Lunch at The Vinorium is a little different to perhaps what is experienced in most working environments.
Our director, Stu, always insists we have lunch together – no one is left behind at their desks and no one is there to pick up the phone (if you ever wondered why we seem to have left the office at such an early hour). It’s very much a family affair.
We sample wine with the majority of our lunches (note: this is a very important part of our wine education. Well, for one or two of us!).
Today, we sampled two new arrivals which have just arrived from the Margaret River, Australia. The multi-award winning, which is an understatement given the behemoth list of accolades, 2010 Watershed Cabernet Sauvignon and the 2016 Awakening Chardonnay which James Halliday enthuses over (98 points). As many of you know, we are exclusive agents for Watershed and were keen to tuck into them. Both wines were superb and we will revert with our full tasting notes as I’m actually digressing from the main
thrust of my email.
Lunch is a casual affair with random topics coming from all quarters of the table. Today, we posed Stu with the following dilemma “as you are getting rather old (he’s reached 45!), and if you were to retire tomorrow, which six wines would you choose to take with you" We gave him two varietals; Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. Stu’s choices and his personal notes behind them…
Anthill Farms Campbell Ranch Pinot Noir 2014
97+ Points - Stuart McCloskey "I thought the 2013 was something special, however the 2014 could well go down as one of the greatest ‘young’ Pinot Noirs to ever pass our lips. The ’14 is blessed with an incredibly intense, powerful nose - the perfume is extraordinary, almost exotic. Although young, the palate is showing beautiful structure, filigree tannins and is utterly sensuous. This is an irresistible Campbell Ranch, a little fatter and more generous than the previous two vintages. Effortless, mercurial and brilliant."
DuMol Finn Pinot Noir 2014
99-100 Points - Stuart McCloskey "The nose is very intense and does require a good hour in a decanter to unlock its captivating bouquet of dark berries, bilberry and sous-bois. The palate is medium-bodied exquisitely balanced with ultra-fine tannins. At times the ‘Finn’ comes across as something very powerful, at other times sensory. Certainly, a mercurial Pinot Noir which washes effortlessly across your palate. Extraordinary, a moving wine and nigh on perfection."
Dog Point Pinot Noir 2015
97+ Points - Stuart McCloskey "What a welcome back after a three-vintage absence (for me, not the wine!). Waves of plums, mulberries, black cherries and hints of blood orange wash effortlessly across your palate. There is an intense core of rich dark fruits perfectly framed by fine tannins which is impossible not to admire. Certainly, an intriguing Pinot Noir which straddles styles and certainly would not be out of place with some of Sonoma’s ‘top’ Pinot Noirs. Utterly joyful and quite honestly soars above many of its New Zealand peers. Served in a Zalto Burgundy glass but I do feel a little unkind with my score – Perhaps another point (98+) if I had the patience to decant which I would highly recommend."
He struggled with three and insisted on four which is typical…
He demanded an everyday wine:
Greystone Pinot Noir 2014
96+ Points Stuart McCloskey "When I taste a wine like this, my only wish is that every customer could experience how a very good Pinot Noir can be made without the enormous price tag. This is a seductive, handpicked offering from Greystone with thrilling aromatics which soar from the glass – Dark red berries and plums. The palate dazzles with complexities with remarkable fruit intensity, crunchy red fruits with pure silky tannins. Phenolic ripeness is spot on and often a problem with some Pinot Noirs. Lots of pedigree and class on show and a wine that could comfortably sell for £35+ per bottle. What a gorgeous wine.
Serving suggestion for those hot days – place in iced water for ten minutes (no more) which does not deter from the wines deeply satisfying crescendo of aromas and flavours. My sort of Rosé!"
And for the Chardonnays...
2015 Eileen Hardy Chardonnay (UK Exclusivity)
98 Points - Stuart McCloskey "Less expressive than some 2015’s however, decanting for thirty minutes to an hour and serving in a large Burgundy glass brings this wine alive. The wine is silky, graceful with mouth-coating waves of life affirming minerality. Real breadth and depth here with a laser-like focus. I love the juicy yellow stone fruits and spices. I imagine this will be utterly spectacular in another 6-8 years. It is the nectar of the Aussie Gods and would shame many a white Burgundy at double the price. I recommend drinking this stupendous wine from now to 2028 and beyond (in good cellar conditions)."
£39.00 per bottle
Buy 6 bottles & receive 1 FREE or
Buy 12 bottles & receive 2 FREE
*Incredible when served in a Zalto Bordeaux glass.
Chanin Wines Sanford & Benedict Chardonnay 2014
99 points - Stuart McCloskey "Almost a repeat of my introduction from the 2013 vintage - “In short, this is one of the most astonishing Chardonnays which I have enjoyed for many years”, however the 2014 just eclipses the stunning 2013. A difficult wine to describe as superlatives do little, if any justice. Incredibly graceful, almost a weightless elegance, feminine, magnificently detailed bouquet which expresses minerality like no other US chardonnay. The palate is developing all the time with a core of minerality. Presently, this is a wine that is all about finesse and elegance, as flavours will develop with a little more bottle age. Utterly magnificent! (Please decant)."
