The story of TOB
In 2017 I became interested in using Vivino, in conjunciton with traditional critics like Jancis Robinson or Robert Parker, to identify the wines that are as close to "the best" as it is possible to claim. Scroll down for more*.
These are the wines that I offer to my clients via email offers twice a month. To receive these email offers click here.
But this wine sales business is built on 20+ years of making wine in France and Australia.
And I actually started making wine as an 8-year-old growing up in England, collecting grapes from people who had vines growing in glasshouses although I also had a couple of very hardy vines that I grew myself in a market garden near home in London.
That was back in 1985. Later, I graduated to selling my better wines on the boarding school black market as I progressed through an education dominated by my love of science.
When I left school I discovered that I had family connections to a winery in Bordeaux called Châteaufort de Roquetaillade where I began my professional winemaking apprenticeship in 1998.
Between 1998 and 2012 I made wine in many different vineyards in France and Australia and then started off The Other Bordeaux by importing the wines of Châteaufort de Roquetaillade.
I then began importing the wines of other progressive, family-owned artisan wineries that I came across in the course of my work in France.
Having studied winemaking at the University of Adelaide between 2003 and 2005, I now make wine in the Adelaide Hills under the banner of Boovability (the winery that I own with Mark and Andrie Whisson) and in New South Wales where I buy grapes from a stunning vineyard in Rylstone.
To your health! Santé! Cheers!
*More about how The Other Bordeaux works and some past offers.
In the 1950s you could buy Penfolds Grange for $1.50...
... because it was new and unknown even though it was an extraordinary wine. It wasn't until the 1980s that the reputation and price of Grange began to rise sharply and a bottle of the 1951 is now worth $65,000.
But fast forward to 2018 and apps like Vivino allow us to identify the new wines that taste exceptionally good and share this knowledge with everyone who might want to know, instantly. As a result, unknown but delicious wines - like Grange was unknown and delicious throughout the 1950s, 60s, and 70s - can now become famous very fast, so if you want to get them while they are still undervalued, you also have to move quickly.
(scroll down to read an explanation of this chart)
This therefore is the job I do for my clients: I identify the very best and most undervalued wines by using data from Vivino.
Here are some recent newsletters to show you how my system works:
March 2018: White Burgundy
March 2018 #2: Warrabilla Durif
April 2018: The Pinot Isle
How to buy only the best...
Look at this graph showing the relationship between price (horizontal axis) and wine quality (Vivino average scores on vertical axis) for Australian Shiraz.
For every price point you can see there is a huge spread of quality ratings from low to high (the number in each small circle indicates the number of wines to have attained the relevant quality score, shown on the vertical axis). What this graph clearly shows is that:
a) there is a VERY strong relationship between price and quality;
b) if you know what to pick you can always drink the wines that repay your added spend in terms of extra taste quality.
HOWEVER: the small red M indicates the Median score for each price category. The Other Bordeaux only picks wines that score WELL ABOVE the median values, and normally from the top few per cent of wines from any price category. If you don't know what to pick and you choose wines from below the red M then you are not maximising your value-for-money in terms of wine quality.