Issue: 69 / Sunday 12 May, 2019
Written by Stuart McCloskey
I am conscious that I have not provided an insight into HQ comings and goings since our weekend read of 10 March, which is no wonder given the number of bottles sold during the period 1 March to 30 April. To be precise, 13,618 bottles were sold with, as ever, Australia dominating the leader board with 11,629 bottles. 30 wines were complete sell-outs with the same number again teetering on the edge. Last week the new releases from Deep Woods arrived but already the 98-point Reserve Chardonnay & the 99-point Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon are down to scraps – Almost fifty cases sold within the first week, which is unsurprising given the sheer magnificence of these wines. May I suggest that you open a bottle (simply to quell your curiosity) enjoy and then close the lid on them both for at least five years…
It's great to see white wine sales increasing over the two-month period with 1,339 bottles leaving our warehouse however, the number appears insignificant compared to red wine sales, which totals 12,119 bottles. Perhaps the inclement climate is the answer as, and except for one beautifully warm weekend, the spring sunshine seems to have abandoned us. The Basket Pressed Shiraz wines from the superb McLaren Vale producer, Reynella took a battering with the 2010 & ’13 vintages selling out. A handful of the '15 remains with eleven cases of the ’14 which for me, offers the very best value and has little, if any competition at £22.55 per bottle. I liked James Halliday’s description “This is Rolls Royce stuff from a big company made exactly as it might be from a small producer”. How right he is.
St Hallett 2014 Old Block also joined the sold-out list along with the Blackwell Shiraz. Neither wine will be returning however, may I remind customers that we are incredibly fortunate to receive a European exclusivity for the newly released 2015 Old Block Shiraz. We re-sampled this week and the wine is truly sensational and will be next week’s ‘Wine of the Week’. The Eden Valley component is such a joy and provides a wonderful aromatic lift. I should also add that we are truly lucky to receive preferential pricing as St Hallett cellar door price is listed at $100 per btl (circa £54.00 without UK taxes) and the only other world listing, based in Victoria, Australia is selling around £58 ex tax. Our ‘special’ price of £39.75 including tax or £185.50 IB per case of six is super-attractive but we must thank team St Hallett / Accolade Wine for their generosity.
Hardy’s wines have sold incredibly well with the ’14 Thomas Hardy selling out. Only four cases of the ’13 remain (available by the bottle) however, and if I had to pick one ‘sensational’ Cabernet Sauvignon, I would not hesitate to choose the 2013 Corryton Park from Grant Burge, which and as per my tasting note (98 Points) is a brilliant and uncompromising Barossa Cabernet Sauvignon. Think expensive Bordeaux Second-Growth and you’ll be right on the money, but you will only pay £24.95.
Keeping with the Grant Burge theme. This week we are thrilled to announce a new, exclusive partnership with the Barossa producers, the After Five Wine Co & Planta Circa headed-up by Craig Stansborough (Craig is the chief winemaker at Grant Burge) and his “good mate” and long-time wine lover, Mark Slade. Craig and Mark made their first vintage in 2006 from just over a tonne of hand-picked Shiraz from Craig’s own vineyard that they crushed and fermented in his shed. From there they have gone on to produce a range of incredible wines that include their standout, single vineyard trio the After Five Wine Co range.
The Planta Circa Cabernet Sauvignon is something very special indeed and we feel privileged to be selected to represent one of the oldest Cabernet Sauvignon plantings on the planet.
In 2012, Craig and Mark uncovered 468 extraordinary Cabernet Sauvignon vines hidden at the back of an old vineyard across the road from the Zerk Family Vineyard outside of Lyndoch.The historian they asked to investigate unearthed the amazing story of PF Zimmerman and the family owned vineyard originally established back in the mid-1800s. The vineyard was planted by his father and handed over to PF Zimmerman sometime in the 1870s where it was further developed. The original vineyard did not have any Cabernet plantings, but thanks to local newspaper evidence, PF Zimmerman was quoted as protesting the low price of Cabernet Sauvignon grapes in the first few years of the 1900s. Thanks to this information, the Cabernet vines are estimated to have been planted between 1880–1890.
