McLaren vale’s proximity to the ocean creates substantial meso-climate variation. The wide range of soils from terra rossa to sandy soils around Blewitt springs enable a range of wine styles. Shiraz is king with over 50% of total crush, whilst Cabernet Sauvignon shines in the cooler sites. Many old Grenache vines survive from the late 1800s and more recently there is tremendous experimentation with Mediterranean varieties.
First stop and our base for 2 nights was Serafino on Kangarilla Road. This beautiful property has majestic gardens, a lake, 200 year old gum trees, swimming pool, luxurious accommodation and an excellent restaurant. Maria Maglieri kindly whizzed me over in her sporty Audi to our first tasting.
Mark Lloyd planted Australia’s first sangiovese in 1985, which now comprises 10 per cent of Coriole’s estate output, beside other significant plantings of Barbera, Nebbiolo. There is a new wave of diversification of Australian wine noticeable in this region with a wide range of Mediterranean varietals being experimented.
We were treated to a selection of these wines over the most delicious lunch amidst Coriole’s lovely gardens.
Serafino Fiano 2016 lemon,pear nice texture touch of tannin, acid crisp. (This varietal is the one they’re tipping, it retains acid in a hot climate, small berries, good texture , good with Asian food and easy to pronounce!)
Angoves Fiano 2016 – Tinned fruit, lovely texture.
Coriole Picpoule Very crisp acid , mouth puckering , Languedoc’s white grape with distinctive character.
Olivers Taranga Vermentino oranges ,mandarin saline (lees stirring)
Coriole Chenin Blanc 2003 +Beeswax, paraffin honey lush mouthfeel length delicious lucky Mark brought this one out .
After a brief refreshment back at Serafino we headed to the Angove family winery for the evening .
Grenache tasting at Angove
‘Grenache is our Pinot’ stated Steve from S.C.Pannel . Steve was clear about his philosophy of expressing the purity of the terroir and grape without any need for the interference of oak or fuller bodied styles. The wines tasted were light to medium bodied, lively juicy wild strawberry and rasberry scented fruit ,perfumed with a touch of spice. These wines really displayed their beauty and are very much the jewel in Mclaren Vale’s crown.
Ministry of Clouds 2015 Grenache red cherries fresh light
Noon eclipse 2015 sl cloudy perfumed rose, hint spice liquorice nutmeg turmeric changed over the hour
Angove 2014 Warboys + +beautiful,complex earth spice perfume savoury smoky
Samuels Gorge 2014 red fruits strawberry wild lovely length freshness perfume +
SC pannel Grenache fruits but also smoky meaty savoury rust blood
Yangarra Estate sandy soil bush vines ceramic eggs keeps it cool small cap min oxidation good tannin acid savouriness structure
Dinner followed, opposite the lovely Jennifer of the McLaren vale wine organisation.Another gourmet treat,with trays of sliced shoulder of lamb,pearl barley and selection of Grenache followed by local McLaren vale cheeses .
Reflections of the day.
The Aussies are refreshingly direct, friendly, welcoming, passionate and innovative. They appreciate comments and being open and verbal at tastings.
Watch this space for different varietals in future especially Fiano and Mencia .
Lighter more restrained terroir driven elegant wines .. it’s a young country so still finding their best sites and their feet.
My favourite wines of the tour notified by +/++/+++