Following on, the first afternoon in McLaren Vale tour was started with Shiraz and Shiraz Blends Tasting at Kangarilla Road. 40 different samples from the region where on show, further to those that stood out in the Master Class, my picks were:
- 2009 d'Arenberg Laughing Magpie Shiraz Viognier
- 2008 d'Arenberg Footbolt Shiraz
- 2008 d'Arenberg d'Arry's Original Shiraz Grenache
- 2005 Geoff Merrill Reserve Shiraz
- 2008 Kay Brothers Hillside Shiraz
- 2008 Kay Brothers Basket Pressed Shiraz
- 2008 Maxwell Ellen Street Shiraz
- 2008 Mitolo Jester Shiraz
- 2009 Mitolo Savitar Shiraz
- 2009 Paxton MV Shiraz
- 2009 Paxton AAA Shiraz Grenache
- 2009 Penny's Hill The Skeleton Key' Shiraz
- 2007 Yangarra Ironheart Shiraz
but by this stage the most impressive drop was the 'hail mary' from McLaren/Vale Beer/Company and their Vale/Ale and Vale/Dry.
After a chopper flight over the region and quick refresh at the McLaren Vale Motel, it was off to Willunga. The dinner plans were at Russell's Pizza accompanied by Aged Wine, Fortified and Stickies.
Now Russell's Pizza is quite the institution around the Vale, only opening Friday and Saturday evenings. In a rustic shed with big trestle tables, the pizza coming out of the wood-fired ovens leaves no doubt why it is a regular sell out. If you get the chance, eat there!
My opening drop was a 1998 Coriole Chenin Blanc that was simply sublime, the difficult job of staying on the wine after such a big day was made much easier by such a fine drop. But that was as far as I got before Scott from Woodstock had found me to show off a few of his craft.
His opening gambit was the 2008 Pilot's View Shiraz, an ode to Douglas Collett A.M. Douglas was a Spitfire and Hurricane pilot over Europe in WWII, the views from which was said to influence his decision to enter the wine industry on return to Australia. It is from his autobiography that the title of this post is taken. In 1973, he purchased Woodstock Wines which is now in the hands of his son Scott, who had some more plans for me in the name of 1999 & 2001 The Stocks Shiraz. True to the Woodstock name, you could probably pull the splinters out of your tongue even after a decade in the bottle. Great big tannins that are unique to this singular winery.
My other special mention for the evening goes out to Kay Brothers Rare Muscat, which was the last wine for me... till the morning...