Category Archives: Wine

McLaren Vale Wine – Angoves

Angove Wines McLaren Vale Cellar Door

I have been watching this new cellar door being built over the last few months and so I was quite excited about visiting the newest cellar door in McLaren Vale.  I was also excited by seeing how this new facility was going to be set up.  I grew up near Tea Tree Gully (TTG) where a considerable part of the Angoves story has unfolded.  Until recently, a small cellar door was situated in TTG and while I have been working all around the wonderful country I would always visit this facility when I visited home.  This old cellar door really was bargain central where bin ends overseas stock and wrongly bottled wines would be available for sale.  This new cellar door could not be further away from the old TTG facility.  Here there are 2 whole ranges that are McLaren Vale based.  Firstly, the Warboys Vineyard range that is made from the single vineyard around the new cellar door, which has the family crest in silver on the label.  Secondly, a McLaren Vale range that is sourced from various growers in McLaren Vale and has a coloured family crest on the label.  These 2 ranges are only available at the McLaren Vale cellar door.  To compliment these 2 ranges there are some other options at both ends of the spectrum.  There are quite a few wines available for tasting so I will review the wines over 2 blog entries.

Angoves Cellar Door

Added attractions at the cellar door are the regional platters (cheese, olives and bread) or a coffee and cake or biscuits.  It was very hot the day of my visit but there is a outside courtyard area with tables and chairs – a great spot to look over the vineyard.  The “Boardroom” is available for small corporate functions and has a table made from hardwood recycled from large wooded vats previously used in the winery (the tasting bar shown above is made from the same wood).  There is also Pizza Oven hidden down one side of the cellar door that I am sure will be able to tell many stories in a couple of years time.

Cellar Door Courtyard

Anyway, enough of this lets talk about the wine………….

2011 Vineyard Select Adelaide Hills Sauvignon Blanc ($A18)

From a Woodside vineyard in the Adelaide Hills from the Wicks stable.  The wine was surprisingly good as most areas of the Adelaide Hills were devastated by disease in 2011.  And surprised I was – the wine showed lots of passionfruit with a little grass on the nose, the palate showed tropical fruits and grass again with a length brought on by the good acid structure.  Still not for me but a good example of what the Adelaide Hills can provide that is not a NZ clone.

2011 Nine Vines Pinot Grigio ($A15)

As expected the Nine Popes range is from the vast Angove Riverland vineyards.  I was expecting pear characters but instead got citrus acid being dominate with a really interesting (and refreshing) grapefruit flavor profile.  A good clean and crisp drink that should be consumed on a Sunday afternoon with friends and Tapas.

2010 Organic Chardonnay ($A20)

One third from the Battle of Bosworth vineyard in McLaren Vale and 2 thirds from the family Renmark vineyard that has been converted to organic practices.  Some of the wine has seen 2 or 3 year old oak barrels for about 8 months.  Great to see the light use of oak as opposed to no oak at all.  A chardonnay with no oak does not seem right in my book.  This wine shows the complexity of a light oak touch with peach, nectarines with a creamy nature right before the wonderful tangy acid finish.  I am thinking a creamy chicken dish to have with this wine.

2010 McLaren Vale Chardonnay ($A20)

Only just released for the opening of the new cellar door and made from grapes from a vineyard just outside the township of McLaren Vale.  The grapes were pressed directly into 1 or 2 year old french oak barrels and the fermentation occurred with the indigenous yeasts and stirred weekly.  The result is a refined aroma of minerality and stone fruits (peach and nectarine) wrapped up in an acidity that wraps around your tongue as well.  I found this the most interesting white wine from this tasting.  The wine could be matched with many food types so maybe a Chinese banquet may go down well here.

2011 Nine Vines Moscato ($A15)

The interesting thing about Moscato is is that what you smell is what it is – grapes.  Wines made from other grapes can smell of so many other things but Moscato is very uncomplicated as it smells and tastes like the grapes it is made from.  At only 8% alcohol and not too much sugar left one can see the uncomplicated freshness is the reasoning behind the large increase in sales of this wine style.

