The wonder of McLaren Vale shines yet again

McLaren Vale shines yet again

One white and heaps of red wines, its not my pick just what turns up for review. The industry harmonises itself with consumer requirements. White/rose/sparkling in spring summer and reds/fortified in winter.

Personally I’ve not really followed seasonal trends in drinking I’m just as happy with a white in winter as I am with a red in summer although there is more consumption of sparkling and Champagne at Christmas.

I hold a theory a lot of enjoyment is to be found in the temperature of the wine when served. I’m sure you have all suffered from white so cold the flavour is muted and reds too warm the enjoyment of bringing the wine to life in the glass is lost.

All that aside happy drinking and good karma







d’Arenberg ‘The Hermit Crab’ McLaren Vale Viognier Marsanne 2016: Attractive green gold colour, a sexy musk nose, full ripe and rich but with enough acid to keep it all in check 94 points and a bargain at just $15

Lost Buoy ‘The Edge’ McLaren Vale Shiraz 2016: Fresh clean nose and the same across the palate it’s an easy fruit driven wine of good quality 93 points and value at $20

Shingleback ‘Reserve’ McLaren Vale Shiraz 2015: It sounds rather rural, country or even middle of the road to say, good honest shiraz, there is no need to overdo it although it’s deserving of praise and some will be more eloquent then I, but I give it 93 and say it’s worth $24

Chalk Hill McLaren Vale Shiraz 2015: Wonderful Vale shiraz the flavours unfolding across palate as it travels the finish long and satisfying 94 points and value at $25

Chapel Hill McLaren Vale Shiraz 2015: Like bowls of porridge some are just right, so it is with this wine, the right black fruits nose edged with spice, the right mouthfeel that is balanced at the beginning telling the drinker its set to go and there is more to come, and what comes is also just right it strokes all the right pleasure points in passing and finishes just right, 95 points and just the right price at $30

Mitolo ‘Jester’ McLaren Vale Shiraz 2015: Rich fruit cake nose and powerful on entry it rushes across the palate laying a rich carpet of flavour, its bold but nothing wrong with that, openly honest I think covers it, 94 points and worth $25

d’Arenberg ‘The Dead Arm’ McLaren Vale Shiraz 2014: Mulberry and ripe plum nose, layers of flavour as one is peeled back another comes to the fore. It’s a wine to sip, savour and appreciate, somehow descriptive words seem scarce, the enjoyment in the mouth overriding words in the mind. It’s long stretching in a lazy way from beginning to end, the pleasure points beautifully caressed as the wine flows across them, 97 points and worth $65

Allegiance ‘The Artisan’ McLaren Vale Shiraz 2013: The nose is starting to show age, that is its losing fruit aromas and becoming more tree branch and leaf, surprisingly in the mouth the fruit is full and very lively, its beautifully balanced all across the palate with the finish excluding pleasure and inciting joy, 96 points top price at $60 but globally cheap

Shiraz blends

Willunga 100 McLaren Vale Shiraz Viognier 2015: Have you noticed how the fashion for putting viognier on the label has disappeared? Not that the magic dollop of the white grape isn’t in many shiraz wines around the country just the use of its name on the label. Putting that aside viognier does give a lift and perfume to shiraz so is often welcome. This is a very smooth well-crafted wine offering plenty on the inward journey not so much on the return, but let’s not be picky 93 points and good value at $25

Oliver’s Taranga ‘Corrina’s’ McLaren Vale Shiraz Cabernet 2015: This is lithe, impressive length and depth the balance en pointe it reaches deep into the soul 96 points and value at $32

d’Arenberg ‘d’Arry’s’ McLaren Vale Shiraz Grenache 2014: Nose of tree bark and black fruits, silky to start but then feral aspects creep in, robust finish and enjoyable 93 points and a bargain at $18


Lost Buoy ‘Forgotten Ida’ McLaren Vale Grenache 2016: Fragrant nose perhaps a hint of raspberry but then hints of all sorts came and went in fast succession, all very enjoyable but not enticing enough to linger. Lively in the mouth with the dominant flavours being well supported with acid, I didn’t try it but thought it might also work well on hot days chilled, delightful wine 93 points worth $25

