A Taste of
The Vinorium

Issue: 58 / Sunday 17 February, 2019

 

Ignorance is relatively easy to overcome; stupidity is much harder which is sadly the reason why our relationship with Yarra Yering and Kaesler has ended abruptly. There simply comes a point in some situations where I stop, stick my commercial fingers up and let reality do the talking, which is exactly what happened this week. I have been a huge fan of Yarra Yering wines for much of my adult life but they’re an odd bunch to deal with. Effectively, export markets are forced to wait three full years after a vintage release, which does make commercial sense for them as year one is sold at the cellar door, thus maximising profit. Year two is sold to the Australian domestic market and then, in year three, the rest of the world gets what’s left! 

Frustratingly, and despite our best endeavours, allocations have been hard to come by. We have requested orders amounting to several pallets but and on most occasions,  we have struggled to compile an order to make the long journey worthwhile. We pay in advance, as we do with all our producers therefore, what’s not to like, you would think? The leading, multi-award-winning Aussie wine merchant in the UK who has the skillset to build a brand, is keen to double / treble their order and pays for it before it leaves their warehouse. Does such a wine merchant exist? In reality, rarely with the exception of The Vinorium and perhaps one or two more…

Out of the blue came a UK press release that Yarra Yering has signed a new UK exclusivity contract, which and as you can imagine, mystified me somewhat. Our relationship was fluid and not bound by a contractual document. Without integrity and respect, having a contract means nothing which is how I and many producers prefer to work. Of course, Yarra Yering is free to conduct their business however they see fit but not communicating their decision prior to the press announcement is ghastly and demonstrates a complete lack of respect. Even their newly appointed European sales manager was unaware which speaks volumes!

Yarra Yering, Kaesler and several other wineries are owned and managed by the same company(s) which is the reason we

have also dropped Kaesler like a bomb and severed all ties. The decision to work with a less able merchant (a non-Australian specialist and I would bet a substantial sum of money, they will not be paying up front) is idiotic. The only rationale comes down to Yarra Yering wishing to see their wines in UK restaurants which is something we do not support as the majority require financial terms of at least sixty days. Some, one-hundred and twenty and still expect you to roll out the red carpet for their business! This is one of the fundamental reasons why the UK wine industry is in such a mess. 

I ran a quick exercise and looked at the UK’s leading eight wine wholesalers / agents to the on and off trade, which is an acid test regarding the stability of the UK wine industry. They are the leading lights (allegedly) many are multi-award-winners and employ huge numbers of staff. Collectively, and based on their last reported financial figures, they reported a turnover of £797 million, which is a staggering number for the eight. However, their collective, reported net profit ran at a loss of £1.513 million which is incredibly worrying and reinforces my position that robbing Peter to pay Paul is essentially a flawed and an outdated way to run a wine company. To coin a phrase which one of my old employees kept telling me “turnover is vanity, profit is sanity, cash is a reality”.

So, what have I learnt from this experience? In truth, nothing. Our industry has some beautiful souls which are a joy to work with. However, and with each passing month, I see the same names appearing in the wine press. Supposedly industry leaders, companies we should aspire to be or at the very least, look up to. But when truth opens their fur coats, most of them have no knickers, sanity and reality no longer exist.

But, let’s not dwell on negativity. Instead, let’s look at the happy ending – that being all Yarra Yering and Kaesler wines are heavily discounted (with savings up to 30%) and will provide you with some wonderful drinking memories for many years to come… Cheers!

Yarra Yering SALE - Save up to 30%
Kaesler Wine Sale - Save over 25%

Out with the old, in with the new is exactly what the team has been spending the past few weeks concentrating on. Honestly, if you could see the list of samples which we have to get through, which is a good thing as wine sales throughout 2019 have been impressive. Many wines have either sold-out or are teetering on the edge. This week, the 2015 Deep Woods Hillside Cabernet Sauvignon has sold-out with the superb 2015 ‘Reserve’ not far behind. On that note, we are expecting the new arrivals week of the 15 April with deliveries commencing Monday 22. We do expect both the 98 point (Decanter) Reserve Chardonnay & 99 point (James Halliday) Cabernet Sauvignon to sell-out before they physically land. I appreciate the wee-wait and the need to part with your hard-earned cash before taking possession however, it’s a risky game of Russian roulette if you are waiting for them to land!

The superb 2015 Leung Estate Ma Maison Pinot Noir (our 2018 Best Value Red of the Year) may have sold-out by the time you read this. Currently, and as I type on Friday morning, we have 33 bottles left with no further stocks of the ’15 available. We have requested a sample of the 2016 and will sample with nervous anticipation.

All under bond stock of Two Hands Charlie’s, Bella’s and Lily’s Gardens have sold-out this week too. This amounts to nearly 1,000 bottles and covers the recently landed (last month!) 2015 & 2016 vintages. We have small stocks of duty paid wine at our HQ, but we expect these to quickly follow suit. Fear not, as next week we are placing our order for the 2017s with an ETA of June. Given the speed of these sell-outs, we will increase our order to 3,000 bottles (Garden Series alone) with Charlie’s, Samantha’s, Harriet’s and Max’s being offered exclusively by The Vinorium. We share allocations of Bella’s & Lily’s with Majestic, but we are some ten-pounds cheaper per bottle.

