Category Archives: Wine

McLaren Vale Wine – Tintara (part 2)

Check out my general review of the Tintara Cellar Door here.  For the red wines see below.

Tintara Cellar Door

2010 Hardy’s Oomoo Shiraz ($A18)

Form a good vintage this wine comes from good stock.  With the black fruits of blackberry and black current with the classical oak influence that manufests itself as cinamun that brings the Christmas cake thoughts straight to my palate.  Good clean wine that sits well at this price point.

2009 Tintara McLaren Vale Shiraz ($A27)

Plum or Christmas cake combined with dusty oak aromas lead one to a typical McLaren Vale Shiraz – lots of plums plus the wonderfully soft butgenerous mid palate.  This wpen will get better over the next few years but I am not sure one will wait.

2008 Reynella Basket Press Shiraz 2008 ($A54)

This wine has an excellent reputation and I was so glad that it was available for tasting. The last few times I have wondered into the cellar door as well as the one in Reynella it has not been available.  The wine was opened at the time of tasting and passed through a Vinturi aerator.  Even after doing this the aromas were closed and all I could get was some darkness.  The flavors were dark as well with intense black fruits with a concentrated almost viscous mouthfeel to the wine.  The oak was present but was not dominant as the blackness was all encompassing.  This is definately a wine that needs a number of years to approach it’s best.  I drank a similar wine recently that was 12 years old and it was just coming into it’s own.  I think this wine is of a similar nature.

Inside Tintara Cellar Door

2009 Hardys Oomoo Cabernet Sauvignon ($A18)

The cooler nature of Coonawarra fruit comes through here straight away.  The essence of blackcurrent aromas is very different to those from McLaren Vale.  The blackcurrent theme continues on the palate with hints of red fruits and the mintiness that Cabernet can sometimes produce.  Yet again the Oomoo range over delivers – I just wonder if people are put off by the label?

2008 Tintara McLaren Vale Cabernet Sauvignon ($A27)

The difference between Cabernet from Coonawarra and McLaren Vale is shown hen you try this wine after the one above.  The Cabernet aromas of black current come through but the chocolate one tends to associate with McLaren Vale is here.  There is bright cabernet fruit flavors but there is no Cabernet hole here.  Cabernet is know for lacking in flavor on the mid palate but McLaren Vale is know for a generous mid palate – there is definitely a mid palate here.  Maybe, just maybe, the “terroir” of McLaren Vale is dominating!

2007 Reynella Basket Pressed Cabernet Sauvignon ($A54)

Unlike the Tintara labeled wine this wine shows significant finesse with black current combined with sage and mint aromas.  The herbs here added complexity and interest straight away.  The flavors backed up a mouthful of typical Cabernet flavors with maybe a hint of American oak sweetness.  For the Cabernet lovers out there this wine shows that McLaren Vale and seriously good Cabernet can be used in the same sentence.

Buying Excellent McLaren Vale Wine – Backyard Shed Cru Red Pack #6


Backyard Shed Cru Red Pack #6

These wines can be purchased through the Taste McLaren Vale website.  Alternatively, these tasting packs are part of the Membership deal at a significant discount.

2009 Grancari Old Vine Organic Grenache

What interesting aromas – I got a little fairy floss and pork fat to start with and then over time the Grenache redness came through in spades.  The wine also needed time to get the best from the flavors – please give the wine this time or use an aerator to move it along.  In this case time provided one with a fruit profile that has red and black fruit and has hints of spices and I am so glad that the wood takes a back room view to allow this fruit to do it’s thing.  At 16% alcohol the wine is not shy but there is lots of fruit here so the relatively high alcohol does not cause bitterness.  I had this with a variety of Thai dishes and I thoroughly enjoyed both.