These ancestor vines (vines equal or over 125 years of age) are the inspiration for their Planta Circa label, meaning “planted around the region of” as they are not able to offer the exact date of plantings. Because there are just 468 Cabernet vines, each year they achieve a different yield, depending on mother nature, which normally translates to 2 or 3 barrels (perhaps enough for 100 cases) of otherworldly Cabernet Sauvignon. We have received 10% of their production which, I am sure, will be cherished amongst our most diehard Cabernet Sauvignon fans. The team and I sampled the 2016 last week which is tightly coiled, balanced to perfection and flowed across our palates with unbelievable grace. Drop Magda an email if you would like to receive first dibs.
We have purchased 1,200 bottles of their After Five Wine Co Shiraz & Grenache both showcasing single vineyards that consistently produce wines of excellence and convey their Barossa sub-region’s unique quality. Several of our customers sampled the Shiraz a few weeks back and were highly impressed. For us, both are uniquely different to many Barossa wines and pitched to perfection. Their Grenache, one of the best I have sampled for years, is an utter delight and a possible Vinorium benchmark.
We are over the moon to be introducing the JC’s Own wines to our rapidly growing list of Aussie exclusives. The solo venture of Jaysen Collins whom we know very well through his Massena wines that he makes with his friend, Barossa veteran and Vinorium favourite, Dan Standish. It’s fair to say that Jaysen follows a creative style of winemaking, interfering as little as possible and allowing the grapes to do the work for him. However, his twenty years of winemaking experience and his other project at Massena means that this experimental style is far more than just guess work!
(Jaysen with Dan at Massena)
Very often, his wines are born out of an idea and Jaysen, drawing on his years of experience, has an inherent ability to seek out the vineyards that will communicate this idea to its very fullest. He even conceived the idea for the label of one of the wines first, and set out to produce a wine that would express the sense of this, finding the ideal site in Adelaide Hills. Jaysen’s wines are about letting the grapes do the talking and allowing them to naturally express the site from which they are picked, seeking out sustainable vineyards and practicing minimalist winemaking, using natural yeast, minimal sulphur and no fining or filtration. His wines are about the unadulterated essence of the grape combining a sense of place and some great looking bottles!
Massena could be the next Vinorium exclusivity which would be fabulous – More news to follow next week along with Tassie brothers, Jonny & Matt Hughes (fantastic wines sampled this week), Pepper Tree (Hunter Valley), Moppity Vineyards (NSW), Singlefile Wines (Denmark, Aus)…
We launched our Profit Share on Sunday 28 April to an overwhelming response. So-much-so, we will be closing the opportunity to invest in our Profit Share by 9:00am 31 May. All applications and funds must be received by the closing date.
I have received many questions over the course of the past two weeks, with several consistently cropping up. I thought I would address these ‘en-masse’
Q. What are the risks of The Vinorium becoming insolvent?
A perfectly acceptable question to ask and after sitting on a liquidation committee (as their wine expert) for two, long years, I have seen the fallout from fraudulent activities and false promises. However, and in short, there is no identifiable risk of The Vinorium entering insolvency as our financials are incredibly strong. The Vinorium has enjoyed back-to-back financial successes with sales reaching £7.656 million and profits (after tax) totalling a healthy £2.008 million. 2019 has started strong and we are on course to produce our best set of financials to date. E-commerce sales for the months January to April have increased by 47.5% with overall sales increasing by 49% (compared to the same four-month period, 2018). Full company accounts are available on Companies House or I am happy to email you a copy.
Q. Is my money seen as a loan agreement or am I physically purchasing wines?
Funds will be used to enhance our overall stock position with existing and new, exclusive wine producers. As such, this is not a loan agreement as we are physically off-setting client investments with stock. In short, you physically own a selection of wines until your investment has recached maturity and the funds returned to you.
Q. Where would investors rank against other creditors (if there are any)?
Save for the Wine Society, we believe The Vinorium is unique in the way in which we operate. We operate with a zero-debt policy, no overdraft, no loans and pay all our wine makers 100% in advance of shipping.
Q. Will you be offering any special incentives to investors?
In short no, as offering a 10% gain in 18 months is for us, attractive enough.