From the amazing sparkling Tassie producer that is House of Arras, the ’07 Grand Vintage is down to less than a six-pack. We have received the ’08 to sample and will make a decision next week whether to move onto the new vintage. Please contact Magda if you would like more ’07 Grand Vintage as we are happy to bring stocks in to cover your wishes. The NV Brut Elite is superb for the price-point but, and quite surprisingly, has not found as much favour with you. 28 bottles remain in stock – Perhaps a wine to delist? We welcome your thoughts…

 
 
 

Dan (Standish) and I have been in regular contact over the past few weeks. Firstly, and with all our exclusive producers, we are preparing special wines for our super-special portfolio tasting on Saturday 28 September. Of course, we are mindful of the Rugby World Cup and ensured England was not playing. Japan V Ireland (kick off 08:15am) will still leave you plenty of time to arrive for what is going to be the most impressive tasting for consumers held by any wine merchant.

Dan loved our tasting note for his ’16 The Relic “Nice note on the 2016 The Relic, even I’d buy it” which opened the discussion regarding more stock. One of Dan’s Asian customers has been unable to decide therefore, we are now proud owners of a further 576 bottles which is ready to be shipped along with our new agency, Hoddles Creek. The ’16 Relic is one of the greatest ‘young’ Shiraz wines I have ever encountered. I awarded 99 points with my full tasting note available here however, we have sold precisely 773 bottles (equating to £50,000) in the past six months. We would love to here your views. Please email us. 

We will be shipping Dan’s 2017s around May / June with an increase across the board to support growing demand. 1,152 bottles of The Relic and The Standish will be joined by 576 bottles of The Lamella and Schubert Theorem. We may receive a little more of the latter two but we’ll have to wait until Dan finishes the allocation process.

It is difficult to describe how utterly thrilled I am to announce our new exclusivity with John’s Blend Winery, Langhorne Creek (South Australia). This is one of those rare moments, when and as a very young wine collector, my cherished bottles of John’s Blend (some twenty years of age) will now be shipped as one of my very own exclusivities. It has taken six months and lots of emails with the wonderful Margarete Glaetzer to get to this stage. Now, our small, hand labelled order is ready and will be coming to the UK soon (I haven’t seen it here for over twenty years).  

We will be shipping 120 bottles of the 2014 John’s Blend Cabernet Sauvignon and the same quantity of the 2014 John’s Blend Margarete’s Shiraz. There is simply no further stock available however, and

over time, I hope to increase our allocation a little. Personally, I will be taking twelve bottles of each wine, which really doesn’t leave much to go around all of our customers. Contact Magda  directly as we will be releasing this later next week.

A little background on these Aussie treasures. 1967 Wolf Blass winemaker, John Glaetzer, worked with some beautiful Cabernet Sauvignon from Bill Potts’ vineyard, Langhorne Creek. John worked his magic and produced the first Wolf Blass Grey Label Cabernet Sauvignon. Some seven years later, and inspired by those beautiful grapes, John (still working for Blass as the senior winemaker) made John’s Blend No. 1 Langhorne Creek Cabernet Sauvignon, using fruit from the same Bill Potts’ vineyard.

The result was hardly surprising; for John’s part in the story of Wolf Blass Wines, resulted 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.

John says there’s been no significant change to his winemaking technique or oak-maturation regime over the years. He ferments the wine a little cooler than industry standard, to preserve vibrant fruit flavours. He believes warm temperatures “boil off the fruit”. And in a technique picked up from Wolf Blass (in turn learned by Blass from Penfolds Grange creator, Max Schubert) John finishes the ferments off in oak barrels. John continues to source fruit from Bill Potts’ Langhorne Creek Vineyard however, in 1992 and 1993 he and Bill Potts established the 32-hectare Pasquin vineyard nearby.

John’s Blend reminds us that it’s all a matter of balance consisting of powerful fruit capable of devouring lots of oak over time, and the symbiotic combination produces complex long-lived wines, which go on for decades. It would be accurate to say that in Australia’s fine wine making fraternity there are few others who share, with John Glaetzer, the extent and depth of contribution to super premium red wine, which is something we welcome with open arms.

 

On Thursday we released a full Clarendon Hills sale consisting of 800 bottles which sit at our HQ and over 6,000 bottles lying at our UK, bonded warehouse. You may be wondering why we did not email a communication regarding such a huge sale. In all honestly, we worry about bombarding customers with too many communications – It’s a fine line and one we are respectful of. May I suggest you click the following link and follow us on Twitter as life is very busy at The Vinorium with daily tastings and Twitter is the home where we feel we can share news / tastings / photos without the worry of being a nuisance. Also, it is highly likely you will be the first to hear when we have something exciting to share…

What’s in store for next week? We will be releasing our tasting note for the superb 2013 Giesen The Fuder Matthews Lane Sauvignon Blanc, Wow, what a beautiful Sauvignon Blanc. This is my first ‘official’ announcement, but eagle-eyed customers have already purchased one third of our stock. We have also purchased a lovely parcel of wine from the Teviotdale Hills in the Waipara Valley, New Zealand.

