Here are six new release wines from d’Arenberg in McLaren Vale that are between $15 and $29. All of the wines were tasted blind, and the two grenache based wines stood out for their quality. This tasting confirmed my view that the best grenache departs from the primary fruit/jube/high alcohol renditions of this grape variety, and presents almost like a different grape variety grown in the right places and raised by the right hands. It also provided further evidence to support my view that grenache is a jewel in d’Arenberg’s offering.
Grenache and blends
The Derelict Vineyard McLaren Vale Grenache 2013
This wine has good intensity of colour for a grenache. It opens to quite attractive smokey aromas. The palate is sweet fruited with dark plums, licorice and eucalyptus in the background. There is towards long length on the finish, firm tannins (for grenache) and a not unattractive bitter character. This is an interesting and complex wine that it is a very good example of McLaren Vale grenache. $29 is well spent on this wine. Rating: Very Good. Abv: 14.2%. Price: $29.
The Bonsai Vine McLaren Vale Grenache Shiraz Mourvedre 2015
Here’s another good grenache, this time a GSM blend. Medium intensity of colour. The aromas of this wine are quite jammy, with plum and popcorn oak notes. But mostly of primary fruit. The palate is medium to full bodied with quite fine tannins and medium length. Rating: Good to Very Good. Alc 13%. Price: $29
Lucky Lizard Adelaide Hills Chardonnay 2016
Switching now to chardonnay. Lemon in colour. Pleasant aroma of lemons and florals. The palate is dry with a touch of oak influence. Mediumish body and acidity. Nice length and a very light spritz to freshen palate. A sound chardonnay. Rating: Good. Abv: 13.7%. Price: $25.
Hermit Crab McLaren Vale Viogner Marsanne 2016
Very fragrant with mandarin, herbal, sauvignon like aromas and green apple suggestions. A smidgen of oak is there. The palate is dry, medium bodied with talc and almond notes and some spritz and gentle length on the finish. Hard to fault at $15. Rating: Good. Abv: 13.3%. Price: $15.
Shiraz and cabernet
The Footbolt McLaren Vale Shiraz 2015
This is deeply coloured next to the grenache. There is an aroma of cedar, herbs and cedar. There some evidence of oak, some new. The palate reminds of olive and mint characters. Acids and tannins present firmly. Rating: Acceptable to Good. Abv: 14.5%. Price: $18
The High Trellis McLaren Vale Cabernet Sauvignon 2015
Deep colour. It opens to aromas of olive and brine, and initially proves quite pungent. Varietal characters of earth and licorice emerge with time in the glass. The palate is full bodied, the length quite good, and tannins quite overt and powdery. Decanting recommended. Rating: Acceptable to Good. Alc: 14.8%. Price: $18.