We are delighted and honoured to announce that Mezzanine the Fine Wine Specialist will begin distributing Eden Valley based Henschke wines in 2022.
Mezzanine The Fine Wine Specialist will welcome one of Australia’s oldest and most admired wineries, Henschke to the portfolio from February next year.
Of the partnership between the two family-owned companies, Gary Crawford, CEO of Joval Wines said, “we are delighted and honoured to welcome Henschke into the Mezzanine The Fine Wine Specialist portfolio”.
“Henschke will become one of our cornerstone brands in the Mezzanine The Fine Wine Specialist portfolio alongside some of the world’s greatest family-owned wine brands” he added
- Gary Crawford | CEO Joval Wines
“As custodians of some the country’s oldest vines, producers of nation-defining wines and innovators for a sustainable future, we admire the Henschke family as people of both principle and action. We are looking forward to working closely with Stephen and Prue, the next generation and the wider Henschke team for many years to come” he added.
In recent years, Stephen (fifth-generation winemaker) and Prue (viticulturist) Henschke have welcomed their adult children, Johann, Justine and Andreas into the family business.
“We are pleased to form a new distribution partnership with one of Australia’s most reputable and dynamic fine wine businesses, Mezzanine The Fine Wine Specialist, part of Joval Wines. Their enduring values and commitment to the premium wine trade align with our family business, and we look forward to a long and prosperous relationship, servicing our loyal customers throughout Australia.” said Stephen.
On the new addition to the portfolio, Mezzanine The Fine Wine Specialist National Brand Manager Bree Richmond said “we have always respected and admired the Henschke family, their approach to winemaking and extraordinary 150 year legacy. We are both humbled and excited to embark on this new chapter with one of the country’s most iconic brands.”
For more information, customers are encouraged to contact their area managers.
While the rest of the country slowly emerged from Lockdown, Queensland-based trade and media were treated the biggest global Champagne showcase hosted by Tyson Stelzer. Taste Champagne is back and coming to other capital cities across Australia in 2021 and 2022.
Taittinger was one of 72 Houses and growers represented at the event and it was Mezzanine the Fine Wine Specialist's first opportunity to taste the wines with so many people since onboarding the iconic House in late 2020.
Needless to say, the 2008 Comtes de Champagne was highly sought after and was the first time the team has seen it benchmarked with so many other Cuvées de Prestige.
As Brisbane Area Manager Jamie Holmes recalls "to have (almost) the most the full collection to show simultaneously was a tremendous privilege. Seeing the brand story unfold across so many different cuvees was compelling for our retail and on-premise customers alike.”
Above Left: Jamie Holmes. Above Right: Gae Grant and guest.
Queensland State Manager Gae Grant was thrilled at how well the Folies de la Marquetterie was received. “It’s such a special wine for the House and for us” she said, “100% estate grown, from the Chardonnay and Pinot Noir vines growing on the hillsides around the Château de la Marquetterie, the birthplace of the Taittinger family Champagne, it’s the closest to home soil many of us will get for some time.” Folies de Marquetterie is a reflection beautiful balance of science and madness for which Taittinger is so affectionately known.
Top: Craig Haworth, Above: Craig Haworth, Tyson Stelzer and Jamie Holmes.
IMAGES (C) Tyson Stelzer
Where did it all start for you?
When I headed off to study at NMIT in Marlborough back in 2001 winemaking was not the career path I had in mind.
Pinot Noir vineyard plantings in Central Otago were booming and I had my sights set firmly on the viticulture side of the wine industry. 8 weeks of vintage work experience at Villa Maria’s Marlborough winery during my second year of study completely changed that though - the intense atmosphere of the winery during vintage, long hours working closely alongside passionate winemakers from all corners of the world – all of whom were there to learn but also share their own knowledge struck a chord with me. The buzz of the winery in full swing was infectious and very quickly shifted my focus towards winemaking.
Which of your wines are you most proud of and why should we add it to our cellars?
While I am proud of all wines I have made over the years, I am most proud of the soon to be released 2020 Nanny Goat Vineyard Single Vineyard Queensberry Pinot Noir.
Not only is it a wine produced amidst the stress and uncertainty of the Covid19 lockdown, but it is also the inaugural release of an organic single vineyard wine from the Nanny Goat Vineyard in Queensberry.
Queensberry is a small and often overlooked sub region of Central Otago producing Pinot Noir that is typically very perfumed and aromatically lifted yet also densely fruited, silky and energetic.
