Andrew Jamieson Wine Merchants represent independent producers from Australia, those who blend trailblazing with tradition.
Created by Andrew Jamieson, an accomplished sommelier and bar/restaurant manager, AJWM is a specialist wine wholesaler and vehement advocate of emerging producers. Like those we represent, we're passionate about nurturing unique sites for future generations of winemakers (and wine drinkers), and celebrating regional and varietal harmony.
The AJWM portfolio showcases producers who are champions of their terroir; vignerons who toil hard in the vineyard so they can employ a hands-off, minimalist approach in the winery. The resulting drops can be found at independent retailers, and on the lists of local haunts, and top restaurants and bars right around the country.
Andrew Jamieson Wine Merchants currently represents 16 producers from Australia, with expansion continuing across the Tasman and into Europe.
1 October, 2019
WILL BERLINER AND THE CULT WINES OF CLOUDBURST
AJWM is excited to announce the first showing of Cloudburst
in the Sydney trade since joining the AJWM portfolio.
Margaret River has spawned its fair share of free thinkers over the course of its 50-year wine history, but few match the brazen and out-of-the-box approach employed by Will Berliner of Cloudburst.
Renowned for his quirky, almost whimsical approach to viticulture, minuscule production and openly high pricing (a factor those acquainted with this undeniably 'cult' producer will no doubt be familiar with), Will operates almost completely outside of the Australian wine zeitgeist.
The New York native, who arrived in Margaret River in the mid-00s, claims his mission is simple: "I just wanted to make great wine". But the Cloudburst project is, in many ways, continually proving the point that to make the absolute best possible wine you need to have all the best interests at heart, from farming methods right through to scale of production. Compromise at any stage is out of the question.
"At first, the acclamation for Cloudburst took me by surprise, but now that's changed a bit," explains Will. "It's not that I'm being modest, but just that the more I involve myself in this particular way of focus, the more I realise how scattered other peoples' approaches are."
Less than a hectare in size, the organically-farmed Cloudburst vineyard is planted to chardonnay, malbec and cabernet sauvignon, three varieties Will believes are not only best suited to both the soil and the region, but also what he himself likes to drinks.
Funnily enough, when he and his wife first purchased the property, which neighbours the Leeuwin-Naturaliste National Park in Wilyabrup, there was no intention of planting vines. "I knew hardly anything about wine; I initially wanted to plant trees to block the view and noise of traffic," he reminisces. "But it turned out the soil we had was great for planting vines." There is no irrigation; no tilling between the vines. Everything is done by hand, including, on average, 500 hours of hand weeding per year. There is absolutely zero synthetic input, with the exception of a small amount of sulphur at bottling. Animals are encouraged to feed and socialise between the rows. It's simply a case of letting nature do its thing – an idea central to the Cloudburst philosophy.
"It became obvious to me why things are turning out the way they're turning out and I think it's really a question of the scale," says Will. "One of the advantages I have with Cloudburst is that it's small enough that I can manage it on my own."
Each wine is made in more or less the same way, using wild yeasts and as little intervention as possible – make no mistake though, these are not 'natural' wines ("I don't subscribe to the idea of natural wines," says Will). In any case, it's a refreshing approach that results in incredibly pure, elegant wines that speak intensely of place, whose quality has been globally recognised in a very short space of time.
All Cloudburst wines are extremely limited. If you'd like to sample or secure your allocation, please get in touch.
97 Points – James Halliday
96 Points – James Halliday
2016 Cabernet Sauvignon
98 Points – James Halliday
Small amounts of museum vintages are available on request.
2017 POLPERRO SINGLE VINEYARD RELEASES
From site to bottle, the single vineyard Polperro wines represent some of the most well-thought-out, unique expressions of the Mornington Peninsula. With a pragmatic yet almost artistic approach to his craft, vigneron Sam Coverdale places a focus on everything from clonal selection to cooperage in order to obtain the best possible expression of the Polperro vineyards.
Sam oversees all the farming, utilising a mix of organic and biological farming practices, with some biodynamic principles thrown in. "From a viticulture perspective, I want everything we do have a direct benefit," he says. "It's not just hearsay or for marketing purposes – we're not going to start up a tractor needlessly or put out something I don't believe has any real benefit to the soil. The winemaking is minimal, and all about
trying to express the site and vintage."
The 2017 vintage was what Sam describes as an "amazing year" – very cool with a wet, cold spring; consequently, flowering was poor which resulted in highly concentrated fruit, helped on by a beautifully cool and long summer and autumn, with acids and sugars developing in perfect balance.
The resulting 2017 range of Single Vineyard chardonnays and pinots, as well as the 2018 Pinot Gris, are some of the most significant wines Polperro has released to date, and with only around twelve dozen of each available in NSW, they won't be around long either.
