Issue: 55 / Sunday 27 January, 2019
It’s been a whirlwind week with Friday arriving just as I was settling down to work. On Tuesday, Magda, Pete and I attended this years Australia Trade Tasting (ATT) in London. We were showcasing twenty-eight wines including many of our new arrivals from Kay Brothers, Wild Duck and Two Hands, which I will come back to shortly. We also included some favourites with Nick Glaetzer’s Tassie Pinot Noir and Mon Pere Shiraz going down a storm. One attendee posted the following on Twitter “I had no idea they had any Shiraz there (it does only account for 0.4% of production) Today my mind (& palate) was blown by this absolute cracker” – You really should give this wine a try as it’s simply glorious.
We showed several of Stuart Pym’s (Margaret River) wines with the ’11 Estate Sauvignon Blanc receiving an approving nod and thumbs-up from Julia Harding MW (Jancis Robinson.com) and Susie Barrie re-sampling the ’15 Queen of the Earth Chardonnay after a two-year gap – She loved it but who doesn’t? Oddbins were huge fans and proceeded to write to Stuart (Pym) seeking direct exclusivity. Cheeky bastards comes to mind and despite their high-street presence, their Aussie offerings are poor and they are still running at losses which originally led to their collapse in April 2011. Hands off Oddbins as you’re out of your league!
We also showed two of Dan Standish’s wines; The Standish and The Relic, which I believe I must have sampled over thirty times throughout the day. Last year I awarded 99 points and declared “A snip of warmth from the alcohol (16% of alcohol) and the only reason why I cannot, at this stage, award 100 points”. For me, this is the one of the greatest Australian Shiraz I have ever tasted (which is some going for nearly 28 years) and I cannot wait to enjoy a few glasses in my office next week. I shall update my notes and report back.
The team and I re-sampled Kay Brothers 2017 Griffon's Key Grenache, which is super-sexy and by popular opinion, one of the standout wines on our table. We plan to knuckle down next week and revert with our full tasting notes for all the new Kay Brothers, Wild Duck and Two Hands wines. I will say that I was seriously impressed with the new Garden Series which showed huge regional differences from the Eden (Charlie’s), McLaren (Lily’s) and the Barossa (Bella’s), with the first two being my favourites. We are also working on a ‘special exclusive’ project with Two Hands and to offer a quote from them “We have really high expectations for this wine and want it to be in the very best wineries of Australia and the world”.
Amongst our major 2019 projects is finding new wines to bring to you. In most cases, it’s a lengthy process to engage with producers, receive samples and most importantly, to ensure our business philosophies are a good match. A case in point being my twelve-month communication with Franco D’Anna, winemaker & owner at Hoddles Creek Estate, which has finally led to our very first order being prepared for shipment from one of Yarra Valley’s best producers. Franco is a magician with Pinot Noir with many believing he is one of Australia’s best.
We are bringing four wines to the UK - The sensational 2017 1er Cru Pinot Noir which spends 6 months longer in oak (approximately 35% new oak) than their estate wine. In the winery, the 1er Cru has the same treatment as the Estate Pinot Noir except for the inclusion of twenty per cent whole bunches thus making the tannins finer with added structure for extended aging.
The 2017 vintage in the Yarra Valley will go down as one of the classics. A long season, with enough rainfall to support growth without the need for irrigation, resulting in a stupendous 2017 1er Cru Chardonnay, which is sourced from Franco’s Top Paddock vineyard and is made only in the years deemed suitable for this label. The wine is fermented in mainly 2nd and 3rd fill (it changes depending on the season) and is stored in cask for 12 months then a further 3 months in stainless tanks over winter. Spending two winters in the cellar enables Franco’s team to bottle without filtration, fining or stabilisation.
We are also bringing across their 2017 & 2018 Estate Chardonnay with the Estate Pinot Noir available later this year. The ’17 was showing fabulously last year (I am excited to see how the wine has developed after a further twelve months in the bottle) and as Gary Walsh of The Wine front penned “if you can’t buy with confidence from this producer in 2017, then there’s probably something wrong with you”. In total, we are shipping 960 bottles across with an equal split between the four wines. An ETA of the end of April which is perfect timing. Please contact Magda and Pete if you would like to jump the queue and get first dibs.
One of the very first Australian wines I purchased (some 28 years back) was John’s Blend which I have not seen in the UK for decades. Hand crafted since 1974 by John Glaetzer, one of the doyen winemakers of Australia. John’s Blend continues the tradition that John established with Wolf Blass in 1974 -great red wines full of soft, succulent fruit, matured in the finest oak. Few other winemakers have experienced his continuing success and awards resulting in winning an unrivalled four of the prestigious Jimmy Watson Trophies for Australia’s top red wine 1974, 1975, 1976, and 1999. Also winning eleven Montgomery Trophies for the finest red wines at the Royal Adelaide Wine Show, to name just a few of the awards.