This wine embodies all of these traits, and in 10 years' time when you pull a bottle from your cellar I would hope that it has helped elevate Queensberry out of obscurity and become a benchmark example of Pinot Noir from this sub region.
Is there any new trend or innovation in wine that’s excited you or that you’re involved in?
I love the sense experimentation that is happening within the NZ wine industry at the moment. The willingness to plant a new grape variety to see how it will perform in the context of our soils and climate.
Unconventional blends, natural wines, minimal intervention winemaking - with so many talented and creative winemakers plying their craft, innovation is alive and well here in NZ
I have produced a skin fermented Gewurztraminer dominant white blend called ‘Cross Breed’ for a few years now, and I plan on planting a few small experimental blocks as we expand our home vineyard, so that will help satisfy my creative side in years to come.
How would you like to see New Zealand’s wine industry evolve in the longer term?
I would like to see the continued adoption of organic and regenerative viticulture practices.
I see first hand from our own vineyard and the resulting wines the benefits, both environmentally and qualitatively that organic farming has. Healthy soils producing healthy, resilient vines and the flow on effect to the fruit in the winery is evident.
At the end of a busy day making wine or tasting tank and barrel samples, what beverage do you turn to?
As the saying goes – ‘It takes a lot of good beer to make great wine.’
My current go to would be a nice cold Hazy IPA, and with so many great local craft brewers I am never short of options.
The Loire Valley has to be one of the most consistent go-to wine regions in France, particularly for wine nerds. From Chenin Blanc to Cabernet Franc, the diversity in style is courageous and inspiring. Enter Muscadet, also known as Melon de Bourgogne, which is one of the most neutral grape varieties on the planet. The vibe is similar to that of Chablis, generally producing wines with refreshing acidity. I struggle to think of a better wine to pair with fresh seafood (oysters) than Muscadet. The Nantes region of the Loire Valley has been a port city since the Roman era, and well known for its seafood, so some great synergies with food.
Winemaker Pierre-Henri Gadais is leading the Muscadet charge at Domaine de la Combe. At the heart of the Nantes region they are located in Saint-Fiacre, the only village embedded between the two Sevre and Maine rivers. Over time, the valleys of these rivers have shaped steep slopes and drawn an eroded soil. Nowadays, these slopes are rocky and make up a terroir which is conducive to the cultivation of the Melon de Bourgogne grape variety. The large number of pebbles allow for a good drainage, forcing the roots to go down in this cracked rock to draw water deep down.
We are super excited to welcome the following wines to the MezzanineTFWS stable
Matt Dunne - Group Wine Ambassador
Super crisp, flinty notes with a hint of lemon on the nose and a palate with fresh, zesty, savoury tones with hints of green apple along with yeasty notes from 8 months on lees. A classic Muscadet with character and flavour representative of the vintage.
Tell your customers: Melon de Bourgogne is the fourth most planted grape variety in France (over 12,000 hectares), just ahead of Semillon.
omes from a specific selection of grapes known as “the Infernale”, a nickname that it owes to its vertiginous inclination. From 70 year old vines it is aged for 14 months on lees in underground vats and is not filtered. The result is a richer, more layered fruit profile of green apple, lemon curd and ginger spice, still with that classic underlying mineral drive and focus.
Tell your customers: Fire up the BBQ this winter to eat grilled prawns with chili, lemon & garlic with this one!
Pictured: Pierre-Henri Gadais
The 2021 vintage was an auspicious way to cement that professional partnership between the couple, with the weather swinging away from the hot and dry conditions of recent years to usher in a year that John says had the coolest average temperatures since the 2001–02 growing periodIn 2021, we had Mother Nature on our side once again. It has been challenging the past two years, but this year gave us sufficient rains for the vines to grow large and healthy canopies, protecting the fruit from the sun. A slower ripening period allowed for perfect ripening conditions, retaining great acidity in the berries – just what we require to make great Riesling.
Happily, favourable conditions in November also allowed for ideal flowering, with the vines carrying a good, balanced crop that was supported by the earlier spring rains. Those rains set the vines up ideally in the warm spring for what was then a cool and dry summer, which saw intense flavours develop at low potential alcohol levels alongside thrilling natural acidity. Well-timed rain events kept the vines fresh, while disease pressure was not a concern. All in all, an idyllic year with the potential for great wines across the Rieslingfreak spectrum, from dry and racy styles to those carrying residual sugar. Well-timed rain events kept the vines fresh, while disease pressure was not a concern. All in all, an idyllic year with the potential for great wines across the Rieslingfreak spectrum, from dry and racy styles to those carrying residual sugar.