2018 Pinot Gris
The Real Review – 96 Points
This is a superb gris at the rich and complex end of the spectrum. Medium to full yellow, showing some development, it has a layered, ‘worked’ bouquet of ripe fruit, honey, spices, buttered toast and roasted nuts. It’s full-bodied, deep and dense with a lasting aftertaste.
2017 Mill Hill Chardonnay
At 270 metres above sea level, the Mill Hill vineyard is currently the Peninsula's highest, and one of its most exposed. Planted in 1994 to pinot noir, chardonnay and pinot gris, the vineyard sits on volcanic red ferrosol, above a granite bedrock which Sam believes adds a "sense of minerality" to the wines.
Winemaking: 12 months in barrel (40% new oak); full MLF, full solids. "It's got everything you want in a chardonnay," says Sam. "Beautiful padding and flavour profile with great acid structure."
2017 Talland Hill Chardonnay
"This is from the warmest of our three single vineyard sites, which sits at 170 metres above sea level, predominantly on a northern slope," explains Sam. Where the Mill Hill chardonnay is instantly more expressive on the nose, the Talland Hill is more "chestnutty, pheromonal and reductive; that classic P58 flavour that is all core fruit right in the middle of the palate."
The Real Review – 94 Points
Golden yellow colour - rich. Vanilla custard, nougat, spicy oak and lemon essence. Never judge a book. Supple and fruited palate. Ethereal in its length and mineral glide. Love its trajectory.
2017 Mill Hill Pinot Noir
100% MV6 clone, this wine is very expressive of the site and conveys a similar feel to the Mill Hill chardonnay. "It has a lovely, ferrous-y minerality to it," says Sam. "Regardless of the variety, the site really comes through with this wine."
The Real Review – 96 Points
Pale red colour and transparent. The bouquet shows great concentration - ripe cherries, strawberry topping and oak-spice. Red plums on the palate lead an ethereal expression of the variety. It's plush and balanced. Tannins are refined. Excellent.
2017 Landaviddy Lane Pinot Noir
The Landaviddy Lane vineyard has a south-westerly aspect; it doesn't receive the full arc of sun, resulting in fruit with dried, herbal edge, reflecting the cool site. "I always find that, while in the Mill Hill pinot, the tannins are very linear and sit inside the acid line, the Landaviddy tannins sit just outside its great core acidity," says Sam. "The perfume always has these kinds of middle eastern spices, very savoury and herbal."
2017 Talland Hill Pinot Noir
The Real Review – 95 Points
Medium red colour with crimson edges. A brooding, savoury and spicy bouquet - rhubarb and toasty oak. Instantly shows width when sipped. Subtle and self-assured. Soft red berry fruits with length driven by tannins.
2018 SALO CHARDONNAY RELEASE
Salo is the vinous lovechild of Giant Steps’ Steve Flamsteed and Arfion’s Dave Mackintosh, two of the Yarra Valley’s most respected and innovative winemakers. Though their respective day jobs focus on producing vastly different styles, Salo is a reflection is of the pair’s joint ability to craft complex yet approachable wines from extraordinary sites in the Yarra, with an evident focus on minimal intervention.
The 2018 Salo Chardonnay is the sixth Salo release from the Full Moon Vineyard in the upper Yarra Valley. The vines, now 18 years old, sit in deep red volcanic soil, resulting in fruit showcasing great acid structure and exceptional balance of flavour.
The 2018 chardonnay saw relatively simple winemaking: whole bunch pressed then gravity-fed with full juice solids to 500 litre puncheons; wild yeast fermentation and partial malo. It’s a beautifully balanced expression of cool-climate Yarra chardonnay.
With just under 250 cases produced, these wines sell out every year and our allocation is tiny. If you’ve not yet sampled the incredible Salo wines, please get in touch.
The Somerset vineyard on Oakey Creek Road in Pokolbin is undeniably one of Australia’s great shiraz sites. Planted between 1956 and the mid-70s, the vineyard entertains a magical combination of diverse row orientation and rich volcanic soil over a beautiful, chalky limestone subsoil; couple that with low yields, decent vine age and the expert management of local viticultural legend Glen Howard, it’s no surprise that Somerset remains one of the region’s most sought-after sites.
Young Hunter Valley winemaker Angus Vinden is consistently charmed by the shiraz he sources from his small horseshoe-shaped lease at Somerset. Though the Vinden family has for years relied on the estate for great quality fruit, it wasn’t until 2016 that Angus, upon tasting a single barrel of shiraz blended from his three Somerset blocks, decided to bottle and release a wine that fully expressed the ultra-special nature of this vineyard.
