Tag Archives: Mourvedre

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

Purchasing McLaren Vale Wines – Backyard Shed Cru Red Pack #7

Every 6 months Taste McLaren Vale puts together a six pack of wines to provide the members or The Backyard Shed Cru. Check out the membership site here.  Anybody can sign up for the half yearly delivery of a Backyard Shed Cru six pack for only $140 delivered to your door.

Now for the release of our Red Pack #7.

Backyard Shed Cru Red Pack #7


2010 La Curio “The Original Zin” Primotivo

The Zin tag comes from the grape variety – Zinfandel.  This is a variety that has significant plantings in America and Europe.  The vineyard where the grapes for this wine came from is on California Road and is owned and tendered by an American born.

This wine initially shows cherry characters but after a while is shows a darker side with plums and layered tannins.  The tannins are multi dimensional and I suspect they originate from the ripe grape seeds, stalks as well as the usual oak treatments.  The oak was there but not dominant.  All in all a great package and aimed at a good price point.   The juicy nature of this wine would be a great match to a feed of Chinese food – you know with sizzling Mongolian beef and black bean chicken.

2010 La Curio “New World Order” Sangiovese

Sangiovese has a reputation for being very tannic – this wine has drying tannins but it is not over done.  There is definitely good cherry but the most endearing things in this wine was the savoury nature and the lovely teeth drying tannins.  This is a wine that screams out food and for me I am thinking a good Aussie BBQ.

2010 J&J Vineyards Shiraz

I was looking forward to this wine – from a great vintage and an organic producer.  J&J have recently been given full organic status.  I was not disappointed as this is a classical McLaren Vale Shiraz.  The aromas show plum fruit mixed in an envelope of spices (star anise, cinnamon and cardamom) and is dominated by licorice.  The flavours continue with the same theme except there is no dominance here.  The fresh plums, licorice, chocolate, spices (this time with pepper included), tannins that are not over the top and a good acid finish that refreshes the mouth making it ready for the next mouthful.

2006 Sellicks Hill Wines Valletta (Grenache Shiraz)

I have been doing this wine sales thing for a couple of years and this is one of my favorites.  It appeared in an earlier pack but I just wanted to share this one with you again.  Initially worried about Grenache being in oak for 3 years but I should not have been – only older oak was used and really well looked after.  The 3 years in bottle have also been good to it.  I get lots of spice here – cardamom, nutmeg and cinnamon.  The wine has been 6 years in making it to you so do it a favor and let it breath for a while before consuming – it will be worth the wait.  There is a fusion of fruits almost as secondary flavours and such depth where the flavours just linger in your mouth.  There is strength and complexity here so bring on a slab of Beef Wellington.

2010 Kay Brothers Basket Press Mataro

There is a sense of history here with the naming of this variety.  McLaren Vale seems to name this variety Mourvedre.  Kay Brothers has a long history of growing this variety – mainly as a fortified wine base.  I was speaking to Colin Kay about a year ago and we were discussing that there was a workshop on emerging varieties and they did a blind tasting that had, amongst others, a Mourvedre.  The discussion was about everything old, was new again.  There is a changing use of Mourvedre.  It was not long ago that it was only seen as a blending variety, but since 2009 there has been a steady increase in Mourvedre used as a varietal variety.

In this case the aromas were dominated by cherries and juicy plums and just a hint of dry oregano as the point of difference.  The flavours are dominated firstly by the same cherry and plums – they seemed to be darker in nature as the wine opened up.  There is a hit of grainy tannins that works well in this context.  There is some meatiness and sense of violets with that hint of that dried oregano these are the points of difference that Mataro can make.  I enjoy these differences and I think you will too.

2010 Bellevue Estate Shiraz

The plum and blackberry characters are well balanced with the oak and the natural acids – they all produce a wine with a mouthful of a textural wine. This wine is one to check out when the bottling shock has settled as at this time it looks like they have hit the right notes. I would enjoy this with slightly chared BBQ’d meats.

McLaren Vale Wine Functions – Unearthing Grandfathers (DeadReds) Wine Dinner

Charlie-Helen Robinson had the vision – lets have a wine dinner with a group of people from Adelaide coming to a venue in McLaren Vale to celebrate the knowledge and experience that our grandparents have and what this role means to on-coming generations.  In particular in the McLaren Vale wine scene and what role this older generation means to today’s wine industry.

Within what seemed like a short period of time the big day was upon us and the Cellar at The Victory Hotel was descended upon by a 30 strong group of keen and enthusiastic people from diverse backgrounds all brought together by Charlie.  Great job Charlie!

The Victory Hotel Cellar

The venue was well set up and when the bus arrived it was all go.  The first course soon arrived.  The chicken and seafood was matched well with a 2008 Karra Yerta Eden Valley Riesling, that was full of limes – particularly lime zesty.  The second course of rabbit pie came with a 2010 Kay Brothers Mataro.  2010 was an excellent vintage and this wine was no exception with flavours of cherry and plum with hints of violets and a meatiness that I tend to find with this variety.  The tannins were a little grainy but this is part of what Mataro is usually about.  Without letting Colin Kay, the current head of Kay Brothers, finish his rabbit pie he was standing up and sharing with us some of the rich history of the Mataro grape in Australia plus the even richer history of the Kay family in McLaren Vale.  We were all delighted with his stories and also delighted that Colin was willing to share with us copies of his family daily records from the late 1890’s.  These documents had me convinced on how well their fortified sales were back then – only to be told that Tawny was the name of one of the family cows and the volume mentioned was not the volume of Tawny “Port” sold but how much milk Tawny (the cow) produced daily.