The secret of John’s Blend and Margarete’s Shiraz is John Glaetzer’s constant pursuit of excellence in every aspect of production. Small batches of the Cabernet Sauvignon grapes from the rich alluvial soils of Langhorne Creek and Shiraz from Langhorne Creek and McLaren Vale are crushed, fermented, pressed and blended into oak hogsheads for maturation. A select, super premium label with limited production, John’s Blend is one of Australia’s greatest. This has been one hell-of a battle to twist Margarete Glaetzer’s arm but I am so thrilled to be bringing both wines to the UK as a Vinorium exclusive. Quantities are, as one would expect, small and I envisage both will sell-out quickly, simply due to their magnificence and rarity. Again, please contact Magda and Pete if you would like to receive our pre-arrival offer.
As I write, another case of samples arrives from Australia. Inside are the brilliant wines from Alex Head who is producing some fabulous wines out of the Barossa Valley. A decade working in the industry with the likes of Tyrells and Torbreck before striking out solo also helped Alex enormously. I love his style which is based around balance, elegance and sophistication as opposed to ripeness and power… We’ll be sampling next week and hopefully adding HEAD Wines to our list of ‘new’ exclusivities.
We are also in serious talks with a further five producers, which I hope will be concluded (and positively) in the coming weeks. One, and I cannot wait to announce producers, of the finest Pinot Meuniers (planted in 1868) on our planet. Fingers crossed as this one is coming down to the family’s decision on the 12th February.
A Vinorium Exclusive:
Wild Duck Creek Estate
Wild Duck Creek Estate began life when David Anderson and his wife Diana moved to Heathcote with their son Liam and his sisters Ngaire and Bridie, David was a portrait and landscape artist and Diana worked as a medical technologist and assisted David after he had expanded his business into wedding and baby photography. David’s real ambition however was to make wine, partly due to the fact that he and his friends wanted to drink good wines without having to pay the price for them. Admitting that back then neither of them knew anything about winemaking, David began seeking advice wherever he could and learning whatever he could from other wine makers. David and Diana began planting their first vines in 1980 on 4.5 hectares of land that David had purchased during the 1970s when he was eighteen as a place for him and his mates to go camping once in a while. They produced their first few bottles in 1986 which were enjoyed by just friends and family and relocated to Heathcote in 1989, moving into a small house that David’s parents had built on the land. Their first commercial vintage was produced a year later.
"...his production remains very small, he continues to use the same traditional basket presses and open top fermenters that they started with, he continues to make deliveries himself accompanied in the van by his dog Merv, he just wants to make good quality, honest wine."
Wild Duck Creek’s reputation began to grow as they scooped up a couple of gold medals but David’s ambition remained the same. He had no interest in becoming an empire or commercialising in any way and to this day, his production remains very small, he continues to use the same traditional basket presses and open top fermenters that they started with, he continues to make deliveries himself accompanied in the van by his dog Merv, he just wants to make good quality, honest wine. Internationally they remained relatively unknown until they were skyrocketed to fame when their 1997 Duck Muck received 99 points from Robert Parker and the price of their wine escalated and began to sell in the US for more than £1000 a bottle as demand heavily outweighed production. Even then, David remained insistent that their loyal customers who had supported them in the early years continued to receive their wines for what they’d always paid.
Duck Muck is only made in exceptional vintages the most recent of which being the fabulous 2013 vintage, which was the first vintage for six years.
These days David is joined by his son Liam who could have had a career as a professional golfer but chose to join his father in the winery, gained a Wine Science degree at Charles Sturt University in Wagga Wagga. Now, Liam’s involvement gives David a chance to pursue his other passions of aeroplanes and painting, often leaving with his easel and paints for a week or so knowing the winery is in good hands. Liam is happy to admit that, even with a Wine Science degree and a handful of viticulture courses under his belt, so much of what he knows has been taught by his father. “Letting the vines tell the story” has been a valuable lesson and understanding how the natural cycles dictate and should not be intervened with, Liam is developing an interest in Biodynamic farming and considers their methods of viticulture as “farming vines”.
Continuing to keep things in the family, Liam’s sister Bridie has also had an involvement, after expressing an interest in making wine when she was 12 years old, David gave her Row 12 of one vineyard, Row 13 the next year and Row 14 the following year. Not knowing what style of wine she wanted to make, David sent her off to smell different barrels in the winery to see which one she liked best and produced a small parcel. Bridie now works as a nurse and third sister Ngaire has studied for a Master of Business Administration with a keen interest in the family business.
