Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Buller Fine Old Gift Twin Packs

How's this for a handy stocking filler or just a great gift to have on hand at anytime of the year.
Contains one 375ml Fine Old Muscat and one 375ml Tawny.

Our Price: $20 per twin pack.
$120 per box


Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Wither Hills 2008 Pinot Noir

Apparently there have been serious question marks over the quality of the 2008 vintage. In which case this is a classic example of why each wine should be judged on ITS merits rather than grouped with others from a vintage which may have been less than perfect.
This is a pinot noir of enticing flavour and perfect balance with an unusually deep intense colour for the variety. It's picked up a few Gold Medals and easily delivers quality in the $30+ realm.

I particularly love this quote from Ben Glover, Wither Hills Chief Winemaker

For me, making Pinot is the holy grail! It's the prince of all the classic varieties. It is notoriously fickle, yet worth all the blood, sweat and tears when you get it right. New Zealand Pinot Noir is the next global star and Marlborough will be at the forefront of this assault.


RRP: $27

Our Price: $22 by the mixed or straight dozen


Saturday, November 6, 2010

Zema Estate 2005 Family Selection Coonawarra Cabernet Sauvignon

It only scored 94 points in Halliday and I'd tell Jim he was dreaming. This has got to be 99. There are so many layers of flavour in this that every sip is an adventure. Given that many flagship wines are in the $100+ realm this is a joke at this price. It's the most exciting cabernet I've tasted in years.

And interesting to note that the winemaker is Greg Clayfield who was the prodigy behind brilliant Lindemans' Coonawarra's of the '80s, before the winery was taken over by a brewery.
Sad that, but this wine more than makes up for it.

Our Price: $39 by the mixed or straight dozen

Buller Wines Victoria Muscat

The deservedly esteemed Jancis Robinson once claimed that there were three unique Australian wine creations: Hunter Semillon, Sparkling Reds and Rutherglen fortified muscat.

So here's a bargain intro to the third.

Once again this delivers well above its price with an intense raisin flavour that you'll just want to sip and savour
Our Price: $10 per bottle by the mixed or straight dozen

Buller Wines Victoria Tokay

Like all the other wines in this range this is exceptional value and a truly economical introduction to the joys of this Rutherglen treasure.And it's hard to go past their own tasting notes:

"Colour/appearance: amber with orange tints.
Aroma/bouquet: scents of toffee, caramel and malt form a harmonious bouquet.
Palate: the sweet taste of toffee fills the mouth, followed by honey and malt flavours. Viscous, smooth and mellow.

Our Price: $10 per bottle by the mixed or straight dozen

Buller Wines Victoria Tawny

When it comes to fortified wines the Buller family of Rutherglen have consistently over delivered. This comes from their entry level range and is as good a "what we used to call port", under $15, as you're ever likely to sip

Our Price: $10 per bottle by the mixed or straight dozen


Monday, October 11, 2010

The Len Evans Theory of Capacity

I've been carrying an A4 piece of paper with Uncle Len's 10 Commandments around for years. I thought it was worthy of a retype into a more public forum so I can now relax about losing that faded sheet.
What do you reckon?

1,2 and 3 are indisputable. 3 is what keeps me inspired
4 is a bit suss but is saved by linking it with 8. That bottle a day shared with friends is what it's all about.
5 is a truly interesting concept and I'd add people who drink the same wine over and over again.
6 I know these people. It's a glorious obsession that impresses me far more than philately
7. Len wrote this before the era of pre-mixes, but he'd feel the same way about them.
8. This just about sums it up for me and combined with 3 explains why I'm in this business
9 and 10 are both decidedly suss, but to leave them out would be tantamount to censorship and 8 points doesn't quite have the same ring as 10.