2011 Nine Vines Grenache Shiraz Rose ($A15)

The Nine Vines Rose has been in my glass a number of times over the last 6 or 7 years,  Over this time there has been a consistent theme of quality here.  There is always the red berries and cream with clean acid.  What is a little different now is the wine seems to have a touch less sugar and for me, the resultant wine is better for it.  Sunday lunch with cheese, preserved meats, home made chutneys and fresh crusty bread – nothing more, nothing less.

2010 Organic Shiraz Cabernet ($A16)

As for the chardonnay the grapes for this wine is about 1 third from McLaren Vale’s Battle of Bosworth and 2 thirds from the Riverland.  There is a real berry and licorice theme with this wine.  The berries of black current and blackberry drive the up front flavors and the finish is driven by the licorice.

2010 Vineyard Select McLaren Vale Shiraz ($A18)

A blend from regional vineyards from the McLaren Vale region that shows all the usual elements one sees in McLaren Vale Shiraz – dark plums, generous mid palate, the spices of pepper and cardamon combined with a generous dusting of oak.  The tannins dominate the finish and one would recommend a bit longer in the bottle to let this soften a tad.

Next week I review the rest of the Angoves McLaren Vale cellar door wine list.

Merry Christmas and a Big Thank You

Just me drinking a GSM and wishing my Friends out there a great and above all else a safe Xmas.

Social Media and Wine – Unearthing Dead Reds Wine Group

I have just had the pleasure of finishing the book entitled “Unearthing – a social media journey through the history of the Dead Reds wine group”.  The pleasure was in the reading not in the finishing.  Until quite recently, I have been watching the Dead Reds group and their activities through social media from a distance.  As the Lonely Grape blog and now the Taste McLaren Vale web sites have been my musings – with using social media as a way of getting known into that big world out there, I thought this was going to be an interesting read.

Interesting it was as the book outlines the use of social media standards of Twitter and Facebook to get conversations going about the group and thus interest being raised in their functions.  What i was not expecting was outlining the use of Skype to have a social event compared in Adelaide by somebody in Darwin.  Spreading the word about their cause was also conducted by a number of bloggers – the same as I am doing here.

The charm of the book really lies in the mastery that is Charlie – Helen Robinson who has the ability to turn all these social media efforts into a number of gatherings where like minded people get together.  She shows that just having a Facebook account and a Twitter account with blogs etc, does not mean that people will break down your door to be involved with or purchase your product.  No, it is more about the conversations and how you engage people.  This simple yet key element makes all the difference – the difference between just another Facebook page, as Charlie says “to have the ability to fill a room”.

I take my hat off to Charlie, she has a spark that has taken a social media experiment to a working group of people that not only gets together on a semi regular basis but also raises money for charity.

The book is for sale for $35 and message me if you are interested in a copy and I will direct you to Charlie.


McLaren Vale Wine – Brick Kiln

Brick Kiln was established in 2001 when Alison and Malcolm left Fox Creek Wines and joined a partnership with fellow Adelaide people and some Canadians to form the Nine Gums Vineyard Partnership.  The vision of the partnership is to make a wine to the same level of the Fox Creek Reserve at an affordable price.  The eight hectare vineyard in Willunga has Shiraz planted progressively since 1996 (by previous owners).

Their cellar door has only recently been opened in the Red Poles Restaurant and Art Gallery on McMurtrie Road, McLaren Vale.  The wines are available for tasting from 12 noon to 4 pm Wednesday to Sunday each week.

On the 7th January 2012 Brick Kiln are having a special tasting between 5 and 7 pm – with special guests, wines and maybe some music as well.  I may even see you there!

