Tag Archives: Adelaide

McLaren Vale – Itallian Herritage and Wines

Yesterday (6th November 2011) was a McLaren Vale celebration of it’s Italian heritage.  The grand opening of the McLaren Vale Pizza della Valle.  The project has been evolving over the last few years and a couple of Million Dollars culminated in this exciting day celebrating the link between McLaren Vale and the Italian’s who settled here all that time ago.

The Piazza will serve as a centre piece for the street front of McLaren Vale – and lets face it the street front needs some work.  It will also be a meeting place, a resting place and even a central entertainment area.

Piazza Entrance

There is a story of the immigration depicted on four glass panels that are placed along one side of the Piazza.

Piazza della Valle Opening

The photos show the large crowd that was on hand for the official opening, the Italian foods plus some good wines including some Italian Prosecco.

Piazza Opening Continued

In line with the celebration I tasted a couple of red wines in the Fall From Grace store (across from the Piazza) and a recently released unusual offering from Oxenberry Wines (owned by the Scarpontoni family).  Check out my reviews below.

Waywood Wines

I have been watching the progress of this small wine label for the last couple of years and I have been consistently impressed.  Firstly the wines have always been first rate.  Secondly, Andrew Wood (winemaker and owner) has been looking at how to maximise his exposure.  This brought him to using initiatives such as QR codes (see the below photo), that will take you to the Waywood website – a great idea so you can use a QR code reader on your smart phone and hey presto there is the web site on your phone telling you about the wine and the winery.  He also provided the National Wine Centre a dozen of his wines were supplied, one each to 12 local wine bloggers.  These bloggers were given the chance to write about the wine and their review were rated by followers of the National Wine Centre to determine their favorite blogger.  This person has now been given free entry to a number of National Wine Centre functions and hopefully blog about their experiences.  I was hoping to be one of those 12 bloggers however I got my application in to late.

Waywood Bottle Shot

2010 Quattro Vini ($A28)

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.  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.  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 not, 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.  At this price I will be putting some of this away in the bottom of the wine fridge to be unearthed in a few years time.

2009 Cabernet Franc ($A28)

Unusual to find this variety as a varietal wine, as it gets blended into so many other wines where a small amount can make a big difference.  On it’s own the wine is a hard sell and that is unfortunate when you drink wines of this caliber.  As soon as the wine was poured I got this wonderful uplifted aroma out of the glass.  Lots of berries, licorice with floral and herbs – particularly dried Italian herbs like oregano and rosemary.  In the mouth I got fresh berry compote with just so many layers of structure from the good acid level, fruit plus wood tannins and the quality of the fruit just shines out.  As Andrew said himself – “If I cannot sell it at least I have 10 years of drinking 10 dozen excellent wines every year”.  Andrew, you could do a lot worse by by drinking this wine over those 10 years – I may just have to help you.

Oxenberry Farm

Grapple Cider  ($A7.90 for 500mL bottle)

The team from Oxenberry Farm have just released a part grape, part apple sparkling cider (70% grapes and 30% apples).  This is just in time for Summer and I think they are onto a winner.  Firstly, in a sea of alcohol products that have a sameness about them here is something different, plus the result is light and refreshing.  The Grapple Cider is about 8% alcohol and comes in 2 forms – a Red or White.  The white is made from Chardonnay grapes plus the apples of course and is slightly sweet and very, very refreshing and moreish!  The Red version is made from Gamay grapes (they use this grape variety to make their Rose style wines), is a little sweeter and I can see “refreshing” written all over it.  This wine had strawberries and cream in a bubbly that would be oh so good on a hot summers day.

Well done Oxenberry Farm and the team!

McLaren Vale Wine – Maximus Wines

Maximus Cellar Door

Visit Maximus Cellar Door and you are likely to be greeted by the ever smiling Rowland.  Here you can try quite vast line up from such a small producer.  Over the last year or so they have gone from opening once per month to opening every weekend – just to keep up with demand.  Interestingly, they have targeted high class restaurants – initially in Adelaide and now in Sydney.  There are a few retailers that also stock their wine.

