Tag: McLaren Vale

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.

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.

d’Arenberg The Ironstone Pressings Grenache Shiraz Mourvèdre 2015

d’Arenberg’s The Ironstone Pressings is a benchmark GSM from the McLaren Vale region.  The 2015 vintage in the glass here has aromatics that remind of black fruits and cedar, the latter particularly well handled.  The palate is dry, the tannins are firm and the length long.  This wine supports my thesis that grenache (and its blends) represent some of d’Arenberg’s (and McLaren Vale’s) best wines. Rating: Very Good. Abv: 14.5%. Price: $70. Source: Sample.

d’Arenberg The Footbolt Shiraz McLaren Vale 2016

This is a deeply coloured and full flavoured release of The Footbolt shiraz from d’Arenberg that punches well above its $18 price.  In the glass, there are aromas of plums and black fruits.  The palate is dry, full bodied with very firm tannins and has attractive ripe fruit.  This wine can be drunk now (give it a good decant) or cellared for a few years to show its best.  Rating: Good. Abv: 14.3%. Price: $18. Source: Sample.

d’Arenberg The Laughing Magpie Shiraz Viognier McLaren Vale 2013

They’ve nailed this one.  A d’Arenberg staple, this is a potentially outstanding release of The Laughing Magpie shiraz viognier and may well be the best wine yet I have tasted under this label.  A deeply coloured shiraz in the glass, it has attractive and brooding aromas of licorice, black fruits, cedar and leather.  The palate is full bodied and ripe, with some tannic grip and moreish bitterness.  Rating: Very Good. Abv: 14.6%. Price: $29. Source: Sample.

d’Arenberg The Dead Arm Shiraz 2015

The Dead Arm continues to maintain its spot near the top of the tree for McLaren Vale shiraz and its price remains very fair at $70.  The newly released 2015 vintage of the Dead Arm is deeply coloured in the glass, and opens to aromas of plums and spices.  The palate is full bodied, rich yet restrained with long length and mid weight tannins and a certain freshness and lightness of touch in context of course.  This is a Dead Arm that can be approached now in its youth, but will certainly benefit from a decade or more in the cellar.  Rating: Outstanding. Abv: 14.4%. Price: $70. Source: Sample.

d’Arenberg The Coppermine Road Cabernet Sauvignon 2015

This is a serious McLaren Vale cabernet sauvignon from d’Arenberg and will certainly benefit from a good decant if approached in its youth. The 2015 vintage has aromas of juicy black fruits, supplemented by more savoury and bitter characters of earth and leaf. The palate has good length, the tannins are not insubstantial and the body is medium-full. With time the wine opens up more, presenting a rich and powerful wine that will benefit from long ageing. Rating: Very Good. Abv: 14.5%. Price: $70. Source: Sample.

d’Arenberg The High Trellis Cabernet Sauvignon 2015

This is a good release of d’Arenberg’s The High Trellis Cabernet Sauvignon. From cabernet sauvignon grown in McLaren Vale and the 2015 vintage, it has a deep colour in the glass, with aromas of jammy black fruits, earth and leaf. The oak influence is judicious, with only old oak used. The palate is towards medium-full bodied and the length good. This wine punches well above its weight at only $18, and indeed, bears a good resemblance to its elder sibling, the Coppermine Road cabernet sauvignon just reviewed. Terrific value. Rating: Good. Abv: 14.5%. Price: $18. Source: Sample.

Some good new release McLaren Vale grenache from d’Arenberg

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.

6 new release Australian reds

Following from my earlier tasting of six new release Australian whites, today I tasted through six new release Australian reds between $16 and $29, all blind. In a difficult group, there were no particular threads.
Blue Wren No716 Single Vineyard Merlot
Neither vintage nor region are clearly declared on this bottle, although my guesses are 2016 and Mudgee. Savoury, oak and smoke aromas. Smoke and spice on the palate, supplemented by sweet fruited cherries. The tannins are powdery and there is evident spritz in the glass. A bit clumsy in all (in my opinion), with an acidic finish. Rating: Acceptable. Abv: 13.5%. Price: N/A. Source: Sample.
Riddock Coonawarra Merlot 2015
Deep colour with restrained and savoury impression. Muted in aroma – blackcurrants mostly. Full body, spice and plums on the palate. Some evidence of oak, but not overly so. Length good, but acid impression affects the balance on the finish. Rating: Acceptable to Good. Abv: 15%. Price: $20. Source: Sample.
Craftsman Rich & Smooth Coonawarra Cabernet Sauvignon 2014
Deeply coloured, this wine has restrained aromatics of plum, anise and varnish. The palate is full bodied and the tannins drying. Astringent acidity on the finish detracted from this wine. Rating: Acceptable. Abv: 13.5%. Price: $16. Source: Sample.
Riddock Coonawarra Shiraz 2015
This was the second best wine of the group. Pronounced aromas of mint and eucalyptus. Could only be Australian. Balanced palate with sweet, minty fruit and mid range length. A sound expression of Coonawarra shiraz, and a region/grape variety combination that is underrated. Rating: Good. Abv: 15%. Price: $20. Source: Sample.
d’Arenberg The Galvo Garage Cabernet Sauvignon Merlot Petit Verdot McLaren Vale 2013
Deeply coloured with a sweet expression of blackcurrant, vanilla and cedar. Pronounced in expression and plummy. The tannins are drying but in all a sound wine. Rating: Acceptable to Good. Abv: 14.4%. Price: $29. Source: Sample.
Mitchell Clare Valley Mataro Grenache 2012
This wine was the best of the set. Lighter in colour, with an orange rim. It opens to restrained aromatics of cherry, earth and tobacco. The palate is towards full bodied, with fine tannins and a touch of bitterness on the finish. Rating: Good. Abv: 14.8%. Price: $25. Source: Sample.