2017 ADT Tasting – Part 2
Crowds at the 2017 ADT photo credit Steven Morris
The end of January saw the latest annual Australia Day Tasting. It was the largest one yet seen in London and over 1,000 wines were shown from 31 different wine regions. There is also increasing diversity in the style of wines being made and the grape varieties now being cultivated, with those from Italian origins increasing significantly.
Leading grapes we have come to expect were all well represented, as were the country’s most established producers. While well-established Australian favourites like Shiraz, Pinot Noir and Chardonnay were shown in abundance, visitors could also experience wines made from Petit Manseng, Arneis, Fiano, Touriga Nacional, Lagrein and Durif among others. This review looks at some highlights from wineries and varieties readers for now may be less immediately familiar with.
Website links are included as well as UK importers and US importers where known. Wine searcher shopping links are also added for each winery if readers wish to delve further.
This second part of the blog covers producers in South Australia and Western Australia.
Barossa based David Franz produces wine from both the Barossa and Eden Valley’s as well as from the Adelaide Hills under his David Franz (www.david-franz.com) label. The wines range from very fairly priced up to a couple of much pricier reds, The Alternative View Shiraz and 225 Cabernet Sauvignon. The 2014 Long Gully Road Semillon is a brilliant and characterful example of the variety coming from dry grown vines of around 130 years of age. Full of creamy, intense citrus fruits and zesty acidity, the wine is aged for 10 months on unstirred lees, adding to the wines structure but preserving its fruit qualities. Other top values here included the 2014 Blocker’s Road Pinot Noir from the Adelaide Hills and the vibrant berry fruited 2013 Western Barossa Plane Turning Right vinified from a combination of Petit Verdot, Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon. A level up in price but not excessively so is the 2010 Cabernet Sauvignon Georgie’s Walk. This is a mix of both Barossa and Eden Valley fruit. A combination of liquorice, black fruits and chocolate are, all present.
UK Distributor:- The Knotted Vine (www.theknottedvine.com)
Also in the Barossa is St John’s Road (www.stjohnsroad.com). It is now a part of WD Wines, which also owns Hesketh Wines and Parker Coonawarra Estate. Classic Barossa Shiraz is a key part of the winery range although Traminer, Riesling, Grenache, Mataro and Cabernet Sauvignon are included in various wines or blends. Full of vibrant, soft black fruits character is the 2015 LSD (an unusual combination of Lagrein, Shiraz and Durif). Similarly priced is the 2015 Blood & Courage Shiraz, an upfront, full and richly flavoured style. The winery, also make a number of Special Selections, the three Shiraz all offering more depth and complexity. The 2015 Block 8 is full of dark and spicy black fruits. A fresh edge as well as complexity comes from the higher altitudes of the north east of the Barossa and ageing in older barrels. The 2014 Shiraz The Evangelist is the top of the range. Dark and brooding with a real old vine complexity, the wine comes from three separate vineyards ranging from 55 to 80 years of age.
UK Distributor:- The Wine Fusion (www.thewinefusion.com)
David Bowley makes a small range of stylish wines at Vinteloper (www.vinteloper.com.au) from a base in the Adelaide Hills and fruit is sourced from a number of quality conscious growers around South Australia. There are a couple of really crisp and stylish Rieslings, the 2015 R/15 Watervale is marginally cheaper, the OR/15 Odeon, also from Watervale in the Clare Valley, has a touch more weight and a piercing mineral quality. A wild yeast fermentation is then followed by ageing in used French barrels. Langhorn Creek is the source of the rich, blackberry scented 2015 TN/15 Touriga Nacional. Shiraz SH/14 from the 2014 vintage comes from a single vineyard in the Adelaide Hills. Ageing is in small French oak but this is kept to around a quarter for balance. Black fruits and a spicy black pepper character are underpinned with impressive depth. Two Adelaide Hills Pinot Noirs are made. The 2015 PN/15 like the Shiraz offers very good quality and value. There is a real persistence of red berry and cherry fruits, the wine is stylish, elegant and complex. The OPN /13 Odeon Pinot Noir is significantly pricier, although a stand out example of the variety from Adelaide Hills, it comes from the Lenswood sub region. The perfumed redcurrant, lightly earthy character is perfectly balanced by ageing in one half new French barrels.
UK Distributor:- Red Squirrel Wine (www.redsquirrelwine.com)
Another winery producing stylish as well as great value raspberry scented Adelaide Hills Pinot Noir (2015) is Heirloom Vineyards (www.heirloomvineyards.com.au), owned by Elena and Zar Brooks, who are also involved in making a diverse and exciting range at Dandelion Vineyards (www.dandelionvineyards.com.au). Similarly well priced to the Pinot is a 2014 Barossa Valley Shiraz, full of ripe, forward black fruits and just a hint of pepper spice. A touch pricier, although not excessively so is a 2013 Reserve Eden Valley Shiraz. A deep, concentrated example of the grape with rich blackberry and liquorice notes, a hint of spice and a fresh, balanced acidity holding it all together. It is also worth noting the Brooks immense 2012 Dandelion Vineyards Red Queen of the Eden Valley, a Syrah of serious dimension.
UK Distributor (Dandelion & Heirloom Vineyards):- Liberty Wines
USA Distributor (Dandelion Vineyards): Vine St Imports (www.vsimports.com)
From the small albeit geographically widely stretched Great Southern region of Western Australia Andrew Hoadley at his La Violetta winery (www.laviolettawines.com.au) makes a range of fascinating and eclectic wines from a range of varieties sourced throughout Great Southern. From the Denmark sub region come the 2015 Ye-Ye Rouge and Ye-Ye Blanc. The crisp and fresh white combines Riesling, Viognier, Gewurztraminer and Vermentino, while the vibrant and approachable red is a characterful blend of Spatburgunder, Syrah and Picouterner (the latter is new to me, some research needed!). Andrew Hoadley also makes a couple of Shiraz and his 2013 Up! From Mount Barker is spicy, and supple, with a classic hint of black pepper. Reminded me of the Plantagenet Shiraz, which is also Mount Barker.
UK Distributor:- The Knotted Vine