The name Maximus comes from Rowland’s liking of the Gladiator film from a few years ago.  The grapes for the wines come from the vines near the cellar door on Foggo Road (half way between McLaren Vale and McLaren Flat) as well as a number of growers.  The wine have to date been made by an off site wine making contractor and now a small winery has been installed under the cellar door which I am sure will be a delight for the newly appointed winemaker.

Roland has commissioned a chocolatier to produce chocolates to consume with some of their red wines – some of the wine is inside the chocolate.  You can taste these delights at the cellar door.  They also have cheese tasting plates that can be consumed at your leisure in the cellar door on their balcony.  The views from the balcony are stunning, as you can see below.  A gas BBQ is also available for use on the balcony and they even supply chicken skewers to cook.  A little birdy tells me there will be some special sausages that has some of their wine in them that will also be available at the cellar door.  I will check this out when they are released.

Maximus Cellar Door View

Well that is enough from me, so here are some of the wines…….

2010 Grenache/Tempranillo Rose (A$20)

A 80% Grenache blend with 20% Tempranillo is all about aromas of cherries and rose petals with the rose character providing a real point of difference. This is not a real sweet style with strawberries and cherries cleansed with a clear acid finish. Refreshing with a hint of rose difference.

2010 GSM Cadensia (A$25)

Unashamedly a fan here – McLaren Vale does these 3 varieties so well. All the red mulberry fruits erupt from the wine glass. In the mouth you get spicy red fruits with a sense of earthiness. The finish here is all about the drying tannins – not overpowering but adds an interesting dimension. This also shows the wine will last a few years but I suspect the wine will not last.  This wine has been chose to be served at our Prime Minister’s functions – not a bad recommendation!

2010 Old Vine Grenache (A$25)

Oh how I do enjoy good McLaren Vale Grenache and I did enjoy this one.  Red fruits, particularly mulberry and cherry with a lovely spice envelope of subtle Moroccan spices.  Grenache does not always respond well to “big” oak and there is none of that here.  The tannins are short and tasty.  One commented that this wine could be mistaken for Pinot Noir – for me though it was all Grenache.  Bring it on!

2010 Premium Shiraz (A$25)

Straight away I got a big wiff of pepper spice as I lifted my glass towards my face.  Over time this did fade.  All the plums you would expect from McLaren Vale Shiraz with a lovely covering of chocolate that shows cleaver use of oak.  I can see this being quite popular at a BBQ or a good serving of Pepper Steak.

2009 Cabernet Sauvignon (A$25)

I have been finding lately that a number of McLaren Vale Cabernets are good wines but do not always show the typical character expected from this variety.  This being the cassis or blackcurrent aromas and flavors.  Well in this case the classics are back!  I also got a smattering of blue fruits and a drying tannic finish.

Other wines not tasted
2010 Sauvingon Blanc (Adelaide Hills)
2009 Chardonnay (Adelaide Hills)
2010 Pinot Gris (Adelaide Hills)
2009 Premium Viognier
2010 Premium Tempranillo

I also hear there will be a Petit Verdot available soon.

McLaren Vale Wine – Backyard Shed Cru Red Pack #4

These wines can be purchased from Taste McLaren Vale – check it out here.

2008 Thorpe Wines Shiraz

The grapes for this wine were picked before the heat wave of that year – this was important as so many of the 2008 reds have a stewed fruit character caused by the heat wave’s effects on the grapes.  The aromas were the usual plum and berry character plus the same iodine background that I found in the Cabernet from the same vintage.  The flavors hit me with citrus notes combined with plums plus the spice character of nutmeg and star anise (not the normally associated pepper flavors of Shiraz).  The finish was savory but not overly tannic (the wine spent 1 year on 2 year old oak).  There was an overall delicious factor that stuck me as definitely providing value.  When tasting this wine I thought of charred (BBQ) meats – maybe a good burger with lots of onion, cheese, lettuce, tomato and beetroot smothered in tomato sauce.

