 2 commenced with the 2017 Nocturne Chardonnay produced by the acclaimed Margaret River winemaker Julian Langworthy and wife Alana. We are exclusive (UK) agents which adds a heightened level of sensitivity to our guests feedback. We served all our Chardonnays in Zalto Bordeaux glasses as, and after much testing, it delivers the wine to perfection. Served directly from the bottle (note: I would recommend decanting for 20-30 minutes) and did it deliver? Stunning, chiselled, precise and as one of our guests declared “as good a as any young Puligny Montrachet”. We unveiled, and for the very first time outside of Australia, the new 2016 Eileen Hardy Chardonnay which is already showing beautifully. For me, tell-tale ‘Eileen’ characteristics and more expansive than the Nocturne. We have a few bottles available (there are only two world-wide merchants offering the chance to buy the new vintage). I would declare a 50/50 split. Those preferring the more delineated, Burgundian style opted for the Nocturne and those wanting a tad more fruit, weight and mouthfeel opting for the new Eileen Chardonnay. Both are superb.
The 2015 DuMOL ‘Clare’ was next in-line with the Chardonnay being sourced from the Hyde Vineyard on the Napa Valley side of Carneros. An interesting wine to present particularly off the back of Lisa Perrotti-Brown’s (Parker.com) huge score of 98+. We shared the score, but we kept the price tag a secret as we simply wanted to hear our guests’ views. Again, a faultless wine which everyone appreciated however, not one of our customers believed the price-tag aligned with the previous two wines. It just goes to show that serving wines ‘blind’ is always the best way to ascertain quality vs. value. Personally, I love it but I completely understand our customers perspective. We reverted back to Zalto’s Universal glass and served our final wine in Flight 2, Flowstone’s 2011 Sauvignon Blanc which was a revelation. In hindsight, I wished I had served the ’12 as this vintage offers some cracking similarities to mature Graves but nonetheless, the 2011 was showing fabulously. A typical, tell-tale nose which offered no justification to the quality and complexity of flavour on offer. I am a huge fan of Stuart Pym’s artistry and believe he is the number one Aussie producer for Sauvignon Blanc. Mercurial and with bags of life left in it…
Flight 3; the Pinot Noirs (all exclusive to The Vinorium) and all served in the beautiful Zalto Burgundy glass. We presented the 2017 Dr Edge Tasmanian Blend for the first time in the UK. Actually, and as far as I am aware, the first time Peter Dredge wines have been shown in Europe. This is a blend of Peter’s three single region wines, East, North and South. Our guests were surprised by the wines light colour and delicate presence, which contrasts Pete’s larger than life character. All of the Dr Edge wines are highly-sophisticated, intelligent (adult style) and do take a degree of patience and consideration. Delicious now but will undoubtedly benefit from a few years cellaring. Interestingly, and the surprise of our evening goes to one of our most hardened Shiraz fans who loved the Tassie Pinot Noir. Perhaps their levels of sophistication came together!
The 2016 Devotus Estate Pinot Noir just gets better and better and was showing brilliantly. Very much Burgundian in style but with a touch more sweetness of fruit. There’s an honesty with all of Don’s wines which the table respected and thoroughly enjoyed. For me, this is a wine that you spend a long afternoon with – It’s the best way to understand the natural skill at work here. Nothing is under or overdone. A very fine Pinot Noir and is gaining in reputation. The 2017 Glaetzer-Dixon Avancé followed and showed Pinot Noir in a different light. Sweet, succulent entry with an abundance of red cherries, wild strawberry, plums and sweet spices which got the table oohing and arghing. It’s a belter of a wine and made the more appealing with a price-tag of just £22.50, which the entire table thought was a bargain.
We poured the rare 2014 Glatzer Judith Pinot Noir (only 251 bottles produced), a profound wine in my opinion. Three years in new oak would, under normal circumstances, overpower the Pinot Noir however, Nick (Glaetzer) has created something rather monumental. Seamless, supple, with notes of rose petals, caramelized cherries, cinnamon and tea leaves. Not a hair out of place and not one foot wrong. Quite magical and a very special wine to share with our guests.
Before commencing with Flight 4, we broke for a light supper of Scottish smoked salmon and hand carved ham, served with spiced fruits and a selection of cheeses all washed down with Nick’s Rêveur Pinot Noir 2015, which also met with rapturous applause. We previously communicated how amazed we were with Nick’s entire range of wine but it’s so gratifying to hear all our guests talk so fondly of their quality. They are fantastic, superbly priced and will elevate your Christmas bird. Take my word for it!