The Chardonnay is simply sensational with a salinity / saltiness which I have not encountered from New Zealand before. We have a small allocation of three, mature Pinot Noirs dating back to 2010 and all three, are very fine examples indeed. Feel free to drop Magda an email if you would like first refusal. And before you go searching – You will not find them on our website!

We have been busy writing regional, Australian reports, which will be released next Sunday and throughout the course of the month. Having received their ‘in-bottle’ scores from all the leading critics, 2016 Bordeaux will feature extensively. Finally, and a subject I am most cautious to discuss (despite my twenty years of experience) is wine investment and a special opportunity for all Vinorium customers.

Until next Sunday, enjoy the springtime weather and those of you taking half-term off to spend with your family – have fun.

Cheers,

Stu  

 
 

Clarendon Hills Super SALE

 

“Roman Bratasiuk is one of Planet Earth’s
greatest winemakers”

Declares Robert Parker

 

The ultimate perfectionist, Roman Bratasiuk is often named amongst the world’s finest producers. With no formal oenological qualifications, a biochemist by profession, he has been flattering the palates of consumers and critics alike since 1989, which marks the beginning of Clarendon Hills.

Stunning sites with vines planted from the original French cuttings brought to Australia in the late 1800s are Clarendon Hills’ proud heritage. Bottling 100% varietal, single vineyard wines are a common practice for producers lucky enough to own exceptional vineyards and quality fruit however, at the beginning of Roman’s journey, he was virtually one of the pioneers. Quickly gaining a reputation for his Old Vine Grenache (McLaren Vale and Clarendon Hills specifically hold some of the oldest Grenache vines found in Australia), but today he is equally (if not more) famous for his stunning Syrah and an impressive collection of ultra high-quality wines spread across his 19
single vineyard Cuvees.

Our remaining collection is being offered for sale at the very best prices in the UK market, if not the world (as you have come to expect)

High Scoring Highlights

 

Romas Grenache 2006

99 Points - Lisa Perrotti-Brown
(erobertparker.com) 

 

Was £64.95 per bottle
NOW £52.50 per bottle

14 Bottles Available

Romas Grenache 2005

95 Points -  Jay Miller 
(erobertparker.com) 

 

Was £44.95 per bottle
NOW £38.95 per bottle

 
 

Hickinbotham Cabernet Sauvignon 2005 OWC

97 Points - Robert Parker

 

Was £54.95 per bottle
NOW £44.00 per bottle

13 Bottles Available

Hickinbotham Cabernet Sauvignon 2006 OWC

96 Points - Jay Miller (erobertparker.com)

 

Was £45.55 per bottle
NOW £35.95 per bottle

 

Hickinbotham Syrah 2005

97 Points -  Jay Miller 
(erobertparker.com) 

 

Was £38.95 per bottle
NOW £31.50 per bottle

11 Bottles Available

Moritz Syrah 2005

96 Points - Jay Miller 
(erobertparker.com)

 
 

Was £34.50 per bottle
NOW £24.00 per bottle

 
 

Piggott Range Syrah 2007

95 Points -  Jay Miller 
(erobertparker.com) 

 

Was £34.95 per bottle
NOW £30.50 per bottle

Blewitt Springs
Grenache 2007

95 Points - Jeremy Oliver

 

Was £30.00 per bottle
NOW £23.50 per bottle

 
 

A snapshot of some of our
‘BIGGEST’ savings….

 

Hickinbotham Cabernet Sauvignon 2007

* SAVE £15.00 *

Was £44.95 per bottle
NOW £29.95 per bottle

Only 2 bottles left!

Hickinbotham Cabernet Sauvignon 2005

* SAVE £10.95 *

Was £54.95 per bottle
NOW £44.00 per bottle

 
 

Romas Grenache 2006

* SAVE £12.45 *

Was £64.95 per bottle
NOW £52.50 per bottle

Onkaparinga Syrah 2006

* SAVE £10.00 *

Was £39.95 per bottle
NOW £29.95 per bottle

 

Onkaparinga Grenache 2006

* SAVE £10.00 *

Was £39.95 per bottle
NOW £29.95 per bottle

Moritz Syrah 2005

* SAVE £10.50 *

Was £34.50 per bottle
NOW £24.00 per bottle

 

Liandra Syrah 2005

* SAVE £8.75 *

Was £33.50 per bottle
NOW £24.75 per bottle

Hickinbotham Syrah 2007

* SAVE £8.45 *

Was £39.95 per bottle
NOW £31.50 per bottle

 

View the Entire
6,800 bottle collection

Our Clarendon Hills SALE is live!