Colin Kay at Unearthing Grandfathers

The third course was for me a steak and I enjoyed the Rudderless 2006 Grenache which is made from the vines surrounding the hotel.  As a fan of McLaren Vale Grenache I was looking forward to and was not disappointed.   The perfumed red fruits combined with fruit strength and mid weight tannins was just what we were looking for.

A wine options game with 2 wines was an interesting venture during the night.  Each person was given their own stash a fake Deadred Dollars and were able to bet on 1 of 3 options for the category of what vintage did the wine come from, what grape variety the wine was made from and lastly what winery the wine came from.  There were 2 wines that were covered to ensure nobody could cheat.  The wines ended up being a Zinfandel from the Inkwell stable from 2009 and 2010.  These wines are so different and so it was interesting to see the reaction when people were told the 2 wines came from the same winery, same vineyard and same winemaker.

The Vintage Cheddar with dried muscatels, quince paste and crackers went down a treat mixed with the Graham Stevens Wines 2010 Vintage Shiraz.  This wine is just essence of Shiraz mixed with clean spirit.  It is interesting that the Vintage fortified style is not a big seller however almost all in the room were delighted with the finishing wine of the night.

A big thanks to all that attended that made the night something to remember but special mention must be made for Colin Kay for the generous giving of his time and experiences, for Ron who was the bus driver and had to sit and watch most of us indulge in good wines and to Charlie for bringing the night together.

I already look forward to the next Unearthing Dinner……

McLaren Vale Wines – Samuels Gorge

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.

Samuels Gorge Winery & Cellar Door

Samuels Gorge Verandah and Surrounds

Samuels Gorge Tasting Area

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.

2010 Mourvedre

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.

McLaren Vale Wine – Gemtree Vineyards and DeadRed Wine Group Capricorn Tour

The DeadRed Wine Group through it’s founder, Charlie-Helen Robinson, conducted a wine tour to our beloved McLaren Vale.  The tour was titled –  Capricorn.  This elaborate method to celebrate ones birthday is a sensational idea and it turned out to be a sensational way to spend the most part of the day.  A bus ride to and from McLaren Vale with time spent at 3 wineries with a lunch at one of them.

Happy Birthday Charlie

The wineries were Gemtree, Settlement (with a wonderful Pizza lunch) and Graham Stevens Wines.  The day was full of wonderful things, wonderful wines, wonderful winery hosts, wonderful Pizza’s, wonderful people.  All coupled with the wonderful Mediterranean weather and the best place on the wonderful earth called McLaren Vale.  To complete the wonderful items, I had the pleasure of joining the group here in McLaren Vale.

Gemtree Cellar Door

The first stop was Gemtree Vineyards, who have a cellar door outlet in the Main Street of McLaren Vale.  Gemtree are a family owned business who have made a very conscience effort towards true sustainability.  They are a certified organic producer – this is in it’s self a commitment of effort and financial.  They are also using biodynamic techniques in some of their vineyards.   Biodynamics is finding a niche in McLaren Vale with results that are not only shown in the vineyard but also the resultant wines as well.  In the commitment to sustainability includes aa long term testing regime of different wine varieties – varieties that produce the right acid, sugar and flavor balance with significantly less water than the mainstream varieties.  All this while still producing excellent wines that the wine drinking public will drink.  As with any change this change requires considerable effort or energy from the company.  Gemtree’s commitment to sustainability is unwavering and can be seen in their whole philosophy.

This family enterprise has also dedicated a section of one of their properties to a publicly open wetlands walking trail (complete with information and BBQ facilities) with planting of indigenous plant species that is attracting animal life of all kinds.

Wetlands Walking Track

Thee cellar door has a lovely wooden table top that has “Gems” on it – which is a nice touch.  We tried 4 wines from their range – 2 showing their commitment to new varieties.

2011 Moonstone Savagnin ($A16)

Quite strong aromas of stone fruit, lemon zest and melons..  The flavors showed good acid (with lemon and limes) with some nashi character.  The acid level is not for everybody and some of the tasters indicated they got bitterness in the wine.  This 100% natural and biodynamic wine has had nothing added to it – natural acid levels and natural yeasts make this a very natural wine.  I consider this a fresh and light wine – to be drunk on it’s own or with delicate seafood.

it should be noted this vineyard uses 33% less water than chardonnay requires.

2011 Luna Roja Tempranillo ($A25)

Another biodynamic wine from a drought resistant variety from Spain.  Spain is a hot climate and the Spanish are not silly so they understand the requirements of their climate and what wines to grow.   These vines get about 1 drink per year instead of multiple drinks per month during the summer.

Luna Roja  means red moon and this wine is red and juicy.  It is all about cherries, earthiness and these tannins that are chewy but juicy all at the same time.  A medium bodied wine that has significant character that screams to be consumed with duck.

2010 Uncut Shiraz ($A25)

This wine is so much better than the 2009 offering.  I get layers of dark plum, pepper and cinnamon spice with hints of chocolate and licorice.  Yet again some juicy and chewy tannins that will see this full bodied wine well into the next 5 years (if you will let it live that long).  A big wine that needs big flavors and I can see a thick T-bone steak in this wines future.

2010 The Phantom Red Blend II ($A35)

Made from 50% Cabernet Franc, 25% Mourvedre and 25% Petit Verdot.  The berries from the Cabernet Franc comes through quite strongly on the nose.  The 3 wines contribute their own space in the complexity of this wine.  The juicy fruit compote of the Franc, the spice and almost meatiness from the Mourvedre plus violets from the Petit Verdot.  I particularly liked the tannin structure here that shows the pedigree of the wine.

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