Mitolo ‘Jester’ McLaren Vale Grenache 2016: Inviting ripe soft red/black berry nose, soft start in the mouth but becomes powerful in the centre where there is a starburst of flavours some of them earthy and a little feral, satisfying finish 94 points and value at $25

Zonte’s Footstep ‘Love Symbol’ McLaren Vale Grenache 2015: Light in the mouth it skips across the palate which is enjoyable enough but there are undertones that make it more interesting, its dry bite makes it work well at the table with simple fare 92 points fair price at $25

Grenache blends

d’Arenberg ‘The Ironstone Pressings’ McLaren Vale Grenache Shiraz Mourvèdre 2014: Rich on the nose and very complex on the palate there is so much going on one wonders what has been missed it’s a wine that keeps on changing and giving on every sip, 96 points worth $65


Shingleback ‘Kitchen Garden’ McLaren Vale Mataro 2016: Fresh on the nose a mix of blueberry and blackcurrant young vibrant across the palate it skips and bounces around in youthful vigour, it needs to settle and should do so by the year end (tasted May 2016) 93 points and worth its $25

Cabernet Sauvignon

d’Arenberg ‘The Coppermine Road’ McLaren Vale Cabernet Sauvignon 2014: Slight green twig nose not unattractive, it stands to attention at the front of the palate not giving much in the way of expression. It’s a measured first step then starts to relax mid palate from then on flavours and textures emerge at such a rapid rate to catch them is like herding cats, but no matter the finish is wonderful and the return incredibly long 94 now but more to come and $65 is fair value

Chapel Hill McLaren Vale Cabernet Sauvignon 2014: Almost every time I sniff a Vale cabernet I think, ‘ah typical vale cabernet’ but I can never with any consistently manage to describe it other than to say it’s not like cabernet from anywhere else, this is ripe and rich on the nose and less so on the palate where enough austerity comes into play to make it interesting. It’s not long term cellaring but it will improve in the short term, 93 points now maybe one more in the next six months (tasted June) and worth its $30

Shingleback ‘Reserve’ McLaren Vale Cabernet Sauvignon 2014: Easy on the nose but not captivating sound across the palate and that is it really, a touch hot on the finish, 90 points a lot of wine in the same price bracket $24

Shingleback ‘Reserve’ McLaren Vale Cabernet Sauvignon 2015: Tasted June but not at the time in full national retail rollout. Tempting and brooding ripe concentrated black fruit nose, ripe succulent top flavours well supported with tannin and acid, this is a wine that is small in price $24 but tall in stature, 94 points $24

Mitolo ‘Jester’ McLaren Vale Cabernet Sauvignon 2015: It’s the extremely rich individual style of the Vale’s cabernet, high octane cholate flavoured with coffee comes to mind, put it in a line-up of Coonawarra cabernets and it would seem an imposter but in the Vale context its fine and very enjoyable 93 points worth $25

Curtis ‘Cavaliere’ McLaren Vale Cabernet Sauvignon 2015: Black plum and blackberry briar nose, very soft on entry it sits plump and opulent at the front of the palate but moves into a leaner more defined style mid palate the final stretch is pure enjoyment lovely sour edge on the finish 94 points but top price at $70

Cabernet blends

d’Arenberg ‘The Galvo Garage’ McLaren Vale Cabernet Merlot Petit Verdot 2013: Classic blackcurrant cab nose, slightly green wood edge on the palate fruit sits in the background the tannin/acid pulling the fruit in opposing directions, it’s not poor wine just in some disarray at the moment, 92 points perhaps more to come at the moment $29 is high, should it settle then fair price

Willunga 100 McLaren Vale Cabernet Shiraz 2014: Slight green wood edge to the nose, the cabernet is dominant on the palate with the green edge continuing, I get the impression of the shiraz covering for the cabernet it’s out of balance, 90 points and plenty of wine around at $25

Willunga 100 McLaren Vale Cabernet Shiraz 2015: One of those around at the same price (I think) is the next vintage, in this vintage the cabernet is better the green edge gone its still the austere cabernet we know and love and its neatly balanced with shiraz, plenty of zip works well at the table and 93 points

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *