Are we witnessing Australia’s new,
Written by Stuart McCloskey
Australia boasts an impressive ‘collectors’ list with prices matching the very best from around the world. Ancient Seppeltsfield Para Vintage Tawny Port, Penfolds Grange and their special bin releases, Henschke Hill of Grace, Torbreck’s The Laird, Bass Phillip’s Reserve Pinot Noir and Clarendon Hills Astralis are incredibly expensive upon release and are not necessarily worthy. Still highly collectable are tier two wines including Mount Mary’s Quintet, Rockford’s Basket Press Shiraz, Cullen’s Diana Madeline, Leeuwin’s Art Series Chardonnay, Mount Edelstone from Henschke and RunRig to name a few…
The WINEFRONT is Australia’s longest running online-only wine review site and perhaps to everyone’s surprise (unless you are a subscriber), is regarded as Australia’s number-one point of reference for serious wine reviews with Halliday.com playing second fiddle to the writing trio; Campbell Mattinson (founder of WF, former editor of Halliday Magazine and key contributor to the annual best-selling Halliday Wine Companion book), Gary Walsh (Co-publisher for WF) and the exuberant Mike Bennie (A freelance wine and drinks writer and journalist, wine judge and presenter).There are two scorings systems in our industry. 0-20 which is favoured by team Jancis Robinson MW & Matthew Jukes and 0-100 which many adopt, including The Vinorium. In essence, wines which receive 80-89 points are average to good – very good if you find yourself a bargain. 90-95 points indicates a wine to be very good to excellent however, price does come into play as high-value wines are less desirable if they fall into this group. 96-98 provides an interesting step away from ‘excellent’ to potentially ‘outstanding.’ 99-100 is hallowed territory and provides an indication of a potentially perfect wine. Sampling En-Primeur throws a curveball as some critics will provide a 97-100 – clearly a wine which could be ‘perfect’ but and as I
have seen too often, drops to 97 when it’s re-scored in the bottle. The release price is often higher due to its perfect potential and two years later, it falls from grace with little demand unless it is relatively inexpensive.
Some critics are well-known for providing far too many 100 points to a stage whereby they have lost credibility and some may question their independence as a wine writer. Conversely, some are hard to please and rarely provide a perfect score. To these writers, 19.0 / 19.5 or 99 points is as good as a wine gets. Personally, I believe readers should take a closer look at the tasting note, rather than the score (or at the very least, a combination of both). To this day, I struggle to understand how a critic can award a perfect or close to perfect score with a bland two liner.
The WINEFRONT trio fit into bracket of ‘hard to please’ which we, at The Vinorium like. In fact, and please correct me if I am wrong, they are yet to award 100-points since the inception of WINEFRONT, 2002. With a little research, the trio have awarded few Aussie wines 99 points: 1965 Tulloch Private Bin Dry Red, 1965 Lindeman’s Hunter River Burgundy Bin 3110, Penfolds Grange Shiraz 2004 and Penfolds Rare 50-Year-Old Tawny Series 3 NV. The remaining wines originating from Europe.
Forty wines received 98 points and include some famous names such as; ’05 Château Haut-Brion, Château Mouton and Château Léoville Las Cases, ’96 Cristal and ’92 Penfolds Bin 60A which emphasises the prodigious nature of this group… Hone down recent vintages and you’re left with ten wines; Cullen Diana Madeline 2015, Mount Mary JDWM Cabernet 2015, Clonakilla T&L Vineyard Block One Shiraz 2016, Penfolds Bin 111A Shiraz 2016, Tyrrell’s Old Patch Shiraz 2018, Mount Pleasant 1946 Vines Rosehill Vineyard Shiraz 2018 and our very own 2018 Standish Wine Co Lamella Shiraz which is wonderful to see…
98 Points Gary Walsh
“It feels like falling into a private universe”
“Hutton Vale Farm, Eden Valley. It’s sold out at the winery, I believe, and for me, it’s the best, and most complete wine from the 2018 releases. I don’t think Barossa/Eden Shiraz gets much better than this, and, so pleasingly, oak is not a feature of the wine. Great wines, to my tastes, are rarely oak-driven. It’s the quality of tannin that marks this out as a special wine. So dense, so ‘mineral’, it’s a cascade of shale tumbling through the mouth. Perfume of Earl Grey tea, sage and mint, black cherry and blueberry, chocolate and espresso. It’s fresh, with a raspberry succulence, inner-perfume of dried rose and lavender, cooling almost minty fresh acidity, poached rhubarb, and a slick of ferrous tannin on a finish of enormous length. Immense structure, delivered with precision and grace. It feels like falling into a private universe.”
