Category Archives: McLaren Vale

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

Wirra Wirra 2015 Mrs Wigley Rose: Wine Review

As spring progresses and the evenings get warmer, rose’s feature more and more regularly (especially here in South Australia). Roses are quite a broad category ranging from sweet to bone dry, and based on a diverse range of grape varieties. Around South Australia Grenache roses are quite abundant, especially in Barossa and McLaren Vale.

Wirra Wirra Mrs Wigley Rose

Wirra Wirra Mrs Wigley Rose

The Wirra Wirra 2015 Mrs Wigley Rose, is a lively pink colour. The Grenache fruit adding to its vibrancy.  On the nose its packed full of fresh raspberry and strawberry fruit, with a herbal edge. A sweet confectionery/candy floss aroma could easily lead you to think this is at the sweeter end of the rose spectrum.

On the palate of the Mrs Wigley Rose, there is more strawberry and ripe summer berry exuberance, with a prettiness in flavour and appearance. Its all fresh fruit sweetness, finishing dry and crisp, with a little bit of grip to add texture. Ideally enjoyed cold; its full of fun and summer in a bottle.

Alcohol: 13.5%
RRP: $20
Region: McLaren Vale, SA
Source: Provided by producer

 

dArenberg 2011 Sticks & Stones: Wine Review

For those used to big dark fruity red wines, you may require a little encouragement to approach the d’Arenberg Sticks & Stones.  But I strongly encourage you.  Its a blend of 60% Tempranillo, 25% Grenache, Souzao and Tinta Cao.  Never heard of Souzao nor Tinta Cao? Dont worry, I had to look them up as well.

dArenberg Sticks & Stones

The 2011 d’Arenberg Sticks & Stones has lovely meaty, gamey aromas. Definitely more savoury and earthy end of the spectrum, but also nice ripe dark cherry keeping it fresh.

On the palate there are more savoury characters, like cured meats, and Italian herbs. Medium bodied, with warming alcohol.  The tannins are smooth and drying, and cry out for a platter of cured meats, and roasted vegetable antipasto in the afternoon sun.

The 2011 d’Arenberg Sticks & Stones is interesting and not your normal package. But you shouldn’t expect anything normal from d’Arenberg.

Alcohol:  14.4%
RRP: $29
Region: McLaren Vale, SA
Source: Provided by producer

dArenberg 2011 Laughing Magpie: Wine Review

dArenberg Laughing Magpie

The Laughing Magpie from d’Arenberg has always been a consistent performer.  A traditional blend of Shiraz, with a bit of Viognier adding softness and floral characters.

Alas, the 2011 d’Arenberg Laughing Magpie took me by surprise.  On the nose there was a bit of forest floor up front, followed by meaty characters and dark plum. All-round it wasn’t an intense aroma as expected and probably lacking the floral component of previous years. Perhaps I was having a sensory bad day.

On the palate it was soft and drying, with good length. Dark cherries, ripe plum, a whiff of cracked black pepper, and clove/allspice.  But overriding was a funky smoked meat quality which distracted.  It reminded me of an acquaintance, Brett, who I haven’t seen for a few years. Shall we just say he had a personal aroma problem, but he also liked funk music, so we put up with him because he was interesting. [Obtuse cork-dork reference.]

On the second day the funk had dissipated. But overall it wasn’t the Laughing Magpie I knew so well.

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

Gemtree 2013 Bloodstone Shiraz: Wine Review

Gemtree Wines, situated in South Australia’s McLaren Vale wine region, was created back in 1998 by the Buttery Family.  But their journey along the organic and biodynamic path was really only undertaken from 2007.

Gemtree Bloodstone Shiraz

Their properties cover a broad range of McLaren Vale’s already complex subregions. So what better way to show off the fruit from these regions than through minimal intervention and organic principles.

A visit to Gemtree’s cellar door (which has great views across McLaren Vale region) helps explain not only the different soil types across the region, but also the philosophy behind organics and especially biodynamics.

The Gemtree 2013 Bloodstone Shiraz, is typical of a McLaren Vale’s ripe and generous Shiraz. On the nose there is vibrant dark fruit, and a background of sweet spice. The palate, while fuller in style, definitely not over the top. Its a noticeably warm 15%.  Dark blue fruits, ripe plum and degree of adhesive grippiness. A finish of rare charred meat, (a little metallic) made me think the wines name had influenced my sensory skills.  In all a good value McLaren Vale Shiraz.

Alcohol: 15.0%
RRP: $16
Region: McLaren Vale
Source: Provided by producer

For those into the finer points of biodynamics, this wine was tasted on a leaf day (7 Sept 2015).  Which I now know is not ideal for wine tasting. It was also tasted the following day – a fruit day.  Which is recommended for tasting.

dArenberg 2011 Dead Arm Shiraz: Wine Review

I’m not going to mention the 2011 vintage in South Australia. [I mentioned it once, but I think I got away with it.] The 2011 d’Arenberg Dead Arm Shiraz is an interesting beast. It presents a few of the typical McLaren Vale Shiraz characters, such as dark berries and black olive. But also hints at more development than expected from a new release. darenberg Dead arm shiraz

On the nose there’s aromas of ripe dark fruit, black olive, bay leaf, and pink peppercorn. With definite points for complexity and interest.

On the palate the Dead Arm Shiraz has more developed flavours, but maintains its liveliness with higher acid. The acid actually somewhat ungainly in the lineup. Chalky adhesive tannins dominate the dark berries, olive brine, and gamey flavours.

An interesting beast indeed, and consistent with the vintage conditions.

Alcohol: 14.3%
RRP: $65
Region: McLaren Vale
Source: Provided by producer