Graham Stevens Wines had it’s cellar door grand opening today. Not only did I have to visit but I also needed to let you all know about this place in the blog world.
The opening today looked and felt like a family gathering – kids playing along the side of the building and the sounds of people around a BBQ and the wine tasting area. Graham Stevens and his team understands the concept of community as he had a local charity group selling the BBQ food.
In the new cellar door it was obvious that friends and family was the key ingredient (after the wine of course). Graham even came into the tasting area and came over and shook my hand to welcome me. The atmosphere was great – it is good to see some old fashion personal hospitality and I suggest this theme will continue.
A little about Graham Stevens:-
Graham Stevens started the Stevens Cambrai Winery in the 70’s and was quite successful, particularly with the red wines. I remember visiting the winery in the mid 80’s and was impressed with the Shiraz, Grenache and one of the few Australian Zinfandel wines. In the mid 90’s Graham decided that it was time to retire and sold the winery (that is now called Kangarilla Road Winery and I will review this winery in the coming weeks). Graham seems to have become restless in his retirement as he now resides over 14 acres of grapes at McLaren Flat. This restlessness seems to be a long term thing as Graham’s first release wines go back to 2005!
No whites were tasted today, however they were advertising an Adelaide Hills white to be released in June. An excuse to go back and try the wines again.
2008 Grenache Nouveau ($A12.50)
An aromatic Rose style wine to be served chilled. The wine had short skins contact after crushing to give it the pink colour. Unlike a lot of Rose style wines this wine has been fermented to dryness. See yourself drinking a chilled red on a hot summer afternoon with a few friends around enjoying the company and the wine – this could be such a wine. The price is right as well – so maybe 2 or more bottles with your friends.
2005 Stevens Family Shiraz ($A15.50)
Graham calls this the “Family” wine as his whole family (grand kids included) help to tender and pick the grapes. A typical McLaren Vale style dry red wine. Graham indicates he matures some of this wine in French oak instead of the usual 100% American oak and this gives the wine a less aggressive oak feel in the mouth. I would prefer to spend the extra and go for the Reserve wine (see below).
2006 Graham’s Vat 52 ($A18.50)
What an unusual blend but an excellent wine. This is a blend of 50% Shiraz, 30% Grenache and 20% Cabernet Sauvignon. I spoke to Graham about this wine and it is his favourite as well. He has been making this blend for decades and it invariably drinks and sells very well. This well balanced wine showing hints of the spice of the Shiraz and plum of the Grenache can be drunk now or if you would like to keep it for a while it would reward the patience. You could use it as a different style wine to take to dinner parties.
2005 Reserve Shiraz ($A24.50)
This wine is made from the best individual barrels from each vintage. You can tell a distinct difference to the Family Shiraz (above). It is worth the extra $9/bottle for the improved quality. The spice and mulberry flavours come through clearly on this one.
This new winery has the traditional family atmosphere and is recommended to those that want more than just the sterile cellar doors that seem to have developed in the last 10 years.
Remember – if you have a favourite McLaren Vale Winery or would like to know more about a particular winery please leave a comment and I will do my best to review said winery. Alternativey I can be contacted on Twitter (user name barkersj).
Have a good week