How did the current releases from Hill of Grace and Grange stack-up? The $900 2015 Grange received 97 points from Campbell Mattinson and the $865 2015 Hill of Grace received 98 points (after watching an interesting thirteen-minute video).
Stuart McCloskey "The bouquet is exceedingly floral with a strong marine influence. Warm earth, espresso, violet, mineral, lead pencil, and mint are just some of the components which create the glorious and ever evolving bouquet. There is more structure from the acidity and tannins which keep the voluptuous, ripe, and supremely concentrated black fruits in perfect check. Ethereal in weight. Fine boned with an immense future ahead of itself. Not as amiable as the Andelmonde but this is precise winemaking aligned with nature itself. The finish is epically long. Drink before bed (do not clean your teeth) and you’ll be tasting it when you rise. Just incredible. Truly so. Decanted for 3.5 hours and served with Zalto Bordeaux glassware. Drinking window from 2020 to 2050++." Tasted 06.05.2020
The same decanted wine was sampled circa 24 hours later
(overnight we placed a tight clingfilm seal over each decanter)…
Summary: The bouquet is explosive and speaks loudly of its terroir –Iron, flint, incredibly muscular and alluring. Very Côte-Rôtie but with a lick more sweetness. The palate is expansive and drenched with ripe black / blue fruits. I love the bitter espresso and liquorice finish. I feel a tad mean with my score as this is an incredible wine, and just starting out on life. I truly believe this will be perfect in a decade or two and will achieve 100 points. But, and for now, an almost perfect score will suffice.
My Overall Score: 99 Points
98-100 Points - Joe Czerwinski (RobertParker.com)
“Another potentially perfect wine, the 2018 Lamella Shiraz, from the Eden Valley, is full-bodied and velvety in texture. Offering swirls of complex mixed berries, tea and spice, it finishes long and tannic, with plenty of backbone and structure, plus intriguing hints of espresso and chocolate. In contrast to The Standish, it's more impressive, while The Standish is more opulent and generous”
We sent Matthew Jukes and Sarah Ahmed samples of Dan’s 2018 Standish collection. Whilst we wait for Matthew, Sarah has ben eloquent and incredibly enthusiastic with the new releases. So much so, Sarah will be writing a meaty 1,300-word producer profile for Decanter magazine – the feature will include the full 2017 and 2018 collections, which is fantastic news for Dan, Nicole and Team Vinorium. It’s planned to be released in their Christmas / December edition, which will be on the shelves and available in November. I wonder how many new Standish Wine Co. fans will emerge through the article? Will there be any left for Decanter readers (Lamella in particular)?
As Gary stated – the ’18 Lamella has sold-out in Australia (Nicole emailed me this week, “Dan and I have not been ignoring you, we’ve just been inundated with our Mail Order release.”)
To many, and bang for the buck, (one of, if not the) number one wine in Australia…
Standish Lamella Shiraz 2018
Standish Lamella 2017 & 2018 2 pack
Read - Standish Wines:
The 2018 Collection
..Dan and his wife, Nicole, are no strangers to many Vinorium customers as their spectacular collection of Shiraz has been gracing our tables for the past few years. However, and to those unfamiliar with... Read more