What started as a “cool little experiment” has been taken to the next level for the 2018 release, with three different bottlings – one representing each unique block of vines.
“There aren’t many vineyards like that in Australia, let alone the Hunter,” says Angus on the Somerset shiraz plantings. “You know – those vineyards with ‘true’ limestone subsoils; for me that helps produce beautiful natural acidity with a lovely, more delicate minerality.”
But rather than showcasing just the site’s terroir – as he did with the 2016 and 2017 Single Barrels – Angus wanted to provide drinkers with a real glimpse of the variations between the blocks in 2018.
“I’ve made all three wines in more or less the same way, and it’s quite remarkable how different they are,” he explains. “The east block is quite light, floral and pretty; the north shows this lovely sort of balance with more density and plush fruit on the palate, and the west block has deeper, more brooding characters with a rich tannin profile.”
Each wine was basket pressed, whole-bunch fermented in open concrete vats and spent about ten days on skins. They were hand-plunged twice a day, aged for four months (during malo) in old neutral oak then further aged for ten months in second use 500 litre barrels. “Racked once, no fining, no filtration, all gravity-fed into bottle.” The result is 1,923 compelling bottles (641 each) of beautiful, medium-bodied single block Hunter Valley shiraz.
“The Somerset site is all old Busby clones and the phenolics develop a lot earlier than other sites,” explains Angus. “All the fruit is picked sub-13 Baumé; I’m looking to produce those softer, more expressive medium-bodied styles of shiraz which I think is what the Hunter does best.”
2018 LIGNÉE SHIRAZ PINOT NOIR
Angus Vinden’s other new project is Lignée, a collaboration between himself and young Mudgee-based winemaker Will Gilbert (of Gilbert Family Wines), aimed at crafting classic blends utilising Hunter Valley and Orange fruit and thoughtful, hands-on winemaking.
The first release is the 2018 Lignée Shiraz Pinot Noir, comprised of 50% Gilbert pinot sourced from a fourth-fill pinot noir barrel with around 20% whole bunch, and 50% Vinden shiraz from a six-year-old barrel filled with Somerset shiraz from the northern site.
It’s unfined and unfiltered and was hand-bottled and sealed (with wax, naturally) by the boys into just 400 magnums. The result is a unique, multi-regional blend, approachable in nature but still quite structured.
GOLDEN AGE CINEMA & BAR
80 COMMONWEALTH ST, SURRY HILLS We've gathered some brilliant friends from near and far to ensure you'll discover something delicious at our Winter Trade Day on Tuesday August 15 at Golden Age Cinema & Bar in Surry Hills. On the wine front, there will be Tasmania's Moorilla, South Australian gems Michael Hall and Izway Wines, as well as some Italian-flavour from Barolo and Brunello importer Nebbia Wines. The cheeky Betoota Bitter and Yulli's Brews boys will also be there to pour some beers and spin some yarns. AJWM producers that will be showing their wines on the day include Damo from Hart & Hunter, Mr Mike Boudry from MOON Wines and Neil Prentice from Moondarra and Holly's Garden. What's more, we're very excited to be introducing some fresh brands including Simão & Co., dalla Mia Finestra as well as two new Primavera Vineyard estate labels - Yarra Peaks and Evviva. Please join us for what should be a fantastic event. We are all looking forward to seeing you and your team there. RSVP: firstname.lastname@example.org or call 0451 434 701.
VINTAGE 2017 - BAROSSA
A quick conversation with a busy, exhausted but very excited Dave Lehmann of David Franz wines about vintage 2017 in the Barossa.
JK: “G’day Dave, can you run me through this year’s vintage? Are you all done?”
DL: “Just about, yea. Waiting on a little bit of cabernet coming in pretty soon, apples for Scrumpy and some monte for a mate.”
JK: “Very good. So how was the bulk of vintage 2017?”
DL: “Bloody terrific top-to-bottom in the Barossa.”
JK: “Nice, so no dramas then?”
DL: “We just had such a nice, wet winter which was great for the vines. But then quite a wet spring was a bit problematic. The flood put some disease pressure on, but it wasn’t too bad at all. The vines were just set up so beautifully, they were so healthy.”
JK: “But the rain managed to all clear off for a nice dry harvest?”
DL: “Yea, pretty much. We had a little bit of rain, but that just freshened up the grapes nicely – it allowed for flavour ripeness to catch up with the sugar levels.”
JK: “Looks like it was all a bit later than the last couple of years?”
DL: “It was. Healthy and late. Not unexpectedly late though – I’ve always worked off Easter. A late Easter means a late harvest. Vines don’t take notice of the date, they just know the moon.”
