Samuels Gorge is one of my favorite places to visit in McLaren Vale. The wines have a sense of difference, the people are wonderful and the facility has lots and lots of old world charm. The atmosphere in this place is great. The locals wine industry people go there for a drink in the afternoon (it helps being one of the last cellar doors open) so you know it has a certain charm. The 100 year old building contains a number of old world contraptions including an olive press. The driveway to the property has some very old olive trees.
The gardens and covered area overlooks the Onkaparinga National Park, so even the views are just worth being there.
The winemaker, Justin, is also one of a kind. Having worked in many wineries he not only settled in McLaren Vale he has the ability to do his own thing. Cannot get much better than that.
The grapes for these excellent wines come from selected low yielding vineyards from Blewitt Springs through to Aldinga Beach. Only wines with the correct character and quality make the Samuels Gorge labeled wines. At times they release cleanskins that have to date been great value and exceptional quality for a cleanskin.
Each Easter there is a new release day where the wines are formally released to the public. This event is one to put on your wine calendar. They usually have food served and generous wine samples poured. I try to be there every Easter.
Currently, the white wines are sold out. Justin’s philosophy about wine tells him that white wine is not really suited to McLaren Vale, so he has decided to look further afield. Most people would look towards Adelaide Hills – bit not Justin. He likes the whites from Tasmania so why not. The last few years he had made a Riesling and a Gewurtztraminer (not a sweet one). They also produce a Sparkling Shiraz in very limited quantities ($A50/bottle) that has to date been sensational. I look forward to their next release in the next month.
Now for the wines………..
2009 Cadensia Grenache ($A35)
From Blewitt Springs vineyards this wine continues to impress (as had the previous vintages). When done well, McLaren Vale Grenache is just such a wonderful wine and it is my favorite variety. The grape has a bad wrap and wines such as this are a hard sell. It is interesting that when people try this at the cellar door they usual like it and make a purchase. This is a beauty – aromas of juicy red fruits with a hint of blackness. There is subtle spices and some floral notes. The flavors back up the smells – with red cherries and plums in an envelope of cinnamon, nutmeg and cardamon.
2010 Tempranillo ($A35)
From the homestead block and the juicyness continues. Lots and lots of cherries with a little barnyard stink. There is a minerallity with a chalkiness and really chewy tannins. Quite an impressive wine from a variety that seems to me moving from alternative to more main stream. Well worth checking out.
2010 Shiraz ($A35)
This wine is so popular they have had to release the 2010 vintage well ahead of schedule (a couple of weeks ago). It has just been bottled and released now instead of waiting for the normal Easter weekend release. Even though the wine needs time to settle down and would be suffering from bottling shock, you can see the pedigree. There is the Shiraz plum here with dusty mouth drying tannins and a concentration that provides an interesting mouthfeel. This will be great by Easter.
Barrel sample that will released around Easter this year. There is a sense of floral, meaty earthiness that is Mourvedre. Lets just say that I look forward to the Easter release.