2008 Pieri Occasione

Made the classical Ripasso style and from Shiraz grapes.  This wine creates difference by taking the red wine from last year’s vintage and pass it through this years skins after they have been pressed – and what a difference it makes!  The wine was aged in older French & American oak so oak is not a dominate factor.  The aromas showed strength of plums and currents.  The strength of the fruit was not expected – particularly as these aromas were not jammy.  The flavors were an interesting contrast of some bitterness (from the skins), sweetness and drying tannins.  The fruit flavors are in line with the aromas, so the Shiraz-ness is true.  Drink it with just about anything but just drink it to try wine of this style.

2006 Petanga Wines Dio

A Grenache (70%), Shiraz (30%) and Mourvedre (10%) blend and what another joy.  Dio means God – there is nothing more behind this name that it is the sister wine to Diavolo, which means Devil.  Here we have the musk lolly smell, with more obvious red fruits (red currents) and the familiar fennel linger on the back of the nose.  This is a big wine but has a silky finish that includes a real floral and perfume plus an almost meaty element which comes from the Mourvedre.  Make sure you decant the wine and let it breathe – it will be worth the effort.  Talk about expression of of the vineyard and the sense of place, this wine is just sensational now and will only get better over the next 10 years (if it lasts that long).  This wine screams food, so don’t let it down and have it with a beef stir fry that has some Chinese five spice that will go so well with the fennel notes of the wine.

2006 Danshi Rise Shiraz

Just essence of McLaren Vale Shiraz here – all the plum, licorice and just a little chocolate.  The mid palate that McLaren Vale red wines are famous for is shown so well here.  Added to this is a sense of place – the minerallity of the soil mixes well with the strength of the fruit and the grainy tannins.  The tannins are interesting as there are lots of them but they just meld so well together with the weight of the fruit.  This is a wine that is all round complexity and even though it could be drunk now would continue to get better over the next 5+ years.  Slap a thick juicy T-bone steak in front of me with this wine and get out of may as this would be devouring time!

2006 Pikkara Shiraz

Pikkara is a small wine label from a 5th generation McMurtrie family growers and Nat has decided to make some wine with the help of the guys at Redhead Studios.  The aromas start with lovely cedary notes from the French oak combined with the classical plum one expects from McLaren Vale Shiraz.  As the wine breathes the obvious oak blows away and the silky smooth plum tends to dominate.  The flavours show the savory characters of all that is classical about McLaren Vale Shiraz with the chocolate plums enveloped in lovely fine tannins.  As the wine opened up I found some cherry character also coming through.  The best way to understand this wine’s underlying strength is that at no time during the tasting did I pick up on the 15% alcohol!  Drink over the next 5 years and enjoy it with  that has been slow cooked with garlic and rosemary.

2009 La Curio The Nubile Grenache Shiraz

As soon as I poured this wine I knew it was going to be interesting.  The wine was quite light and a dark pink colour.  The aromas just jumped out of the glass as soon as this pouring occurred.  Lots of raspberries and cherries combined with just a hint of cedar oak – no oak monster here!  The flavors were all about easy drinking with lovely raspberries wrapped around silky smooth tannins.  the 30% Shiraz component added some plum strength on the finish of the wine which just allowed the whole experience to stay in your mouth for quite a while.  This easy drinking red wine can be consumed in almost all occasions, and why not when the quality is this good.  Forget this wine if you are just looking for the strength of a Shiraz but for drinkability count me in – especially if there is a Chinese banquet ready to be consumed also.

McLaren Vale Wine – Backyard Shed Cru Red Pack #3

These wines can be purchased on line from Taste McLaren Vale – check it out here.