The Len Evans Theory of Capacity

1. There is an awful lot of wine
in the world, but there is also a lot of awful wine.
2. No sensible person drinks to excess, therefore any one person can only drink a certain amount in a lifetime.
3. There are countless flavours, nuances, shades of wine; endless varieties, regions, styles. You have neither the time nor the capacity to try them all.
4. To make the most of the time left to you, you must start by calculating your future total capacity. One bottle a day is 365 bottles a year. If your life expectancy is another 30 years, there are only 10,000-odd bottles ahead of you.
5. People who say: "You can't drink the good stuff all the time" are talking rubbish. You must drink good stuff all the time. Everytime you drink a bottle of inferior wine, it's like smashing a superior bottle
against the wall. The pleasure is lost forever - you can't get that bottle back.
6. There are people who build up huge cellars, most of which they have no hope of drinking. They are foolish in over-estimating their capacity but they err on the right side and their friends love them.
7. There are also people who don't want to drink good wine, and are happy with the cheapies. I forgive them. There are others who are content with beer and spirits. I can't worry about everybody.
8. Wine is not meant to be enjoyed for its own sake; it is the key to love and laughter with friends, to the enjoyment of food, beauty and humour and art and music. Its rewards are far beyond its cost.
9. What part is wine of your life? Ten percentum: Ergo, 10 percent of your income should be spent on wine.
10. The principle should be applied to other phases of life. A disciple kissed a beautiful young lady and she demurred. He was aghast and said "Don't get the wrong idea.I've worked out I can only make love another 1343 times. I'm bloody sure I'm not wasting one on you"

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Shaw Vineyard Estate 2008 Premium Riesling

Nothing will beat this as the Riesling of the Year

This is the latest arrival from the late July Trade Days. An absolute classic Australian riesling from Murrumbatemen. Vineyards are 640m above sea level which also helps explain how good this. Incredibly complex this is a very serious wine that is worth considerably more than $18.

I'm glad a few others agree with me.

Grapegrowers & Vignerons Magazine, April 2010
Made from 100pc Riesling, much of the unique character of this wine is developed in the vineyard from low yielding spur pruned vines. The fruit is crushed and drained, and only the free run juice is used to produce this elegant wine. The wine has a floral, limey bouquet with a long crisp and citrus dominated palate. Well balanced acids will contribute to the aging potential of this wine.

James Halliday, Australian Wine Companion 2010 Edition, August 2009
Lime juice, spice and minerally acidity are seamlessly woven together on a perfectly balanced and very long palate; drink any time over the next five to eight years. Screwcap. 12% alc. Rating 94 points. To 2017. $22.

Chris Shanahan, Canberra Times, 28 December 2008.
Many of the 2008 vintage rieslings offer terrific, drink-now fruit flavour and seem more advanced than usual in their ageing. These are three good, subtly different examples of that style - two from the Clare Valley and one from Canberra. Tim Adams's wine is surprisingly soft and full-bodied for such a low-alcohol wine (11.5 per cent), but it's fresh, crisp and a pleasure to drink now. Knappstein is classically floral with a juicy, delicously fresh palate. And Graeme Shaw's wine pips the other two with its deep, super vibrant flavour.

Our Price: $18 per bottle by the mixed or straight dozen


Thursday, September 30, 2010

Willow Bridge 2008 Cabernet Merlot

Another bargain that totally over delivers at this price. A rich beautifully balanced WA red that should be $20.
This is a label that just keeps getting better and better.

Our Price: $12 per bottle by the mixed or straight dozen


Monday, September 27, 2010

Haselgrove 2008 Bella Vigna Shiraz

International Wine Challenge Trophy!

IWC Medal_Trophy

"The Haselgrove Bella Vigna 2008 McLaren Vale Shiraz has surpassed all expectations and has taken out the title of…


The Bella Vigna Shiraz was blind tasted by over 350 judges and as a result, Haselgrove was judged as the producer of the best Shiraz McLaren Vale has to offer. Only 12 Australian producers won trophies at the competition this year, so it is a huge accolade. Then it was awarded 5 Stars by Winestate Magazine in their Shiraz Challenge so it's now in the running for the Winestate Shiraz of the Year award." ...... from the Haselgrove website

Our Price: $18 per bottle by the mixed or straight dozen


Friday, September 24, 2010

Zilzie 2009 Regional Viognier

$12 for this is verging on the absurd.  A complex intense white it shows all the complexity you'd look for in a 10 year old semillon or riesling. Normally for a three year old white this would be a worry but with the way it's drinking now as well as its future prospects I'm not concerned in the slightest. Still plenty of acid and toasty bottle-aged characters combine in a rare treat for all of you who love quality cellared whites.

