Category Archives: McLaren Vale

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 2014 Woodhenge Shiraz: Wine Review

McLaren Vale doesn’t have a Stonehenge, but it does have a Woodhenge.  Wirra Wirra’s late owner, Greg Trott, wanted to build a post and rail fence of herculean proportions. It uses massive red gum timber sourced from the Flinders Ranges, with some of the pieces weighing over three tonnes!  But slightly less colossal is the Wirra Wirra Woodhenge Shiraz.

The Wirra Wirra 2014 Woodhenge Shiraz shows great regional style, and displays what McLaren Vale does so well. Lots of plush ripe fruit, but also showing moderation.

On the nose there are aromas of warm spices including cinnamon, milk chocolate, and dried fig. On the palate its luscious and warming. Fleshy ripe plums, ripe mulberries, and chocolate coated liquorice. A hint of sweet oak. Medium to full bodied, with flavours showing restraint but still lasting in the mouth and tempting you for more. Its all supported by powdery tannins adding more texture.

The Wirra Wirra Woodhenge Shiraz is sterotypical McLaren Vale Shiraz, and a great example of it.

Wirra Wirra Woodhenge




Alcohol: 14.5%
Price: $35
Region: McLaren Vale, SA
Source: Provided by producer

Wirra Wirra 2013 RSW Shiraz: Wine Review

The Wirra Wirra RSW Shiraz is named after Robert Strangways Wigley, a noted South Australian eccentric and cricketer who established Wirra Wirra back in 1894. Its seems that McLaren Vale is particularly good at producing ‘interesting’ characters, as well as great Shiraz even to this day.

Wirra Wirra RSW

Wirra Wirra RSW

On the nose there a complex array of fruit, ranging from lighter red berries to dark ripe plums.  Some powder cocoa aromas as well as dusty earth.

On the palate its rich and ripe, but nothing over extracted. Dark berries, ripe plums, and some hints of mocca or dark chocolate. Not really showing the typical McLaren Vale olive character which is sometimes found in wines of the region. Its shows both power and restraint simultaneously.  The RSW Shiraz would complement slow cooked meat dished, preferable in the middle of winter, with or without friends.

Needless to say the Wirra Wirra RSW will easily cellar for 10-15 years, with substantial tannins supporting it for the long haul.

RRP $70
Alc 14.5%
Region: McLaren Vale
Source: Provided by producer

dArenberg 2012 Ironstone Pressings: Wine Review

For many winemakers and many regions of South Australia 2012 vintage was a relief.  Ideal ripening conditions, on top of the previous wet winter meant vines were healthy and fruit in top quality. So expectations are pretty high for the 2012 releases, let alone those icon wines from top producers like d’Arenberg. Ironstone Pressings

The  d’Arenberg Ironstone Pressings as always impressed me as a blend.  The 2010 Ironstone Pressings was memorable. The 2012 release is a blend of 70% Grenache, 25% Shiraz and 5% Mourvedre. The Grenache dominance brings with it gorgeous floral and violet lightness, followed by a gamey meat savouriness.  Its very complex with many layers developing and showing itself.

On the palate definitely at the savoury end of the spectrum; warm sun-baked McLaren Vale earth, fresh sour cherry. The complex flavours linger and continue to unfold. The tannins are fine and somewhat drying, but the wine is still soft and lively.  Very enjoyable drinking now and as with all their icon releases will develop over the next decade. The d’Arenberg Ironstone Pressings is good value at $65.

RRP $65
Alc 14.4%
Region: McLaren Vale
Source: Provided by producer

Wirra Wirra 2013 The Absconder Grenache: Wine Review

It may be my personal predilection to all things Pinot, but Grenache is also a variety which works so well.  Not only from a personal wine preference, but also in conjunction with the food and climate of South Australia.

Over the last few years we have seen some restraint coming back into wine styles – more cooler climate Shiraz, earlier picked Grenache.  Grenache is no longer only good for hand-to-hand combat, with alcohols of 16.5% plus (although there are still some around). Producers are letting the freshness of the fruit come to the forefront. More red berries and sour cherries leaping from the glass, rather than almost fortified over ripe dark berries.wirra wirra absconder grenache

The Wirra Wirra 2013 Absconder Grenache is another in the band of merry producers with a lighter touch in the vineyard. On the nose there’s ripe cherries, and some warm Asian spice. A subtle savoury/leather character adds complexity.

On the palate there’s a lightness of touch to this medium bodied Grenache. Its open and inviting. Ripe plums and a rare roast meat.  Warm roasted fennel provides a liquorice component. The acidity is noticeable, but all in balance with the fruit. The Wirra Wirra Absconder is indeed a lovely wine.

RRP $70
Alc 14.5%
Region: McLaren Vale
Source: Provided by producer

dArenberg 2012 Derelict Vineyard Grenache: Wine Review

McLaren Vale has been a great proponent of the Grenache variety.  Its suits the warmer climate of the Mediterranean region. While it can be at risk of over yielding, and higher sugar and therefore alcohol, careful vineyard management can produce stunning examples.  d’Arenberg have been advocates of Grenache and especially older vine Grenache.darenberg Derelict Vineyard Grenache

The 2012 Derelict Vineyard Grenache, comes from a resurrected bush-vine vineyard. Restoring these vineyards has been a time consuming labour of love for the d’Arenberg team. The result is a wine with aromas of warmed earth, cola, spices and white pepper. No hints of confectionery, but plenty of fruit.  Ripe raspberries, and plenty of ripe darker fruit leap about.  It looks almost Shiraz like in colour.

On the palate its definitely bigger bodied than some Grenache’s, with more tannin and intensity – again making me think of Shiraz. Flavours of sour cherries, white pepper and warm spices. Nice fresh acidity balances the ripeness. Finishing with more savoury edge. Some may choose to cellar for a few years for the tannin to soften, but it could also be a gateway drug for those Shiraz lovers wanting to explore the Grenache style more.

Alcohol: 14.2%
RRP: $29
Region: McLaren Vale, SA
Source: Provided by producer