For a number of years I have been unashamedly a fan of Genders Wines in McLaren Vale. The whole of the vineyard and winery work is undertaken by the one and only Dianna Genders. When one finds out about her heritage you just know there is McLaren Vale wine flowing through her veins. On her mothers side there is the Pridmore line – the first female winemaker in the Vale. Her father planted grapes and a few wonderful King Charles Oaks on the property next to the McLaren Vale sports grounds. One of the vine clones is just known as the “Genders Shiraz Clone”. Dianna’s father was somewhat of an innovator where he introduced the first tractor into the vineyards (instead of horses) and the first mechanical pruner to do most of the pruning work. From the outside the winery looks like it was deserted and run down. A number of people indicate they did not even know there is a winery there.
Dianna’s wine making philosophy looks toward keeping small volumes of grapes separate in the winery to allow maximum opportunity for blending options. As Dianna does all the vineyard work she understands every vine on the property. There is 3 varieties planted – Chardonnay, Shiraz and Cabernet Sauvignon. The grapes are not crushed but de-stemmed. The winery also has the first 2 prototypes of the Potter Fermenters, so there is a sense of history here as well.
If you cannot find these wines but are interested then I suggest you check out the Taste McLaren Vale web site (www.tastemclarenvale.com.au) as we usually deal with these wines.
2008 Genders Chardonnay ($A20)
At 12% alcohol, the use of french oak and wild yeast ferments, this is not your normal McLaren Vale Chardonnay. In fact it is more like a White Burgundy! The aromas are strongly based on quince and lemon rind when you first fill the cold liquid. As the wine warms the presence of green apples and creamy melons comes through. The flavors are not the usual fruit based you expect from Aussie Chardy. There is a creamy texture to the wine that compliments the crisp apples and lemon rind. The whole experience leaves almost a nutty after taste that lingers and lingers. If more Chardonnay was made like this then there would be less of a Chardonnay wine glut.
2005 Shiraz ($A40)
This wine is made from the Genders Clone Shiraz that exists on just 13 rows. I have seen this wine a few times and I continue to bask in it’s difference. The aromas are almost black and blue. The black from dark berries and the blueness from flowers maybe Violets. Combined with hints of smokiness and dustiness from the oak. The flavours mirror the aromas with the black and blue tinges. The acid levels are spot on so the palate is cleansed with each mouthful. The lasting impression I take from this wine is the tannins. There is a strength but elegance to these tannins that just make me wonder how well this wine will be in another 5+ years.
2006 Cabernet Sauvignon ($50)
We were fortunate to taste this wine before it is released or even labelled. The blackcurrent is evident with all the florals and blueness that seems to come from the vineyard. As the wine develops in the glass, and believe me the hour the wine needs to open up is worth every minute, menthol’s and eucalyptus tones develop. The flavours follow the same path. The blackcurrent fruits with blue edges and the interestingly strong but elegant tannins that comes from the smart use of oak – both new and old wood has seen this wine. When this wine is released later this year I suggest you find where to get some.