Issue: 87 / Friday 25 October, 2019
“October, baptize me with leaves! Swaddle me in corduroy and nurse me with split pea soup. October, tuck tiny candy bars in my pockets and carve my smile into a thousand pumpkins. O autumn! O teakettle!”
I recently moved to a beautiful part of Kent. As far as the eye can see, my home is surrounded by apple orchards, lakes and marshes which are under the protection of the National Nature Reserve. All men are boys at heart and the opportunity to scrump apples got the better of me last weekend. Not a wasteful amount, but enough to enjoy throughout the winter months. A few wooden wine boxes full of apples now sit in my cool, dark pantry and act as perfect storage vessel for the months ahead.
It felt fun and rather mischievous as I haven’t scrumped apples for a good thirty years. The orchard is scattered with windfall apples, which is rather sad. It’s getting too late in the year for the bees and wasps to take advantage therefore, I see it as my duty to collect a few apples that will go to waste. Sunday’s cider braised pork cheeks were lifted by the introduction of scrumped apple. The balance between their sweetness and acidity was perfect as was my small pudding of thinly sliced apple cooked in butter, cinnamon, bay and served with a homemade cobnut crumble which I harvested from my garden.
My garden is very special, and I feel incredibly privileged to be part of its history. Much work is to be done as the previous owners have let the garden drift a little, but I believe if I spend every weekend for the next two years working hard, I will have accomplished some of my plans. Walking through my beautiful garden is undoubtedly a special feeling. It’s so easy to lose yourself in the beauty of nature. It certainly adds joy and calmness. The garden is framed like a parkland with mature trees which certainly command your attention. In other parts, the planting is more sensitive with ornamental grasses that sway in the wind, bringing attention to a soft breeze that might otherwise go unnoticed.
The small woodland is ablaze with a riot of golds and reds coming from the abundance of maple trees. I am particularly fond of the Japanese maple and the fifty-foot mulberry tree is truly a site of beauty. I cannot wait for next year’s harvest. Ferns grow beneath the shade, but the ivy and bramble need taming which is a task I plan for the weeks ahead.
Bay trees are in abundance. So far, I have counted more than thirty mature plants ranging from eight to some forty feet in height. The leaves on the largest tree are the size of my palm with extraordinary aromatics. The hedging is either bay or box which must have been planted decades back. This weekend, I plan to stand three metres above the ground and give them all a crisp haircut.
The leaf colours ranging from yellow ochre to burnt sienna are glorious, but the rain has been a damp squib on what is usually a spectacularly colourful month. My wine habits change too as I decidedly shift towards opening more bottles of red wine. Contrary to my habits, many Vinorium customers buck the seasonal shift and stick with red wine regardless of the temperature. You have purchased 43,115 bottles of red wine this year (January to September) compared to 7,044 bottles of still, white wine. I am still baffled by these statistics as I would gauge my consumption on a 3:1 ratio (white to red). Of course, there is nothing wrong with drinking red wine throughout the course of the year as many wines lend themselves to summer drinking. Pinot Noir served slightly chilled being a perfect example. Aussie Gamay too but that’s something new for 2020. However, our numbers tell a different story with 26,030 bottles of Shiraz / Syrah selling versus 2,672 bottles of Pinot Noir – I am sure staff purchases would double this figure, but for the sake of accuracy and HMRC, we keep these a secret!
September was a particularly busy month – Perhaps the late summer surge inspired the purchases, which I thank you all for. In terms of the number of website sales, it was a record-breaking time with an 85% increase over September 2018. We are particularly delighted with 25% coming from first-time buyers. Last month currently stands as the busiest month for website sales since the inception of The Vinorium with Australia accounting for 90% of sales with many sell-outs. In particular, 1,300 bottles of Clarendon Hills scattered around the globe with many, mature verticals selling out (under bond stock). Our Clarendon Hills sale continues and will do so until all stocks have been sold.