2010 Waywood Wines Quattro Vini

A blend of 35% Nebbiolo, 25% Sangiovese (both from Blewitt Springs), 30% Cabernet (from Willunga) and 10% Sellicks Hill Shiraz.  What an interesting blend this new release is.  The aromas are firstly dominated by the plum of Shiraz and blue fruits, with a little vanilla sweetness and hints of blood orange.  The the wine opens up more and more with spice – I certainly got hints of fennel and anise.  As I drank the wine there was blue and black fruits with lots of spice – these things coming mainly from the Shiraz, Cabernet and the oak.  The hints of orange from the Nebbiolo have a little appearance on the mid palate.  What you finished with was a wonderful savory acid and tannin structure that is probably from the Italian varieties of Nebbiolo and Sangiovese.  This wine is highly enjoyable, however I can see this wine becoming something else entirely in a couple of years time when the Nebbiolo and Sangiovese may come to the fore and take the wine to the next level.

2008 Danshi Rise Shiraz

This wine is just McLaren Vale Shiraz in a bottle – sounds like a cliche but it just works.  This wine has all the plums, chocolate and licorice one should get from good McLaren Vale Shiraz.  On top of this was an excellent acid and tannin structure that screams more time is required in the bottle to see it’s best.  So lets keep with the cliches and have this with a steak.  Strength in wine and strength in the food.

2006 Braydun Hill Single Vineyard Premium Shiraz

Wow – so different again and again.  This wine has all the briary and hedge row fruits you can want on both the aromas and flavors.  This is a very fruit driven wine – from the up front fruit sweetness, highlighted by the American oak treatment, to the fruit layers on the back of the palate.  I have word this is their best seller of the premium wines, and I can see why.  The fruitiness of the wine leads me to wanting to drink it with pan seared kangaroo loin fillet with red current jelly.

2009 McMurtrie McLaren Vale Cabernet Sauvignon

A McLaren Vale Cabernet that smells and tastes like Cabernet!  McLaren Vale does not always produce the classical Cabernet wines – even though these wine are wonderful, they are more like a really good dry red wine.  Here this changes.  The wine smells and tastes of the blackcurrent with hints of mint and eucalyptus.  There is enough fruit character here to cope with the generous but not over powering oak.  The tannins are drying to the teeth.  This wine has improved markedly over the last few months and I would be looking for it to continue this improvement over the next few years.  When ready try it with Saltimbocca.

2010 Graham Stevens Wines McLaren Vale Liqueur Muscat

It smells and tastes exactly like what it is – muscat grapes.  The spirit added is very clean.  There is a sense of lusciousness here but very different than the classical Victorian Liqueur Muscats.  Interestingly, Graham (winemaker) believes the wine could be served chilled in the warmer months.  The wine does have an interesting mouthfeel that is not pat of the grape or the spirit.  This has either come from some good skins contact after the grapes were crushed or some clever oak treatment while the wine has been sitting at the winery.  For me, I am looking forward to trying a bottle or two with a good brie cheese round with some crusty bread.

Has the romance of the small winery gone?

I have, at various times, looked at the possibility of owning a small plot of vines with the view of making and then selling our own wine.  We even looked at starting a cellar door in McLaren Vale working with small producers to provide a physical outlet for their wines.  With today’s environment are these concepts just silly?

Make no bones about it the wine industry is hurting and will be for a long time.  Sure many people are trying to convince us that the industry is on the way up but I do not believe that for a second. To explain my view I would like to share a story of a small winery and their struggle to stay operational.

After tending to a small vineyard in return for some grapes to make their own wine for their own consumption the Linke’s decided to take the plunge and start their own commercial venture called Kara Yerta Wines from Eden Valley (South Australia).  This part time venture was to make just a few hundred cases of wine from the vineyard they were tending with Riesling, Semillon and Shiraz grapes.  They though how good would it be to make this wine then share this wine with others so to get a profit from something they we’re already doing for fun.  How hard could that be?
Well a winemaker mentor and winemaking facilities were sourced and away they went. The wines received good reviews but the brand was not well known.  A Kara Yerta blog and other social media practices were put in place.  This must surely mean the wine would move quicker – right?  As I have found with my online venture that these elements do not ensure anybody will be suddenly sell lots of wine.  But still, how hard can it really be selling a few hundred cases of wine per year?

