November is a wonderful time of the year. To many it is the lead up to the Festive Season and the warmer weather is really upon us. For me December has 2 milestones. Firstly, Grenache normally flowers during November – and as readers of my blogs would know I love good McLaren Vale Grenache. Secondly, November signals that Noon Wines cellar door will be open for 3 weekends (the only time the cellar door is open for the year).
I have had the pleasure of visiting this cellar door since the mid 1980’s when the current winery and vineyard custodians father owned and operated the facility. In those days the cellar door was nearly every day and I have many wonderful memories of those times. Now people either line up on the first day the cellar door is open (as the wine allocated to the general public is usually sold on the first day) or by allocation to the Noon Wines mailing list members. This mailing list is so sought after that their is a waiting list for the Mailing List.
The wines are made from estate plantings – with one of my favorite old, dry grown Grenache vineyards, plus grapes sourced from long term growers from Langhorne Creek.
I have not included the price for the below wines as they are already sold out.
2011 High Noon Rose
A move back to the Grenache based wine after the Shiraz dominant wine from 2010 – after 2010 Grenache crops being so low. This move has produced what I think is the best Noon Rose for many years. The Grenache shows through with he redness of ripe cherry and strawberries. On the palate this fruit character is complemented by spices and there is one thing missing. In a number of the Noon Rose wines over the years the alcohol level has been quite high, particularly for a Rose, but in this case the alcohol is not obtrusive. I will be enjoying this wine with an antipasto plate.
2011 Twelve Bells
As with the Rose the previous vintage of the Twelve Bells was Shiraz dominant also in line with the Rose this vintage offering is all the better for the higher proportion of Grenache. The aromas were somewhat closed however I got a sense of redness there. The flavours show a mid weight offering with the expected red fruit spiciness and relatively minimal oak influence. Bring on this summer BBQ’s.
This is an example of why I love McLaren Vale Grenache or in this case a Grenache dominate blend. A wine with spiced redness where oak character takes second stage but at the same time a wine with strength. Some people believe Grenache based wines do not cellar well – this wine disagrees with that thought. The wine is a bit tight now but I suspect a grand opening when about 6 or 7 years old.
A one of wine called Minute to Midnight. The 2011 Shiraz crop normally used by Noon’s was not available due to disease. A chance meeting of friends between Drew and Paul Petagna when Paul had some Shiraz that needed to be picked straight away. Hands were shook and the grapes were picked for this one of wine. This is a massive wine that is very characteristic of the vineyard (I know Paul’s wines well). Lots of deep plums, big tannins and chocolate finish. A wine that needs time (I have tasted wines from the same vineyard that were 6 years old that were drinking magnificently) and drinking a bottle at about 8 years old sounds like an aim. Not sure I can wait that long.
2008 Reserve Shiraz
Smells a bit porty due to the ripe Shiraz fruit from a very hot vintage. Tannins well balanced with the fruit. If one wanted to be critical the wine shows over ripe characters however I enjoy drinking it.
2005 Reserve Shiraz
A wine all about the darkness – dark rich character but fresh Satsuma plum flavours. Drinking well now and still time to go.
2002 Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon
A wine that sparked my interest if for no other reason than I have never before described a wine as having the aroma of dried dates and blackcurrent. This wine was not tired at all – still plenty of time left in it. Much of the tannin seems to have dropped out as a crust in the bottle as the wine was very smooth and long with an almost powdery finish.
2005 Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon
Aromas of blackberry and chocolate make for an interesting beginning that has intense cassis flavours that just seem to last forever. Perfect to drink now with seared pork fillet.
2007 Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon
Different again with interestingly floral (violets) aromas with the expected cassis. The length on this wine is not as impressive as the 2005 Cabernet.
I was excited to see this wine. As a Grenache based wine, I wanted to see how the wine had aged as I have suggested before there is a view that Grenache based wines do not age well. To start with I was concerned as I smelt a port like character but I should not have been so concerned as this “blew off” quickly to show a brambly depth with a red fruit wrapping. The flavours were lighter than expected but showed balance, depth and character. All Australian red wine drinkers should try wines like his to show what mature red wines are like.
2002 Vintage Port
Soft and silky liquid Christmas cake in a glass. Just a sensational experience of a wine style that is not often produced.