Category Archives: Adelaide Hills

Wirra Wirra Spring Releases

Springtime in the Adelaide Hills of South Australia is always a glorious time. Blossoms burst from the trees, magpies swooping, and vines begin their journey to vintage. The higher altitude of the Hills usually means mild days, and somewhat cool and frosty evenings. One day can be glorious sunshine, followed by torrential rain.

Wirra Wirra Adelaide Hills

Adelaide Hills

So with spring comes the new 2016 releases from many wineries. Wirra Wirra wines, based in McLaren Vale (which is just next door) have just released their Riesling and Sauvignon Blanc. Both of which are sourced from the Adelaide Hills wine region, and specifically the coolest sub-region of Lenswood.

Wirra Wirra 2016 Riesling

Wirra Wirra Riesling

Around South Australia there are many well known Riesling regions. Clare Valley has its intense citrus characters, Eden Valley in Barossa displays a little more slatey ‘minerality’ (whatever that means). But further along the Mt Lofty Ranges in Adelaide Hills, the Rieslings often have quite distinct perfumed floral characters.

With the 2016 Wirra Wirra Lost Watch Riesling it is this floral, old fashioned rose aroma, that leaps from the glass. This is rounded out with gorgeous turkish delight confectionery, not that its overt. Fresh red apples add more complexity.

On the palate there’s lots of lively acidity, and a bit of green apple crunch. Hint of citrus, but more of the lemon verbena herbal characters. The Wirra Wirra Lost Watch Riesling, is very typical of Adelaide Hills, and perfect for sping time enjoyment.

Alcohol: 12.5%
Price: $24
Region: Adelaide Hills, SA
Source: Provided by producer

Wirra Wirra 2016 Sauvignon Blanc

Wirra Wirra Sauvignon Blanc

One of the main varietals in Adelaide Hills is Sauvignon Blanc. Despite the sauvalanche of New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc we see here, the Adelaide Hills and Tasmania provide some vigorous competition.

The Wirra Wirra Hiding Champion Sauvignon Blanc, shows vibrant citrus, lime zest and a little tropical zing. The palate has lots of acidity and quite intense flavours which last. Citrus and grapefruit flavours dominate, with a little dollop of grassiness.

And not a hint of ‘cats pee on a gooseberry bush’, like our kiwi friends.

Alcohol: 13%
Price: $24
Region: Adelaide Hills, SA
Source: Provided by producer

Wirra Wirra 2015 12th Man Chardonnay: Wine Review

Oh the travels Chardonnay and I have been through over the years. Its been like globetrotting with a haut-couture model. There was the big oaky behemoths phase, then the skeletal stainless steel no-oak chardonnays, the natural-looking just a touch of oak phase.  No wonder the consumer still says ‘Oh, I dont drink Chardonnay’. They probably don’t know what to expect.

Wirra Wirra 12th Man Chardonnay


Just to keep it interesting, the 2015 Wirra Wirra 12th Man Chadonnay takes a step away from the style of the 2013 12th Man Chardonnay.

The aroma of the 2015 12th Man leaps from the glass with good intensity. There are complex aromas of dusty straw, mandarin and citrus zest, ripe peach, and a creaminess. With an interesting hint of lanolin. On the palate it a delicate balanced between crisp white peach and stonefruit, fresh acid, but also lots of texture. A riper style offering fullness in the mouth, but still finishing clean and lively.

Is this a classically-styled oakier Chardonnay? Possibly, and the perceived oak does play a greater role than previously. Is this showing that winemakers love to play and tweek styles in an ever changing marketplace? Probably.

What are your thoughts? Has this found a balance between austerity and fullness?

Alcohol: 13.5%
Price: $31.50
Region: Adelaide Hills, SA
Source: Provided by producer

Wirra Wirra buys Ashton Hills

More than a decade after taking their first tentative steps into crafting white wines from the Adelaide Hills, McLaren Vale stalwart Wirra Wirra has taken a major leap into cool-climate red wine territory with the acquisition of renowned pinot noir producer, Ashton Hills.

Ashton Hills was founded by Stephen George in 1982 and since that time the decorated winemaker has built a reputation as one of Australia’s finest proponents of pinot noir, drawn from his three hectare, dry grown vineyard in the Piccadilly Valley.

Wirra Wirra Managing Director Andrew Kay announced the acquisition today and said the purchase was a logical expansion for the winery, which was founded in McLaren Vale back in 1894.