Tom Keelan (viticulturist and winemaker), Rebecca Wilson (Winemaker) and David Blows (a leading Adelaide Hills vigneron) joined forces. The 3 Amigos feared that special parcels of fruit, in exceptional vineyard sites were being blended away into "large company" wines..in essence they decided to channel their skills towards small batch winemaking, and to stop being "pawns" of the global game. A recent label change has seen this smart brand really "go there" and we're loving them.
The carefully hand selected parcels of fruit produce wines that are not only unconventional, but incredibly food friendly.
New for the brand is the Pawn Star Maturana Tinta 2018. Another bold and beautiful label. "A rare grape in the Adelaide Hills, producing a rich, ripe and vibrant red with attractive aromas of spice, earth and bracken, leading to a bold but drinkable palate that is packed with ripe dark-berry and plum flavors. The tannins are carved in thick, soft slices. Drink over the next five years." 92 Points, Nick Stock
Late last year Mezzanine The Fine Wine Specialist welcomed Champagne Taittinger into the collection. Since then together we have joined with two prestigious partners in Australia who encompass and highlight our shared passion to create moments of great enjoyment and pleasure.
Van Gogh Alive is an unforgettable multisensory experience, hailed as the most visited in the world. Travelling to most major cities across Australia from 2021, Champagne Taittinger is proud to be the official Champagne partner of a perfectly aligned celebration of elegance, heritage and luxury.
There is no doubt that lighter-framed, high-toned reds have been surging in popularity. I’m talking the likes of Gamay, Pinot Noir, Pinot Meunier, Dolcetto to name a few of the current number one hits. They are so versatile, and you can serve them chilled if you fancy. But in the cooler months the more medium-bodied, savoury styles of reds are chiming in with some serious vigour and an equal amount of excitement. I’m not only talking single-varietal celebrations, but the artful skill in making great wines from meticulously crafted blends. The blend can certainly be your friend!
When you think of the Veneto in Italy you would normally have your Soave hat on. When you think of Carmenѐre you probably are dreaming you were in Chile right now and actually able to travel out of Australia. Veneto Legend Stefano Inama did some early trials that showed there was great potential for Carmenѐre just south east of the Soave Hills (Colli Berici). Each plot is assessed, worked, harvested and vinified separately. Inama are entering an exciting new phase working with Bordeaux’s Stephane Derenoncourt Consultants alongside their own talented team including son’s Alessio, Luca and Matteo. Watch this space!
(70% Carmenѐre and 30% Merlot) From low yielding, organically farmed vines. Bursting aromas of red cherries, cocoa and black pepper. Palate is fresh, spicy with a juicy smattering of layered red & black fruits, soft powdery tannins and a sophisticated, long length. Did someone say grilled pork, polenta, mushrooms and cheese?
Tell your customers: Think of it as a great alternative to Valpolicella or an Argentinean Malbec.
This is a blend of 50% Malbec and 50% Jurançon Noir from a single 0.5 hectare plot located on a hill 350 metres above sea level with calcareous soils. From 50 year old vines the wine is vatted in cement tanks and barrels and macerates on skins for 7 days. Lashings of fresh raspberry and cherry on the nose and palate. Fresh, intense with a rustic tannin profile and some slight meatier notes (salami) and spice elements (wild sage). Definitely the ultimate mid-week pizza wine and it’s such a great drink by itself.
Tell your customers: Ever tried a Jurançon Noir? Typically has a moderate level of alcohol and colour and often used to make rosé or lighter styles of red. Supposedly named after the commune of Jurançon in the Pyrenees-Altantiques, in the far south west of France.
The beginning of the Desvignes range is Saint Vincent, which comes from numerous estate parcels in Douby, north of the Côte du Py and bordering Fleurie. Douby has deeper, sandier, granitic soils and yields a more supple style of Morgon compared to Py's famously muscular one. The vines for La Voûte average 60 years old. This wine sports an easily digestible tone, echoing the resonance of its schist terroir, dark black fruits with firmly framed tannins and a sleek, fresh finish. Beef Pho and vegetarian spring rolls with this please!
Tell your customers: The Morgon cru, overlooked by Mont du Py, is the largest of the Beaujolais crus. The famous Côte du Py is made up of decomposed shale.
It's been 15 years. Some will remember the launch of this brand. We do. It was such a formative time in Mezzanine's history. These beautifully expressive, in-the-moment wines have been a pleasure to bring to the market from day one.
