Since arriving on the Burgundy scene in 2000, the limestone-sculpted wines of the brothers Jean-Philippe and Jean-Guillaume Bret (La Soufrandière) have amassed the kind of critical acclaim that one normally associates with the finest growers of the Cote-d’Or. The Domaine receives a two-star rating by France’s most respected wine guide, La Revue du vin de France’s Le Guide des meilleurs vins de France. This feat puts them equal second in the Mâcon pecking order behind Guffens-Heynen (three stars) and in the same quality category as many of the Côte de Beaune’s most sought-after addresses. London’s bastion of good taste, Berry Bros. & Rudd, looks after the wines in the UK. Leaders in the Macon, the brothers are considered rising stars of Burgundy.
Riding the crest of this new wave, Romain Guiberteau has emerged as one of Saumur’s brightest talents. He is the third generation at this Estate and oversees the now organic viticulture as well as all the winemaking responsibilities.
Guiberteau gave up a promising career outside the realm of wine to return to his family’s vineyards (where he was fortunate to inherit an assortment of top-notch, old-vine holdings including some choice parcels in Saumur’s de facto grand cru, Brézé). To date the Domaine is 9.4 hectares in total with 7 hectares in Brézé!
“Domain de l’Oratoire St-Martin is one of the Southern Rhone Valley’s most conspicuous overachievers, making wines that are far above their humble appellations. All of their wines go into the bottle with no filtration and only a light fining. This is the type of estate that brings smiles to consumers who happen upon their wines. They are reasonably priced and qualitatively equivalent to wines selling at two or three times the price.”
At Marcoux the talented team of sisters Sophie and Catherine Armenier are gracefully carrying on the heritage of the Armenier family, which has been making Châteauneuf du Pape for700 years! Marcoux craft wonderfully pure, refined and textured examples that faithfully reflect the vintage in which they are produced.This is a timeless Estate whose delectable wines capture in Tanzer’s words, “…the essence of Chateauneuf du Pape”
Mas de Libian is located in Saint Marcel d’Ardèche on the hilly western slopes of the Rhône, at the tip of the visually stunning gorge of the Ardèche. The vineyards’ altitude provides cool evenings, which when coupled with the rocky limestone terroir and the bracing Mistral guarantees their wines vibrancy and freshness, traits for which this bohemian Domaine is highly respected.
Alain Graillot has the sort of vineyard that makes the wine traveller thirsty. It is the kind of place that simply looks like it makes great booze. Gnarled yet well-manicured vines reach up from a sea of smooth, rolled stones, each about the size of a child’s fist. Maxime Graillot no longer stands in the shadow of his celebrated father. Today he has the senior winemaking role at Domaine Alain Graillot and is carving out his own place in the history of the Northern Rhône.
Pierre Gaillard has great vineyards, infectious passion, makes good decisions and possesses a dirt-under-the-fingernails grit which means that most of the hard work has been done before the fruit arrives in the cellar. The quality of fruit he harvests, allied to his fine touch in the cellar, results in some of the most evocative, flavoursome and stylish northern Rhône wines going around.
The wines of Remejeanne proudly speak of their place – high up in the hills with soils comprised of sand and limestone. The result is a range of fresh, highly refined Côtes du Rhônes brimming with fruit and character. They are far cooler and purer than many of the Côtes du Rhônes produced at lower altitudes and on alluvial soils and this stylistic difference suits us right down to the ground.
Andre Bondar has a post-graduate degree in wine making as well vintage gigs in Oregon, California, Tyrell’s in the Hunter and Tintara, Padthaway & Mitolo in McLaren Vale. From 2006 he was at Nepenthe and when he finished in 2012 he was the head wine maker. He credits a vintage spent with the great Alain Graillot in Northern Rhone as highly influential. Bondar is redefining what is possible producing wines that focus on balance, freshness & texture whilst retaining a uniquely Australian sense of place.
