By Nick Ryan 11:00pm November, 26, 2018
For many years, I never took a trip to France without first emailing a bloke who sold car parts for advice on where to eat. Jeremy Holmes is probably the only bloke in the auto industry who hears “Michelin” and thinks food, not tyres.
These days the pre-departure email is redundant because I’ve become an avid reader of a magazine called Repast, a publication produced by Holmes and his wife, Heidi, born in response to the constant barrage of wine industry friends sending the exact same email as mine.
A catalogue of consumption, a paean to the pleasures that can be found in great restaurants and dark cellars, an idiosyncratic travelogue, Repast is the best example of self-publishing in the food and wine space in the country.
The magazine is a companion piece to the sybaritic couple’s direct-to-consumer retail business D’Or to Door, and its content comes mainly from regular trips to Europe in search of wines to offer a steadily building client base who have come to learn that the Holmes have an unusual ability to find value in parts of the winemaking world where most just conceded the idea was long forgotten.
That keen eye for affordability is especially tested in Burgundy, where price tags regularly comprise four digits and the risk of expensive disappointment is a constant companion.
Thankfully, Holmes possesses one of the finest Burgundy palates and an obsession for the place bordering on the unnatural. If asked to choose between his family, the wines of Burgundy or the music of Nick Cave, Holmes would pause then ask, “Can I pick two of the three?”
He and Heidi import the wines of several small Burgundian domaines, and one small negociant, all sharing a common capacity for over-delivering on quality for the price. They should appeal to anyone beginning on the deliciously ruinous road to full-blown Burgundy addiction as well as anyone already bitten by the bug but not quite yet mad enough to blow a week’s wages on a bottle of wine.
The d’Or to Door portfolio is also strong in northern Italian wine, fortuitous for those who love the wines of Tuscany and Piedmont and for the importer himself, a man whose capacity to carbo-load makes De Niro’s efforts to bulk up for Raging Bull look like a hunger strike.
Jeremy and Heidi maintain a deep and diverse personal cellar, so understand well the beauty of great old wines. It’s this love of mature wines that has seen them establish relationships with a couple of trusted brokers in Europe trading in the contents of the cellars of private collectors and restaurants.
As a result, they’ve been offering a range of well-cellared bottles from many of the key regions of Europe, especially the incredibly long-lived wines of Barolo, stretching back to the 1920s. A couple of these bottles, a 1974 Barolo and 1962 Volnay, rounded out a tasting of the current range of Holmes imports earlier this month.
A few highlights from the tasting are listed here … the old bottles were drunk after I took myself off the clock.
Champagne Marc Chauvet 2012, $79
Oyster shell and flint, a core of nougat richness. Combines complexity with enervating freshness, finishes long, poised and with talcy freshness.
Ellena Giuseppe Nascetta, Langhe, Italy 2016, $35
Nascetta is a variety indigenous to Piedmont, forgotten for decades and just starting to see a resurgence in planting and popularity. It smells of melon skin, citrus rind and botanical elements that leads Jeremy Holmes to call it a “G&T made from grapes”. It’s bright, alert and utterly intriguing.
Domaine Thomas Morey Chassagne Montrachet 1er Cru 2016, $149
The much-publicised frosts decimating the Burgundy harvest in 2016 cruelled yields in three Premier Cru Chassagne Montrachet vineyards — Macherelles, Clos St Jean and Chenevottes — so the decision was made to blend all three into one wine. That decision has paid off. It smells a little of the mould on under-ripe brie, some delicate white florals, nougat and candied lemon rind, too. Beautiful line, tightens up through a crystalline finish.
Villa de Geggiano Chianti Classico 2015, $35
Fragrant licorice and dry cherry aromas, fruit richness and roundness through the palate before classic chianti tannins and acid wash kick in. A beautifully savoury, eminently food-friendly finish.
2016 November Gourmet Traveller Wine Nick Stock
Barossa-based Jeremy and Heidi Holmes have eked out a niche market with their import business d’Or to Door Wines Direct, not least of all because they have a good eye for quality and value. They’ve recently picked up the traditional Piedmont-based Borgogno winery, bringing in a set of stylish wines that impress.
