Tag Archives: Adelaide

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.

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.


McLaren Vale Wine – Genders Wines

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.

Genders De-stemmer

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.

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