A perfectly odd couple of winemakers Narelle King and Don Lewis. Together they were the rugged beauty of Tar & Roses' Central Victorian home. The grip of tannin and the perfume of fruit: elegant power; a balance that few can replicate; a walking, talking, winemaking paradox.
Their friendship was defined by their differences as much as their similarities. Their deep love and highly-tuned skill for making wine from Mediterranean varieties was a commonality we have enjoyed watching flourish these past 15 years.
We were so sad to lose Don to cancer four years ago. His legacy lives on through Narelle and in every glass of Tar & Roses. He is missed, but certainly not forgotten.
By Narelle King
"When I reflect on the last fifteen years it makes me smile. It makes me happy to think of our achievements over this time, the problems we overcame, the fun we had along the way and the joy our wines bring to so many people.
In the bigger scheme of things fifteen years is nothing but it feels like we’ve packed a lot of change and growth into a short period of time. Being able to make an array of different varieties from different areas around Victoria has given Tar&Roses the opportunity to engage with multiple vineyards and wineries each with their own distinctive personalities and foibles.
From the King Valley to Faraday/Sutton Grange, Strathbogie Ranges to Heathcote, Murrandindi to the Yarra Valley and multiple sites in between. Above all though the personal interactions and relationships that we have been able to foster makes us feel connected to the greater Victorian wine team not just team Tar&Roses.
Over this time the change in consumer tastes has been a blessing with more people turning to the alternative varieties. Its hard to believe today that Pinot Grigio was once considered an alternative variety as it is almost as ubiquitous now as Sauvignon Blanc once was in the nineties. Consumers still struggle a little with pronunciations, eg: Neb_bilio instead of Nebb_i_olo, but essentially who cares so long as people are willing to try.
We started with PIG, Sang, Temp, Neb and Shiraz however over the years we have introduced five new variants. First was our Spanish wine, made and bottled in Spain from Grenache, Carinena, Shiraz, Cab Sav and Merlot simply called Miro.
To the introduction of our Riesling and premium shiraz, The Rose Shiraz in 2013 and finally our NV Prosecco and Nebbiolo Rose in 2019. Each has its own individuality and place within the range, and each are all distinctly varietal.
With our grape sourcing coming from far and wide we settled on Nagambie, in Central Victoria as our home and barrel store.Nagambie also being Don’s home and well situated for easy access to vineyards and winery options.
Unfortunately, Don contracted cancer and died in early 2017. He loved Tar & Roses and what we had be able to achieve and it also gives me great pleasure to think we have been able to continue and grow the brand successfully in his absence. He would be so happy to see how many people now love and drink the Pinot Grigio.
"[Don] would be so happy to see how many people now love and drink the Pinot Grigio." - Narelle King Winemaker Tar & Roses
And the next fifteen years, well who knows. Life is short and you do really need to “just do it”. I think Covid has taught us to appreciate that and what’s important in our lives. Just like good coffee, you should enjoy the things that make you happy, especially fine wine."
What a brilliant thirty six hour jaunt in the depths of NSW wine.
Stops in Gundagai, Eurongilly, Wallaroo & Bungendore.
With special thanks to Jenny and Katie from Mezzanine TFWS and James from red+white, Annette Lacey and her team of Sommeliers from Solotel, and of course the phenomonal producers Nick Spencer from Nick Spencer Wines, Nick and Amy O'Leary from Nick O'Leary wines, Chris Carpenter from Lark Hill winery and Simon Rebertson from Tumblong Hills.
Nick Spencer (left) & James Kilmartin unpacking the essentials into the delightful Airbnb 'The Crossing Place' in Gundagai, NSW.
Leaves on the Riesling vines slowly yellowing in the Autumn sun. Nick O'Leary estate vinyards in Wallaroo, about 30mins NW of Canberra's CBD, yet oddly in NSW.
The picturesque dinner setting on the crest on Nick Spencer's yet to be planted, new vineyard. Situated in the tiny hamlet of Eurongilly in the central part of the Riverina and situated about 19 kilometres north west of Nangus and 21 kilometres south east of Junee.
Sampling a glass of Nick Spencer's Tumbarumba Chardonnay while the suns sets and the temperature sharply drops. Eurongilly, NSW.
Ted Rutledge (Aria, Sydney) getting a warm welcome from one of the Eurongilly locals.
The hearty campfire. A long dead tree from the property was hoist up the dusty track and lit five hours prior to our arrival to ensure maximum guest warmth.