Flowstone Queen of the Earth Chardonnay 2014
98 Points - Stuart McCloskey "A wonderful and super-expressive Chardonnay which possesses staggering depth and richness, yet remarkably light on its feet. The palate is expansive and builds with a little aeration (I highly recommend a decanting for 20-30 minutes). Stuart Pym’s natural touch with his wines is clearly evident – I love the interplay and perfect balance between the fruit, oak, and acidity. Lots of energy on display which will no doubt help with its long and glorious evolution in the bottle. This will bring much, much joy to those who prefer their Margaret River Chardonnay’s with a little more substance and character (rather than the linear style which seems todays fashion). For me, this is as good as virtually any Chardonnay from anywhere and will be a spectacular bottle in another 6-8 years. Best served in Zalto’s Bordeaux glass…"
Today’s lunch was a tad extended as 1. Both Watersheds were consumed rather than sampled and 2. We have been working incredibly hard on our IWC awards submissions, which has thrown-up all sorts of statistics which have been forgotten over the past months. One question related to, “what is your best-selling wine?” which posed a difficult question as we have so many. We opted for the ’04 Hillside Shiraz from Kay Brothers as we sold 6,902 bottles however, what amazed us was the total sales volume
for Hillside wines.
Incredibly, we purchased a total number of 21,581 bottles of the 'Hillside' Shiraz (mixed vintages). Today, twelve months later, we are left with a solitary 150 bottles of the 2005 vintage, which is quite staggering in the grand schemes of things. Clearly, if you are a fan, buy what’s left, and be toot-sweet about it!
Kay Brothers Amery Hillside Shiraz 2005
Was £22.50 per bottle
Now £16.95 per bottle
Of course this led us to crunch a few more numbers – A few which did not match Hillside but are in the same boat and just about to sell-out:
Our initial offer of Robertson of Clare consisted of 1,200 bottles. Over a thousand have sold and it continues to be our most outstanding wine of 2017 & 2018.
Robertson of Clare Max V Red 2005
96+ Points - Stuart McCloskey (100 Points for extraordinary value) "Unquestionably, one of the standout Cabernet blends amongst our entire portfolio. The ’05 is nothing short of spectacular for the money particularly given the incredibly expensive use of the finest French oak barriques money can buy. At age 12, it is still an infant in terms of development, and I would not be surprised to see this lasting a further twenty+ years. The aromas are majestic with a little aeration - pen ink, rich black fruits, lead pencil shavings and spice box. I love the mouthfeel – silky tannins, voluptuous texture and rare opulence not found at this price level. There is clearly a purity with this wine which is impossible not to admire. Let me be clear – There is nothing OTT about this wine as its presence and complexity outshines many a Bordeaux Pauillac. This is an utterly magnificent, towering masterpiece and firmly sits in my ‘top 10’ best value wines of 2017. Decant for 2-3 hours and enjoy nirvana."
Was £29.95 per bottle
Now £21.95 per bottle
We began with 468 bottles, less than 3 cases remain…
All other wines, including The Beacon and The Wrecked Shiraz, are sold out already.
Was £16.95 per bottle
Now £9.95 per bottle
Clearly, Mitolo required no introduction as fantastic reviews and stunning pedigree
(all wines are made by the talented Ben Glaetzer) did it justice.
698 bottles once sat on our shelves. Today, only a handful remain...
95 Points - Jay Miller (robertparker.com) "The 2006 Shiraz “G.A.M.” (the initials of the Mitolo children) was aged in French and American oak, 60% new. Opaque purple in color, it has an aromatic array of roasted coffee, violets, lavender, pepper, Asian spices, blueberry, and blackberry liqueur. In the mouth it is velvety-textured, deep, concentrated, opulent, and altogether hedonistic. It will evolve for 5-7 years and drink
well through 2026."
Was £39.95 per bottle
Now £27.50 per bottle
Mitolo Savitar Shiraz 2005
96 Points - Robert Parker "Named after a mythical monster, the 2005 Shiraz Savitar emerges from rocky, low vigor soils, and was aged for 16 months in primarily new French oak barrels. Dazzling aromas of acacia flowers, blueberries, crushed rocks, graphite, licorice, and espresso roast emerge from this tightly knit but intense, fleshy, rich effort. Its multilayered palate, huge body, sweet tannin, and “monster” finish suggest this brilliant wine will be drinkable between 2008 and 2020. It is a superb example of
McLaren Vale Shiraz."
Was £49.95 per bottle
Now £39.95 per bottle
We offered a total of 2,983 bottles of Oliver's Taranga wines –
less than a third remain…
Oliver's Taranga HJ Reserve Ultra Premium Shiraz
(Old Block) 2002
It is the fruit from this specific block of old vines which made a part of Grange for many years. A bottle of ’02 Penfolds Grange will cost you £300.00 per bottle…
97 Points - Jeremy Oliver "A massive but supremely elegant and tightly controlled wine, the HJ from 2002 combines dark, brooding fruit with a muscular extract that is still losing some blocky edges. Exemplary in its length and balance, it will develop for ages, if given the chance."
£23.95 per bottle
Oliver's Taranga Shiraz 2002
We purchased 438 bottles, less than 3 cases remain
93 Points - Robert Parker “The opaque ruby-colored 2002 Shiraz exhibits terrific fruit intensity, voluminous, beautifully textured, full-throttled flavors, low acidity, and tremendous purity as well as intensity with the oak component kept well in the background”.
Was £19.95 per bottle
Now £10.95 per bottle
It’s time for me to bow-out for the week. However, and before I do, I have a little treat for one of you. Along with Hardy’s UK, Paul Lapsley (the Group Winemaker who is flying over from Oz), Stu and I are hosting a special day at Lords Cricket Ground on the 24th May - We have an executive box for the England Vs Pakistan Test Match. The day commences at 10:00am and finishes around 6:30pm. A stunning range of Museum wines will be poured throughout the day and we have enough food to feed half the ground. Simply, email me with why you should be the lucky one to join our ten guests..