Algueira(Ribera Sacra)-is the superstar father/son team Fernando & Fabio Algueira. Over thirty years they have rebuilt the terraces cut into the precipitously steep river valleys of the Amandi sub-region.The vineyards are biodynamic and produce special and unique wines from local grape varieties. Algueira
Valdesil (Valdeorras) is emblematic of the return to terroir ethos witnesses world wide. This Gallician producer has cultivated the soils here since 1855. Today, through dedicated vineyard management and the midas touch of winemaker Cristina Mantilla, Valdesil are releasing some of the most exciting wines in Spain. Valdesil
Terroir-al-Limit (Priorat); The wines of Dominic Huber are next level. Through years of trial and error he has managed to evolve a style of Priorat that is all about finesse, purity and freshness. High altitude old vine plots, and biodynamic viticulture. They pick early, use large format oak & concrete and use whole bunch and carbonic maceration to great effect. Terroir al Limit
Exopto (Rioja Alta); The viticulture and winemaking model is that of the “vigneron” days – small plots of vines in the extremes, wild yeast fermentation in concrete or old oak vats and then aging in a way to showcase the fruit, minerality and terroir not the wood or aged flavors that people often associate with Rioja. Bodegas Exopto
Valenciso (Rioja) Leaving behind excellent careers at Bodegas Palacio, Luis Valentin and Carmen Enciso started Compania Bodeguera de Valenciso in 1998. The vineyards and cellar are located in Rioja Alta in Ollauri, Spain. Only the best Tempranillo grapes are used, from mature, low yielding vineyards in the Rioja Alta.The Rioja Blanco and Rosado are delicious. Valenciso
Bodegas Mengoba (Bierzo); Mengobas wild rural vineyards sit a lofty 2500 feet above sea level. Old goblet vines are strewn across small isolate patches in the high country, a remarkable terroir planted with Godello and Mencia that French winemaker “Gregory Pérez was drawn to. Bodegas Mengoba
Equipo Navazos (la Bota Sherry) project was started by a group of Spanish Sherry lovers led by wine writer and Sherry guru Jesús Barquín. Bodegas in Jerez, Sanlucar and Montilla often have casks or bota of Sherry whose small volume makes it commercially unviable. Navazos bottled the sleeping treasures and in doing so have profoundly contributed to the wine culture of Spain, whilst making Sherry a must for serious wine lists. Equipo Navozos
Toro Albala (Montilla); Founded in 1844, Toro Albalá is arguably the most important producer of Pedro Ximenez in the world today, with the finest vineyard holdings in Montilla (the region for Pedro) as well as the oldest, “legendary” stocks. Toro Albalá was the first Montilla producer to commercialize bottled, dessert-styled Pedro Ximénez in 1970, and remains the world’s only specialist in 100% vintage PX. Toro Albala
Peter Schell is not only making some of the most exciting wines in the Barossa, he is also transforming our assumptions about this region. His choice of site and his intuitive, hands-off work in the winery continues to yield dramatic and certainly anti-formulaic results. While Schell’s wines remain quite unlike the traditional Barossa norm they remain saturated with what we often call ‘sense of place’. As such, they offer the textural openness and generosity that is the mark of the region, its climate and ancient soils, yet not at the expense of definition, tannic freshness and line.
Anyone with even a passing interest in cool-climate Australia will already know that Garagiste is one of the Mornington Peninsula’s brightest rising stars. Barnaby Flanders created the Garagiste label following his amicable split with Allies co-founder David Chapman (who continues with the Allies label). ‘Barney’ now focuses on a snug range of small-batch wines from fruit sourced from the highly prized Merricks Grove vineyard, the Silverwood vineyard (Balnarring), and the Hugh Robinson vineyard in Moorooduc. Garagiste, the main label, is ably supported by delicious entry-level wines under the Le Stagiaire banner. Barnaby and Cam (Marshall) manage all aspects of the viticulture and winemaking themselves and a range of succulent, finely tuned and elegantly crafted cool-climate Pinot Noir and Chardonnay is what results. We’ve been on the look out for a quality Mornington producer for ages, one that isn’t a slave to fashion and doesn’t charge like a horde of agitated wildebeest. Garagiste fits the bill very nicely indeed.
Voyager Estate, nestled in the Stevens Valley within the greater Wallcliffe sub-region of the Margaret River, was founded by the visionary Michael Wright in 1991. The oldest vines were planted in 1978, the gravel soils (free draining with a high mineral content), aspect and maritime influence make up the foundations of Voyager’s elegant wines. Wright was a soil fanatic and spent years profiling neighbouring properties to ascertain the right soil composition to bear grapes that would produce world class wines. To this day Voyager’s vineyards remain based on this original profiling, resulting in a beautiful natural balance with moderate vigour and yields.
Michael Wright passed away in 2012 and the baton passed to daughter Alexandra Burt who has matched her father’s attention to detail with an environmental conscience that has opened another important chapter in the history of the Estate. Steve James, viticulturist under Cliff Royle and Voyager veteran of 15 vintages now looks after both wine production and the vineyards. This wholistic role has led to significant, quality driven change. Specific clones are soil matched and each plot is micro-managed. On my visit to Voyager for their 40th Anniversary celebrations it was very apparent the James and his team have an intimate knowledge of the vines.
