Tuesday, May 24, 2011

The First Morning

To be clear this was a wine appreciation trip. After a quick stop at Toops Hill, view shown left, I was off to Yangarra Estate the hosts of the Grenache and Grenache Blends tasting, not to mention a much needed coffee and a bite of breakfast.

The standouts from the tasting were:
So what is Cadenzia? Well it is a wine that is 100% McLaren Vale fruit, Grenache-dominant and approved by the members, or more eloquently from the McLaren Vale site:

"Cadenzia - n. A creative and individual expression of McLaren Vale Grenache made by an inspired winemaker to demonstrate harmony, excitement and energy.

McLaren Vale’s CADENZIA project makes music from Grenache. Great composers like Beethoven and Bach often left gaps in their sheet music, where the lead soloist could play a Cadenza, letting go some heartfelt improvisation before returning to the score.

At the end of vintage, McLaren Vale’s winemakers look away from the score and infuse some virtuoso interplay with Grenache, each blending something that’s rhythmically driving: CADENZIA. Music you can drink."

Really the Cadenzia project is one of those organised things that define a region, a deliberate pursuit of an expression of place and style. Similarly, for Shiraz, McLaren Vale has recently launched the Scarce Earth project. And although these great wines weren't on the schedule, a Shiraz Master Class was -- off to

Wirra Wirra.

On show turned out to be (with my notes of curiosity):

  • 2006 Ulithorne Frux Frugis Shiraz - Aged Release (Feb 2009), Graceful

  • 2008 Mitolo GAM Shiraz - Made by Ben Glaetzer

  • 2008 Maximus Shiraz - Colour & Blackcurrant

  • 2008 DogRidge Shirtfront Shiraz - Surprise Find

  • 2008 Paxton Jones Block Vineyard Shiraz - Great Savoury Drop

  • 2008 Woodstock The Stocks - Great one to age, Nearly get splinters

  • 2008 d'Arenberg Dead Arm Shiraz - Well known, Greatness

  • 2008 Chapel Hill Vicar - Could've sworn it was a Grenache... Apricots

  • 2009 Maxwell Silver Hammer - Ripper food wine

  • 2009 Shingleback The Gate - Taste directly follows nose

  • 2009 Wirra Wirra Woodhenge Shiraz - Another great Foody; and

  • 2009 Yangarra - Perfume and Purple.

You can see how detailed tasting notes could get lost! If I had to pick the top 5... Shirtfront, Silver Hammer, The Stocks, Vicar & Dead Arm with honourable mentions to GAM, Woodhenge and Maximus.

Well it was now 1225 on Day 1, and time to head for the burgeoning varieties tasting at Chapel Hill. The highlights were:

2010 Coriole Sangiovese
2009 Coriole Sangiovese Shiraz
2006 d'Arenberg Sticks and Stones Tempranillo Grenache Tinta Cao Souzoa
2009 d'Arenberg Cenosilicaphic Cat Sagrantino Cinsault
2005 DogRidge MVP Petit Verdot
2009 Kangarilla Rd Sangiovese
2008 Kay Brothers Basket Pressed Mataro
2009 Yangarra Mourvedre, and
2010 Yangarra Roussane.

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