All wines were served using Zalto’s Bordeaux glassware. We changed the serving order as the 100-point Villa Maria Ngakirikiri Cabernet Sauvignon 2013 has shut down, which was a real shame. We poured and explained the thoughts behind a wine’s ‘shutting-down’ phase, although there is no scientific evidence to support the ‘coma’ stage as I like to call it. Today, the wine is hard and unyielding, and the wine’s aromatics have vanished. But, and with time, the wine will come back but then again and like a coma, who knows when. Sadly, it was a pour, sip and tip exercise but a good lesson nonetheless.
The 2011 Yarra Yering Dry Red No: 1 followed and was showing splendidly (10+ years of life left in it). No.1 is a Cabernet dominant Bordeaux blend and always demands some bottle age before its magnificence unfolds. I am not entirely sure if the table found favour with one of my favourites, and if that is the case, I believe the surroundings were to blame as this wine needs lots of TLC, a quiet room, and the opportunity to snuggle-up with you for the evening. The sensational 2010 Grant Burge Shadrach followed, which lifted everyone (which we knew it would!). Utterly seamless with touches of cassis, blackcurrant and lead pencil. A feminine style of Australian Cabernet Sauvignon – refined and pure. Just magic and worthy of 98 points.
The 2012 Château Pontet Canet which has always shown beautifully was poured to an excited table. Granted, not a blockbuster compared to the 2009, 2010, 2015 & 2016 but it does drink very, very well indeed. Very succinct and ’12 shows the wines purity, harmony and balance perfectly. An all-round success which ignited much excitement and the unveiling of two surprises. Château Latour’s second wine, Forts de le Latour (71.4% Cabernet Sauvignon and 28.6% Merlot) offered a little insight into this great, and very expensive First Growth. This, the 2012, was released by the Château early this year and arrived at our HQ in the October. I have always been a huge fan of Latour’s opulence and sensual mouthfeel which trickles down from the Grand Vin to its second wine. What an absolute treat for everyone – The first Forts de le Latour experience for many too..
We opened a historic bottle of 1945 Château Kirwan (Margaux). Decanting ahead of time (given the large number of wines on offer) could have been disastrous, which is the reason why we poured straight from the bottle and used our staff tea strainer (clean of course). My guests and I were honoured to be drinking a bottle, produced as World War II came to an end. Over the years, the wine’s bouquet transformed from Bordeaux into a Burgundy, which was heavenly. The palate awash with tea and cedar. Time had taken the wines power but has left a memory which will last with us all for a very long time.
We finished flight 4 with my only 100 pointer of the year, Gramercy Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve 2013, which and to quote one of our guests, sent shivers down her spine. The palate is rich, coating every facet, contrasted with a beguiling sense of purity. The finesse, poise and focus are extraordinary. Effortless with layer upon layer of perfectly ripe fruit and still worthy of 100 points.
Our final flight was also served in Zalto Bordeaux glassware as we needed the aeration which a larger glass provides. We unveiled, a world exclusive, namely Hardy’s 165th Anniversary Cabernet Sauvignon Shiraz which will be arriving April / May 2019. The wine is a skilful blend of Houghton’s Jack Mann, a portion of the Eileen Hardy Shiraz, and a tiny splash of Coonawarra Cabernet Sauvignon. I had huge expectations (99 points from James Halliday) however, and upon reflection, I am left a little deflated. Detailed, precise, clearly very well made but… I was left wanting and I cannot put my finger on it. I look forward to re-sampling under different surroundings in the hope I can find what I am missing. All our guests enjoyed the wine, but I did not hear shouts of joy!
Dan Standish’s 2016 The Relic followed and I was captured. The entire table was enthralled, even those non-Shiraz consumers amongst the group. The aromatics soared from the glass thanks to the 2% Viognier. Utterly superb and hands down, the most outstanding Shiraz of the evening. I was so impressed, I opened a bottle during the week and awarded 99 points. I am sensitive to alcohol and found a slight nip of heat but I imagine I am in the minority. I would also imagine the majority will find this the ultimate in Australian Shiraz. Quite extraordinary and my full tasting note can be found here
Sadly, only 150 cases of the 2015 1905 Hobbs were produced and it has met with much acclaim (98 Points from Robert Parker.com “It actually made my hair stand on end when I tasted it”). The table was split as some found the density and richness perhaps a little too overwhelming. Others found it very much to their favour which I can understand and appreciate. Personally, rein in a few levels and I fundamentally believe you have a world-class Shiraz.