“We first made white wines from Adelaide Hills fruit back in 2003 when Greg Trottsaw the potential of the cool-climate region, but the red wine opportunity has eluded us until now. The chance to build upon the legacy of Stephen’s work was too good to pass up and for it to happen not only with his blessing, but also his ongoing contribution, is incredibly satisfying for us,” said Kay.

Kay said George had a definite role to play with the brand in the future. “Stephen will continue to reside at his home at the winery and he is keen to mentor our wine-making team in the intricacies of pinot making “Ashton Hills style”, as well as be involved in a hands-on capacity in the vineyard.”

As for Stephen George, he feels very comfortable handing the reins over to Wirra Wirra. “I feel a definite rapport with their people and having seen how respectfully and successfully they have managed their business in the wake of Greg Trott’spassing, I believe the legacy of Ashton Hills is in safe and sensitive hands,” said George. “In fact, I’m looking forward to helping them work through a long list of opportunities that I have compiled over the years, that lack of time and resources have prevented me from undertaking as a “one man band”.”

Kay said Wirra Wirra would continue to make its own Adelaide Hills range of white wines, but did not rule out an expanded offering under the Ashton Hills label. “Wirra Wirrawas named most successful exhibitor at last year’s Adelaide Hills Wine Show, with all our wines performing well and our Lost Watch Riesling scoring a Trophy, so it makes good sense for those to continue,” he said.

“Ashton Hills is obviously the benchmark for pinot noir, but also produces an exceptional rieslingand wonderful sparkling, so we will see where they can take us and what opportunities this presents, however for now it’s business as usual,” Kay said. “We’ve spent the last decade fulfilling Trott’s dreams and visions and I hope we can do the same in the future for Stephen and Ashton Hills.”

Wirra Wirra 2013 12th Man Chardonnay: Tasting Note

Straddling the middle ground of Australian Chardonnays can be a difficult balance. The Wirra Wirra 12th Man Chardonnay is not as lean as some, nor as broad and flabby as others. Basically the Elle MacPherson of Australian Chardonnays – that is “well fit”. Showing elegance and grace, with curves in all the right places.

Wirra Wirra 12th Man Chardonnay

Wirra Wirra 12th Man Chardonnay

The Chardonnay fruit for this comes from the cool climate of the Adelaide Hills Lenswood subregion. Lots of ripe stone fruit aromas, and some fresh citrus juice characters. A baked custard and biscuit aroma adding to the depth. Noticeable oak is balanced with the intensity of the fruit.

On the palate, its manages that middle ground very well.  Neither big and over blown, nor light and lacking.  More stone fruit, white peach, and vibrant orange/lemon freshness. Some roasted nut complexity. Subtle vanilla oak adds to the finish.

Alarmingly drinkable now, but will probably reward patience with a few years in the cellar.

Serve with Blue Swimmer crab linguine.

Also see the Wirra Wirra Catapult Shiraz and Wirra Wirra Woodhenge Shiraz.

RRP $31.5
Alc 12.5%
Region: Adelaide Hills
Sample: Provided by producer

A Refined and Elegant Wine: Shaw & Smith 2012 M3 Chardonnay

The Shaw & Smith 2012 M3 Chardonnay is all restraint and waiting to be unleashed on an unsuspecting world over the next 5 to 10 years. It’s restrained aromas at present, with roast peanuts, subtle creamy lees.

Shaw & Smith 2012 M3 Chardonnay

On the palate the Shaw & Smith M3 Chardonnay is fresh and lively.  Definitely fruit driven with ripe stonefruit, pineapple and green apple. Lots of citrus and grapefruit, rounded out with smooth almond meal.  Subtle spicy oak, with whisper of creaminess complement the whole package.

The Shaw & Smith M3 continues to be refined and an elegant Chardonnay.

RRP $44
Alc 13%
Region: Adelaide Hills
Source: Provided by producer

Shaw & Smith 2012 Pinot Noir: Tasting Note

Medium intensity on the nose, with ripe strawberries, sweet spice/white pepper, Shaw & Smith 2012 Pinot Noirand an attractive whiff of Pinot funky earthiness.  A fresh and lively style, with firm tannins and but still a silky mouthfeel. On the palate there’s more forest floor, salami and cured meats, complemented by plenty of ripe cherry fruit.

Next year the Shaw & Smith Pinot Noir will include fruit from a newly acquired vineyard in Lenswood (Adelaide Hills). It will be interesting to see the contrast with this addition.

RRP $45
Alc 12.5%
Region: Adelaide Hills
Source: Provided by producer