Our customers in Asia have been busy hoovering-up much of our Torbreck stock. We no longer possess one 75cl bottle from the entire line-up and many large formats have also sold-out. Sadly, we are only left with a handful of bottles which can be viewed here. It is a similar position with mature Wild Duck Springflat Shiraz as all under bond stocks (save for Magnums) have been sold. We plan to offer the remaining HQ shop stock during next week. Kay Brothers mighty Block Six has completely sold-out including the most recent ‘physical’ vintage. We have also sold 50% of the 125th anniversary addition (ETA January 2020) to the same, trade customer who clearly has an insatiable appetite for the wine.
Another record goes to the quickest selling wine of all time. 1,200 bottles of the 98-point (Decanter) Lethbridge, Between Five Bells Pinot Noir sold-out within 48 hours. Many Decanter readers (and first time Vinorium customers) took advantage of the excellent price. We were originally allocated 1,200 but were able to purchase a further sixty at a slightly increased price. These bottles are now available to purchase (unless they’ve been spotted early!). We have received lots of emails regarding its arrival and onward delivery to you all. As such, we have prepared a full itinerary of imminent stock arrivals below. Please also make use of our website as we update ETA’s continuously against each wine. It’s a great source of information and saves the need to bombard you with endless emails…
Our new arrivals excite the team as much as you as it's often a long wait from receiving samples, enjoying them to finally receiving our order – A six-month turnaround is the normal course. We’re all looking forward to Bruce’s sensational 2017 Artus Chardonnay (Margaret River) which quickly sold-out back home. I imagine Decanters 98 points along with winning the Platinum Medal at Decanters World Wine Awards 2019 has something to do with it!
Bruce’s success did not happen by accident. He has an intimate knowledge of all the terroirs of Margaret River after spending 25 years honing his craft with leading Margaret River producers such as Pierro wines, which is one of my personal favourites. Bruce seeks freshness of fruit, perfume, texture, overall balance and restraint with low to moderate alcohol in all his beautiful wines.
Artus forms part of a flagship series, the finest expression of the Margaret River varietals. Artus is an artistic translation of the local Gingin clone into wine. The wine creates its own journey. It is a provocative, complex and textural wine exuding the seductive spirit of old-world Chardonnay. The vines have been managed to allow only dappled light into the fruiting zone. This promotes flavour development, low tannins and bright levels of natural acidity. The fruit is sourced from Karridale the cool southern end of Margaret River. The tiny 100g Gingin clusters are hand harvested at first light to preserve freshness of fruit as we love it. As ever, there is little to go around and I would suggest you fill your boots.
We are immensely proud to be the UK agent for one of Tasmania’s iconic producers, Pooley Wines. They are renowned for their exquisite Single Vineyard examples of Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Riesling. Given their strong domestic market, our opening order is small with most wines sitting around 120 bottles. Earlier in the year, the entire team sampled the range with the delightful John Pooley with their Single Vineyard wines standing out. They’re all exquisite. The Cooinda Vale Chardonnay once formed an integral component of the famous Yattarna Chardonnay from Penfolds. Since 2016 Anna Pooley (winemaker) has kept the fruit separate to produce a single expression from this immaculate site. Their Butcher's Hill Chardonnay is another beauty. Similarly, the fruit from this block was once used for Penfold's Yattarna Chardonnay… All their wines come highly recommended.
We are also thrilled to bring Nick’s (Glaetzer-Dixon) new releases to the UK including, and for the first time, his Überblanc Riesling. The Sur Lie Chardonnay was bottled towards the latter part of September and will be arriving in the UK in January 2020. These wines showed fantastically well at our portfolio tasting and I am sure will find much favour with you. From a qualitive Vs value perspective, Nick is in a league of his own. We have also received a small allocation of his new, La Judith Pinot Noir. Email Magda directly as quantities are available in bottles rather than cases. New arrivals also create a problem as space is limited, which is the key reason why we are offering Nick’s 2018 collection at discounted prices. See the below sales banner.
Somuah wines were declared a stand-out producer by many of those who attended our September tasting. The entire collection offers incredible drinking for their respective price point. For me, both Equilibrio wines are currently the best we offer at the price level. Moreover, they comfortably stand shoulder-to-shoulder with the very best in our Aussie portfolio, regardless of price.