Willunga Creek Wines 2007 Out for a Duck Cabernet Shiraz

Now for my favourite wine from the Willunga Creek Wines range and interestingly it is a Cabernet and Shiraz blend creating a good outcome.  There is that sweet fruit plum with a slight vanilla aroma.  The flavours are a mixture of plums and blackcurrent with some slight herbaceousness that blends well with the soft oak to produce a long lasting effect.  Please bring me steak, charred from a BBQ smothered in onions and mushrooms.

Sabella Vineyards 2007 Shiraz

The aromas start with the typical berries one sees with McLaren Vale, and end with what I can only describe as the smell of freshly cooked cinnamon donuts – how different is that!  The cinnamon continues on the flavour profile and I suspect this comes from the clever use of oak and the various oak toasting combinations.  The flavours also include the usual plum characters your find in McLaren Vale Shiraz.  The tannins are soft and combine into a lingering experience.  The oak profile lends this wine to be a good match for some herb encrusted lamb and fresh seasonal vegetables.

Sellicks Hill Wines 2006 Valletta Grenache Shiraz

This wine is a Grenache & Shiraz blend that has been in barrel for 3 years and is one of my favourites.  Time has been kind to this wine infusion.  There is a musk lolly smell here and I cannot remember smelling this quite the same before.  An aniseed infusion into the dark fruits here with a vanilla hit on the back of the nose.  The palate shows darker fruits than I expected from a wine that is Grenache based.  There is a strength but elegance here that is absolutely intriguing and so is the fennel based finish to such a blend.  I was concerned with the 3 years in oak, but I should not have as it is just part of the wine.  This wine can be drunk now or left for a few more years to show its best.  For me I am not sure I can wait – so break out the BBQ Pork Spare Ribs and I may just share some of the wine with you.
 Marius 2006Simpatico Single Vineyard McLaren Vale Shiraz

From one of my favouite McLaren Vale producers – a medium bodied Shiraz flushed with good red fruits on the nose and palate (cherries and red currents).  Hints of oak of the American kind combines with fine tannins and the reliable McLaren Vale soft mid palate and great acidity create a wine worth drinking    and enjoying.  The winemaker, Roger, tells me that out of his range almost everybody likes this wine and I can see why.  You could drink it now but I suspect this will only get better in the coming 5+ years – if you can leave it that long.

Try taking this wine to a BBQ and you would have many friends that suddenly understand that the wine they brought was not up to standards that should be set for red wine enjoyment.

Seldom Inn 2008 Cabernet Sauvignon

The fruit for this was mainly from 40 year old vines with this vintage picked early for McLaren Vale Cabernet that year and it missed most of the heat wave of that year.  The best word for the aromas was “Black” and the second word would be intensity.  The flavours were just layers of blackcurrent fruit with just lovely tannin complexity that leaves the mouth screaming for more.  This wine needs more time to reach its best but worth the wait it would be.  Sit it aside for 5+ years and try it with Beef Wellington.

Caught Red Handed 2008 McLaren Vale Shiraz

Fruit cake on the nose – cherries, plums and mulberries with just a hint of oak and spice (nutmeg and cinnamon). The first thing I notice on the palate is the lack of alcohol – this wine packs a punch at 15.6% alcohol but I do not get the bitter finish that I thought would happen.  There is enough fruit character and acid to balance with the alcohol.  The wine flavours are the same as for the aromas – one big mouthful of fruit cake with those lovely spices.  This is definitely a food wine and the bigger the better – so try it with a slow cooked Beef Burgundy with creamy mashed potato and crisp beans.

McLaren Vale Wine – Backyard Sed Cru Red Pack #2

These wines can be purchased on line from Taste McLaren Vale – check it out here.