Our Price: $12 per bottle by the mixed or straight dozen


Zilzie 2009 Selection 23 Merlot

This is a multi regional blend that contains juice from Coonawarra and Wrattonbully as well as its Murray Darling home territory.

A quite extraordinary, over the top drop at this price which is guaranteed to polarise opinions. It oozes a glass and a half of chocolate, moccha and berry flavours that have to be tasted to be believed.
There's a chunky 14.5% a/v that further takes it well out of the run of the mill BBQ red class.
Our Price: $9 per bottle by the mixed or straight dozen


Zilzie 2010 Selection 23 Sauvignon Blanc

If you love sauvignon blanc and you want to have a break from NZ this is the one for you.
There's lashings of grassy sauv blanc fruit, steely acidity and a level of crsip dryness that sets it well apart from the market dominating Marlboroughs. We haven't tasted anything better from Oz at this price for a long, long time.

Our Price: $9 per bottle by the mixed or straight dozen


Tyrrell's 2015 Old Winery Verdelho

For the umpteenth year in a row Tyrrell's have absolutely nailed this variety under their everyday Old Winery label.
It's crisp, dry, unwooded and deliciously varietally tasty.
Not only does it totally over deliver it's probably the closest you'll get to a wine that everyone will enjoy at a very affordable price.
Think about it.
If you're ever catering to a wide variety of tastes and common sense dictates just one white - this is it. It's perfectly middle palate in flavour without being middle of the road.

Our Price: $10 per bottle by the doz


Trevor Jones 2007 "Boots" Barossa Shiraz


This was offered to us while I was in the UK and it was the first tasting sample that hit the glasses on my return.
There wasn't much and I reckon we scored the last pallet.

Initial reaction wasn't good as there was a bit of a stink on the nose but thirty minutes later we'd changed our minds. Three days later we wished we'd been able to get more,.

This is full on Barossa Shiraz that still needs plenty of breathing time so I'd suggest it's also a very fine candidate for the cellar.
It's a rich, ripe red and at 14.5% a/v just manages to stay within the boundaries of elegance and balance. Fruit is much more blackberry than pepper but I've never had a problem with shiraz tasting like cabernet. French oak is well integrated.
If you enjoy $20 reds you'll love this.
In fact the only bad thing is the label - it's a shocker with quite a weird statement on the front. Maybe that was for the Americans.

Screwcap closure. USA back label.
RRP: $18
Our Price: $10 per bottle by the doz


Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Leconfield 2008 Coonawarra Cabernet Sauvignon

Sadly very little left of this magnificent red. Gold medal at Sydney 2010 and widely regarded as their best yet.
Here are the Leconfield Website notes

Full rich dense red

The wine has ripe cassis Cabernet Sauvignon fruit with hints of mint overlayed with predominantly French oak to give cedar and cinnamon overtones. Expect the wine to develop classic cigar box characters with age.

Full flavoured rich fruit palate with fine long tannins, the palate has excellent richness which reflects the early warmer vintage but still retains the elegance expected of Leconfield Coonawarra Cabernet Sauvignon. The palate finishes with a clean acidity

Food Suggestions:
A wine to be savoured in a large glass in the accompaniment of medium to full flavoured dishes. Try it with venison or quail and roasted vegetables.

Cellaring Potential:
Excellent on release and will age over the next 10-15 years. Expect the cedar and cigar box characters to develop with time.

