Issue: 72 / Sunday 2 June, 2019
May 2019, possibly the most frenetic month I have experienced for a very long time. My feet haven’t touched the ground, but and on the positive, we have achieved much. The team and I are thoroughly delighted to be shortlisted for this year’s IWC Australian Wine Merchant of the Year. Winners in 2018 but we are far from resting on our laurels as the competition is tough. The results will be unveiled at their gala dinner on 9 July. Follow us on Twitter as we’ll post the result during the evening…
I am sure you will agree with me that the ‘real-life’ images of our new HQ are magnificent. We are creating a bio-diverse / self-sustained site from water management (collection of rainwater to support irrigation of edibles, together with a small wildlife pond nestled in our wildflower area). The entire roof will be planted with a wild meadow, enhancing the biodiversity. Ordered planting will benefit the team and surrounding health, well-being and of course, to offset our carbon footprint. Our beehives will play an integral role as key pollinators throughout our garden and provide a wonderful source of organic honey.
We will be planting a small vineyard, which we will manage organically. Pinot Noir or Gamay will be planted – perhaps a combination of the two. The entire team will be involved in the management, viticulture and vinification of our wine, which will enhance everyone’s knowledge considerably. Our garden is far more than regimental rows of vines. A fruit orchard will be planted, accompanied by seating and a fire-pit to enjoy the evening, summer sun. An all-weather pavilion will be constructed and positioned amongst the vines and orchard – A little escape and a lovely place to have lunch or meetings. There’s plenty of room for a large organic vegetable garden, which will feed the team and all our guests every day of the year. Of course, we must wait for final planning consent but all parties involved with the project are confident we will receive the green light and building will commence late August / September with an open date of September 2020. We plan a huge party!
Our Profit Share has now closed, and I must take this opportunity to thank all investors for your support and trust. Despite our small(ish) size, I strongly believe The Vinorium is a highly attractive and investable company, which and those who are most savvy, recognised this great investment opportunity.
Across the pond, we have built one of the strongest reputations, simply by how we conduct ourselves and how effective we are. Today, many Australian wine producers that are seeking representation in the UK and across Europe come to The Vinorium as their first option. We are signing new exclusivities almost fortnightly with the most recent, Domaine Simha joining our list of great Tassie producers.
The man behind Domaine Simha is Nav Singh, who with his wife Louise produce a range of wines that are some of the best to come out of Tasmania. When tasted by the world’s 50 top sommeliers, Domaine Simha Pinot Noir was rated as one of the top 10 in the world and equivalent to some of the premium Pinot Noirs from Burgundy that they have been pouring for many years.
Nav is also the winemaker who developed much of his talents working at Burgundy‘s De L’Arlot in Nuits St Georges, the highly prestigious Château Le Pin and Vieux Château Certan in Pomerol and Château d’Yquem, Domaine Chandon, as well as five years spent at Moss Brothers in Margaret River. Nav believes in a natural approach to winemaking. He follows biodynamic principles, pays careful attention to the harvesting dates, whole bunch and wild fermentations only using naturally occurring yeasts, basket pressing and bottling his wines unfined and unfiltered for purity and texture. The wines are made in tiny quantities and Nav works in micro batches, making just 2 to 3 barrels to ensure the wines are produced at the highest possible level of quality.
Nav and Louise spent time searching for single vineyards in which to source fruit from and have partnered with several growers based in the Upper Derwent Valley, Coal River and Huon Valley, whom they work closely with to ensure only the finest fruit is used for their micro batch wines. Their aim is to reflect through their wines, the Tasmanian terroir and they have managed to achieve this through minimal winemaking in crafting individual, single vineyard expressions.
We are over the moon to have partnered with such an exciting winery. Save for Sailor Seeks Horse I haven’t seen the team buzzing so much. Their 2017 Rao Chardonnay emphatically scored 99 points as did their Rama Pinot Noir 2017.
Personally, I am split and straddling two camps as the ethereal style of Sailor Seeks Horse is something very special, whereas the wines from Domaine Simha are more fulsome but showing the same, exacting standards. Both producers’ wines are available on our website – our full tasting notes will be coming when the wines arrive in the UK (we prefer to re-sample, which is our excuse to open another bottle).
Word spreads and Stuart Angas from Hutton Vale Farm Wines (Eden Valley, Barossa) got in touch as Stuart is keen to work with The Vinorium. What a fabulous history and we did not have the foggiest how special Hutton Vale Farm Wines are. Samples are in the air and will be arriving next week… A 7th generation family farm with circa 2000 acres in the North East corner of the Barossa’s Eden Valley.
Stuart’s Great-Grandfather planted the Mount Edelstone Vineyard in 1912 and managed it whilst selling grapes to the Henschke family until they eventually sold it to the Henschke’s in the 1970s. But, in the 1960s his Grandfather planted (with cuttings from the Mount Edelstone vineyard) their Hutton Vale Farm Shiraz. He also planted single vineyard blocks of Riesling and Grenache around the same time. Stuart’s parents and later with the assistance of his two sisters, Stuart himself continued the tradition in the early 1990s planting a further block of Shiraz (from the same root stock) and a single block of Cabernet Sauvignon.