2011 Pinot Grigio ($A16)

Made from grapes from the Sabella Vineyard near the Red Poles cellar door facility and was made by Linda Domas who does her thing at both the Dennis Wines and Parri Estate facilities.  I have tasted the Sabella made Pinot Grigio as well as having tried Linda’s offerings over the last couple of years.  So I was looking forward to this wine.  What I got was a suitable offering that had aromas of grapefruit and lime zest that went to flavours of pear with citrus inspired acid.  The mid palate was particularly good.  I can see many people enjoying this crisp seafood wine or maybe just on it’s own, but I am still struggling to see what has people excited by this variety.

2011 Shiraz Rose ($A16)

Another Linda Domas offering and made by fruit from the 9 Gums Vineyard.  It is all that one expects from a Shiraz rose.  The typical red fruit and almost creamy aromas followed by a clean refreshing palate of red fruits, with some extra body from the Shiraz fruit.  Not sweet but not fully dry either so it should appeal to many people, particularly during the hot days of summer.

2009 Sparkling Shiraz ($A18)

One of my favorite wine styles when done well so I was looking forward to tasting this offering from the 9 Gums Vineyard.  The beginnings were looking good, with aromas of blackberry, dark and ripe plums with oak derived elements.  The flavours were unfortunately a little one dimensional as it was only about the plums.  The tannins were almost non-existent which lead to the wine being quite short – in other words the flavours just stopped very quickly when you drink the wine.  I am probably spoilt by such wines as the 2006 Thope Sparkling Shiraz, but give me a bottle of this any day.

2008 Shiraz ($A20)

The wine was made by Phil Christiansen who is making quite a name for himself making small volume wines for many labels in McLaren Vale.  Matured in 65% American oak with the remainder in French oak.  The aromas started a little stinky even barn yardy with the coconut one expects from the American oak and the plum you expect from McLaren Vale Shiraz.  The tannins are smooth to make what is a good effort from what was a difficult year.

2008 The Grove Shiraz ($A35)

All the best fruit of the 9 Gums Vineyard was saved for the best French oak.  I thought the aromas were somewhat short but the flavour profile was a different thing all together.  The flavours were an integration of dark plum fruits, good acid levels and smooth soft tannins that provide you with a structured trinity of flavour.  I suspect this wine will improve over the next couple of years.

McLaren Vale Wine – Inkwell Wines

I was first introduced to Inkwell with the Vale Cru wine tasting at the Victory Hotel a couple of years ago and I was hooked straight away. There is a sense of interest that there is a grape grower and winemaker who was born in America, California to be exact and now has a property on California Road. The vineyard also has some Zinfandel which is the workhorse grape of California. Anyway that is enough about places other than the wonder that is McLaren Vale.
The vineyard in question sits between McLaren Vale and Willunga and has a number of soil types with ironstone clays imparting a minerallity to the final product.  The vineyard has had Shiraz, Zinfandel and Viognier. I found out today that some of the vines have been grafted with Grenache, Mourvedre and Cabernet. I look forward to how these new additions will come along over the next few years.
This blog is written after a wine tasting showing all the wines produced by Inkwell at the home of the winemaker (Dudley) on 27th November 2011.  This was a wonderful event that was enjoyed by about 10 hard core Inkwell Wines fans.

Inkwell Tasting

Anyway, I should discuss the wines…..

2009 Viognier
This wine is starting to show it’s age with toasty aromas starting to overtake the fruit character. There is some apricot kernel and slight honeysuckle also on the nose. The fruit of apricots is fading but there is a good acid structure here.

2010 Viognier
this is just sensational and showing that the Viognier from the vineyard can age gracefully. There are aroma elements of honey, apricot that lifts right out of the glass. The flavors show the hint of apricot and other stone fruits that is expected but there is a mouthfeel one does not expect from a white wine. This was my favorite white wine from the Inkwell stable.

2011 Viognier
A fraction of the wine was barrel fermented and some Sauvignon added. This variety shows an oiliness and that was apparent here – more than the others. I get the apricot kernel here but there is floral notes as well. The flavors shoes the same elements as the aromas with a textural element that was not seen before. In saying that though there was something I just did not enjoy about this wine.

