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McLaren Vale Wine – Vale Cru Winetasting

There is one tasting I look forward to each year.  Due to circumstances beyond my control I have not been able to attend the last 2 years so I was looking forward to the November 2012 Vale Cru wine tasting held on the grounds of he Victory Hotel.

This year things were different.  I had tickets and transport organised (I was not going to taste and drive) plus I was attending with 2 friends from Melbourne who were visiting McLaren Vale for the first time.  As both were wine drinkers I could not think of a better way of showing them what McLaren Vale could do than showing the wines of the Vale Cur members.  As a bonus there was a chocolate and cheese tasting added just for good measure.

Vale Cru winemakers and tasters in their natural habitat

The sun was shining and the wind was blowing straight off the ocean – the combination was good for the punters but the wind was a little troublesome for the winery staff who were trying to keep tasting notes etc on the tables.  All in all the stage was set for an excellent afternoon.  On arrival we received a wine glass (which we were able to keep) a plank of wood (which was a modified oak barrel stave) that was notched so to hold the wine glass, a pencil and a wine list.  There was also an opportunity to go into a competition to match chocolate and the wines available for tasting.  I was also impressed with the cheese and cut french stick breads that were available.  There were impressive but I was there for the wine.  The list of small wineries that make up the Vale Cru is impressive with:-

Brash Higgins


Waywood Wines

Battle of Bosworth

Lazy Ballerina


Five Geese

Geddes Wines

Noon Wines

La Curio

Old Faithful

Vigna Bottin

Samuels Gorge

J&J Wines



 Before I talk about some of the wines, I should discuss what the Vale Cru is all about.  It is my opinion that the heart and sole of any wine producing region is the small producer.  The people that strive for above all else quality.  It is with these producers that the gems are produced.  These wines are not the usual liquor store fodder – the liquor stores seem to have shelves full of the same old stuff that has been generated from the big factory wineries that dominate the Australian wine scene.  These small producers invariability have the one thing that sets them apart – the love that goes into making these wines.

Each winery had 3 wines available for tasting and as many of these wineries are very familiar to me then I knew many of the wines.  There was too many wines for me to taste them all however there were many highlights from the wines we tasted – some notes below.

2011 Battle of Bosworth Chardonnay ($25)

I applaud the use of oak here.  Oak plays a support role and s not overpowering, but this support is important for quality Chardonnay.  The melon and peach fruits are here as well and I was also impressed with the cad levers in this wine.  The crispness found here is not always found in white wines that have gone through Malolactic acid fermentation thus I suspect this wine has little or no secondary fermentation.  There are a number of very poor Chardonnay wines available today but this wine is certainly not one of them.  I would prefer this over a Sauvignon Blanc any day.

2007 Rudderless Wines Malbec ($35)

Not a usual varietal wine but the blackness of the fruit comes through really well.  If you get a chance then check it out.

2010 Tim Geddes Experimental Grenache ($33)

Readers of this blog know I enjoy a good Grenache and this is one of them.  The redness and fruit power is enticing.  Let it drag you in!

2010 Five Geese Grenache Shiraz ($24)

Vibrant fruit with a side order of cedar oak.  The black and red fruit shine through at different times when you taste this wine which provides the wine drinker some intrigue.

2008 Ulithorne Frux Frugis Shiraz ($45)

This wine is all about the liquorice.  Classy McLaren Vale Shiraz that will last for a long time – if you let it.

2009 Brash Higgins “SHZ” Shiraz ($37)

This wine just surprises with the mouth finish of blood orange.  One may expect this from a Nebbiolo but not a Shiraz.  Another wine that is classy and different – the essence of what the Vale Cru is all about.

Brash Higgins Wines

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