Another first for the UK’s shores came in the form of the 2015 Alte Reben Shiraz sourced from their Marananga vineyard planted in 1899. This is a whopper of a wine and jam-packed with layer upon layer of fruit and tannins. This requires a full day of decanting or a further ten years before enjoying to its fullest extent. Superb wine but, and as I feared, my guests palates were exhausted and this was one wine too far. A shame.
Carriages arrived but three stragglers stayed behind – What to serve their jaded palates? I know, a bottle of 1959 Château Lynch Bages from my own collection.
A few words from our lovely guests…
“Just a short note of extreme appreciation for allowing us to participate Saturday evening. Was once again a truly special evening. Stu you really are a generous and warm person. Mags as always, totally gorgeous. Loved the people, loved you both to bits and of course the selection of wines speaks for itself”.
Rob & Abbie Scott
“What more could you wish for, super hosts, good company, delicious food and great great wine ! Thank you so much for a marvellous evening, I thoroughly enjoyed myself. It was exceptionally generous of you, especially to also open the 1945 Kirwan and 1959 Lynch Bages”.
“I just wanted to say a huge thank you for such a great evening. Really entertaining and stupendous wines. It was a great night and I not only got to try wine I could never afford, I did get to make a note of some that I consider a real Christmas treat, in particular Gramercy Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve 2013 and the great value Eileen Chardonnay 2016. Thank you so much to Stuart and his team and now to make my Christmas wish list if anyone is listening?!”
“Thank you both for a really great night, the wines were all interesting and each one individual, none of that generic samey tasting wines with you guys. Over the years I have been on a few wine tastings and this was easily the best due to the very relaxed and unpompous manner of the evening, it was like spending an evening with a bunch of friends that all have a common interest in the grape. The knowledge you and Stu have is outstanding and the ability to pass that on in a way us mere mortals can relate to is a skill.”
Dave & Jackie Russell
“Thank you very much for the tasting on Saturday night. All the wines were gorgeous and it's certainly the oldest claret I have ever tasted! A wonderful start to the Xmas festivities. Flight 5: Probably a ‘flight too far’ for me - I should have spat more and swallowed less!! The standout for me was the Standish, The Relic”
Jonathan & Lorna Fidgeon
Decanter's experts from around the world named the bottles under £60 that impressed them most this year. After tasting a selection of the nominated wines, Decanter judges compiled the ultimate top 50, across all styles and we have three of them!
House of Arras
Grand Vintage 2007
"Classically aged, dry chocolate and a hint of cocoa powder mixed with hazelnuts.
Lovely if you like you fizz aged."
"Subdued aromas, with light herbs. Bright and fresh in the mouth,
but with a defined mushroom undertone."
"Showing its age but still very classy. Creamy, yeasty aromas and soft, buttery red apples on the palate - earthy but still fresh. Lovely to enjoy now but will keep."
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
Errazuriz Las Pizarras Chardonnay
Aconcagua Costa 2015
"Pale, green, salty fresh with a delightful yellow peach skin and just a little chewiness."
"Full, broad and bursting with flavour. A forthright style, with developing tertiary characters. Delicate lift of freshness at the end."
"Evolving, savoury style, boasting flinty minerality and bold, pure apple flavours. Excellent, fresh acidity with gentle and well-balanced oak.
I'd happily have another glass."
98 Points - James Suckling
"The structure and length of this white highlights its greatness. Full body, yet tight and structured with a superb linear backbone of ripe fruit and fine phenolic tension. Cream, stone, flint and apple. All about refined texture."
£51.25 per bottle
Blank Canvas Pinot Noir 2015
"Full and ripe style. The fruit is a little skins-dominant and squeezed. Chewy oak."
"The very model of a modern Pinot: ethereal balance on the nose between promise of red fruits and fine oak. The palate has a delightfully juicy impression,
toned down by delicate spice."
"Dense bramble fruit, green apple acidity and gentle spice. Unusually dark and concentrated for a Pinot. Dusty tannins and some nice freshness to finish.
