Category Archives: Adelaide Hills

Shaw & Smith 2010 Shiraz: Tasting Note

Im a big fan of cool(er) climate Shiraz.  Despite the fact in South Australia we are surrounded by mainly warm climate regions, it is with relief I taste more and more of the cool climate wines.  I would put them in a separate category to the warm climate Shiraz.  They are more medium bodied than full bodied, ripe red-fruit rather than jammy dark fruit.  Complementing food rather than being a meal in itself.Shaw & Smith 2010 Shiraz

The Shaw & Smith Shiraz from 2010 provides great intensity on the nose, with warm spices and white pepper/green peppercorns. Ripe plums, red fruits and some subtle roasted meats round things out.

On the palate it’s good intensity, and that soft and velvety mouthfeel.  It does have darker fruit and more black pepper, with some warming alcohol.  A nice savouriness adds complexity. A luscious long finish with hints of menthol/eucalypt.  This is a fuller bodied style than I expected.  A silky and elegant wine which is a pleasure to drink, either now or for another 10 years.

RRP $40
Alc 14%
Region: Adelaide Hills
Source: Provided by producer

Shaw & Smith 2013 Sauvignon Blanc – Tasting Note

The Shaw & Smith Sauvignon Blanc is always put on a pedestal, even within Australia’s key Sauvignon Blanc growing region of the Adelaide Hills in South Australia.  Shaw & Smith Sauvignon Blanc is a consistent performer which fights the good battle against the marauding Kiwi Sauv Blancs.

Shaw & Smith

Shaw & Smith Cellar Door

Shaw Smith 2013 Sauvignon Blanc

In the 2013 Sauvignon Blanc, luckily there is a distinct lack of ‘cats pee on a gooseberry bush’ here.  Instead lots of ripe citrus and fresh tropical fruit.  Crisp acidity to slack any thirst – especially at about 3:30pm on a warm day.  But also packed full of fruit – citrus and tropical pineapple and passionfruit.  Backed up by a hint of grassy herbaceousness (but no gooseberry bush, or cats pee for that matter).

RRP $25
Alc 12.5%
Region: Adelaide Hills
Source: Provided by producer

Paracombe rises from the ashes to the top

Paracombe Vineyard and Winery is the star of this year’s Adelaide Hills Wine Show, winning the Wine Show Committee Award of Recognition to cap off an exciting thirtieth birthday year. The Committee Award recognises not just Wine Show success but also service to the region, community spirit, drive and dedication.

Paul and Kathy Drogemuller first established their Paracombe vineyards, with no viticultural or winemaking experience, after buying a dairy farming property that had been destroyed in the 1983 Ash Wednesday bushfires. Earlier this year, Paracombe’s 2010 The Reuben Cabernet blend was named The Advertiser’s Top 100 Wine of the Year.  Today, the Drogemullers collected the Committee Award along with Best Riesling in Show at the awards lunch at Mount Lofty House.

Paracombe Wine Maker Paul Drogemuller paid tribute to the region in receiving the trophy. “I carry this for each and every one of us in this room as a proud Adelaide Hills wine grape grower,” Paul said.

“It is 30 years since we started, but may there be many more years and many more success stories; I feel so proud to be an Adelaide Hills resident and wine has just been an interesting and good fun part of the journey.”

Best Wine in Show went to Lobethal Road – another family owned business – for their 2012 Bacchant Chardonnay, with best Shiraz going to small Hahndorf producer Stable Hill.

Dan Buckle from Domaine Chandon was Chairman of this year’s Judging Panel. “I’m hugely impressed with the overall quality here in the Adelaide Hills – it’s clearly a very professional group of winemakers,” Dan said.

“The Chardonnay in particular was a real pleasure to judge and the Shiraz also showed really nice diversity. “I would also say there’s some very interesting new varieties like Fiano, Nebbiolo and Tempranillo.”

A Taste of Spring in the Adelaide Hills

White wine lovers are invited to taste the newest releases from Adelaide Hills winemakers at a Spring themed tasting at Burnside Village on Saturday, October 26, from 1:30pm.

Popular varieties such as Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Gris and Chardonnay will be poured alongside rising stars like Arneis and Fiano, plus a selection of premium sparkling drops.

John Harvey, Chair of Adelaide Hills Wine Region, says the new 2013 releases again reinforce why the region is known as the home of premium white wine.  “The Adelaide Hills is still a young wine region compared to many others but people are now appreciating the quality, consistency and character of our white wines,” John says.

“We had an exceptional vintage this year, with warm days and cool nights ripening the fruit beautifully, so it will be very exciting to taste these wines for the first time. This event will feature lots of smaller producers like Lambrook, The Pawn Wine Co. and Scott Winemaking, who are getting rave reviews but who might still be relatively unknown to some casual wine drinkers.

“Alongside these names are plenty of favourites such as Shaw + Smith, Petaluma, Nepenthe and Bird in Hand.  “The winemakers will be pouring their own products so it’s a chance for people not just to taste the wines, but also to get to know the characters behind them.”

Have you tasted any sensational Adelaide Hills wines from 2013? Leave a comment or tweet us @Que_Syrah_

Michael Hall Chardonnay: Cool Grooves and a bit of Funk

Michael Hall 2010 Piccadilly Valley Chardonnay

Mt Lofty summit overlooking Adelaide

Chardonnay fruit from one of the higher vineyards in Adelaide Hills, just down the road from the Mt Lofty summit (710m).  Classed as a cool climate wine region, but the cool night time temperatures really give the vines a rest from the warmer daytimes.

The nose of the Michael Hall Chardonnay has the oak quite upfront, but receding into the background eventually.  Spicy biscuit (gingernut/shortbread) with firm stonefruit and roasted nuts. Hints of wild ferment funk deep in the basement.  Quite intense and complex.  On the palate, it has a nice citrus pith grip, with hints of ripe tropical fruit (pineapple).  Great length, with a good weight holding everything in balance.  Clean finish.

Really typical of Adelaide Hills’ Piccadilly Valley Chardonnay – load of citrus and stonefruit.  For me the oak was a little too noticeable, but I kept returning to the wine and finding more each visit.

Michael Hall Chardonnay

Michael Hall Chardonnay

RRP $40
Alc 13.5%
Cases Produced: 250
Sample: Provided by producer

Note: The 2011 has now been released.  (Ive been somewhat tardy with this post.)

A Classically Rubenesque Princess

The Fiano grape variety originates from the Campania region east of Naples in Italy.  So immediately I think of light fresh seafoods, sometimes richer dishes such as seafood pasta or risotto, or richer poultry dishes.  Generally it has a nutty, herbal, characters which I just remember as pesto; ie pinenuts, basil, parmesan cheese.  It can be quite aromatic, and sometimes with smoky spicy notes.  It naturally retains its acid.

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