Proudly introducing the new & exclusive Domaine Simha
Domaine Simha are creating a real buzz in the Australian, as well as the international wine scene, with their wines in demand among the world’s top sommeliers and the allocations very hard to come by. We are over the moon to have partnered with Domaine Simha and their explosively brilliant wines, which complement what is in our opinion, the finest collection of Tassie producers amassed under one roof, outside of Australia.
The story behind Domaine Simha is as exciting and vibrant as the wines themselves. Navneet Singh, the founder and the winemaker at Domaine Simha, developed many 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 the Margaret River. Nav also has a host of qualifications which include both Viticulture and Oenology certificates from the University of Adelaide.Quite a resume, I’m sure most of you will agree!
Nav believes in a natural approach to winemaking, following biodynamic principles, paying 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.
This meticulous attention to detail and devotion to quality manifests proudly in their superb wines, which both Stu and Magda enthusiastically refer to as “one of the finds of the year”. The world’s expertise follows suit - 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!
We are super-proud to present you with some of the most exciting wines produced in Tasmania today. All Domaine Simha wines arrived in our HQ early this week and all are now available for immediate delivery. These include three electrifying Pinot Noirs, each representing a unique style. The ‘Nature’ Pinot Noir indeed resembles a quality ‘natural’ style (without being a fashionable gimmick), the ‘Beauregard’ is crafted in clay amphora and ‘Rama’ crowns the range with incredible complexity. Last, but not least, is Simha’s flagship Chardonnay which strides for perfection. Stylistically, it is more flamboyant in comparison to other Tassie Chardonnays (like Sailor Seeks Horse, which showcases a wonderfully ethereal style), some will say it is reminiscent of a serious Burgundy.
We reached out to Nav and asked him in more depth to give us insights to the story behind creating Domaine Simha, how he creates these superb wines and what inspires him to constantly strive for perfection. These are truly special wines and we are confident you will love them as much as we do.
Enjoy, Team Vinorium
Up close and personal with
Nav Singh of Domaine Simha:
One of Tasmania's hottest exports
You’ve worked at several wineries in Margaret River, Burgundy and Bordeaux. Is there one region or winery that has had the most profound influence on you?
Certainly Burgundy. The reverence for their plot of land and the dedication they have shown tending it by hand for generations is inspiring. When working over four vintages at Domaine de l’Arlot, I was impressed by their approach to understanding each block and making wines which show their uniqueness. We worked a lot with 100% whole bunch philosophy. This is a practice we now instil in our winemaking wholeheartedly. Combined with gentle foot pigéage, the wines give us beautiful perfume and fine tannin structure. Working in Pomerol at Château Le Pin, it was brilliant to gain firsthand experience in making a singular wine from just one hectare that was of such personality and standing in the world of wine.
You worked during the legendary 2010 vintage at Château Le Pin and Vieux Château Certan. Can you tell us a little more about this experience?
Most of my time was spent at Château Le Pin in 2010 and a few weeks at VCC. 2010 was undoubtedly one of the best growing seasons in recent years in Bordeaux. Dry, cool with ample sunshine, and cool nights made for a long ripening with great retention of acidity and a full spectrum of flavour development. There was great excitement in the cellars about the quality of the fruit at VCC. We made a range of styles from across Pomerol and Saint-Émilion, depending on the individual philosophy. There were great examples of balance and finesse.
Your wines have very minimal intervention and you also follow Biodynamic principles as much as possible. How does this approach enhance the wines?
Our approach is best described as Natural. We utilise lunar calendars to follow the different phases of moon for pruning, harvest and bottling. This gives real energy and expression to our wines. The idea of wine finding its own natural equilibrium is essential to our philosophy, to ensure we showcase a true sense of place. Wines are fermented naturally by the indigenous yeast that grows on the vines. We focus on texture and structure in our wines, building the frame of our wine around a core of pure, soft natural acidity that is unique to Tasmania. We are very gentle, using only our hands, and foot pigéage to delicately work the skins and leave the wine on lees to layer texture and perfume before basket pressing. We use exclusively demi-muid barrels (600L) and amphorae in the winery which give distinct textural components while allowing the fruit to shine.
Did you have a clear vision as to what you wanted to create with Domaine Simha or did it evolve along the way?