Q. This sounds too good to be true!
We have, and for a very long time, battled with releasing this idea and I will be candid, this question inflames my senses somewhat but I do understand the fact that the wine industry has endured high-profile wine investment scams, which helps to sooth my flames. That said, please be respectful and do not place The Vinorium into the same box. Our profit share is currently being offered to Vinorium customers only and is not being marketed or communicated outside of our client base. Moreover, and a tactic used by scammers, are pressurised telephone calls and emails, which is something you will not receive. All profit share investors must be 100% happy with their decision. We have no intention of selling the idea above our opening presentation as I believe this would be wrong.
Q. In terms of financials, how does The Vinorium stack-up against other wine merchants?
A question asked by many and a difficult one to answer as The Vinorium is unmatched on a like-for-like basis (size of personnel etc. and our net operating profit). To find wine companies (importers / exclusive agents) similarly successful is difficult. The following information is available in the public domain (last reported full accounts) therefore I am happy to show comparisons. Armit Wines, a company of considerable size recorded sales of £27.798 million with profits after tax of £564,784. The multi-award winning Liberty Wines (100+ staff) reported £67.937 million in turnover with profits after tax standing at £1.207 million. Enotria reported £150.038 million with a net loss of £5.776 million. Berkman Wine Cellars reported £70.569 million with net operating profits of £1.416 million. Hallgarten Wines reported £52.379 million turnover with profits for the financial year standing at £951,901. These all have strong Australian portfolios, therefore, are good comparisons save that we operate with a team of eight against teams of 50-100+.
Q: How do I apply to join The Vinorium Profit Share?
A: Simply, email Stuart directly and he will liaise and send the application
Q: I have more questions. Who can I contact?
A: Please contact Stuart directly either by email or telephone
T: +44 (0) 1622 859 161
How the Profit Share Plan Works:
• You invest a minimum of £5,000 to a maximum of £250,000.
• The Investment Return: We offer 10% against your original capital outlay.
• Investment Period: Eighteen Months. You will automatically receive
your original capital outlay along with the 10% return.
• There are no management, storage or any other charges
levied against your investment
Private Cellar Sale: Part 1
We have purchased four, modest cellars (circa 1,600 bottles) filled with many old favourites, which we plan to release over the coming 4-6 weeks rather than in one lump. All the stocks are safe at our HQ warehouse, quality checked and will be immediately dispatched upon receipt of your kind order. For the sake of absolute fairness and respect to all Vinorium customers, we are not going to disclose or offer any wines which form part of an un-released cellar. We will release each cellar on a Friday afternoon (dates are unconfirmed) as part of our weekend read ‘A Taste of The Vinorium’.
Important note: To ensure you secure your desired wine, please purchase on-line as all wines are offered on a first-come-first-served basis, which is the fairest way to conduct special offers.
Happy shopping and all orders will be dispatched on
Monday unless you advise otherwise.
Clarendon Hills Romas Grenache 2006
99 Points - Lisa Perrotti-Brown (erobertparker.com) "Medium garnet-purple in color and displaying a beautiful nose of violets, orange peel and black cherries alongside notes of spice cake, white pepper and lavender, the full-bodied 2006 Romas Vineyard Grenache is big, rich and gorgeous with a crisp acid backbone draped with layer upon layer of concentrated fruit flavor. The medium-firm, very fine tannins carry it through to a long finish. Drink it now to 2025+."
Piggott Range Syrah 2007
95 Points - Jay Miller (erobertparker.com)
"The 2007 Syrah Piggott Range offers a kinky, sexy bouquet of earth, bacon, game, incense, and assorted black and blue fruits. Rich and layered, this is a dense, packed, and impeccably balanced powerhouse that will require 8-10 years to reveal its full potential. This lengthy effort will easily provide pleasure through 2027."
6 x bottles available
£44.95 per bottle
Moritz Syrah 2006
95 Points - Jay Miller (erobertparker.com) "The vintage was an excellent one, not quite as exceptional as 2005, but there may be cases in which selected 2006s may eventually outshine their 2005 counterparts. All of the 2006's fell within their predicted ranges (mostly near the high end) so I will keep my comments brief. Clarendon Hills 2006 Syrahs are superb. They appear to be less structured and more forward than the 2005's and will be more approachable early on."
