Written by Stuart McCloskey

Hundreds, if not thousands of bottles have been sampled and consumed throughout the course of 2018, which has made our final selection extremely difficult. Some of our most recent arrivals are convalescing after their long-distance journeys and require a few more months before they are showing their full potential, which makes next year a greater challenge.  Many wines (and you will be surprised how many) did not make our shelves let alone our shortlist. We enjoyed some great individual (one-off) bottles, which and in many ways should appear however, we believe that winners and runners-up must come from available stocks. Next year, we will publish a full list of great, one-offs too.

 
 

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."

£84.50 per bottle

 
 

Gramercy Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve 2013

100 Points - Stuart McCloskey

"Wow what a bouquet – This is such a fantastic Cabernet Sauvignon which reminds me of a top Pauillac - Château Pontet Canet / Latour come to mind. The aromas soar from the glass - Exotic, seductive with vibrant scents of cassis, black currents, graphite and cedar. I detect a little menthol in the background. The palate is rich and coats every facet. The filigree framework of tannins are seamless and support the wine beautifully. There’s a beguiling sense of purity which is something rarely seen. The finesse, poise and focus is quite extraordinary. Overall, the wine is effortless with layer upon layer of perfectly ripe fruit. The complexity builds with time in the decanter and I cannot wait to come back to this wine over the next decade or two. I cannot see how this utterly majestic wine could possibly improve therefore, I have no alternative but concede perfection
and add it to my legends list..."

£94.50 per bottle

 
 

Paul Lato "Il Padrino" Bien Nacido Syrah 2014

99 Points - Stuart McCloskey

"A wine which offers a special level of purity from the outset and riveting from beginning to end. The nose is flamboyant, intensely perfumed and layered beautifully with plum, liquorice, asphalt, turning to roasted coffee with more aeration. The palate is seamless and washes sweet fruit across every facet with effortless grace. Sweet raspberry, cassis, violets with a touch of background spice. The tannins are fine with perfectly judge acidity, neither of which interrupts the super-long finish. This wine highlights Paul’s natural skill to understand the correlation between vineyard, grape to wine, which is often amiss. A captivating wine of ethereal grace, magical beauty opposed to a dense powerhouse. A US Syrah masterpiece for sure and will only get better over the next decade (sampled using Zalto Bordeaux glass)"

£85.95 per bottle

 
 

Standish The Relic Shiraz Viognier 2016

99 Points - Stuart McCloskey

"98% Shiraz & 2% Viognier. First question; does a mere 2% Viognier add something to the overall wine? Yes, and abundantly so. The floral aromatics soar from the glass and interplay beautifully with the blueberry compote, blackberry, liquorice, grilled meat and a smidgeon of black olive tapenade. The palate offers dark chocolate, sweet, dark fruits and musky dried herbs. Again, the floral character from the Viognier is evident. With time in the glass the wine offers smokey, peppery game notes with an obvious gunflint and mineral character. Creamy textured but nonetheless, concentrated and dense. Svelte tannins which glide seamlessly across my palate. Quite surreal given the wine’s sheer saturated density. Mind blowing, hedonistic and unquestionably one of Australia’s truly great shiraz wines .  A snip of warmth from the alcohol (16% of alcohol) and the only reason why I cannot, at this stage, award 100 points. Let’s see how the wine develops over time but let me be clear. This is an extraordinary wine that surpasses the majority of great Australian Shiraz (Including recent releases from Grange and Hill of Grace). Served in Zalto Bordeaux, decanted for three hours (needs much longer)
and will drink beyond 2035."

£64.95 per bottle

 
 

Edward and Marjory Leung

 

Leung Estate Ma Maison Pinot Noir 2015

98 Points - Stuart McCloskey

“An incredibly exciting wine from the boutique winery based in Martinborough. Dark, brooding with a wonderful perfume - full of the aromas of Autumn. Damson, cinnamon, spice and a touch of woodsmoke. The palate exudes intense, luscious and concentrated flavours of sweet, ripe damson, plum, spiced cherry and black fruits. The quality of the fruit enriches the fleshy mouthfeel which is so satisfying and moreish. Lots of drive and energy too. The texture is luxurious and balanced perfectly with fine-grained supporting tannins. A superb wine which flows seamlessly and lasts on the palate forever. Just beautiful” Zalto Burgundy glass is a must!

£22.95 per bottle

 
 

Glaetzer-Dixon Avancé Pinot Noir 2017

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.