Quite by surprise, and to highlight inept shippers (who never cease to amaze in their stupidity) a full pallet of Dan Standish 2017 Standish The Standish, arrived in the UK when it should have been in a different country. Poor Dan and Nicole who work tirelessly, really do not need the bother. We have been asked to sell this pallet as, and from a logistical and time perspective, it’s easier for them to ship again from Australia. The 96 cases (6x75cl) are available at £252.50 in bond per case against our normal retail price of £306.90, a saving of some 20%.
Of course, this is not ideal as this offer will devalue our stocks however, a good deed takes precedence over profits. Please note; these cases will be offered to our trade customers on Tuesday morning. These will be quickly hoovered-up as they also pay £306.90. To save confusion, we have removed our under-bond stock holding, which will be returned to our website on Tuesday morning. Please utilise this link or the smart banner below.
I am the first one to disapprove of early Christmas talk however, needs must as it takes careful planning to safeguard a smooth run-in. Except for European delivery cut-offs which are not available to us at this time, we have planned the remainder of the year which can be viewed more clearly at the footer of today’s weekend read. Any changes will be advertised as and when they occur.
Finally, and to the many customers who sent concerning emails regarding the lack of our Sunday weekend reads – Thank you and I apologise for our short absence. A little re-charge was necessary for team Vinorium, but it’s great to be missed. Saturday is a huge day for English rugby, and I hope we spend the day celebrating (hence the reason for the Friday addition). A second copy will be sent at the usual time for non-rugby fans. Fingers crossed!
Pinot Noir 2017
"You will have to look very hard
to find a better buy for the money"
96+ Points - Stuart McCloskey “The Pinot Noir for the ’17 Avancé was sourced from three vineyards in Southern Tasmania’s Upper Derwent and Coal Valleys. Sweet, succulent entry with an abundance of red cherries, wild strawberry, plums and sweet spices all laced together with bright, perfectly judged acidity. Medium-bodied, with pure silky tannins. The quality of racy, plush fruit is exquisite however, it’s the wines overall balance and completeness which stands out the most. You will have to look very hard to find a better buy for the money. A wine of pure and total pleasure. Just gorgeous and not to be missed”. Served in Zalto Burgundy glass (Highly-Recommended by the way! ), drinking beautifully now but will develop over the next 3-6 years."
"Light gorgeous colour, wonderful fruit on the nose (strawberries, cherries, blackberry, black currant) with a wonderful sweet and spicy medium bodied taste - very silky tannins. Extraordinary value"
"This is a hedonistic style, with fragrant sweet cherry fruit in bouquet and on the palate. Even at this stage there is complexity developing and the finish is drier with some minerally hints. It’s just so enjoyable at the moment, but it would be interesting to see how it develops, if only you can resist it now."
The following wines will be docking in the UK
week commencing 4 November 2019
Wines will be available for onward delivery within 7-10 days.
The NEW collection from
The following wine will be docking in the UK
week commencing 11 November 2019
The wine will be available for onward delivery within 7-10 days.
The following wines will be arriving in the UK
week commencing 18 November 2019
"It possesses the most provocative earthy sparks, providing arresting depth to the very long, beautifully perfumed finish. Stunning”.
Colgin IX Estate Red Wine 2016
(Case 3x75cl) OWC
100 Points - Lisa Perrotti-Brown (RobertParker.com)
“The 2016 IX Proprietary Red Estate is a blend of 68% Cabernet Sauvignon, 15% Cabernet Franc, 10% Merlot and 7% Petit Verdot. Deep garnet-purple, it comes strutting out of the glass with flamboyant Black Forest cake, blueberry compote and plum pudding notions plus hints of spice cake, unsmoked cigars, menthol, licorice and dusty soil and accented by wafts of tar and black tea. The palate is full-bodied yet incredibly poised and vibrant with amazing freshness and very fine-grained, very firm tannins. It possesses the most provocative earthy sparks, providing arresting depth to the very long, beautifully perfumed finish. Stunning”.