Modern but good."
97 Points - Bob Campbell MW
"From a low-yielding vineyard in the Waihopai Valley with clay-based soils and 17 year-old vines. 50% whole-bunches in the fermentation. Evocatively perfumed wine with savoury, fresh herb, violet, red rose, cherry and berry flavours supported by classy spicy oak. Dense and seamless with an impressively lengthy finish. Delicious wine."
£25.50 per bottle
"Perfumed, almost New World aromas of blueberry and blackberry jam. Lively and zesty yet wonderfully soft, with finely honed tannins and a fresh, long finish. Super-enjoyable."
"Sénéjac simply shouts quality as it is now run by Alfred Tesseron of the famed Château Pontet Canet. A bouquet of red and black fruits, a touch of smoke and a faint whiff of cigar box. The palate is medium-bodied with silky tannins. Very focused and seductive towards the rounded, plum finish. Great harmony and focus. This is certainly beginning to open, although it needs serious decanting."
17 Points - Jancis Robinson
"37% Merlot, 48% Cabernet Sauvignon, 11% Cabernet Franc, 4% Petit Verdot. Lively deep crimson. Leathery nose. Round and supple and surprisingly low in tannins. Really rather sophisticated. Lovely fresh, appetising quality to this very friendly, cool wine.
£29.95 per bottle
Top 50 Red Wines of 2018 and we have one!
Lagniappe Syrah 2015
98 Points - Jeb Dunnuck (robertparker.com)
Always one of my favorite releases from this estate, the 2015 Syrah Lagniappe is 100% Syrah (mostly from the Red Willow Vineyard in Yakima, with 5% from the Forgotten Hills Vineyard just south of Walla Walla). Deep ruby/plum-colored and loaded with Côte Rôtie-like (Côte Blonde?) notes of black raspberries, crushed flowers, tapenade, and crushed flowers, this beauty is medium to full-bodied, seamless, and silky on the palate, with incredible finesse and elegance. It's going to benefit from 3-4 years of bottle age and knock your socks off over the following decade or more. It’s unquestionably one of the wines of the vintage.
£51.95 per bottle
£480.00 per case (6x75cl) In Bond
"I consider Dan Standish the reigning
king of Barossa Shiraz"
Joe Czerwinski (Robertparker.com)
“This is an extraordinary wine that surpasses the majority of great Australian Shiraz (Including recent releases from Grange and Hill of Grace)”
Stuart McCloskey (The Vinorium)
Dan’s 2016 Relic featured in last Saturday’s special Christmas tasting (the event will feature in Sunday’s Weekend Read). It was outstanding, so much so, it demanded another opening. For arguments sake – let’s call it a closer assessment!
We are incredibly fortunate to be Dan’s exclusive UK agent as we believe he produces the most luxuriously balanced Shiraz to emerge from the Barossa. 1151 bottles have sold since 1 October 2018, which is some going as we acknowledge, Dan’s wines command a fine wine price tag, but are fully justified.
We have previously reported Joe Czerwinski’s (Robert Parker.com) scores and reviews for each of Dan’s four wines. Joe considers and to quote “Dan Standish the reigning king of Barossa Shiraz. On a conference-room table at Peter Lehmann, surrounded by other top-quality wines, his 2016s completely bowled me over for their intensity, complexity and harmony” Three wines achieving near perfection with 99 points and one, The Schubert Theorem Shiraz 98 points. A view we respect.
Standish The Relic Shiraz Viognier 2016
99 Points - Stuart McCloskey
"98% Shiraz & 2% Viognier. First question; does a mere 2% Viognier add something to the overall wine? Yes, and abundantly so. The floral aromatics soar from the glass and interplay beautifully with the blueberry compote, blackberry, liquorice, grilled meat and a smidgeon of black olive tapenade. The palate offers dark chocolate, sweet, dark fruits and musky dried herbs. Again, the floral character from the Viognier is evident. With time in the glass the wine offers smokey, peppery game notes with an obvious gunflint and mineral character. Creamy textured but nonetheless, concentrated and dense. Svelte tannins which glide seamlessly across my palate. Quite surreal given the wine’s sheer saturated density. Mind blowing, hedonistic and unquestionably one of Australia’s truly great shiraz wines . A snip of warmth from the alcohol (16% of alcohol) and the only reason why I cannot, at this stage, award 100 points. Let’s see how the wine develops over time but let me be clear. This is an extraordinary wine that surpasses the majority of great Australian Shiraz (Including recent releases from Grange and Hill of Grace). Served in Zalto Bordeaux, decanted for three hours (needs much longer) and will drink beyond 2035."