We had a clear vision and wanted to do wines which spoke about the vineyards. We have a very Burgundian approach, where all the cuvées are determined in the vineyard and there is no blending done in the winery.
You are known to work in “micro-batches,” producing only a few barrels at a time. How does this approach affect the quality of the wine?
Micro batches from a single vineyard make compelling wines because they are so clear in their provenance. This way we get to build the history and continuing story for each of the blocks and showcase personality driven through each vintage and its variations.
You describe your wines as avant-garde fine wine. Can you explain what you mean by this?
We aim to make wine of a quality that is akin to the best in the world with an approach that is holistic and feels authentic for us. We embrace a new wave of thinking where methods and styles are more free flowing and intuitive than the rigorous, technical approach of the past few decades. We focus on natural production and lo-fi methods so our wine can gain its own equilibrium within the environment. While it may be described as avant-garde, a lot of what we do is actually paring back to the oldest, simplest techniques to uncover that ethereal magic at the heart of the vineyard.
Have you taken any influence from your time spent in Burgundy?
Our approach is closely aligned with philosophies I learned working in Burgundy. We undertake 100% whole bunch for both white and red wines. It just feels right to honour and respect the vine by using all parts of the grape. We harvest by hand and wait patiently for natural fermentation with very gentle foot pigéage and a long time on skins. I believe lees are the life of the wine and leaving it on lees means it becomes one with the environment, so we don’t need to add any preservative throughout the winemaking process, save for a small amount right at the bottling stage. We are rewarded with wines of wonderful light and shade, showing great perfume and grace along with depth of flavour and structure.
Were you equally tempted to follow your experiences gained in Pomerol and work with Merlot/Cabernet Franc blends?
I was fascinated to see how Merlot can show very fragile, delicate beauty and characters akin to Pinot Noir when handled by the more refined makers of Pomerol.
What was it about Tasmania that made you want to produce wine there?
The cold climate landscape drew us to Tasmania. It’s a region where the terroir offers spectacular advantages in terms of some of the worlds most ancient vineyard soil and a long cool ripening season with little or no inherent environmental challenges. This allows us to make wine of the highest quality with natural methods and excellent acid foundations where we can just let it be. The ozone is quite thin over Tasmania and the southerly latitude means there are very long and intense sunshine hours. Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Riesling all shine immensely and show distinct provenance in different areas of Tasmania. For us, the Derwent Valley is a special terroir that reveals amazing flavour and nuance not seen anywhere else.
Your wines are made in tiny quantities and are constantly in demand by some of the world’s top sommeliers. Is demand now outweighing supply?
The idea for us is always to work with small quantities so we can manage and have full control over every aspect of production. With tiny quantities we have to be selective in where we offer the wines so they are really enjoyed by people who love them.
The single vineyard Pinot Noirs and Chardonnays are produced from fruit sourced from the Derwent and Coal River Valley sub-regions. Can you tell us a little about each site and how the fruit and wines differ from each?
Our wines are always single vineyard because the expression of terroir is most compelling for us. We work primarily with 3ha of old vines from a single grower in the Derwent Valley. The geology is unique with sedimentary rocks such as sandstone and basalt being the main components of the soil.
Our location above the Derwent river with high sunshine, low rainfall and flowing wind keeps pressure from frost and disease low. The wines show intense minerality and underlying power that is light on its feet. From time to time we find a special parcel from other rare sites across Tasmania which have a distinct personality. The Coal River Valley is a warmer, high altitude site with rocky volcanic soil.
We know that many producers in Tasmania source their fruit from growers. Is there competition between the producers to get their hands on the very best grapes?
There are a handful of amazing older established vineyards and it’s certainly about the relationships you forge. With few vineyards in Tasmania, there are many exceptional sites yet to be planted. It’s like the last frontier where everything is possible.
Is there a particular sub-region or site that you feel is especially superior?
After much exploration we sought out the Derwent Valley as the most exciting for our endeavours. We consider this an exceptional piece of terroir where we can make wines that are framed with purity and grace.
With so many winemakers sourcing fruit from the same sub-regions, how have you managed to ensure that your wines stand out?
