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McLaren Vale Wines – Graham Stevens Wines

It is in May each year for the last few years that Graham Stevens Wines have their birthday and this year has some extra significance as it is Graham’s 75th birthday early June.

Roadside View of Graham Stevens Wines

Before I review their wines I have to admit that Graham Stevens Wines is a favourite of mine and when I get asked for wineries to visit I always suggest a visit to see Graham.  There are 2 main reasons for liking this winery.  Firstly, I think Graham is an excellent winemaker and has been making wine since at least 1973.  Graham really understands what is happening in the vineyard and what will happen to the grapes and the wine.  This was really evident in 2011 when the cool vintage conditions caused many issues with ripening and disease pressure – many winemakers had not seen such conditions but Graham had seen it before in the 70’s and knew what to do.  Secondly, Graham is a truly a wonderful person.  Shown when anybody visits his cellar door he greets you with an outstretched hand ready for a friendly handshake.

Graham Stevens and Friend

2014 Fleurieu Chardonnay ($16)

It is so good to see a lightly wooded Chardy that is just nice to drink.  Peach and melons with a slight oak influence and a tang finish.  Show me this wine next to a Sauvignon Blanc and I would pick this every time.  Relatively low in alcohol (12.9%) and the wine would be at home with food or on it’s own.  Well done Graham.

2013 Clare Valley Riesling ($16)

Made in a soft easy drinking style – nothing in this wine is over the top.  The flavours are light and the acid level is relatively low for a Clare Riesling.  Just drink it up.

2013 “The Cousins” Grenache Rose ($15)

Fresh and aromatic (strawberries) – this is why Grenache is suited to making this style.

2013 Fleurieu Tempranillo ($18)

A new variety for Graham – it is good to see he playing with new varieties.  The outcome is a bit different – showing the usual earthy and mushroom character and even though a bit lighter than the other reds there is an interesting dry finish, but much more up front fruit character than I usually find with this variety.  I would never presume to second guess Graham but for my palate this wine needs another year in the bottle to see how the wine really stands up.

2011 Graham’s Vat 52 ($18)

One of my favourite wine styles from Graham – a blend of Grenache, Shiraz and Cabernet.  As far as my research can tell this is the only winery that makes this blend – and I am so glad he does.  Yes I am a big fan of McLaren Vale Grenache and this blend shows why Grenache dominate blends are worth checking out.  I found this wine changed in the glass over about 20 minutes.  I first got the black characters expected from the Cabernet and Shiraz but over time the redness of the Grenache came through.  The good thing about the blend is the structure the Shiraz and Cabernet provides – and  makes a better wine for it.

2010 Stevens Family Shiraz ($30)

Good quality McLaren Vale Shiraz mixed with good American oak – what is not to like.  Plums, all spice and liquorice – Yum.

2010 Fleurieu Cabernet Sauvignon ($30)

I am not a big Cabernet drinker – I mean that I do not normally drink Cabernet given a choice.  This wine is one Cabernet that could change my view.  Obviously good clean fruit with the expected blackcurrent and a hint of mint.  This wine is all about elegance and is highlighted by the soft but long finish of the wine on the palate.

2014 Vintage Fortified Shiraz ($25)

After successful releases in 2010 and 2014, I was interested in this new release.  I can tell you I was not disappointed plus like the previous 2 releases the wine was so different to those that came before it.  As usual lots a clean fruit and clean spirit.  The fruit is all about Shiraz – this time I got lots of cherries instead of plums.  This is definitely a wine to keep you warm over winter.

The Old Mans Liqueur Grenache ($25)

I have had this wine before and it will not be the last.  The original home for Grenache – fortified wines from McLaren Vale.  Good clean spirit and lovely sweet red fruits.

NV Liqueur Muscat ($20)

Luscious sweet fruit with a thick viscosity effect with coating the mouth.  The alcohol is not obvious which just adds to the enjoyment.

2014 Aurora ($20)

A medium sweet sherry style made from the pressings of the Chardonnay.  Clean spirit that is hot on the palate mixed with a ginger finish.

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