6 x bottles available
£29.75 per bottle
Clarendon Hills Hickinbotham Syrah 2006
95-98 Points - Jay Miller (erobertparker.com) "The 2006 Syrah Hickinbotham Vineyard delivers complex notes of pepper, spice box, bacon, blueberry and blackberry liqueur. It has gobs of fruit and a velvety texture."
6 x bottles available
£26.95 per bottle
Clarendon Grenache 2006
90 - 92 Points - Jay Miller (erobertparker.com) "The 2006 Grenache Clarendon is velvety, ripe, and sweet with excellent depth and length. It offers aromas and flavors of earth, violets, spice box and black cherry."
6 x bottles available
£20.00 per bottle
Torbreck Run Rig 2004
99+ Points - Jay Miller (erobertparker.com) "The flagship 2004 Run Rig is 96.5% Shiraz and 3.5% Viognier with the Shiraz component aged for 30 months in a mixture of new and used French oak. Yields were a minuscule 14 hl/ha (about 1 ton per acre). Saturated opaque purple/black, it has a remarkably kinky, exotic perfume of fresh asphalt, pencil lead, smoke, pepper, game, blueberry and black raspberry. Full-bodied and voluptuous in the mouth, the wine is dense and packed, with amazing purity, sweet tannins, and a complex collection of sensory stimuli. The wine demands 10 years of cellaring and will provide hedonistic delights through 2035+."
12 x bottles available
£95.95 per bottle
97 Points - Jay Miller (erobertparker.com) "Opaque purple, with glass-coating glycerin, it offers up a complex array of lavender, violets, blueberry, blackberry, and fresh road tar. Full-bodied, on the palate the wine has great concentration with a noticeable uplift from the Viognier, gobs of spicy black fruits, opulence, and well-concealed tannins which will carry this wine for 10-15 years of further evolution. Drink it through 2030."
12 x bottles available
£47.50 per bottle
Torbreck The Factor 2004
97 Points - Robert Parker
"Made from 100% Shiraz that spent 24 months in French oak (30% new), the exuberant, flamboyant 2004 The Factor offers up gorgeously pure blueberry and blackberry fruit intermixed with smoke, bacon fat, camphor, and graphite. Silky smooth, and, as David Powell says, “the most Barossa-like” of all his wines, it represents Powell’s rendition of a Cote Rotie."
12 x bottles available
£57.50 per bottle
The Steading 2004
93 Points - Robert Parker "David Powell takes pride in his Châteauneuf du Pape-styled The Steading, and the 2004 (a 60% Grenache, 20% Mourvedre, and 20% Shiraz blend aged 22 months in old wood) is a superb example of this cuvee. Its deep plum/ruby colour is accompanied by a big, rich bouquet of resiny pine forest scents interwoven with kirsch liqueur, blackberries, pepper, and spice. Full-bodied, pure, heady, complex, and nuanced, it should drink well for 7-10 years."
24 x bottles available
£22.95 per bottle
The Struie 2005
94 Points - Jay Miller (erobertparker.com)
"The wine was aged for 18 months in older French oak before being bottled unfined and unfiltered. It delivers a splendid bouquet of lead pencil, game, blueberry muffin, and blackberry liqueur. This is followed by an elegant Shiraz which is nevertheless full-bodied, dense, and richly flavored."
36 x bottles available
£23.95 per bottle
Two Hands Barney's Block Shiraz 2009
95 Points - Lisa Perrotti-Brown (erobertparker.com) "Deep purple-black in color, the 2009 “Barney’s Block” Shiraz is profoundly scented of warm blackberries and blueberry preserve over nuances of yeast extract, black olives, cloves, bacon fat and cedar. Very full bodied and powerful in the mouth, the palate is packed with primary blackberry and meaty / earthy flavors with ample support from a medium to firm level of grainy tannins and enlivening acid, finishing long with some baking spices coming through. Consider drinking this one 2013 to 2024+."