We have been privileged to work with a producer that has such a commitment to their ethos, continuing to keep production levels small regardless of the fact that their wines would sell tenfold if such quantities were produced. They have an ability to seamlessly fuse passion and business combining this with family life, taking a step back from the hype that surrounded them after the Parker score. They continued with the same, level headed attitude towards their business that resulted in wines of such quality in the first place. We admire this attitude greatly and look forward to continuing our great partnership with this family.
The guys at Wild Duck Creek are delighted to have their wines represented in the UK and are always interested to hear how they are going down with our customers so feel free to give us your feedback and reviews of their wines and we will be sure to pass them on to David and Liam.
New Releases from
Wild Duck Creek
Producers notes on the 2017 vintage
One of our best vintages in the last 20 years! Normal conditions prevailed in the 2016/17 growing season. Good soaking rains over winter set up an average bud burst in early October. Reasonable rainfall allowed the vines to achieve perfect balance without the need for supplementary irrigation. Fabulous yields allowed us to be able to reduce crop levels through shoot thinning, and then fruit thinning at veraison. This further increased quality by allowing us to remove the bunches that were lagging behind during veraison, and create yields that the vines could support beautifully through to ripening. Fruit of great balance was seen in all varieties, with acid levels maintaining a naturally high level, allowing ripening to be extended to maximise flavour and ripen tannins.
Only produced in exceptional vintages in the cooler southern sub-region of Mia Mia, 3 kilometres from the winery at Adairs Lane Vineyard, pressed in the traditional basket press and barrel fermented in 100% new French oak puncheons. The wine is kept in barrel for a further 9 months and to add texture, the lees were stirred every 2 weeks with the wine being bottled un-fined. Only 1200 bottles were produced, this is a wine that rivals many top Rhône whites.
Magda Sienkiewicz "I was extremely excited to see Wild Duck’s expansion on to Southern Rhône varietals, which personally I would love to see more of in Australia. Simultaneously, I quickly began to worry that my increasing anticipation of receiving and sampling their pure Roussanne will raise the bar a tad too high. Absolute nonsense! Wonderful perfume of honeysuckle, stone fruit, fennel and gentle wild flowers pouring out of the glass put an instant smile on my face. The flavours are beautifully knitted together with bracing white nectarine and fresh apricots, giving a wonderful balance of acidity and ripeness. No hard edges, no disproportions, but a seamless flow of creamy and well-rounded textures. The overall sense of harmony is superb and every sip brings plenty of joy."
Peter Robinson "What a delight! For some reason I was expecting a wine to be a little chewy but it’s so vibrant and pretty. The purity of fruit on the nose is exquisite giving a light perfume of nectarine and white peach with a touch of blossom. There is some background flint from the barrel fermentation that plays a perfectly placed supporting role. The palate is so fresh with great acidity giving a mineral backbone to the ripe stone fruits creating a silky texture, assisted by some time on lees. Very impressed." Tasted 22 January 2018
£23.95 per bottle
Producers notes on the 2016 vintage
Earliest harvest date on record with shiraz beginning to be harvested on February 9th. Although this was an early onset of vintage, everything viticulturally was early, with budburst, flowering, veraison and eventually harvested all being 2 weeks early. The 2015/16 growing season was extremely dry. We received about 1/2 of our average annual rainfall, which reduced yields from our already low levels, creating smaller berries with thicker skins, resulting in wines of intense structure,
flavour and aroma.
To create Shiraz Reserve, only the best vines in perfect balance, and the best bunches from those vines are harvested from two specific, low yielding sites, the 30 year old Original Vineyard at the winery, and the 26 year old Mt Pleasant Vineyard some 30km to the north. Applying gentle hand plunging ensuring extremely fine tannins, the wine is softly basket pressed into 100% new French oak barriques and was matured for 25 months resulting in an immensely structured, full bodied wine that will age gracefully for up to 20 years.
£48.95 per bottle
A single vineyard wine made from grapes that come from Wild Duck Creek’s original vineyard planted by David back in 1974. A blend of Cabernet Sauvignon (74%), Cabernet Franc (11%), Merlot (11%), Malbec (4%) from extremely low yielding vines that maximise concentration, David and Liam choose to leave out the final pressing from their basket press that results in a medium bodied wine of elegance and finesse. Matured in 100% new French oak hogsheads for 22 months, Alan’s Cabernet will age with grace.