£22.50 per bottle

 
 
 
 

Bay of Fires Chardonnay 2015

96+ Points - Stuart McCloskey

"Hand-picked from the Coal River Valley, East Coast and Derwent Valley, whole bunch-pressed, fermented in French oak from five different coopers. Deep aromas of gunflint and ripe, yellow stone fruits harmoniously fused with layers of mineral complexity and a touch of nutty oak. Medium to full-bodied and a silk-like mouthfeel. The palate is drenched with ripe stone fruits and a density, opulence, energy and drive which is quite extraordinary given the wine’s value. Every grape is assessed for its quality and character, hand-picked with care and thoughtfully considered for its winemaking potential. Each fruit parcel is kept separate, which ensures the core of its flavour components are captured at precisely the right moment. Each batch of wine is matured in the finest oak, resulting in a wine that is deeply impressive. Please do not miss this wine's exhilarating complexity and pedigree. Truly remarkable for the price and quite simply the best Chardonnay I have ever sampled at this price level.  Magnificent. Superb now and enjoy to 2023. Served using Zalto Bordeaux glassware".

£14.50 per bottle

£11.95 a bottle per case of 12 

 
 

Jamsheed Beechworth Roussanne 2016

97 Points - Stuart McCloskey

“Unlike many Roussanne’s - The palate has a sense of natural balance and everything is played down, not a hair out of place. The palate is captivating with breathtaking purity and clarity. Structurally, think very expensive Burgundy. Buttered toast and lemon curd which I, quite frankly, find irresistible. The weight and quality of the fruit glides across the palate with much flair. The flavour profiles fan out gloriously towards a mineral-rich finish juxtaposed with candied lemon peel. Total inviting now but will undoubtedly be at its pinnacle in 3-5 years. Thrilling, individual and certainly one of my favourite Roussanne’s”.

£24.95 per bottle

 
 

Eileen Hardy Chardonnay 2015

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)."

£29.95 per bottle

 
 
 

House of Arras Late Disgorged 2003

99 Points - Stuart McCloskey

"Extraordinarily left on the lees for 12 full years and disgorged June 2015. This is far from a New World gimmick - Mind-bogglingly brilliant and without question, the greatest sparkling wine outside of Champagne and better than many within. A sublime blend of 61% Chardonnay & 39% Pinot Noir which offers a profusion of aromatics and flavours. The wine delivers mouth-filling generosity with nutty honeycomb, toasted brioche, bread (a factor of the extended lees contact), toasted grains, caramel and citrus notes. I detect some ocean sea salinity which makes sense given the marine location. Clearly, the wines maturity is for all to see however, the purity and finesse is quite staggering. A towering masterpiece, riveting, difficult to share as several glasses is never enough and I honestly can't imagine it getting any better. Truly epic and the New World benchmark. Almost perfect! Served using Zalto universal. Only 2,200 bottles produced."

£57.95 per bottle

 
 

Egly Ouriet Blanc de Noirs Grand Cru NV

99 Points - Stuart McCloskey

"In short, this is simply the greatest Blanc de Noir (100% Pinot Noir) which money can buy. Produced from an ancient vineyard planted in 1946 and spends an incredible 72 months on its lees, which adds considerable complexity to what is already something quite extraordinary. This is truly a treat and stirs the depths of your soul (if you are one of the lucky few)".

(Disgorged July 2015, Lees: 72 months)

£105.00 per bottle

 
 

2014 La Judith Pinot Noir
Magically Crafted by Nick Glaetzer

We’ve had the privilege of some truly epic wines this year with several coming within a cat’s whiskers of being nominated our 2018 Wine of the Year. Dan Standish, Greg Harrington MS and his co-winemaker, Brandon Moss, Ed Carr, Francis Egly, Andy Smith and Paul Lato are some of the most gifted winemakers around today, but we tip our hat to Tasmanian winemaker, Nick Glaetzer and his, quite extraordinary
2014 La Judith Pinot Noir. 

All these winemakers are truly gifted; they trust their instincts, their natural understanding of their craft instead of relying upon science, which translates to pure, minimally handled fruit which in turn offer the fullest expression of themselves.  

La Judith is a tribute to Nick’s late mother and produced in tiny quantities (251 bottles). I’ll confess, I was nervous when I first sampled the wine as I could not imagine how cool climate Tasmanian Pinot Noir would handle 3 years in brand new oak barriques. Surely a gimmick resulting in a wine of excessive oak which throttles the aromatics and perfume of the grape? How wrong I was… The bouquet is breathtakingly heady and fills the room with black & red cherries, plums, violets, rose and sweet spices. The selection of the Pinot Noir must have been a tireless act as the sheer power (not what one expects from Tasmanian Pinot Noir) is a skyscraper in size and something I have never encountered from the apple isles. The palate is exquisite and judged to absolute perfection. Seamless and endless layers of sweet, deep, exotic fruit. Mineral-rich, spicy with a touch of bitter orange peel. Signs of earth / truffle notes but these are ten years away from taking centre stage. Truly spectacular with a finish which never ends (thank goodness). A New World masterpiece and the stuff dreams are made of. Best served in a Zalto Burgundy glass.

The back label is minimalistic with a small quote from Nick “She will be praised”.
She will certainly be proud, that’s for sure…

99+ Points Stuart McCloskey

£100.00 per bottle