12 x bottles available
£35.50 per bottle
Two Hands Lily's Garden Shiraz 2005
94 Points - Jay Miller (erobertparker.com) "The 2005 Shiraz “Lily’s Garden” from McLaren Vale has a splendid nose of cedar, scorched earth, violets, spice box, saddle leather, and blueberry pie. Rich and super-concentrated, it has layers of ripe flavors, a soft blanket of tannins, and terrific complexity. This surprisingly elegant Shiraz will evolve for 8-10 years and drink well through 2025."
2 x double magnums available
It’s been a busy week with En-Primeur releases with several Châteaux going straight to the sold-out list. Consistently, Château Calon Segur is producing fabulous wines which rival Châteaux Cos d’Estournel and Montrose. Pricing has always remained attractive, but demand muted until this year. Critics scores range from 97-100 to 96-99 and it is hotly tipped as one of the wines of the year. Despite the 20% price increase on the 2017 release price, we sold-out at £864.00 per case of 12 which and given the wine’s critical acclaim, offers relative value. A similar story with Château Les Carmes Haut Brion which increased its release price by 27% (£828.00 per case of 12) but nonetheless, sold-out to last years buyers.
A huge favourite with the global markets is the St Julien property, Château Beychevelle which many wine merchants are reporting sell-outs. The release price of £720.00 (12x75cl) is excellent and represents the lowest price of any ‘comparable’ vintage on the market, which is the entire point of buying En-Primeur. The incentive must be in the buyers’ favour which many Châteaux forget!
Our allocations are excellent, and we are delighted to offer our remaining 28 cases into free circulation
2018 Château Beychevelle @ £360.00 IB per case of 6x75cl OWC
95-97+ Jeb Dunnuck “Showing beautifully both times I was able to taste it, the 2018 Château Beychevelle checks in as a blend of 50% Merlot, 41% Cabernet Sauvignon, 6% Petit Verdot, and the rest Cabernet Franc that's aging in 60% new French oak. This ultra-pure, refined, gorgeously layered Beychevelle offers terrific notes of black cherries, blackberries, cassis, violets, and damp earth. Deep, concentrated, and layered on the palate, it has a thrilling sense of purity and elegance as well as building structure. This is the third vintage vinified in the new cellar, and the 2018 represents a selection of 50% of the total production. It hit 14.5% alcohol with a healthy pH of 3.74 and a massive IPT of 81. Hats off to director Romain Ducolomb for another brilliant wine that I suspect will surpass both the 2015 and 2016
94-96+ Lisa Perrotti Brown MW “The deep garnet-purple colored 2018 Beychevelle wafts sensuously from the glass with fragrant Black Forest cake, potpourri, star anise and black tea scents over a core of black raspberries, warm blackcurrants and kirsch with touches of fallen leaves and lavender. Full-bodied and packed with fragrant red and black fruit layers, it has a firm, velvety texture and fantastic freshness lifting the very long, perfumed finish. Beautiful! Anticipated time in barrel is 18 months, 60% new and 40% second fill. The tentative blend is 50% Cabernet Sauvignon, 41% Merlot, 6% Petit Verdot and 3% Cabernet Franc”
There will be a break next week as Vinexpo Bordeaux commences however, it’s a good opportunity to look at several of the front runners with strong Vinorium allocations. The following wines are all vying for ‘Wine of the Vintage’ and their respective scores make for attractive reading. We imagine demand will be huge with many ‘new’ buyers scouring the market for merchants listing these wines for sale.
The Vinorium has always adopted the policy of offering last years buyers first refusal – This will continue. Any free stock will be offered to Vinorium customers however, we do list our wines on our website for immediate sale. As such, perhaps you should drop the team an email listing any of the wines below (and others) which you would like to receive an allocation of (price dependant of course). You will be automatically be contacted on the day of release. Irrespective of the release price, Château Lafite Rothschild is, for many, the ‘Wine of the Vintage’. Scores are strong and demand always healthy. 98-100 from Lisa Perrotti Brown MW (Robert Parker.com), 99-100 from James Suckling, and 98-100 points from Jane Anson.
Château Cos d’Estournel has received a string of powerful scores and statements.