The next idea to market and thus sell their wine was the cellar door concept.  Lots of wineries do it so why couldn’t they do it as well?  It soon became apparent that a cellar door was cost prohibitive for such a small venture.  Why not join forces with other wineries in the same situation?  Until the licensing laws were changed just over 2 years ago this concept was difficult.  However with the changes the concept of Collective Barossa was born.  3 small Barossa wineries getting together to sell their wines under the 1 collective banner.  Thus Marie Linke (from Karra Yerta) found herself running this new cellar door as a separate business.

Now we fast forward to about 6 weeks ago and after continuous badgering from their accountant they realized that this new cellar door venture was not making money.  A decision to close the Collective Barossa was made.

I have followed Collective Barossa closely over the time they have been open and I have seen a hard working person try many things to make the venture work.  One could not have put more hours into making their business a success.  However, we all know that hard work does not always mean success.

Then consider Karra Yerta.  After tending the vines (and the associated costs) no grapes were picked in 2011 due to the onset of disease after a wet summer that was also relatively cold.  Even with missing the 2011 vintage the wine stocks continued to be high which led to a decision to sell the grapes from this vintage (2012) and not make any wine.

Without knowing the details of what is next it would not be difficult to join the dots and realize that Karra Yerta Wines may not be with us any longer.

So was does this mean to the average wine punter?  Well firstly good people are hurting in this environment and unfortunately many have been doing this for so long that they do not know what else to do.  Secondly, the high quality small artesian producer is being forced out to the point that at this rate the potential monopoly by a few wine companies will only become stronger.  This outcome will see wines produced by accountants and quality wines being sold at high prices overseas.

What can we do, I hear you ask?  Well next time you are looking for a wine check out the independent wine stores and buy a few bottles from these small producers.  If we all did this for even a portion of our our wine purchases we could help these artesian producers to survive.  I am wanting to help these small producers – are you?

McLaren Vale Wine – Tintara (part 1)

It has been a couple of years and a couple of ownership changes so I thought it was time to check out this iconic McLaren Vale winery.

In the last couple of years this once major player in the McLaren Vale wine scene has been stripped of it’s unique position with the 2010 vintage this 9,000 t winery only processed 500 t and leaving many grape growers high and dry.  I am very glad to hear that under new management this years vintage they are looking to process around 2,000 t.  My love of McLaren Vale Grenache also made me interested to see that there was no Grenache on their tasting list and even more horrified that their 2007 Reserve Grenache was being sold as a Cleanskin for a considerable markdown on the previous $70 price tag.  So it looks like a bit of a claw back still for this wonderfully placed facility.

Tintara Road Sign

I was also ready to see a new range called HRB or Herritage Reserve Bin.  This range is interesting as the winemaker is given the opportunity to work with premium fruit from different Australian wine regions and use them in blends to produce the best wines possible.  This makes me interested in these multi regional blends and I am sure this helps give interesting work for the winemakers.

Hardys HRB D644 2010 Riesling ($A33)

Made from both Clare and Tasmanian fruit and showed some class straight away.  There were aromas of minerality and lemon rind with flavors of classical Riesling – lemons and steely acid (that minerality again).  The finish was softer than I thought it would have with the acids involved – then it hit me.  The acids are somewhat masked with a small amount of residual sugar.  A number of people have remarked to me recently that the strong acid finish put them off Riesling.  A number of people seem to expect that Riesling is also sweet.  In this case the wine has elements of both that would make the wine appealing to many.  I was one of that many!

Hardys Oomoo 2011 Sauvignon Blanc ($A18)

This Adelaide Hills wine that has only been released for about a month was the surprise white wine for me.  If I was asked to make a guess where this wine was from I would have thought it was from Margaret River in Western Australia.  This wine has a lot of the  characteristics I remember from my days checking out Semillon Sauvignon Blancs from this southern WA region.  Green apple aromas with a little tropical juice leads to flavors of grassy (hence the Semillon reference) and some passionfruit.  At this price the Sauvignon Blanc drinkers around should really check this one out.