The 2014 Borgogno Barbera d’Alba(A$39) is a wine of real restraint and fruit-focused style. It smells of raspberry leaf and mountain herbs, is gently flinty with a little pastry-like edge. Some young rose florals and reticent red berry fruits are present in the mix. The palate is all about acidity, really tart and tangy, it has mouthwatering impact, succulent red berry flavour and will suit spicy food a treat.
The 2015 Dolcetto d’Alba (A$29) has fresh red and blue fruits on the nose with some crushed violet-like florals – really straight-forward and appealing. On the palate it marries incredible plushness and generosity of tannin with richly flavoured blueberry and cassis fruits, finishing with an attractive acid snap. It is one of those wines that is impossible not to like and represents terrific value in the range.
The 2012 Langhe Nebbiolo No Name (A$49) is a ‘Etichetta di Protesta’ (protest label) and a great wine, too. The 250-year-old winery had a cask of 2005 Barolo that was rejected by the DOCG because it was stylistically ‘irregular,’ they so declassified it and labelled it in protest simply as No Name. The wine itself is a light, crunchy maraschino cherry-scented nebbiolo with plenty of acidity and fine weighted tannins. It’s a refreshing, early drinking style that will work well alongside foods that need wine to cut through richness.
The pinnacle of this set of wines is the complex, deep and delicious 2010 Borgogno Barolo Fossati (A$129). The nose smells of gentian, dried rose petals and fragrant ripe red cherry fruits. It has depth and richness, and is very approachable in a silky and elegant style with rich dark cherries and chocolate, wild herbs, bright acidity and punchy tannins. The palate has a smooth and even shape with a long and balanced finish. Drink it now or cellar for a decade or more and reap the rewards.
Gourmet Traveller 20th Anniversary Issue, 28/11/2016
2016 April Australian Financial Review Tim White
We love the name of Heidi and Jeremy Holmes's cellar to glass wine retailing business, d'Or to Door. They specialise in the wines of Burgundy, which they import and sell directly to wine lovers without any middlemen taking an extra cut. It's a dead clever monicker paying both respect to the land of the greatest pinot noir and chardonnay wines on earth – Burgundy's Côte d'Or – and at the same time conveying exactly the service that the business provides. (read full article here)
2015 January 10 News Corp Australia Network Tony Love
A vast collection of wines considered to be a national treasure has been unlocked from the Barossan legend Peter Lehmann’s private cellar to be sold to collectors, history buffs and wine lovers. (read full article here…)
2015 January 14, 2015 The Leader
An historic wine collection spanning the lifetime of a legend is set to be sold. (read full article here…)
In January this year The Leader featured a front page article about d'Or to Door catalogueing and distributing the private cellar of Peter and Margaret Lehmann. You can shop the wines here.
2013 October 05 The Weekend Australian
Jeremy discusses his best recent dining experience, must-buy ingredient and what wines would accompany his last supper. (Read full article here…)
2005 March 08 The Age, Ben Canaider
A rev-head from the working-class suburbs of Adelaide is putting his money where his wine-loving mouth is. (read full article here)
2005 March 15 Sydney Morning Herald, Good Living, Ben Canaider
‘Global wine homogeneity is a vexing topic. All over the world, the new documentary Vinomondo claims, winemakers with the same technological approach are using the same grapes, the same yeasts and the same oak chips to make the same wine.’ (read full article here)
2005 May 08 The Independent Weekly, Vincent Ciccarello
Two things are pretty clear about Jeremy Holmes: he likes going into business with friends and family (against the conventional wisdom); and he is mad about wine (in this, he is not alone). (read full article here)
2005 May 25 Adelaide Matters, Kylie Fleming
Self-confessed "imported wine nut" Jeremy Holmes is bringing some of the world's best labels to Adelaide through his innovative d'Or To Door business. (read full article here)
d’Or to Door Wines Direct is based in the Barossa Valley, South Australia
EMAIL: [email protected] or [email protected]
PHONE: +61(0)8 8563 1551