Tag Archives: Backyard Shed Cru

McLaren Vale Wine – October 2013 Vale Cru Tasting

A collection of McLaren Vale small scale winemakers have bandied together to form a collective called the “Vale Cru”.  For the last 4 years this group has gathered for an afternoon tasting, during October, at the Victory Hotel.  I must admit I am biased towards this group, even to the point that resistance is useless.  A lot of my original contacts and wines sold from my Taste McLaren Vale venture have come from the Vale Cru’s first annual Victory Hotel tasting.

Mr Brash Higgins himself

In an industry where the small producer spends so much time and effort to make the best wines possible the marketing effort can be at best difficult.  Combining their efforts into this collective makes so much sense.  However making sense and making such a venture work is not always easy or effective.  Over the years there has been a number of winemakers come and go but there seems to be core and stable group.

The wineries at this tasting were:-

  • Brash Higgins
  • Five Geese
  • Inkwell
  • La Curio
  • Lazy Ballerina
  • Samuel’s Gorge
  • Ulithorne
  • Vigna Bottin
  • Waywood
  • Rudderless
  • Wistmosa
  • Rusty Mutt
  • Ministry of Clouds
  • Bekkers

It should be noted that Bekkers are not a part of the Vale Cru but attended under invitation.

There was also a speaker in attendance and in this case it was Nick Stock.  Nick was very approachable in discussions about the wines.  I discussed McLaren Vale Grenache with him before I realised who this guy was.  On a personal note it was also good for me to find out that not only is Nick an Adelaide boy but he also follows the same SANFL team I do (Norwood Football Club).

Nick Stock addressing the crowd

The afternoon is in itself a highlight but the wines of note (for me) were:-

2012 Brash Higgins Nero d’Avola ($42)

After spending 6 months on skins in clay pots (or amphora) this wine style is unlike anything else I have tasted.  With anise character wrapped around what I can only describe as cold tea.  Amazingly every time I taste this wine I think about the special tea blend my grandmother used to drink.  This wine is interestingly good all the way and I recommend this as a must try wine.

2012 Five Geese Grenache Shiraz ($26)

This was my bargain wine pick of the group.  So much depth and character for the price.  The redness and peat character of the Blewitt Springs Grenache mixed with the strength of McLaren Vale Shiraz.  I know Grenache is a hard sell but if you try this wine you will wonder the same.

2011 La Curio Reserve Grenache ($28)

Adam has access to old dry grown bush vine Grenache and makes this special fruit sing with all the love that he can muster.  This wine is consistently one of the best expressions of McLaren Vale Grenache and another must try.

2013 Vigna Bottin Vermentino

Just bottled and a sneak peak.  Straight away it stood out.  A white wine showing such character in McLaren Vale!!!!!  This wine won a number of trophies in the McLaren Vale show (held the week after this tasting).  The wine showed so much with floral rose water notes with minerality mixed with a lemon acid length.  Again I find this variety interesting with an almost salty flavour – just so different.  This was by far the best wine of this variety I have tasted.

2010 Rusty Mutt Shiraz ($25.50)

Rusty Mutt and the Vale Cru

I have previously reviewed this wine and it is again a highlight.  With many wines showing masculine depth this expression of the Shiraz is more feminine depth.  The wine has a softness but complexity that belies this softness.  James Halliday has rated this a 94/100 and I can see why.  Well done Scott.

Buy McLaren Vale Wines – Backyard Shed Cru #9

See the videos below where I review the latest Backyard Shed Cru membership tasting pack.  If you like what you see then check out the Taste McLaren Vale Backyard Shed Cru Membership here.  Every 6 months we send out a wine six pack.  The wines come from little know wineries and are really a tasting pack you you to try new wines from the small artisan McLaren Vale wine producers.

2009 Ruffilli Estates Ambition Cabernet Merlot

2010 Rusty Mutt Shiraz

2009 Handcrafted by Geoff Hardy Shiraz

2010 GMH Founders Choice Grenache Shiraz Mourvedre

2011 Wistmosa Shiraz

2011 Oenotria Vintners Cabernet Sauvignon

Purchase McLaren Vale Wine – Backyard Shed Cru Red Wine Pack #8

Yes folks it is that time of year – the half yearly release of the Backyard Shed Cru tasting six pack.  This is where members get these 6 wines automatically sent to them twice every year (timing dependent on when individual join).  These packs are a selection of wines from the small producers – the ones who make their wine in the backyard shed.  If you are not already a member then you can join by checking out the membership page here.