99 Points - Joe Czerwinski (RobertParker.com)
"Everything about Standish's 2016 The Relic Shiraz-Viognier is remarkable, starting with the ridiculous color. It's so dark, so purple, so vibrant. Then the nose boasts soaring florals and stone fruits, while the palate delivers fresh blueberries and dried spices. It's full-bodied but creamy-textured, with supple tannins and concentrated fruit that lingers on the plush finish. Just awesome stuff."
£64.95 per bottle
£311.70 per case (6x75cl) In Bond
A wonderful Christmas gift for you,
friends and family.
Thank you all for your Bay of Fires feedback. Some cracking tasting notes and views. Here’s a few!
“The best chardonnay I’ve tasted since I had the privilege of tasting 8 top level burgundies from the 2010 vintage, in May, and with some more bottle age I expect it would not be far behind them in quality” Wayne de Nicolo
“Sensational wine at the price point. Probably the best value wine I’ve purchased all year. Much like a very good Mornington Chardonnay in my opinion” John Butts
“The first sip which opens up into a real pot-pourri of rich flavours and aromas of mineral (as in Chablis chalk minerality) fruitiness of tropical and stone fruits (not dissimilar to a viognier's peachiness/apricot flavours). Full-bodied with a silky mouth-feel. Dry but not bone-dry and very balanced acidity, opulent without being cloying. I preferred it to the 2015 Eileen Hardy Chardonnay. A real find. Well done” Merrick Marshall
Bay of Fires
96+ Points - Stuart McCloskey
"Hand-picked from the Coal River Valley, East Coast and Derwent Valley, whole bunch-pressed, fermented in French oak from five different coopers. Deep aromas of gunflint and ripe, yellow stone fruits harmoniously fused with layers of mineral complexity and a touch of nutty oak. Medium to full-bodied and a silk-like mouthfeel. The palate is drenched with ripe stone fruits and a density, opulence, energy and drive which is quite extraordinary given the wine’s value. Every grape is assessed for its quality and character, hand-picked with care and thoughtfully considered for its winemaking potential. Each fruit parcel is kept separate, which ensures the core of its flavour components are captured at precisely the right moment. Each batch of wine is matured in the finest oak, resulting in a wine that is deeply impressive. Please do not miss this wine's exhilarating complexity and pedigree. Truly remarkable for the price and quite simply the best Chardonnay I have ever sampled at this price level. Magnificent. Superb now and enjoy to 2023. Served using Zalto Bordeaux glassware."
£14.50 per bottle
Special 12 bottle case price @ £11.95 per bottle
There’s something romantic with the pairing of Christmas & Claret…
Robert Parker.com releases their much-anticipated Bordeaux 2016 in-bottle report & scores. Lisa Perrotti-Brown MW awards eight wines the ultimate 100 points,
and five 99 points.
“While 2016 is an incredible vintage that produced a lot of outstanding and some extraordinary wines throughout Bordeaux, the greatest wines of this amazing year sing not so much about the vintage, or even their communes, but about their vineyards.”
"2016 is the most consistently great year since 2009 and 2010, both at the top of the market and in terms of good value wines".
Lisa Perrotti-Brown MW (Robert Parker.com)
We will publish a full report (early 2019) when each critic has published their respective notes & reports. In the meantime, here’s a handful of superb ‘16’s which are available by the bottle & case and ready to be delivered in time for Christmas.
Château Tour Saint-Christophe 2016
96-97 Points - James Suckling "This is superb: a triumph for the vintage considering how complicated it was in St.-Emilion. Elegance with power. Full-bodied, intense and forthright. Wonderful length and depth. Better than the 2015."
92-94 Points - Neal Martin "The 2016 Tour Saint-Christophe, the Saint Emilion estate of Peter Kwok whose eye-catching terraced vineyard looks upon Barde-Haut from the other side of the valley, is a blend of 80% Merlot and 20% Cabernet Franc picked between 5-23 October and matured in 40% new oak. It has a sensual bouquet with black cherries and cassis scents, the new oak neatly integrated. The palate is medium-bodied with sweet and supple tannin, a little richer than the 2015 and yet still managing to translate the terroir with aplomb. Tasted twice, one bottle showed a little more precision than the other, but I remain confident that this will turn into a Saint Emilion worth investigating.
