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Wine Reviews

d’Arenberg d’Arry’s Original Shiraz Grenache McLaren Vale 2016

This is another well made shiraz grenache from d’Arenberg and very good value at $20. It has aromas of spice and red fruits. The palate is full bodied, soft and plush. Ready to drink now, this wine can be consumed over the next 5 years. Rating: Good. Abv: 14%. Price: $20. Website: darenberg.com.au. Source: Sample.

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d’Arenberg The Custodian McLaren Vale Grenache 2016

This is a very good example of McLaren Vale grenache and a steal at $20. The 2016 vintage has aromas of earth, redcurrant and spice. The palate has firm and structured tannins, that surprise with their vigour. Drink now or over the next 6-8 years. Rating: Good to Very Good. Abv: 14.5%. Price: $20. Website: darenberg.com.au. Source: Sample.

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Wine Reviews

Clefs des Papes Châteauneuf-du-Pape 2015

This is a delicious Châteauneuf-du-Pape, a region whose wines I taste infrequently.  From the 2015 vintage, the Clefs des Papes has aromas of savoury plums, stones and smoke.  The palate has great length and is moreish.  This is a great value CNP that is ready to drink now.  Rating: Very Good. Abv: 14.5%. Price: $50. Website: n/a.

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d’Arenberg The Derelict Vineyard Grenache McLaren Vale 2014

This is another excellent grenache from d’Arenberg in McLaren Vale.  Deeply coloured (for grenache), the 2014 vintage has savoury aromas of chocolate, liquorice and cherry.  The palate is full bodied with well integrated ripe fruit and cedar characters, and very good length on the finish.  Ready to drink now, this is a very good example of McLaren Vale grenache and a well priced one too, at sub $30.  Rating: Good to Very Good. Abv: 14.5%. Price: $29. Website: www.darenberg.com.au. Source: Sample.

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Wine Reviews

d’Arenberg The Bonsai Vine Grenache Shiraz Mourvèdre McLaren Vale 2016

The 2016 vintage of d’Arenberg’s “The Bonsai” GSM is a blend of 48% grenache, 47% shiraz and 5% mourvèdre.  It is quite reticent in its aroma, with some red berry characters.  The palate is baked and full bodied in impression, with sweet and savoury edges and somewhat prominent acidity.  Ready to drink now, this is sound drinking.  Rating: Acceptable to Good. Abv: 14.5%. Price: $29. Website: www.darenberg.com.au. Source: Sample.

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Wine Reviews

d’Arenberg The Ironstone Pressings Grenache Shiraz Mourvèdre 2016

Image courtesy of d’Arenberg

d’Arenberg’s “The Ironstone Pressings” continues its form as a benchmark McLaren Vale GSM.  A blend of 70% grenache, 25% shiraz and 5% mourvèdre, the 2016 vintage is savoury and earthy, but with ripe and full flavoured fruit underneath.  The palate is full bodied, viscous and has quite firm but ripe tannins and long length on the finish.  This wine can be approached now or over the next decade.  Rating: Outstanding. Abv: 14.5%. Price: $75. Website: www.darenberg.com.au. Source: Sample.

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Wine Reviews

M. Chapoutier Les Incontournables Crozes-Hermitage and Luberon 2016

Here are two sound releases from M. Chapoutier, both from the 2016 vintage.  Luberon sits between the southern Rhône valley and Provence, whilst Crozes-Hermitage is in the northern Rhône and quite different in style.  The 2016 vintage appears sound in the northern Rhône and a great vintage in the southern Rhône.  I find Jancis Robinson’s website useful for vintage reports, although they can be on the tough side.  See here www.jancisrobinson.com/learn/vintages.

Luberon Les Incontournables 2016
This is pretty good for $14.  A grenache blend, it has fruity aromatics and an intensity that could place this wine as from Australia.  There’s sweet fruit, herbs and chocolate by way of aroma.  The palate is full bodied, with good length and a hot finish.  Rating: Good. Abv: 14%. Price: $14. Website: www.chapoutier.com

Crozes-Hermitage Les Incontournables 2016
This is quite a lovely Crozes-Hermitage release.  Less deeply coloured than the Luberon, it has fragrant aromatics of perfume, roses, florals and apricot.  The palate is quite primary with some jammy fruit and approachable tannins.   This wine is ready to drink now.  Rating: Good. Abv: 13%. Price: $28. Website: www.chapoutier.com.

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Wine Reviews

Triennes Rosé IGP Méditérranée 2017

The number and variety of Provençal rosés available in Australia seems to be increasing.  This is the best I have tried recently.  A blend of cinsault, grenache, syrah and merlot, it is from the Méditérranée  IGP region, which includes the Provence wine region in southern France.  The label was founded by some serious names, the founder of Domaine Dujac and Aubert de Villaine.  In the glass, the wine has salt, mineral and floral overtones.  The palate has good and refreshing acidity.  This wine is recommended.  Rating: Good. Abv: 12.5%. Price: $20. Website: www.triennes.com.

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Wine Reviews

Artea Alpes de Haute Provence Rosé 2016

This Provençal rose (from the Alpes de Haute Provence IGP in France) is so pale it almost resembles a white wine in colour.  Grape varieties are not specified.  However, this region is known for grenache, syrah and cinsault blends, so this is presumed.  Its aromatics remind of gentle florals.  The palate is flavoursome with nectarine notes and fresh acidity.  A pleasant rose for immediate consumption.  Rating: Good. Abv: 13%. Price: $20+. 

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Wine Reviews

Hardy’s new release 2015 and 2016 sub regional McLaren Vale Tintara reds

I recently tried Hardy’s new release sub regional Tintara reds, all from McLaren Vale.  These are all very high quality wines and present great value for money at the premium end of the market.

Hardy’s Tintara Blewitt Springs Shiraz 2015, McLaren Vale 
This shiraz is from the Blewitt Springs, which is the furthest part of McLaren Vale from the sea and sits at approximately 200 metres of altitude.  In the glass, it is a very classical expression of McLaren Vale shiraz.  A deep purple colour, the 2015 vintage has aromas of licorice, boysenberry, gentle vanilla and juicy ripe blackberries.  The palate is full bodied with great length and reminders of juicy black fruits, dark plums.   Soft tannins and long length complete the picture.  This wine sits comfortably at this price and can be approached now, or cellared for a decade or more.  Rating: Very Good. Abv: 14.5%. Price: $80. Source: Sample.

Hardy’s Tintara Yeenunga Shiraz 2015, McLaren Vale
This is an outstanding first release of this label, with the grapes sourced from an old vine single vineyard in the north of McLaren Vale.   Deeply coloured in the glass, it has a rich aroma of saturated plums and (well judged) cedar.  The palate is full bodied and viscous, with notes of soy and licorice.  It finishes with long length and some firm tannins.  Joyously approachable now, this wine will also reward long cellaring.  Rating: Outstanding. Abv: 14%. Price: $80. Source: Sample.


Hardy’s Tintara Reserve Grenache 2016, McLaren Vale
The best grenache, in my opinion, does not really resemble grenache but takes on a different and substantial character.  McLaren Vale is one of the few regions where this is achieved, taking an international perspective.  This wine is McLaren Vale grenache at its best, with aromatics of meats, pepper, spice and red fruits.  The palate is full bodied, with long length and a spicy and peppery aspect.  This is a serious grenache that can be approached now or cellared for at least five years.  Rating: Very Good to Outstanding. Abv: 14.5%. Price: $70. Source: Sample.