Speaking of Henschke – You may have noticed a few old favourites are back following their previous sell-out.
Hutton Vale’s first vintage was in 1987, assisted with the very capable hands of John Duval (a family friend who promised to show the family how good the fruit was). The family has never looked back, although they do sell some fruit to John Duval and a good friend of The Vinorium, Dan Standish, the majority is kept for their own wines. To demonstrate the quality of the Hutton Vale Shiraz – Dan’s 99-point 2016 Lamella Shiraz was sourced exclusively from their single vineyard Hutton Vale Farm.
Production levels are small and dependent on mother nature, can be miniscule. Drop Magda an email if you would like to be the first to purchase a very special Shiraz (we expect to offer their ’14 Shiraz around £37.50 per bottle duty paid and inclusive of VAT which appears super value).
Next month, we will be hosting John Pooley from Pooley Wines, Tasmania, considered the finest producer on the Apple Isle. Samples have arrived well ahead of John’s visit. I’ll let you into a little secret – Two samples of each wine have arrived, and I am incredibly tempted to open one or two, but, and as the saying goes “Temptation is the feeling we get when encountered by an opportunity to do what we innately know we shouldn't”.
The Vinorium has joined the Australian Nordic Roadshow. I will be showcasing twelve wines (each wine from a different producer) in Denmark (Copenhagen) and Sweden (Stockholm) with confirmed dates of 7 October & 9 October respectively. Both events are open to the trade with private client access during the evenings. Drop me an email if you would like more information and I do hope I get to meet some of our Danish & Swedish friends…
Spring will be soon behind us, which provided the impetus for a good ‘clean-out’. It may sound rather severe, but we have deleted over 2,000 email addresses from our customer database and these will no longer receive further communication from The Vinorium (including this addition of ‘A Taste of The Vinorium’). It would appear commercial silliness to delete such a large number however, the list contains those who have not purchased from us in 36-months and a large contingent of curious readers eager to learn what the competition is getting up to.
The Vinorium is far from an exclusive wine society however, we like to match loyalty with loyalty and feel we should offer those customers who support us throughout the course of the year, across a wide range of wines with the same level of faithfulness. As such, customers who only support The Vinorium during sales will receive notification of such events 48 hours after those who show consistent support. We believe it’s the correct way and I am sure you will too…
We are taking a break next week as we must conduct a full warehouse inventory stock check which is a huge task. Magda and I will be opening the HQ shop on Saturday 8 June and will happily share the Hutton Vale Farm Wines if they have arrived in time.
Enjoy the remainder of this marvellous weekend. Cheers, Stu
“The late Max Schubert was not a close relation of Steve and Cecilia Schubert, but I am sure he would be impressed with the estate’s Shiraz. Output is tiny, but the quality is truly outstanding, and will repay prolonged cellaring – a feature which Max Schubert sought to achieve when he embarked on the creation of Grange in the early 1950s”
In his own words, the creator of Penfold’s Grange Hermitage, Max Schubert once said “I’d like to believe that the wines with which I have been associated are descended from one old ancestor vineyard established many years ago, marrying with another, and another, and even another if you like, thus creating and establishing a dynasty of wines. These may differ in character year by year, but all ... bear an unmistakable resemblance and relationship to each other and to the original ancestral starter member of the dynasty."
Indeed, Schubert Estate plays an important part of the ancestral dynasty of Australian (and specifically, Barossan) winemakers and established in 1915, it precedents many of his neighbours, the list of which is most impressive.
Located in arguably the most prestigious spot in the country and certainly the most famous, perfectly straight stretch of Roennfeldt Road; Schubert Estate is set in the centre of Barossa Valley, the famed sub-region of Marananga where warm dry conditions and rich red soils provide the backbone to some of the region’s (and indisputably, the world’s) best known wines.
The fertile red soils allowed the growth of one special dynasty of producers, whose vineyards rooted deep in to Marananga soils brought us a number of iconic wines, which make a room go silent when the cork pops. This includes, of course, the mighty Penfolds.
Their Marananga vineyard is a source of the fabulous Bin 150, which is one of only a few Penfolds wines highlighting and focusing solely on quality of a specific region (most Penfold wines are multi-regional blends).
However, this is only the beginning as Schubert Estate is surrounded by many more iconic vineyards and wineries including Greenock Creek, Torbreck and Two Hands Wines to name a few. With such density of prestigious producers, it is clear that this super-spot conceives superb quality of fruit and fabulous, world-class wines.
The story quickly raises questions as to how Schubert Estate, recently celebrating its century-long history, managed to remain under the radar for decades?
We believe the key reason behind their minimal non-domestic exposure simply comes down to their respective minuscule production levels. As an example, Torbreck wines produce around 70,000 cases annually and they continue to be seen as a small, highly sought after winery… Demand will always outgrow the supply, making those who possess a bottle or two the very lucky ones.
The Vinorium continues to bring some truly special and unique wines to our shores. It is not uncommon to see The Vinorium as one of very few world merchants (and sometimes the only one!) to offer museum vintages of world-class wines, as we do here.