97-100 from Lisa Perrotti Brown MW (Robert Parker.com), 97-100 from Antonio Galloni, 98-99 from James Suckling, 97-99+ from Jeb Dunnuck, 20+ from Matthew Jukes and 97 points from Jane Anson (Decanter) who stated “A candidate to upscore when in bottle”.
From the appellation of Margaux, Château Rauzan Segla is on-par with the first-growth, Château Margaux this year with the following scores 97-99+ from Lisa Perrotti Brown MW (Robert Parker.com), 97-100 from Antonio Galloni, 99-100 from James Suckling and 96-98 from Jeb Dunnuck.
Château Montrose has been in meteoric form since 2009 and is comfortably producing some of the best wine year-in-year-out. The 2018 is no different with all critics placing scores in the high 90s. 96-98 from Lisa Perrotti Brown MW (Robert Parker.com), 98-99 from James Suckling, 95-98 from Galloni, 97-99 from Jeb Dunnuck and 19+ from Matthew Jukes,
Always a glorious wine, Château Pichon Lalande is liked (and very much) by all critics. 97-100 from James Molesworth (Wine Spectator), 97-99 from Lisa Perrotti Brown MW (Robert Parker.com), 95-98 from Antonio Galloni, 98-99 from James Suckling, 96-98+ from Jeb Dunnuck and 98-100 from Jane Anson (Decanter).
Email us your 2018 En-Primeur Wish List
Retasted & Our Wine of the Week
"Just magnificent and for me, the best
Chardonnay in our portfolio…"
2015 Eileen Hardy Chardonnay
Tasmania, Yarra Valley and Tumbarumb
98+ Points - Stuart McCloskey “A stunning bouquet offering a profusion of aromatics ranging from vanilla, lemon zest, Seville orange marmalade, wet limestone to maritime salinity and finishing with freshly grated, spicy ginger. The wine has put on some weight with a lovely silky textural feel, but far from viscous. Harmonious and exquisitely judged to be succinct. Flavours are more difficult to pin down at this stage, but one thing is certain, it’s effortless and washes across my palate with consummate ease. I love the spice, salinity – very maritime which changes with more aeration. Fascinating is the wine's development in the glass. As I mentioned in my previous notes - This would shame many white Burgundies at double the price. This is simply a beautiful Chardonnay which offers more potential for those with patience. Just magnificent and for me, the best Chardonnay in our portfolio. The value is unbelievable. I recommend drinking this superb wine from now to 2028. Sampled using Zalto Bordeaux glassware” Tasted 9 May, 2019
98 Points - Stuart McCloskey "Less expressive than some 2015’s however, decanting for thirty minutes to an hour and serving in a large Burgundy glass brings this wine alive. The wine is silky, graceful with mouth-coating waves of life affirming minerality. Real breadth and depth here with a laser-like focus. I love the juicy yellow stone fruits and spices. I imagine this will be utterly spectacular in another 6-8 years. It is the nectar of the Aussie Gods and would shame many a white Burgundy at double the price. I recommend drinking this stupendous wine from now to 2028 and beyond (in good cellar conditions)." Tasted 27 March, 2018
“Eileen Hardy Chardonnay is, in my view, the Grange of Australian white wines”.
Awarded 100 Points this week
100 points -James Suckling "Super aromas of blackberries, blackcurrants and blueberries. Hints of fresh herbs and tobacco. Iron and ink. Full-bodied, very tight and powerful, yet not too heavy. Lightly chewy and polished. So much nerve and intensity. Super length and depth. Drink after 2025, but a joy to taste now."
99 Points - Lisa Perrotti-Brown "The 2016 Proprietary Red is blended of 46% Cabernet Sauvignon, 31% Cabernet Franc, 18% Petit Verdot and 5% Merlot. Deep garnet-purple colored, it emits an incredible array of seductive floral notes—violets, lavender and rose hip tea—with a core of warm cassis, redcurrant jelly, dark chocolate, cigar box, tapenade and crushed rocks plus hints of bay leaves, beef drippings and yeast extract. Medium to full-bodied, the palate explodes with vivacious black fruit sparked by red fruit, herbal and mineral accents. It is framed with a rock-solid line of firm, grainy, super ripe tannins and finishes with fantastic fragrance and freshness. Wow"