2004 Shiraz
the word for this wine is course- the tannin and fruit structure are both course. There is pepper, vanilla (from the American Oak) and black fruits. This wine is probably at it’s best, however given a choice I would give this one a pass.

2005 Wild Thing Shiraz
Hold the phone – this wine was different from second one. The difference was between 10 and 15% of Grenache (sourced from an adjacent vineyard). Boy what a different this Grenache makes! The aromas were dominated by by the redness of Grenache but the structure of Shiraz. There is spice and a sense of nuts from the oak treatment. I admit I was hooked on this wine from the first smell. I went back to the wine after tasting all the rest to see if the intrigue was still there – and it was.

Inkwell Reds

2005 Shiraz
The theme for this vintage was vanillin oak with dark satsuma plums wrapped around the roadway gravel. The subtlety here is that the tannins are much finer than with the previous reds. The vines showing some their journey as they get a little older.

2006 Rebel Rebel Shiraz
Here we move directly into the darkness of the plum with the flavors of soft licorice. The American oak influences are less obvious here and the soft tannins continue here. This is classy and was considered by many at the tasting as the wine of the lineup.

2007 Shiraz
Here was the first wine that I tasted from the Inkwell stable and it is my favorite straight Shiraz. The glass is just full of lifted satsuma plums, soft licorice and fruit sweetness with those fine tannins here in abundance. It still has a life ahead of it but really good drinking now. Structure, structure and more structure with that deep minerallity on show.

More Inkwell Reds

2008 Shiraz
Picked on the night that the oppressive heat wave of the vintage started and their timing was impeccable. Pepper abounds in the sweet fruitiness of the dark almost black plum and blackberry. Chocolate is lingering around the glass and the mouth. The tannins are here to the point that m teeth were furry and my palate dried off. Still needs some time in the bottle to see it’s best.

2010 Shiraz
Yet to be released as the wine has not been considered to be right for the market as yet. The aromas and flavors were a little clumsy but one can see quality fruit here – some fruit sweetness combined with good French and American oak influences. I agree not ready now but I am looking forward to when it is.

2010 Deeper Well Shiraz
Now this is interesting. Dudley has always had problems with releasing wine earlier that he would like for optimum wine quality but not early enough for cash flow. So the 2010 vintage provided the opportunity to take the best 2 barrels wine and bottle them separate with the intention of cellaring for release 5 years after the vintage. This wine is certainly different from the above wine. Here was floral notes (particularly violets) and very distinct dark plum on the nose. I got raspberries with the expected plums and chewy but fine tannin structure. These tannins have a quite drying effect on the finish. I expect this will be a beauty in 2015.

2010 Inkling
The Inkling is an experiment to produce a lighter red style so this is a blend of Shiraz (with a couple of buckets of Viognier added) and about 15% Zinfandel added. The introduction of the Zinfandel has made such a difference with fresh red berries mainly cherry and cherry ripe (with the influence of American oak providing the coconut influence). I could also see this wine being slightly chilled. I watch this wine with interest.

2009 Primitivo
I have not had many Zinfandel based wines so this was of interest. And interesting it was. In 2009 most of the grapes were fried with the heat and were of no interest to process. A small section of the vineyard was found with suitable tasting grapes even though the vines had shut down and the grapes were not maturing ant further. A last minute decision was made to pick these grapes as they “tasted OK”. The resultant wine can be best described as drinking strawberry and blackberry jam with a creamy finish – talk about different. I can see this wine appealing to many but also not appealing to others. Why not give it a try and let me know what you think.

2010 Primitivo
In my journey of Zinfandel wines this could not be more different. The wine is like drinking a red wine but tasting a jammy malt, chocolate milk drink (like Milo for the Aussie readers). This wine has seen only American oak and there is tannin structure here but I have never tasted such a profile. It was so interesting I was offered an open bottle to take home with me to try I did so with the same results so my tasking experience was consistent. For those that know me can attest

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