Our Price: $25 pb by the doz


Monday, September 6, 2010

How to open a bottle of wine with a shoe

Now this is totally pointless if you have a screw cap bottle or at the very least a corkscrew. But if, like me, you are caught in Salisbury on a Bank Holiday Sunday with a cork sealed 2008 Bordeaux that you've just grabbed in a last minute rush to Sainsbury's then you may be extremely grateful.
I suppose I could have scrounged a corkscrew from somewhere but this seemed the perfect opportunity to test this little party trick I'd seen. And yes it does work.
A few words of warning though.
The cork's exit speed is much faster in the video than I experienced. Maybe my cork was tighter or I wasn't violent enough. And choose your wall carefully. I recommend a brick external wall with no-one on the other side - otherwise they will come to see what the hell is making the noise and then challenge your sanity.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Jim Barry 1999 “The McRae Wood” Shiraz

Jim Barry Website notes :
1999 vintage - Museum Release
"This Shiraz honours the vision of pioneer Clare Valley winemaker Jim Barry. In 1964 Jim purchased 70 acres of prime land from Duncan McRae Wood and planted his
first vineyard with Shiraz. It was an inspired choice of both grapevariety and location.
The 1999 vintage was excellent. It was a warmer year than 1998, with a dry summer and good rains just before harvest that ensured the vines were in perfect health. Years of careful cellaring has benefi ted this wine immensely.

Winemaking Notes
This is a big, full-bodied Shiraz, showing colours of deep claret red colour. Primary aromas are evident on the nose - menthol, ripe satsuma, plums and mint - while secondary aromas of nutmeg, cinnamon, coffee and chocolate have also developed. The palate shows layer of complexity, with primary flavours of mulberry and blackberry, supported by hints of cashews and mocha. The palate shows excellent depth and length, with ripe, dense, structural
tannins and a fresh, acid finish."
RRP: $60
Our Price: $45 per bottle by the doz


Jim Barry "The Cover Drive" 2008 Cabernet Sauvignon


Our Price: $17 per bottle by the dozen


Saturday, July 31, 2010

Windy Peak Sparkling Pinot Noir Chardonnay

RIP Farty Hill.
They've changed the label and the style of the wine and sadly not for the better. I've kept a picture of the old label as a fond memory. It's now a perfectly OK sparkling with none of the dazzling individuality that made it a star.

So I've dropped the price to clear what we bought before we discovered the change to the blend.

Here's what I used to think [once again retained for the memories]
"Affectionately known as Farty Hill at home, where empties dominate the recycling bin.
Colour is an appealing dazzling pale smoked salmon hue and although being a multi vintage blend with parts up to 7 seven years old it's the sheer drinkability that dominates this complexity.
Very stylish, drink anytime fizz that totally over delivers at the price."

Our Price: $10 per bottle by the doz


Thursday, July 15, 2010

Crayfish Bay 2008 Marlborough Pinot Noir

Where did they come up with names like this and who designed the label?
It's from Marlborough and is an outstanding intense, superbly structured pinot noir that delivers $20 quality. Please don't be fooled by the price.

Our Price: $12 per bottle by the doz


Portarlington Ridge 2008 Pinot Noir

The Bellarine Peninsula is a spur that hooks back into Port Phillip Bay to the south of Geelong and, give 20 km or so, is in line with Geelong to the west and Mornington to the east. So you're in damn fine latitude territory for Pinot Noir.
This is an outstanding "Under $20" Pinot that is so much better than the price you'll pay.
Our Price: $14 per bottle by the dozen


Crayfish Bay 2009 Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc

The best value sauvignon blanc on the market?