2005 'Goose Yard' Block Shiraz
97 Points - Stuart McCloskey "What a glorious nose of smoked, warm earth woven gracefully together with dark chocolate and fruit notes of mulberry, blueberry compote and raspberry. The palate is savoury, and you would be mistaken if (and based on the intensity of the wines perfume) you were in for a monolithic whack around the chops. Instead, lithe with layers of fruit unfurling against a backdrop of silky tannins. Yes, the fruit is voluptuous, but each sip finishes remarkably fresh. I detect mocha, roasted coffee, warming spices, graphite, liquorice, the faintest slap of leather with a solid grind of cracked pepper. Real pedigree on show and real positive surprise. At 14 years of age this wine is just embarking on its plane of drinkability. Beautiful now through to 2030+ when I believe you will have something very special in your cellar. Sampled using Zalto Bordeaux glassware. Decant for 3-4 hours prior to serving."
97 Points - Magdalena Sienkiewicz "An exuberant and complex nose of perfectly ripe dark berries supported by freshly roasted coffee, a touch of chocolate and aromatic piping tobacco. All-in-all, a nose suggesting you’re in the presence of a mighty fine wine. The palate starts with a lovely sweet entry followed by a savoury depth. The balance is superb, as flavours are wide-ranging from mulberry and raspberry to more prominent notes of espresso, dark chocolate with a touch of graphite minerality. The length is very impressive and finish seems endless. After three hours in my glass I detect more pronounced notes of liquorice and leather notes. A complex and refined Barossa Shiraz. Really lovely and a wine which surprised me."
Nearest UK Competitor @ £198.00 per case of 6 IB
Our Price: £122.50 per case of 6 IB
Nearest UK Competitor @ £119.57 per Magnum IB
Our Price: £55.95 per Magnum IB
2006 'Goose Yard' Block Shiraz
96 Points - James Halliday "Deep red, some crimson; medium- to full-bodied, and particularly intense; perfectly ripened fruit gives blackberry and bitter chocolate flavours without a scintilla of overripe/dead fruit characters; great length."
96 Points – Magdalena Sienkiewicz "A super-expressive nose with spiced fruit compote oozing from the glass together with fresh roasted coffee. Very classy and polished. The palate bursts with flavour in a beautiful dance of ripe fruit and Asian spices. Blueberries and raspberries are followed by crushed rocks, earthy spices and bitter chocolate. The wine flows seamlessly. Svelte tannins leading to a long and balanced finish with invigorating acidity making your palate feel refreshed and ready for more."
95 Points - Jay Miller (erobertparker.com) "The 2006 Shiraz Goose Yard Block offers a full-throttle, room-filling aromatic array of violets, Asian spices, truffle, wild blueberry, and black cherry jam. On the palate it is already strikingly complex, incredibly dense and concentrated, and impeccably balanced with fully integrated oak, tannin and acidity. The finish lasts for well over a minute. It will have a lengthy drinking window beginning in 2011 and lasting though 2026."
Nearest UK Competitor @ £319.00 per case of 6 IB
Our Price: £146.50 per case of 6 IB
Nearest UK Competitor @ £171.00
per Magnum IB
Our Price: £52.95 per Magnum IB
Nearest World Competitor @ £710.00 per Double Magnum
Our Price: £110.00 per Double Magnum IB
2007 'Goose Yard' Block Shiraz
94 Points - James Halliday "Deep and bright colour; a classy medium-bodied shiraz, with a seductive array of blackberry and plum fruit supported by fine, ripe tannins and well integrated; very high quality cork, perfectly inserted."
92 Points - Jay Miller (erobertparker.com) "The 2007 Shiraz Goose Yard Block is a glass-coating opaque purple color. It emits a splendid aromatic array of mineral, earth notes, espresso, Asian spices, plum, and blueberry. Not quite as rich as last year’s version because of the challenging vintage conditions, it is still a first-class Shiraz that will offer a drinking window extending from 2013 to 2022."
Nearest UK Competitor
@ £150.00 per case o 6 IB
Our Price: £98.50 per case of 6 IB
Nearest World Competitor
@ £44.84 per Magnum IB
Our Price: £32.50 per Magnum IB
£65.00 per Double Magnum IB
The 2019 Decanter winners have been announced
with House of Arras picking up a Platinum medal
and Grant Burge winning Gold.
Decanter World Wine
Awards 2019 Platinum
House of Arras Grand Vintage 2008
97 Points - Decanter
"Fresh and alive! Rich and weighted with ripe pineapple, orange skin, slight brioche and shortbread characters. Creamy and textured on the palate with brisk acidity and a persistent finish."
£28.50 per bottle
or £125.35 per case of 6 IB
Decanter World Wine
Awards 2019 Gold
Grant Burge Meshach Shiraz 2012
95 Points - Decanter
"Cooked dark fruit and violet aromas. Flavours of ripe dark plums and cherries with velvety tannins, plus juicy and fresh acidity that balances the ripe fruit. Developing beautifully with much more to come."
£51.95 per bottle
or £226.95 per case of 6
The inside story of Dry River Wines
including our exclusive Q&A with
chief winemaker Wilco Lam