Hardys Oomoo 2008 Chardonnay ($A18)

Another Adelaide Hills offering that has had some oak treatment – but not too much.  Peachy aromas with a smattering of nutty oak mirror the flavors.  The oak was not overwhelming and added the complexity Chardonnay really needs.  Should be available at many outlets – at this price what not.

Hardys HRB D648 2009 Chardonnay ($A33)

A Pemberton and Adelaide Hills blend shows significant elegance with peach and ginger dominating both the palate and nose.  Quite a classy wine that has Burgundian qualities where fruit is not the driving quality but a sense of terroir.  The use of oak is again very clever and I would recommend this wine very highly to those that like Chardonnay but also to those that say they do not like Chardonnay and need a Chardy lesson.

Reynella 16 year old Rare Old Tawny

A classy wine that comes from the blending stocks of Chateau Reynella.  A large number of classy fortified wines have come from this stable consistently for decades.  This wine does not disappoint with a mouthful of spiced raisins with a subtle nuttiness that just fills the mouth with each sip.  There must be plenty of acid with the wine as even though there is significant sugar with each bit the mouth is cleansed and ready for the next installment.  I have seen this available for about $20 and thinks it is a steal at this price.

Next week I will review the Tintara red wines.

McLaren Vale Wine – Pertaringa Undressed

Why Pertaringa Undressed I hear you ask – well last weekend was the first time I am aware of that Pertaringa had all the cleanskins that they have available for tasting at  their cellar door

Pertaringa Cellar Door

The cleanskins were a range from 3 areas – McLaren Vale (of course), Langhorne Creek and Adelaide Hills.  Pertaringa is now 100% owned by Geoff Hardy, who also owns the K1 complex in the Adelaide Hills plus a significant vineyard in Langhorne Creek.  This vineyard includes planting of many alternate or maybe better in calling them emerging varieties.  It seems that Geoff Hardy is putting his passion into continuous improvement into practice.

Sure these wines will not win medals but there was a number of happy faces at the tasting thinking out the value for money.

The full list of wines and carton prices were:-

2010 McLaren Vale Riesling ($A85)

The lime and citrus peel that the variety usually provides – softer in acid than my palate demands.

2010 Limestone Coast Verdelho ($A85)

Peachy and watermelon notes.  A bargin quoffer.

2011 Adelaide Hills Sauvignon Blanc ($A95)

Floral, tropical notes with some fresh grass.  A big yes for the Sauvy drinkers out there.

2011 Langhorne Creek Rousanne ($A120)

My pick of the whites – aromas that we’re flowers wrapped in bacon and the flavors of stone fruit with a hint of sherbet.

2011 Adelaide Hills Rose ($A95)

Made from Merlot and smelt of the non-chocolate part of a cherry ripe.  It was a bit sweet but the acid levels madesure the sugar was washed away with each mouthful.

2007 Langhorne Creek Ruby Cabernet ($A80)

Smokey plums with soft but drying tannins.  A softer everyday drinking style.

2005 Pertaringa Reserve Shiraz ($A160)

Past it’s best.

2006 Premium Cabernet Tempranillo ($A150)

Earthyness and forest floor of the Tempranillo mixed with the berries of the Cabernet.  A lively blend that was the surprise of the red wines.

2008 Shiraz Cabernet ($A85)

Good everyday drinking with violets and berries (including blackcurrents).  Again the acid levels are hear that gives the wine some body.

2010 Limestone Coast Shiraz ($A95)

Juicy plums with not a lot of tannins.

2009 Shiraz Viognier ($A110)

There was a little lift from the Viognier but it was not overdone.  For those that like a little white in their reds then give this a try.

2009 Premium McLaren Vale Shiraz ($A110)

A bit of a step up from the other Shiraz wines.  A Shiraz one could drink anytime.

2007 Petit Verdot ($A95)

Plums with a violet chaser.  Good tannins and balance.

2009 Premium McLaren Vale Petit Verdot ($A110)

Worth the extra money!  We should show this wine to more people so they understand wines from this variety.  Plums, blackcurrents with a hint of florals.  Softer than I expected and I believe it would surprise a few people.


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