Current transition towards organic certification with plans to have the entire vineyard certified organic by 2023. Balanced and sustainable viticulture using composts and seaweed extracts is enhanced by a meticulous approach to winemaking. Hand harvesting, state of the art sorting table to refine fruit selection and small batch fermentation play a big part in the subtlety, freshness and finesse found in the wines of Voyager Estate today.
The Rheingau was historically Germany’s most revered vineyard region and once produced the world’s most expensive wines. You only need to glance at a wine map of Germany to see why. The Rheingau is a series of sheer, south facing, rocky slopes that maximise exposure to the sun and protect the vines from the bitter northern winds. It is this confluence of natural elements that enables Riesling to perfectly ripen at this very marginal, northern climate.
Based in the town of Kiedrich, Weil’s wines are fuelled by the three epic, high altitude, south facing vineyards of Klosterberg, Turmberg and most famously, Gräfenberg, all situated in the foothills of the Taunus Mountains. From these historic sites, Wilhelm Weil, a pioneer of ‘earth to glass’ wine growing, guides Rheingau Riesling to its most seamless, precise expression and in doing so produces some of the world’s most inspirational Rieslings. They are exotically fruity, steely, lemony and mineral wines that reflects the terroir of vineyards that are side by side.
2018 (offered today) was a warmer year with strong yields, producing ripe and expressive wines. In the hands of Robert Weil there is something exhilarating about the delicious fruit, jaw sapping mineral salinity and exhaltant mouth feel of each sip. I love Riesling and I love Robert Weil wines. The instantly recognizable powder blue label, the confidence I feel when I serve these wines at all price points, happy days in the restaurant! Enjoy!
“Robert Weil has been one of the icons of German wine culture for many years. Nothing but the finest Rieslings are produced. And as more than 100 years ago, the wines are distinguished in terms of their origins and their style.”
Stephan Reinhardt. The Finest Wines of Germany
Ricky Evans, Tasmanian born, studied Oenology at the University of Adelaide before working in the Barossa and the Napa Valley. He always wanted to make wine in Tasmania so in 2010 he secured a position as winemaker at Bay of Fires Winery under Edd Carr.
In 2013 a vintage of kind yields, Ricky secured 2 tonne of pinot grapes from a Rosevears Vineyard, hence forth the name Two Tonne. With the slogan ‘Small parcels, Big love’ Ricky Evans has epitomized what we want from the hands on grower; exciting and hard to get small batch wines.
Ricky has positioned himself well for the growth of his project sourcing fruit from a number of vineyards, Three Wishes near Batman Bridge (which he leases), and Native Point also on the Tamar River. In 2017 he planted his own vineyard on family land at Swan Bay and secured the lease on the former Ryanna Vineyard at the back of Waverley (close to White Hills).
In both the Two Tonne line-up and the more accessible Ziggurat range, Evan’s pinot’s show brilliant light and shade. Hands off elevage, little intervention no filtration and minimal additions allows the fruit and vineyard to shine, a theme that carries through to excellent regional examples of Riesling and Chardonnay. “I want flavour. I want the wines to be generous. But purity is first and foremost what I’m trying to find.” – Ricky Evans
The Loire Valley is a diverse region covering a large area of Central France. The diversity of grape varietals, excellent value and high proportion of small scale wine makers devoted to farming organically make it one of my favourites. From the crisp floral whites of Muscadet and Sancerre to the fuller bodied Chenin Blancs to the fresh light reds that are Cabernet Franc. Today’s offer includes Sauvignon Blanc and Rose from one of Sancerre’s big guns Gérard Boulay, in the village of Chavignol. Then in Montlouis we have the textural Chenin Blancs of François Chidaine and across the river in Vouvray, Domaine Huet.
To round things off, the stunning Cabernet Franc from Domaine des Roches Neuves (also his great value Anjou Chenin Blanc) and the brilliant value wines of Jo Landron in Muscadet. Finally a delicious Cheverny Sauvignon Blanc from Domaine du Salvard. Enjoy and remember if there is anything not listed that you would like please email us!
Stuart Hooper was a successful businessman with a passion for everything about wine. He envisioned creating a vineyard that would produce Australian wine of a quality to emulate the great regions of France.
In the early 1970’s Stuart selected a plot of land in the Moorabool Valley near the township of Bannockburn. A promising site with the desirable soil composition consistent with quality viticulture and a rich history of premium wine grape production dating back to the 1870’s. The initial plantings were shiraz vines. Before long, more land was acquired, more vines and varieties planted – the story had begun.
Although Stuart has since passed, Bannockburn Vineyards remains in the Hooper family, with his daughters as custodians to ensure his philosophy is preserved, providing the cornerstone of all that we do at Bannockburn today.