Mataro, sounds so good spoken with Australian vowels, a lot better than my horrible attempts at a Clouseau like Mourvèdre. Lovely to see a MW using the local name for his own wine and what an interesting drink it be. Sweet meaty roasting pan juices, sort of soy sauce savour, squishy over ripe blackberries and plums, spices, saltbush, tar and that Barossa coal dusty earth flavour. The structure holds the brooding dark with a fog of rich tannin and perky acidity, all well mixed. There’s a chiaroscuro, lovely word, lightness of sweet floral smells to brighten the twilight of the darkening fruit. You can see why Mataro so often brings an anchor of bass notes to the sweet charm of Grenache and Shiraz. I thought I did well to get my bottle at auction for $30, only to find a six pack for $22 a bottle available on the Caillards’ website. Quite a bargain for such a labour of love. The label artwork completes the package.
13.6% alcohol. Screw cap. $29.50 at auction.
Seems like this could be the best Barossa Grenache I’ve encountered. Depth, complexity and composure. Started a bit reserved and really needed its day of sucking in air. Nutty and twiggy with stalks perhaps? Haze of smoky reduction cleared to a sweep of ripe dark cherry, the Barossa carbon of a dusty coal cellar, sort of vermouth herb cut and fruit and nut chocolate. The more air and the more distinguished in its class it becomes. Beautiful fruit and sweet earth shaped by sweet skin tannin and just the right amount of refreshing acidity. Sinew and flesh. Would give the best CNdP a shove. Worthy.
14.5% alcohol. Screw cap. $38 at auction.
An unlikely looking sparkling wine bottle sealed with a beer bottle thing called a crown seal, I think? Thought I better have a try after reading a great review on Winefront and subsequent funny comments from its maker about doing what your mum tells you. Yes, mum. In the early days of Charlie Melton and his amusing translation of CNdP as Nine Popes, I must admit to enjoying Barossa Shiraz in its very primary, just fermented, squishy berried deliciousness. So it is with this no sulphur youngster. Yes, summer pudding berries, dripping with sweet juice, no hint of over ripeness. Full and exceedingly generous. After a couple of days, it just got better. Added to those berries, there’s the sweet, tarry earth and spice of quality Australian Shiraz with flickers of sage and salt bush, all bound by fresh natural feeling grape acidity and tannins like wine filtered through a layered pile of rocks. Such poise, no hint of yeasty funk or oxidation, maybe just a hint of fresh sourdough? Maybe this is the essence of quality Barossa the great RP fell for those years ago? Always do what your mum says.
13.5% alcohol. Crownseal, first for me. $35 RRP
94 maybe 95 as Winefront says, no argument here.
Another example of trying to find varieties more suited to a warm and getting warmer climate, this time a favourite Italian suited to food from the ocean. It starts with typically Italian white wine neutrality. No fruit depth charge here. There’s smells of warm beds of chamomile in the sun, warm rocks, sweet hay and nuts, all quite savoury. A pleasing roundness in the mouth kept cool and in line by large textured acidity. Good tension, wide and generous but well contained. Lees lend creamy glycerol and a dab of bitter sulphide adds a tang. Well put together by the big player in Australian wine, again. Lumbering corporation with deft fingers. Impressive.
13.5% alcohol. Screw cap. Part of six bottle mystery pack for $90 from TWE largesse or just largeness.
More Barossa Burgundy in the glass for want of a better reference. Just light to medium bodied, that old coal cellar dust, more Barossa than Burgundy, sweet red fruit above. All carried on ripe woody stem tannin and fine natural feeling acidity. Great approach to the making, less is more, gentle. Plenty of perfume but some more depth wouldn’t go amiss. Whilst there’s all sorts of conversations about Pinot Noir clones, it would be interesting to see more out there about Grenache selections, some made long ago in South Australia. Some new grafting or planting from Spanish stock would be something to talk about.
14% alcohol. Screw cap, 596 gms of glass. $30 at auction.
91 graceful points.
Another vintage of The Vincent and it’s proving to be a stalwart in value and quality. Opens quietly with gentle scents of musk, rose oil and then gains some traction with raspberry liqueur, toffee, spice and carbon. Twenty four patient hours later and there’s more spice and fine detail. Wide perfumed lift of rose and red fruit. The acidity and tannin buffered by a washy haze that’s floats the fruit so well. Warm pleasure on a cold night but detailed and thought provoking too. Cracking.
14% alcohol. Screw cap. $22.
Enjoyed this on release so much that three bottles found their way into the stack of cardboard loosely described as a cellar. Some of the early musky exuberance has gone to be replaced by a soft detailed deliciousness. Dried rose petals, sweet raspberries and a graphite tug to finish. No bombast but a quiet sense of right grape in the right place. It’s the calm balance of properly flavour-ripe berries, earthy undertones, fine satin tannin and gentle acidity that has you back for another sip. Beautiful growing and sensitive in the making. Great generosity in the pricing too.
14% alcohol. Screw cap. About $21 on release, bargain for wine from 80 year old vines.
Accidentally typed Soms of Eden, appropriate typo perhaps as this is just the sort of real Barossa that I like to drink. A few years rest in the bottle have rounded and sweetened the beautifully rich flavours. Blackberry, perfumed with cherry, plums and aniseed underpinned by Barossa carbon and coal dust. A veritable symphony that swells with deeply meaningful fruit in its last movement. The blend again is more than the sum of its parts, Grenache the treble, Shiraz the middle and spicy too, Mourvèdre the bass. Warm, rich and generous Barossa at its best. Old Joe in the hat on the label would be as happy as if that were a jazz roll up.
14.50% alcohol. Screwcap. About $27 on release.
Lurking amongst the investment heavy labels on Langton’s wine auction website, you can sometimes find less coveted varieties and labels that don’t attract a bid and behold, a bargain pops up. Increasingly earlier and warmer vintages are highlighting how well the old Grenache vines are handling the warming. 2012 is perhaps seen as one of the cooler seasons since 2000 but there’s no lack of ripeness here. As the dusty bottle development clears, yes it does seem like red wine changes under a screwcap, sweet raspberry, aniseed and fruit and nut chocolate emerge. Maybe a bit of herby whole bunch pulls the fruit into line? Tasty resolved mouthful of the same fruit, spice and chocolate with just a twist of Barossa dark carbon. Perfectly ripe fruit, a swish of tannin and comfortable acidity. Probably developed as far as it’s going but still frisky as it plateaus. Worth the punt at auction in between the traded labels; this actually ended up in a glass.
13.50% alcohol. Screwcap. $14 at auction, probably about $30 on release. Happy.
You have to like a wine with such a suitable imperative instruction and it was my belly indeed via a very satisfactory olfactory interlude! Well pitched smells of musky rose, whole berry ripe cherry and raspberry, woody stalk and dark carbon, all singing in harmony. A good depth of fruit develops and there’s a satisfying mid weight mouthful all knitted together by natural bright acidity and woody stem tannin. Good grapes grown in a place where they seem happy and made into wine in a sensitive and thoughtful way, what more do you want, eh belly?
13.50% alcohol. Screwcap. $35