Drink Date 2023 - 2040."
£30.00 per bottle
Blanc de Lynch Bages 2016
95 Points - James Suckling
This is really excellent with sliced apples, lemon rind, minerals and stones. Medium to full body, vivid and energetic acidity and a long and powerful, almost minerally finish. Wow.
£46.95 per bottle
95-96 Points - James Suckling "Powerful red with a rich and tannic center palate. Full body, lots of depth and a long and chewy finish. Indeed, this shows potential. Much better than the 2015."
94-96 Points - Neal Martin "The 2016 Lagrange is a blend of 70% Cabernet Sauvignon, 24% Merlot and 6% Petit Verdot that is matured in 50% new oak. The yield came in at 46.5 hectoliters per hectare, lower than in 2015. It has a very well defined bouquet with intense black cherry, red plum, touches of cedar and with continued aeration, a hint of blueberry. It certainly is one of the most expressive Lagrange that I have tasted (and I write that having tasted them all back to the early 1980s). The palate is extremely well balanced with tensile tannin, vibrant and animated with blackberry, crème de cassis, a hint of orange zest. This is a great Lagrange, one that almost "zings" around the senses, barely able to contain the energy. A superior Lagrange to the 2015, this may well rank as the finest produced."
95 Points - Lisa Perrotti-Brown "Deep garnet-purple colored, the 2016 Lagrange sashays out of the glass with notions of candied violets, cassis, underbrush and warm black plums with waves of Black Forest cake, cedar chest and yeast extract scents. Medium to full-bodied, the bags of perfumed black fruits are solidly structured with super ripe, grainy tannins, finishing long and layered."
95 Points - Decanter "The acidities are more vibrant up in St-Julien than in the lower stretches of the Médoc. An excellent Lagrange, this is every bit as good as it was en primeur, with a similar fruit quality doing a lovely vertical trick through the mid-palate where you can feel each individual element's weight, but cushioned on a bed of air. Ruby in colour with some violet around the edges, this wine is well made and built to last. Chewy tannins and black fruits make this fairly Pauillac in style. At 50% of total production in 2016, this represents the highest proportion of grand vin for years following replantings back in the 1980s."
£55.50 per bottle
17 Points - Jancis Robinson "Exceptionally deep blackish crimson. Not especially expressive on the nose but really deep and intense on the palate Very dense for a second wine but with a good raciness and energy. Rather elegant and flattering without resorting to sweetness. Quite cool on the end. Lighter and less dense than the grand vin."
91-93 Points - Jeb Dunnuck "Starting with the second wine and more exuberant and sexy than its 2015 counterpart, the 2016 La Dame de Montrose is a seriously impressive wine in its own right and gives a hint of the incredible quality found in the grand vin. Black raspberries, cassis, spring flowers and incense notes all emerge from this ripe, rounded, mouth-filling Saint-Estèphe.
It should be a terrific wine and keep for 15-20 years."
91-92 Points - James Suckling "A solid and tight Montrose with a linear structure of ripe tannins that gives wonderful length and energy. Full-bodied, yet reserved and toned. Stone and mineral character underneath is impressive. Beautiful center palate. The class and focus are marvelous. Better than 2015. This is what Montrose is all about."
90-92 Points - Neal Martin "The 2016 La Dame de Montrose is a blend of 35% Cabernet Sauvignon, 52% Merlot, 2% Cabernet Franc and 11% Petit Verdot. It is often a difficult Deuxième Vin to taste en primeur, and it often meliorates considerably during its élevage. Here, the aromatics took some time to coalesce in the glass: blackberry, graphite and a noticeable oyster shell aroma. The palate is medium-bodied with a gentle grip in the mouth, grainy in texture with very fine balance towards the finish where the quality of the vintage showed through. Doubtless those aromatics will improve and gain harmony by the time it is in bottle, and indeed, when I returned for a second visit I discerned a little more finesse and prettiness on the finish.
This is a delightful La Dame. Tasted twice."
£42.95 per bottle
94-95 Points - James Suckling
Firm and linear wine with blackberry, violet and berry character. Medium-to full-bodied second wine of L'Église Clinet and it’s silky and refined while showing power and length. Beautiful tannins. Pure merlot.