£28.50 per bottle
A blend of Shiraz (82%), Malbec (12%) and Cabernet Sauvignon (10%) harvested from 5 vineyard sites across Heathcote, fermented in traditional open top fermenters and gently pressed using the basket press and matured in various sized barrels for 22 months.
£15.95 per bottle
Producers notes on the 2015 vintage
The 2014/15 growing season was slightly dryer than average, yet yields were good across all of our vineyards. Naturally high acid levels delayed harvest until the fruit was balanced enough to be picked. Flavour came in later than usual, resulting in high sugar levels but lovely
complex, fine flavours.
It’s interesting comparing the 2015 to the 2016 vintage, the 2015 showing finer tannins with a more red fruit profile, this vintage will cellar for 20+ years.
£48.95 per bottle
The flagship wine from Wild Duck Creek and quite simply a benchmark wine. Made in tiny quantities from their original vineyards yielding just 1ton an acre, Duck Muck is a wine of extreme concentration and complexity. Matured in 100% new French oak barriques, this is a wine of power, intensity and balance. We don’t have much as very little is made but to put it simply, this is an extraordinary wine!
£175.00 per bottle
Produced from grapes grown in one of their original vineyards Alan’s Cabernet vineyard, the Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve is only produced in the best Cabernet vintages and only the best bunches of grapes are used in the wine with only 1200 bottles of the 2012 being produced. The wine is matured for 22 months in 100% new French oak.
£48.95 per bottle
In the past we have always supported Wild Duck Creek with their flagship wine Springflat Shiraz. One of their founding wines and starting life as a single vineyard Shiraz, Springflat has developed into a vineyard blend across three of their vineyards resulting in a regional wine that is as expressive of the Heathcote region as it is of the vineyards. We will continue to buy their Springflat Shiraz as we have with all their current vintages but stocks remain of 2004, 2005 and 2006 presenting us with an opportunity to offer Wild Duck wines with maturity, in the vintages that we fell in love with. To be able to taste how gracefully these wines develop is a rare pleasure.
95 Points - Jay Miller (erobertparker.com)
The 2006 Springflat Shiraz is 100% varietal aged in 100% new French and American oak. The nose offers up an array of cedar, saddle leather, boysenberry, blackberry, and blueberry compote. This is followed by a sweetly fruited, opulent wine with layers of spicy flavors, earth notes, and spice box. Balanced and exceptionally long, this large-scaled effort will evolve for another 5-7 years and be at its best through 2031.
£34.95 per bottle
94 Points - James Halliday
A faint hint of reduction on the bouquet, but nonetheless with complex spice, leaf and berry aromas; the palate throws off the uncertainty of the bouquet with a velvety array of black fruits, licorice and spice; oak and tannins balanced.
£34.95 per bottle
International Australia Day &
Our Quacking Wine of the Week
In celebration of International Australia Day on 26th January, we are introducing a great offer on one of our mature vintages of Wild Duck’s flagship Springflat Shiraz. Available for two weeks only, the offer will come to a close at 9am on Monday 11th February.
Magda Sienkiewicz"I’m always astonished by the generosity of Springflat Shiraz. In the glass, beautiful dark cherry colour. The nose is exuberant with plums, blackberries, dried fig and liquorice developing with aeration. The cascade of fruit is endless, expanding further on the palate with agen prunes and dried apricots. All textures flow seamlessly, which is impressive given the amount of ripe fruit packed in every mouthful. The 2004 Springflat entered a beautiful stage, where it has developed a good sense of maturity without losing its abundant fruit. It will continue to provide much drinking pleasure for the next 5-6 years."
Peter Robinson "Deep, intense aromas of bramble, plum and blueberry leading to fig and touches of sweet clove spice. The palate is concentrated and the depth continues giving flavours of bramble fruits, plum, prune, liquorice and tar. There is freshness on the palate and tannins are soft and fully integrated. The flavours of this wine are intensely powerful but in no way too much, the soft texture perfectly balances the depth and concentration and the finish lingers with consistent intensity. "
Tasted 24 January 2018
Special Case Offer & Strictly Offered on a
First Come First Served Basis
** All orders will be consolidated for delivery in the week of 11th February. **
Seckford at £225.55 DP per case (6x75cl)
Justerini & Brooks at £231.55 DP per case (6x75cl)
Decanter magazine toasts an 'exceptional'
Chardonnay from Deep Woods
All the team at The Vinorium and Deep Woods are thrilled to receive a rarely-awarded 98 points from Decanter magazine for their 2017 Reserve Chardonnay in their
latest panel tasting. Amongst a stellar selection of young Western Australian Chardonnays, the Decanter panel were impressed with the 'coolness and verve' of the 2017 Reserve, noting that it is 'very Margaret River' and identifying it as a 'fabulous wine with great potential'.