JK: “And yields, were they healthy?”
DL: “Yea. A bit like 2006, it was monster vintage. We’ve upped our tonnage [intake at the winery] naturally from larger crops off each block we were sourcing from, and then extraction rates have been 20% higher as well. Luckily we were nice and organised with bottling previous years wines and had plenty of empty tanks and barrels at the winery.”
JK: “So the high yields haven’t affected quality?”
DL: “You look at the wines and they’re awesome. It’s proving this mantra of happy vines makes happy wines. When they’re naturally going well on their own, everything just comes together nicely. I mean look at the Loan Vineyard, an amazing dry grown vineyard, managed organically and biodynamically, they’re basically bush vines. There was no crop in 2015 or 2016. But this year we got 2000 litres. It’s now ticking through malo, and pretty exciting.”
JK: “So Semillons looking good then. Anything else really taking your eye at this stage?”
DL: “It’s an amazing vintage across the board really, one of the most fragrant and lifted. Bordeaux varieties are off the hook. As was shiraz – it’s just singing this year. But, as usual for me, those Bordeaux varieties just speak to me above everything else. Aromatic range is incredible.”
JK: “And in the winery, anything different, anything new to report on?”
DL: “Broadly, my philosophy has evolved a lot in the last 7-8 years. I’m going for a more refined, elegant, aromatic style; a lighter style. I’ve been drinking a lot of gamay and pinots at home; wines with a lighter touch. Aromatic, food friendly. Trying to do grenache with a Burgundian sensibility; the 2015 is about to reach your warehouse I think, and called grenache noir to hint at that. In saying that, I’m still staying true to the core of Kid’s wines [Georgie's Walk, Alexander's Reward and Benjamin's Promise] with that intensity, but even with those I’m evolving; raining back the oak, making sure the fruit is front and centre. No two vintages are ever the same, and you change the way you make it depending on the fruit each year but always with that overriding quest for the balance. And 2017 is really helping with that.”
JK: Sounds exciting, looking forward to coming down and tasting some barrels and seeing the wines a bit further down the track.
DL: Yea, it is. Hopefully we’ll have our cellar door ready by then, construction is set to finish in a fortnight – it's coming together nicely. Need to organise a time to get to Sydney soon, too, with the new batch of 2015 releases. Have you wrapped your lips around them yet? They look unreal. Anyway, better go – I’ve gotta call a bloke to check on where that cabernet is at.
VINTAGE 2017 - MCLAREN VALE
They're done and dusted, down in the Vale. And what a vintage it was - our friends at Inkwell have just finished their largest ever. One press, one, destemmer, one tractor and one devoted couple - Irena and Dudley Brown - were worked to the bone for seven weeks, generously aided by a swathe of big-hearted helping hands.
After a cool and wet winter, with record rainfalls, the clouds parted and sun shone brightly over McLaren Vale from veraison onwards. “Lots of water followed by lots of sunshine,” sums up Dudley. “Which for low yielding sites, like ours, was amazing. We didn’t have dense canopies so there was good airflow and no disease pressures at our site.”
Harvest kicked off a few weeks later than previous years, beginning in the last week of February for Inkwell, with viognier coming off the vines as soon as the desired ginger spice character emerged. This was followed by their grenache, mataro, shiraz, primitivo and cabernet sauvignon. “Six weeks of picking across six varieties,” explains Dudley. “And everything looks really good. It was ideal weather-wise, but a bit of a deceiving year due to a low alcohol yet high malic acid - it took courage to pick early. This means 2017 is going to produce a very fresh, acid driven style that we’re very excited about. We like plenty of fresh natural acid as we don’t add any,” he says.
The final pick came a week before easter. Late harvest zinfandel, destined for Black & Blue Late Harvest Fortified, was picked at 17 baume, let go naturally through ferment before it was stopped at 6 baume, fortified with 96 per cent pure spirit and drained into 100-litre barrels to transform into liquid pleasure.
New to the winery in 2017 is fruit from Ricca Terra Farms in the Riverland. Slancamenca bela, fiano and vermentino have all been fermented on skins. Their fate lies somewhere in the DubStyle Tangerine range, alongside the estate-grown viognier. Whether they are bottled as varietal wines or blends yet to be decided.
At the moment just about everything has completed primary fermentaion and ticking through malo. "Sometimes they shoot through, others you have to wait until spring,” says Dudley.
And then we’ll have to wait a little longer as the wines evolve in barrel, mature in bottle and begin to tell the proper tale of vintage 2017 in McLaren Vale.
For more, it's worth a read over the thoughts of the ever insightful and entertaining Philip White; Redefining Extreme: Vintage 2017