We have our own individual style. We are guided by the fruit and what we feel is right each season. We align with the lunar cycles and employ a terroir-based focus. Everything is built around perfectly natural acidity that is unique to Tasmania, with the use of skins and lees to build perfume, texture and structure in large format vessels that let the wine breathe and evolve.
Were you inspired by any other winemaker or any wines that you’d tasted in the past?
So many inspirations. I love wines that produce emotion, that take me to a particular hillside or cellar and make me feel something. I enjoy elegant, cool climate styles that resonate with energy and minerality. I always look for interest and site-specific personality.
We’d love to hear in your words, about each range. How do they differ and what makes each so special?
DOMAINE SIMHA - Avant-garde fine wine – our finest expression of terroir.
AMPHORAE - Living wine relying on ancient knowledge and intuition. Energetic wine of expressive character and Lo-fi technique.
NATURE – Sheer, elemental nature.
This is the first time that your incredible wines have been offered in the UK, and exclusively by The Vinorium. How do you feel about the partnership with us?
We look forward to an enduring partnership with The Vinorium as they show a genuine appreciation for artisanal method and our wine. We would love to come and support you in the trade in the near future. This is the first time we have distributed to the UK and would love to see the wines succeed for you.
Kind regards, Nav.
Domaine Simha Rao Chardonnay 2017
Graceful Chardonnay woven with whispers of new French oak.
Luminous pearls shining by moonlight Crocus flower, lemon, oyster shell, almond milk, cashmere and the soft kiss of powdered snow.
METHOD NATUREL: Cool climate single vineyard origin: Derwent Valley Tasmania 42.6°S Handpicked on a fruit day on the full harvest moon Whole bunch pressed, wild ferment en new demi-muid Matured for 12 months sur lie Bottled unfined and unfiltered with perfect natural balance.
£44.50 per bottle
or £209.10 per case of 6 IB
Domaine Simha Rama Pinot Noir 2017
Adventurous Pinot Noir shaped by terroir and season
NATURE: Enchanted forest Plum blossom, tuberose, ylang ylang cherry, wild mushroom, spun silk powerful depths, adventure.
METHOD NATUREL: Cool climate single vineyard origin: Derwent Valley Tasmania 42.6°S Handpicked on a fruit day after the harvest moon Whole bunch wild ferment with gentle Pigéage Matured 12 months en seasoned demi-muid Basket pressed, bottled unfined and unfiltered with perfect natural balance.
£44.50 per bottle
or £209.10 per case of 6 IB
Domaine Simha Beauregard Amphora Pinot Noir 2016
Energetic Pinot Noir crafted in clay amphora.
Living wine relying on ancient knowledge and intuition. Energetic wine of expressive character and lo-fi technique. Domaine Simha Amphorae wines are crafted in white clay fermentation vessels. Derived from the cosmic golden ratio, the ovoid shape promotes a gentle passive convection current. Wine is energised by constant motion and naturally maintains a stable temperature. Micro porosity allows wine to breathe and evolve over time. Intricate geometric patterned Amphorae labels reference the exquisite architectural beauty of jali screens carved in stone.
NATURE: Lionheart, rosehip, red currant, wild raspberry, grains of paradise, earthenware, heroic courage.
METHOD NATUREL: Cool climate single vineyard origin: Derwent Valley Tasmania 42.6°S Handpicked on a fruit day after the harvest moon Wild ferment in clay amphora 90 days on skins, matured 6 months sur lie.
Basket pressed, bottled unfined and unfiltered with perfect natural balance.
£36.95 per bottle
or £171.35 per case of 6 IB
Domaine Simha Nature Pinot Noir 2018
Pinot Noir shaped by terroir and season. Sheer, elemental nature. A story of terroir; five clones from across a single Derwent Valley vineyard make this a complex, aromatic, spicy style.
Raspberry, spice, bushland perfume, riberry, musk. Unbridled and fresh with fine, rounded tannins.
METHOD NATUREL: Cool climate single vineyard origin: Derwent Valley Tasmania 42.6°S Handpicked on a fruit day after the harvest moon Whole bunch wild ferment with gentle Pigéage 2 months on skins, matured 12 months in old demi-muid basket pressed, bottled unfined and unfiltered with perfect natural balance.
£34.95 per bottle
or £161.35 per case of 6 IB