The domaine’s top of the range label, still at retail for less than most CNdPs, is normally a blend of 60% old vine Mourvèdre with equal parts Grenache and Syrah making up the rest. It’s always with some trepidation that I risk a bid at auction for something well past its tenth birthday but here’s a well cared for bottle. No ullage, good cork of some length, always a relative term, no leakage and no taint, phew. Starts off with those dusty old bottle of wine smells, no surprise, swirl and air, then gloriously clean plumes of old leather couches, sweet kirsch cherries, blackberries, garrigue and spice, all deep, warming and rich. The fruit power and sweetness backed by an umami glycerol blanket of game meat pan juices, all those caramelised delicious bits. An earthy bass line of clay soil broken up with chalky stones, really. Remarkably all that richness is cooled by perfect fine pixel acidity and the ripest sweet tannins. The label may not be cutting edge fashion but this is great natural wine, biodynamic, no additions apart from some sulphur, I think and so clean and pure. A smile on the face of old Bacchus and me too.
14.5% alcohol. Cork. $33.80 bid.
Mataro by another name would still be Mourvèdre. From the dry hinterland behind the horror of the Costa Blanca comes a suave, clean version of the grape that’s doesn’t mind a bit of sunshine itself. Dark cherries, honey biscuits and sort of maple syrup without the sweetness of course. Under the gentle extraction lurks a little of that Spanish iron ruggedness. Upon the second day, there’s more heft. Dark dried fruit, soot and dry scrub, sweetened by cherry, liquorice and new leather. Tannins and acid well judged for somewhere so apparently dry and hot, no bull in the ceramic outlet. Bit of a sexy beast really, innit.
14% alcohol. Diam. Bargain as part of the wholesaler’s clearance.
Started 90 ended 92 points.
Proper Australian names for a Syrah Mourvèdre blend. Smells of old linseed oiled cricket bats, that’s also something the French might not recognise, polished walnut and leather in an old Rover motor, blackberry and damson preserves. Old England without the airfare. Second day, there’s some nougat oak which sinks into bright nutty cherry red fruit bowled up on a good length. Background notes of darker fruit, licorice and dried woody bush land. Typical firm Clare acidity and furry ripe tannin close the deal. It’s that full whack shiny, almost honeyed, red fruit that proves its value. Pretty label, real wine.
13.5% alcohol. Screw cap. $26 at Langton’s on line store, good value.
Wine is a never ending opportunity for the pedant. Do you have to use the accent grave on the first e of Mourvèdre or can we drop it for ease in English? Weirdly my spellcheck thinks it should be there. Then there’s that old thorny question of Mourvèdre’s innate flavours and their similarity to those from the spoilage of a nasty organism known as Brett for short. Well, this does smell a bit old oaky and a little wild. Likewise, as it warms in the mouth. But wait, there’s still delicious tarry and deep flavours of black cherry, with sweet roasting pan juices that swell nicely as this goes down. All helped along on rich velvet tannin and fresh acidity. There’s still the hint of the farmyard though. Brett can thin the flavours out through the palate and this Mourvèdre has those deep bass notes but not much top end or middle range which seems typical of the variety. It also has a slightly grubby spice note like our unwanted friend, Brett. Grape or bug? Such flavour confusion and a moderately baffled drinker. Still very enjoyable and a long way from the commercial fruit sweetness of the mainstream and wildly interesting for this pedant.
14.50% alcohol. Screwcap. Was about $26 on release.
92 points of pleasure and intellectual confusion.
The most elderly first. The mail out said 52% Shiraz and 48% Malbec from 1898 Central and 1919 Eastern vineyards. Youngest vines are now centurions, happy birthday. Like the best 2000s Wendouree vintages this took a while to unfurl. That unmistakable mossy, minty and eucalypt menthol lift with dark cherry and berry fruit and a puff of lemony oak. Builds on the tongue as Wendouree does do with more Clare dark cherry and an anchor of fair but firm skin tannin and natural ripe acid. There’s also something wine gum dark and mysteriously spicy too. Beautiful grapes and place no mucking about.
13.50% alcohol. Cork. $48 from the mailing list.
Now the younger. 65% Shiraz and 35% Mataro from 1893 Central and 1920 Eastern vineyards. The first Wendouree vintage sealed with screwcap, a posh Italian one too. If the mid 2000s started to show a bit less extraction, then by 2009 things are becoming positively elegant! Fragrant with menthol, anise, cherry and dark plum. Just a seasoning of nutty oak. Probably just imagination but this seems so fresh and pure, could it be the change to screwcap? Fine mid weight wine in the mouth that once again builds and then builds more flavour as it travels through. Fruit as above plus some earthy tar broods darkly. Such different poise and balance compared to Wendouree from last century. Must say I’d like a Tardis to try those young vine ones from before and between the world wars. Still very positive tannin but perhaps finer and more melting? Do enjoy telling those not aligned to Wendouree who ask how to join us to check out the Brady’s extensive social media presence. Rude cheek of a grumpy old man.
13.80% alcohol. Screwcap! $50 from the mailing list.
Seems to take a day to really settle into being comfortable in the glass as some deep black fruit finally emerges to match the crunch of warm leather on a hot dusty stone path. As far down the path of dark ripeness as some of us would like to tread but still a clear bass voice happily at home. Such a surly bloke of a grape. Warm heart though. Flavours of coal black pudding and roasting pan juices. Warm firm handshake of ripe tannin and natural feeling acidity. Yangarra know where they’re taking you.
14.50% alcohol. Screwcap. $26.
From vines in the hills above Perpignan in Roussillon via the seminal natural wine caviste La Cave des Papilles in Paris’ 14th. Developed but still some freshness to the dark cherry fruit and relatively high acidity. Improved with being open for a day as the parts came together to make a delicious wine. As well as cherries there was a lasting sweet roasting pan juice flavour tinged with rosemary. Clean and fine for its warm climate origins. The last glass was wistfully the best.
12.50% alcohol. Cork. 25 euros.
Crikey, if you told me 15 or so years ago I’d actually be enjoying the Barossa so much I would have worried my taste was due a serious swerve or I’d like coconuts as much as Python’s Holy Grail. This is a dark, mysterious and proper dry red wine not liquid fruitcake. Great to see the local Mataro on the label. Dark but still alive fruit to smell and taste. In particular Sunday roast, road tar followed by sweeter red fruits and some dark delicious mystery. Tastes great as a piece and tricky to unpick. The acid and tannin are both ripe, bring freshness and are melded well into the whole mouthful. No confection here just vinosity. Eeow..that’s a bit wordy.
14.00% alcohol. Screwcap. $27 ish.