While winter 2010 has slightly dulled the savvy frenzy of summer, I suspect seasonally adjusted figures would show no decrease in demand.
The latest star to arrive is the Crayfish Bay 2009 release. We've previously offered the 2008 which was a pleasant little drop but this current release is on a considerably higher level and rivals anything under $20.
The sometimes cloying tropical fruit character in this genre has been cut back to a level where it is now in perfect harmony with a refreshingly crisp acid zing. It's made by one of the high profile Marlborough makers and I suspect is available under their own label at a considerably higher price

Our Price: $10 per bottle by the doz


Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Titanic Stout 500ml

The Titanic Brewery was kicked off in 1985 in Stoke-on-Trent, birthplace of Titanic captain Edward John Smith.
They are a champion of the real ale cause in the UK with their beers available in over 250 "freehouses". [if you're familiar with beer drinking in the UK you'll know that far too many venues are now what I call "plastic pubs", controlled by a central management and
run like McDonalds]

One of their beers is the superb Titanic Stout which has picked up a handy list of awards from CAMRA [Campaign for Real Ale]
The Guardian Bottled Beer of Britain 1994 Gold
CAMRA Northern Ireland Branch 1995 Stout of the Festival Bronze
CAMRA Champion Beer of the West Midlands 2003 Bottles Gold Crown
CAMRA Champion Bottled Beer of Britain 2004 Gold
CAMRA Champion Beer of the West Midlands 2004 Porter/Stout Silver
CAMRA Champion Bottled Beer of Britain 2005 Bronze
CAMRA Champion Bottled Beer of Britain 2006 Bronze
CAMRA West Midlands Beer of the Year 2006 Stout Gold
CAMRA Champion Bottled Beer of Britain 2007 Silver
CAMRA West Midlands Stout of the Year 2007 2nd Place
CAMRA West Midlands Beer of the Year 2008 Real Ale in a Bottle 1st Place
CAMRA West Midlands Beer of the Year 2008 Stout Category 2nd Place
CAMRA Champion Bottled Beer of Britain 2009 Gold
CAMRA West Midlands Beer of the Year 2009 Stout Category 1st Place

We've just been offered what I suspect are the last 20 cases of this in Australia and I snapped them up because if you don't want them I'll happily drink the stuff over the next couple of years. Sister Sarah, the historian, will score some in memory of our great grandfather who died on the Titanic. [he was crew, not a passenger]

It's way past its Best Before date [October, 09] but with this type of beer what does it matter? It's probably improving. It's nowhere near as dry as Guinness but I wouldn't describe it as a sweet stout. This is very much a winter beer that you store on top of the fridge at this time of year - why would you want to dull the intense flavour?.

RRP: $????
Our Price: $49 a box of twelve 500ml bottles


Monday, June 28, 2010

Kilikanoon Killerman's Run 2006 Clare Valley Shiraz Grenache


In a little over 10 years Kilikanoon has established itself as one of the finest producers in SA's Clare Valley. Halliday rates it as THE best and Parker of the Advocate loves Kevin Mitchell's work as well.
This is final stock from a cancelled UK export order and you've got to wonder what those silly poms were thinking.
But their loss is our gain particularly as we can offer it to you under our regular wholesale price. Why? Because it has the UK export label on it which doesn't declare Standard Drinks.
I know some of us get a little nervous with grenache. It can sometimes have a stalky character which, if too pronounced, can make the wine disjointedly unattractive. But this has none of that. In fact this is a superbly balanced seamless midweight red that delivers well over the $20 mark.
The dazzling vibrant colour hints at definite cellaring potential and this was confirmed by our three days of enjoying the tasting sample. Alcohol is 14.5% [about 8.7 standard drinks] and it's not overt because it is just so well balanced. There's plenty of spicy fruit kicking along throughout the palate supported by some nice little tannins. One of those reds that I couldn't imagine anyone not enjoying. Extraordinary value.
Cellar Door: $17
Our Price: $14 per bottle by the dozen


2009 Crate 31 Cabernet Merlot

.This is a red with serious grunt from the same people that make the YellowTail wines. Nose, colour and palate all indicate a wine well above $10. Absolutely sensational at this price.