100 Points - Jeb Dunnuck
"Another perfect wine is the 2016 IX Estate, which is made from 68% Cabernet Sauvignon, 15% Cabernet Franc, 10% Merlot and 7% Petit Verdot, all from the hillside vineyard at the estate, high up on Pritchard Hill. It’s another ethereal, pure, seamless wine that does everything right. Huge notes of crème de cassis, ground herbs and tobacco, graphite, chocolate, and spring flower notes all emerge from this full-bodied 2016 that has building tannins, incredible depth of fruit, no hard edges, and a terrific finish. I wrote “wow” three times in my notes on this beauty. Hide bottles for 3-5 years if you can, and it’s capable of lasting for 3-4 decades. It’s another magical wine from winemaker Allison Tauziet that just could not be any better."
**Available for delivery February 2020**
£1370.00 per case of 3 In Bond
£1652.03 per case of 3 Duty Paid
Only 4 cases available
"..the 2016 Syrah IX Estate reminds me of the otherworldly 2010 and is as profound as Syrah gets."
Colgin IX Estate Syrah 2016
(Case 3x75cl) OWC
100 Points - Jeb Dunnuck
"Lastly, the 2016 Syrah IX Estate reminds me of the otherworldly 2010 and is as profound as Syrah gets. Tasting like Guigal’s Côte Rôtie La Mouline (maybe on steroids) with its huge notes of bacon fat, spring flowers, blue fruits, barbecued meats, and incense, it’s full-bodied and massive yet also thrillingly pure, seamless, elegant, and weightless. It’s certainly approachable today yet is going to benefit from 2-4 years of bottle age and keep for two decades."
**Available for delivery February 2020**
£900.00 per case of 3 In Bond
£1088.03 per case of 3 Duty Paid
Only 2 cases available
Winner of a Trophy, Platinum Medal & 6 Gold Medals including; Gold at the Decanter World Wine Awards 2018
Soumah Equilibrio Chardonnay 2017
97+ / 98+ Points Stuart McCloskey “The concept behind Soumah’s Equilibrio range is to promote the very best barrels, clonal mix and new oak integration to create a few cases that will benchmark the potential of each vintage. A faint whiff of sulphur / gunflint. Tightly coiled and flirts between mineral and flint. With time, lemon oil expands the aromatics along with the most delicate, white flowers – a lovely sense of harmony. The palate has a beautiful tension and is far from flamboyant. Yuzu, freshly squeezed lemons, crushed stones / stony minerality provide a perfect crystal-like delineation. Reserved but far from miserly. More succinct, precise and as per its name, effortless equilibrium. It is tempting to drink now, but I would find a dark corner and ignore it for 2-3 years for that special experience. Better still, come back in a decade. In short, it is a very, very fine wine”. Served at a cool warehouse temperature & utilising Zalto’s Bordeaux glassware
(I recommend decanting for 30 minutes too)
"This wine seriously over-delivers... Utterly faultless for the money"
Hardys HRB Chardonnay 2013
95++ Points, Stuart McCloskey “Great colour and a suggestion of its age however, both the nose and palate prove otherwise. The nose interplays beautifully between brulée, ripe orchard fruit, spiced pear to nervy minerality. The palate is broad, textural, far too moreish and deeply satisfying. Age has been this wines friend – The fruit is decadent and creamy but overall, it shows bags of finesse. The freshness is outstanding, and I wouldn’t be surprised if this is drinking fabulously in another ten years. There isn’t much to add beyond the fact that this wine seriously over-delivers at every level and one wine which should be served under blind conditions to simply highlight the outstanding quality and value. Utterly faultless for the money”. Served using Zalto Bordeaux glassware
£16.95 per bottle
With delivery certainty in mind, please place your order(s)
by 3:00pm Thursday 19 December.
Emergency online orders: 12:00 noon Friday 20 December.
Weekend Shop &
Christmas Opening Hours
Saturday November 9 - 10:00am to 4:00pm
Saturday December 7 & 14 - 10:00am to 4:00pm
Saturday December 21 - 9:00am to 5:00pm
Monday December 23 - 9:00am to 5:00pm
Christmas Eve - from 9:00am to 2:00pm
HQ Christmas Hours
(These differ from our shop opening hours).
Our HQ will close from 5:00pm Friday 20 December returning 2 January 2020 (*Telephones & emails will not be staffed during this period).