2006 Thorpe Wines Sparkling Shiraz

Now this was something I was looking forward to – a bottle fermented Shiraz.  For me a really good sparking Shiraz is one of the joys of life.  The wine was disgorged in 2009 at a separate sparkling wine facility in Victoria.  I was not disappointed!  Straight away you can notice a fine bead (bubbles) that lasted as long as I had wine in my glass.  The aromas had the fruitiness of Raspberry combined with the earthy of mushrooms.  The Raspberry and Plums combines with the Star Anise spiciness that leads into a lengthy mouthful.  There is a specific direction to make this wine in a dryer style so there is not a large volume of liquor added to the wine at disgorgement.  I believe I will be consuming a number of bottles of this wine.  I would like to try a warm shredded poached chicken and rocket salad with a Vin Cotta and Verjuice reduction dressing with this wine on a lovely summer’s day.  The wine is drinking well now so why wait – get into it straight away (I know I will).

2008 Charlatan Sangiovese

This wine is all about cherries and it makes no apology for that.  The aromas also have some clove action and ever so slight cedar oak, which works so well with the cherries.  The fresh cherry flavours are mid weight (not your usual McLaren Vale full bodied wines here) with just a hint of tannins on the back of the palate.  On this basis I would consider this wine as a drink now proposition.  Great as a lighter option for Pizza or pork dishes.  This wine just sings summer drinking when you do not want a rose or a heavy bodied style, but still something refreshing all the same.

2007 Madeleines McLaren Vale Shiraz

This is a big wine with an inky colour (from the small berries from that year’s vintage).  The nose and palate shows lots of stewed plums that are almost sweet and the heavy oak (used to offset the fruit).  Make no mistake this is a big wine and will need a number of years before it settles down and the time it has spent in the bottle has been kind for the wine.    I would be comfortable in keeping this wine until 2015.  Thinking about matching this wine with an Individual Beef Wellington is making my mouth water.

 2002 Genders Duncan Cabernet Sauvignon

This very small production is made in honor of Dianna’s late brother and as such is only made during exceptional vintages.  The wines were aged in French oak for 2 years and now only released when the components of the wine were balanced to Diana’s approval.

The wine is starting to show some red tones.  The aromas really change with breathing time.  In the 45 minutes we had the wine open and going back to the wine showed the following order of aromas:-

  • Floral – violets
  • Fennel
  • Cumquats (almost candied small)
  • peppermint and blackcurrant
  • Chalky overtones

On the palate the wine shows red fruits (red currents) with fine dusty tannins that form an elegant infusion.  The wine is drinking well now and has quite a few years left in it – I would drink it before 2015.

This elegant wine yearns for roast duck or a few juicy slices of roast pork (and I would be nice by giving the crackling to my wife – but I get the wine).

2006 Graham Stevens Wines Grahams Vat 52

What an unusual blend but an excellent wine.  This is a blend of 50% Shiraz, 30% Grenache and 20% Cabernet Sauvignon.  I spoke to Graham about this wine and it is his favourite as well.  Graham has been making this blend for decades and it invariably drinks and sells very well.  The Vat 52 is a well balanced wine showing hints of the spice of the Shiraz and plum of the Grenache can be drunk now or if you would like to keep it for a while it would reward the patience.  You could use it as a different style wine to take to dinner parties.

2009 J & J Vineyards Shiraz

The wine has purple tinges and with breathing the aromas open up to be dominated by cherries but also mulberries and plum with some cedar oak influences.  Flavours start out to be dominated by cherries and oak tannins. However, with breathing the wine shows Plum, Mulberry and even fruit cake.  So the key to getting the most out of this wine is letting it breathe.  A minimal amount of cherries are now evident and the tannins have softened to produce a well rounded offering.  Based on breathing improvements I would recommend that this wine be decanted and left to breath for at least an hour.  This also indicates that the wine would keep well to at least 2015.  A mushroom pate (like that produced my Maggie Beer) would be a good match with complimentary flavours from the wine and the food.

Free Blog Notification Subscription