Our Price: $6 per bottle by the doz


Sunday, June 27, 2010

Kirrihill 2009 Clare Valley Cabernet

Like the Kirrihill shiraz it's a bargain and is composed of fruit from a variety of vineyards. In fact the back label makes an interesting point that the Clare Valley shouldn't be regarded simplistically as a single region as it contains 5 distinct sub districts with quite different profiles.
Like the shiraz this is a rich, rounded fruit driven red that's only spent a mere 6 months on a mix of French and American oak.
Cellar for 5 years or so by all means but this one is ready to enjoy now.
Our Price: $13 per bottle by the doz


Grandin 2006 Cremant de Loire

The Loire is acknowledged as France's next best sparkling wine area after Champagne and the very best offer champagne quality and a much lower price. This has all the yeasty complexity and balance that we look for in champagne at a fraction of the price. And even at 6 years old it retains a freshness that indicates a few years yet

Our Price: $20 per bottle by the dozen


Red Hill 2006 Blanc de Noirs


Red Hill's Website notes:
"4 stars / 87 points - James Halliday Australian Wine Companion 2010
This wine aims to emphasise fruit richness and softness. The nose features classic strawberries and cream with touches of rhubarb and bread. The wine enters the mouth with a swirl of delicious fruit. The strawberries also have light touches of cherry and yeasty complexity with a finish that is both soft and dry. This wine is perfect with trout mousse or salmon pate
Cellar Door: $35
Our Price: $26 per bottle by the dozen


Monday, May 3, 2010

2007 Alexia by Jane Cooper Wairarapa Sauvignon Blanc

There are some wines that crop up that are absolute no-brainers. They are so good and so undervalued that I know we'll sell whatever we have. Even better when they are so easy to describe.
A little while ago 160 dozen of a NZ sauvignon blanc hit the Sydney market at a fraction of its wholesale price. We tasted it at midday Thursday and took the lot - that was left. Normal retail $20+.
It's a label associated with Matahiwi and even more closely with winemaker Jane Cooper. It's 2007 and has back label notes that recommend drinking by last year. How wrong can they be?

This is your full on old fashioned Kiwi sauvignon blanc that is more aligned with Sancerre than your everyday fruit salad 2008 Marlborough release. Consequently it won't be to everyone's taste. This one's all about acid, austerity, capsicum, paspalum and asparagus. I don't normally talk too much in those terms but this is what defines this wine and you know full well whether you'll like it or not. I think its sensational but I also really enjoy the compete opposite, currently fashionable, tropical fruit salad style.

And for those who are wondering, Wairarapa is to the east of Wellington on the North Island of NZ which makes it about 130km east of Marlborough and just a little bit north.

RRP $20+
Our Price: $10 per bottle by the doz


Willow Bridge 2008 Shiraz

This is hardly new news but the fact that we FINALLY have stock of their gold medal winning 2008 Shiraz is. It's a cracker of a red that grossly over delivers at its very modest price of just $12. And for a WA red to win gold in Adelaide is a nice little accolade.
The fruit is from vineyards in the Ferguson Valley which is east of Bunbury, two and bit hours south of Perth, with Margaret River some kms away to the south west

Our Price: $12 per bottle by the doz


Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Barking Mad 2008 Cabernet Sauvignon

Full credit to Reilly's. On their website they have a sheet for all their wines with all the technical details which can really nail the character of the wine.
The winemaker's notes are spot on with the only thing I'd challenge being drinking time frame. It's just right for drinking now and at $13 this is a bargain

From Reilly's website
"Winemaker’s Notes
Low yielding, partially irrigated, Cabernet Sauvignon from an elevated site in Watervale. Picked at optimal ripeness and fermentation in open vats has resulted in a full flavoured classic Clare Valley Cabernet Sauvignon. Soft and rich on the palate, with hints of mint and ripe berry fruits, vanilla oak adds richness and complexity.

Vineyards: St Clare (Watervale) Cropping: 2.0T/acre (hand-picked)
Baumé: 14.8 Yeast: AWRI 796 Fermentation: Open 10 days
Maturation: French Oak Hogsheads 10 months
Total Acidity: 6.31 g/L pH: 3.63
Residual Sugar: 4.3 g/L Alcohol: 15.1%
Best Drinking: Now – 2016
Closure: Stelvin Cap"

RRP: $15
Our Price: $ 13 per bottle by the doz