£47.50 per bottle
94-95 Points - James Suckling "This is very tight and focused with a precise, almost piercing depth. Full body, ultra-refined and a long finish. Fantastic length. Great elegance here with power."
93-95 Points - Jeb Dunnuck "The 2016 Château Pédesclaux is the darkest colored in the lineup and is made from 48% Cabernet Sauvignon, 45% Merlot, 4% Petit Verdot and the rest Cabernet Franc. Blueberries, raspberries, spring flowers, menthol, and spice notes all flow to a beautifully pure, seamless, elegant and refined Pauillac that has good acidity, building, fine tannin, and a great finish. It’s a beautiful barrel sample and my money is on it being the finest wine from the estate to date.
93-95 Points - Neal Martin "The 2016 Pedesclaux is a blend of 48% Cabernet Sauvignon, 45% Merlot, 4% Petit Verdot and 3% Cabernet Franc, picked between 29 September and 18 October, matured in 60% new oak. It has a tightly-wound bouquet with blackberry and raspberry fruit, a touch of iodine and graphite. I like the subtle nature of this Pedesclaux, the brooding intensity. The palate is medium-bodied with very fine tannin, crisp and fresh, a gorgeous salinity and a long and persistent, lightly spiced finish. This leaves the 2015 Pedesclaux far behind."
94 Points - Decanter "This really shows the heart of 2016 in the northern Médoc - it has the triumvirate of good acidity, good tannins and good fruit. It's a little austere and is going to take its time to truly get going. A second bottle proved much better for depth, as we queried rusticity on the nose of the first bottle. The second instead showed a hawthorn, hedgerow character and gorgeously rich black fruits, concentrated and focussed, and given complexity by tobacco and spice. It's the first time that four grape varieties have been used in the grand vin - Cabernet, Merlot, Petit Verdot, plus 3% Cabernet Franc. Eric Boissenot consults."
£51.95 per bottle
Château Lalande-Borie 2016
92-93 Points - James Suckling "This is very linear and refined with tight-grained tannins and blackberry and blackcurrant character. Shows such finesse and beauty. One of best from here in a long time."
17.5 Points - Jancis Robinson "Rich and very lively on the nose. Real freshness and raciness. Beautiful wine! Really vibrant and rich. But with masses of energy. Just very slightly dry on the end. But such a charmer! GV"
90-92 Points - Neal Martin "The 2016 Lalande-Borie is a blend of 55% Merlot and 45% Cabernet Sauvignon, delivering 13.66% alcohol and matured in 30% new oak and the remainder one year old. There is something almost clinical about the nose, very pure, no frills (at the moment), hints of crushed violet emerging with time. The palate is medium-bodied with fine tannin, very harmonious and cohesive, citrus-like freshness from start to finish with a long and velvety blueberry and blackberry finish. This is very polished and it should give plenty of drinking pleasure for several years. Drink 2021 - 2035."
£32.95 per bottle
Stolpman Vineyards Estate Roussanne 2017
"The 2017 Roussanne Estate is quite delicate in this vintage. In 2017, the Estate has 12% Chardonnay, which adds complexity and nuance, while also pushing some of the Roussanne character into the background. Even so, it is a very pretty wine. Drink it over the next few years."
£25.95 per bottle
Stolpman Vineyards Originals Syrah 2013
93 Points - Jeb Dunnuck (RobertParker.com)
"What's becoming the flagship Syrah for the estate, the 2013 Syrah Originals Estate comes from the original planting of the estate from 1992. It offers more texture, depth, richness and elegance over the Estate Syrah and possesses beautiful notes of creme de cassis, barbecue smoke, crushed pepper and violets. Medium to full-bodied, ripe and textured, yet always pure and balanced, it will have a decade of longevity."
£39.50 per bottle
Cristom Vineyards Estate Viognier 2016
The 2016 Cristom Vineyards Estate Viognier exhibits the pure, and nearly textbook, characteristics of this varietal, with aromas of orange blossoms, honeysuckle, clover, and anise as well as the ripe fruit aromas of peach, apricot, and lychee. Slightly viscous on the palate, with bright and mouth watering acidity that support the fruit structure of the wine, it is well integrated and perfectly balanced.
£28.50 per bottle
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 19th 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
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.