This latest accolade is further testament to the dedication of Chief Winemaker Julian Langworthy and his whole team. The 2017 Reserve Chardonnay had a fabulous season in 2018, winning two trophies and six gold medals
Decanter "It came as little surprise to see Deep Woods, Cullen, McHenry Hohnen, Pierro, Leeuwin Estate and Vasse Felix’s Heytesbury in the top flight, and it was good to see them joined by less well-known names such as Gralyn, Driftwood, Flowstone (Exclusive to The Vinorium) and Hamelin Bay, with a good performance outside Margaret River from Willow Bridge. While the focus has to date been largely on winemaking, growers are now taking on board differences of soil type and growing methods that take account of local climatic factors to deliver complexity, flavour and structure."
Royal Adelaide Wine Show 2018:
Best Chardonnay & Most outstanding white wine
Margaret River Wine Show 2018: Gold
Perth Royal Wine Awards 2018: Gold
Royal Hobart Wine Show 2018: Gold
Royal Melbourne Wine Awards 2018: Gold
Sydney Royal Wine Show 2018: Gold
98 Points - Decanter
"Sweet rock melon aromas. Nice focus, with the palate holding back before catapulting the fruit long and hard. Grapefruit oil and roast lime notes. Terrific clarity and zestiness, with verve and coolness. Very Margaret River! Not trying to be Burgundy. Terrific purity and charge, with restraint." Sarah Ahmed
"I love the purity, then the layers of pristine fruit; a touch of the Far East, but then Provençal stone fruit, with nutty, compressed pineapple on the mid-palate. It is persistent with a lovely gentle, nutty background." Roger Jones
"Stylish oaked aromas with a subtle vein of nutty complexity behind bright, fresh, apple fruit. A delightfully intense and fruity palate with deceptive weight and length. Needs time to unfurl, but this really has a lot going for it. A fabulous wine with great potential." Anthony Rose
Only 150 bottles available
* ETA End of April *
Demand off the back of Decanter's article is very strong however, Vinorium customers receive first dibs… The rest of the Decanter waiting list will have to wait to
purchase on Monday 4 April.
£35.95 per bottle
It gets better with 99 points awarded by Australia’s most revered wine critic,
2016 Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon
Perth Royal Wine Awards 2018:
Best Cabernet Sauvignon & Gold Medal
Margaret River Wine Show 2018: Gold
Royal Adelaide Wine Show 2018: Gold
Royal Queensland Wine Show 2018: Gold
99 Points - James Halliday, Wine Companion
Top 100 wines of 2018
"Matured for 18 months in new and used French oak. Excellent colour; the wine has a fragrant dark berry bouquet, the palate sheer perfection. So well balanced it seems suspended in the air, cassis fruit supported by feather-light tannins, oak an absorbed spectator. This is a beautiful wine."
Deep Woods joins an illustrious line-up with Yarra Yering’s Carrodus Cabernet Sauvignon and Cullen’s Vanya Wilyabrup Margaret River also receiving 99 points. The biggest point of difference is their prices with YY above £120 & Cullen’s Vanya well above £250.00…
Only 150 bottles available
* ETA End of April *
£49.95 per bottle
Whilst you wait for the new Deep Woods arrival,
why not try the current releases and Julian’s
‘solo’ project Nocturne…
** All wines are discounted for 48 hours only **
(Offer ends 9:00am Tuesday 29 January)
Deep Woods Estate Hillside Chardonnay 2015
Deep Woods Hillside Cabernet Sauvignon 2015
Reserve Block 7
Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon 2015
Reserve Chardonnay 2016
Last Week's Wine of the Week
Nocturne Cabernet Sauvignon 2017
Stuart McCloskey 96-98 points
“A wonderful Cabernet Sauvignon which offers a distinct regional feel and is just staring to come-around. The wine opens with a beautiful perfume of dark fruits, cassis, warm earth and lead pencil. Medium-bodied, bright and balanced to perfection, which is very much Julian’s style. After 1-2 hours in the decanter, the 2017 unfolds graciously with sublimely polished fruit. Most impressive are the wines expansive flavours which, and after swallowing, are endless. From sweet cassis (with a dash of menthol) to ink and then onto spice, which leads to fennel seeds. There’s wonderful aromatic freshness and lift and I am very much looking forward to seeing how the wine develops over the coming years. Served in Zalto’s Bordeaux glassware”.
Don't miss the NEW wines from Two Hands
Including many new wines that are exclusive to The Vinorium