The wines of Ulithorne, McLaren Vale

The wines of Ulithorne  

McLaren Vale-based Ulithorne is owned by Sam Harrison and Rose Kentish. Rose is an exceptional winemaker, having produced wines in the Vale and in France. Their approach is: “It’s not about us, it’s about the wine.”

Good people making great wines.

Dona is not the annoying precious princess with a lisp and snotty nose who lives two doors down. Nor is it a dona kabab, the huge lump of lamb (so called) on a vertical spit that sellers, often of Greek or Turkish descent (in London), carve off and with some lettuce and chili sauce bung into a piece of pita bread for those who have had 10 pints of lager and feel the need for a substance other than liquid. Both liquid and firmer substance are often found deposited in the gutter down the street.

No, neither of these. This Dona is Latin for “The Gift”.

Ulithorne ‘Dona’ McLaren Vale Blanc 2014:  A co-ferment of viognier and marsanne, with pinot gris blended in. A beautiful nose: some peach, some vanilla, and other perfumed fragrances wafting in and out. It sits plump and viscous at the front of the mouth, which fools the taster into thinking there is not much more than an over-plump, dull wine there. Then it stretches very slowly like a cat flexing its claws, and carves the most beautiful track across the palate. Rich, honeyed flavours are scored through with fire and spice. It’s quite some wine. 95 points and great value at $27.

Ulithorne ‘Dona’ McLaren Vale Rouge 2014: The wine is a grenache shiraz mourvèdre blend. The nose is a fruit shop, an amazing mix of fruit smells, none to me definable. It sits pert at the front of the mouth, the acid straining to start the journey. Once the wine is moving, crisp flavours make their presence known. The wine lingers on the finish. It’s an adult’s wine and great at the table. 94 points and well worth $27.

Ulithorne ‘Dona’ McLaren Vale Shiraz 2015: A nose I couldn’t pin so I looked up the tasting notes: “pretty, ripe plums, subtle peppery notes”. That didn’t do it for me, so let’s leave it, but do note there was nothing wrong with the smell. There’s not the heavy expression of shiraz so often found, but one of lightness on one level, with strength running through it. Again, a good wine for the table. 94 points and value at $27. 

Ulithorne ‘Specialis’ McLaren Vale 2015: It’s Latin, meaning Special, Project”, and special it is. It’s a tempranillo, grenache, graciano blend. There’s a high cocoa content, with chocolate on the nose. It’s very decadent across the palate, as fruit characters mix wickedly with savoury, and the aftertaste is long and sensual. 95 points and worth $30. 

Ulithorne ‘Unicus’ McLaren Vale 2015: “One of a kind” is the Latin, which translates to a single vineyard in McLaren Vale. This is a sensual goddess of a wine, with a body of toned muscle, and power rippling and extending to all parts of the mouth. It’s a pleasure to taste and a privilege to drink. 96 points and for those who have it, well worth $75. If it came from the Rhone it would have a 1 after $ and before 7. 

Ulithorne ‘Frux Frugis’ McLaren Vale 2014: “Fruit of the earth” apparently, to be released in May. Sweet fruit, oak, acid and tannin are all pushing for place at the moment. Patience will be needed, not only on release but for a year or two yet. The components are there but not yet together. Having said that, each of those components look very good to me, so a mean 93 on tasting but I have little doubt this wine will move past 95, and maybe to 97. Time will tell. If it’s for putting away, $85 is good value.

Leave a Reply

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