Below are the tasting videos for the 6 wines:-

Backyard Shed Cru Red Pack #8

2010 Fork in the Road Shiraz

2010 Marius Sympatico Shiraz

2008 Thorpe Wines Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon

2010 Ducks in a Row “Straight Up” Mataro

2008 Zimmermann Shiraz

2010 Sabella “J Petrucci & Son” Shiraz

Buy McLaren Vale Wine – Backyard Shed Cru Tasting Pack #8

Red Pack #8

2010 Ducks in a Row Straight Up Mataro

From a vineyard near Willunga (in the McLaren Vale region) and was matured in 7 year old oak.  The wine making direction to show off the fruit and not just load it up with obvious oak tannins.  I get vanilla plums (maybe a plum stored in a jar with a vanilla bean) but there is also a hint of blue character that is most intriguing.  There are side dishes of Mulberry and maybe even some rhubarb.  The grape tannins work to provide a well structured wine that has length on it’s side.  I am going to keep a few bottles to see how this wine will age.

2008 Thorpe Wines Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon

Made from estate grown from the vineyard on the corner of Malpas and California roads (on the flat between McLaren vale and Willunga).  When I try this wine I have one word resonating – balanced.  All elements are balanced and not one thing over powers any other.  The aromas show the expected black current with ironstone, slate and black olives.  The flavours are smooth but show strength – black current, slate, black olives, and cedar notes.  The tannins are there but not over powering.  The one unusual element I get is the iodine character.  This characteristic seems to be a trait of this particular vineyard.  All in all a smart effort.

2010 Sabella J. Petrucci and Son Shiraz

I have tried the last 3 vintages of Shiraz that Michael Petrucci has made and I think each year has been better than the last.  This wine made the McLaren Vale Scarce Earth Project for 2010 wines.  I suppose one should make good or better wine from the 2010 vintage, but I get a sense of more.  I get the feeling that Michael is getting to understand his craft and his raw materials (grapes from his father’s vineyard) better. The wine shows the aromas expected from Shiraz and a mild dose of white pepper.  I really enjoyed the strength brought on by the fruit as much as any oak treatments.  There is plenty of acid here also so the wine should last for ages.

2008 Zimmermann Shiraz

Made with love from the foothills of the Willunga escarpment.  The grapes sitting proud on the valley slopes in this small part of the McLaren Vale district that are tendered by a couple that are looking to enjoy a life of grape growing, wine making, selling and a good wholesome environment for a Bed and Breakfast style accommodation.  With wines like this they are doing a number of things right.  The 2008 vintage was hot and challenging and they got their fruit picked and processed before the heatwave did it’s damage.  The wine has the aromas of lifted plum with side servings of pomegranate, cherry and rhubarb plus just a sprinkle of white pepper.  The flavours followed plum and cherry up front with some integrated oak tannins and just a hint of licorice on the finish.  This wine has plenty of time left in it but why wait.  I had a bottle recently with a juicy steak, creamed potatoes and steamed beans – lovely.

2010 Marius Sympatico Shiraz

The grapes for this wine come from a wonderfully complex vineyard – the soils have been transported from the Willunga Escarpment down to the foothills below.  The soil is rocky and sparse and the vines do their bit by struggling through each year.  In 2010 I helped pick some of the grapes that went into making this wine.  Mr Marius Wines himself – Roger, does not allow me to purchase wines often to have them available for sale but I talked him into releasing a small amount.  The wine is all about power and as soon as you open the wine it hits you – brambly and dark plum with some course black pepper.  After leaving the wine in the glass for a while the wine transforms with some finesse appearing with lavender and cardamon.  The flavours are similar to the aromas lots of plum and bramble fruits with lavender and licorice coming through.  The tannins here have strength but not disruptive to the fruit – an interesting balance.  This wine really needs a few more years in the bottle or at least give the wine significant time in contact with air before you drink it.  We tried it the other day with a Beef Burgoyne which was a wonderful match.

2010 Fork in the Road Shiraz

Another wine from the McLaren Vale Scarce Earth Project.  This wine from the Old Oval Estate is from a vineyard on Sand Road and has the same geology as the J. Petrucci & Sons wine also in this pack.  The wine aromas start off with cherry and blackberry fruits mixed with a dustiness of tannin.  The oak character is minimal here so I expect these tannins to be from the fruit (eg pips).  There is some vanilla coming through – an indication of American oak influence there.  This wine was so engaging that after smelling the wine my mouth was salivating.  Interestingly, after the first sip I was still hooked and wanted more – always a good sign.  The flavours were the same fruits on the front of the mouth and the oak and tannin on the back of the palate.  Not what a lot of people would call a classic wine but one I believe many people would just enjoy to drink.

Purchasing McLaren Vale Wines – Backyard Shed Cru #7 Tasting Videos

Well I finally got all the Backyard Shed Cru #7 tasting videos and I thought I had better share them with you.

Remember you can join the Backyard Shed Cru via the Taste McLaren Vale Membership page (click here).











Free Blog Notification Subscription