Wow what an improvement. Settlement Wines had moved since my last visit from the old Manning Park Cellar Door accross the road from Maxwells (that has now been sold to Angoves who are considering a cellar door at this location) to a new purpose built facility next to Oliverhill (see map). Their web site is at www.thesettlementwineco.com.au. This facility is impressive with a long tasting bar with a full length mirror that shows the view out of the windows opposite the bar. This view is spectacular where you can see across vineyards to the cliffs around Sellicks Beach. The Cellar Door Staff indicated that an a clear day one can see Cape Jervois! With a wood fire the atmosphere is appealing during winter and the extensive decking would be a treat during summer. For most of the year (winter is the exception) a wood fired oven turns out pizza’s on Friday’s, Saturday’s and Sunday’s (this starts up again on 1st of August). I have it on good authority that the pizza’s are so popular that you need to book to get a table.
Settlement Wines has a reputation for it’s fortifides and this reputation is justified as I believe they have the best range of these type of wines in Mclaren Vale. The table wines are interesting and the marketing direction for the Red Dingo (see comments below) will be interesting to see how this pans out. Some of the table wines are well matched with the wood fired pizza and I suspect this is on purpose.
Anyway, lets talk about the wines:-
NV Sparkling Brut ($A12)
Did not taste.
2008 Pinot Grigio ($A16)
Made from fruit sourced from Blewitt Springs and has distinct melon characters and go well with their wood fired pizza.
This wine has good up front berry flavours but unlike many wines of this style has a dry finish – again good for wood fired pizza.
2006 Mclaren Vale Shiraz ($A22)
A lighter style on local shiraz with a lot of spice characters. Quite pleasant drinking – my favourite table wine.
2004 Cabernet Sauvignon ($A20)
Mclaren Vale fruit is used in this wine. It is a dark wine showing berry characters and finishes with surprisingly (due to the dark colour) quite light tannins.
2004 Cabernet Franc ($A20)
The grapes were sourced from Langhorne Creek and used in this unusual wine as Cabernet Franc is normally used used in a blend and not as a varietal wine. The wine has earthy & minty flavours.
NV Sparkling Shiraz ($A12)
This wine is full of sweet fruit and bubbles – drink cold with friends. There is no real attempt at complexity just fruit (not to sweet). This style appeals to a lot of people and is a big seller (not that at time of writing they have a special bottling of this style for $A99/doz.).
NV Late Picked ($A12)
This is late picked chardonnay that has been produced for the sweet toothed people amongst us.
NV Red Dingo
This is a Lambrusco style wine ie sweet red fruit with a lower alcohol content. This wine has been a hit with those that indicate they cannot drink red wine. One try and the wine is walking out of the cellar door. It was just like drinking Cabernet juice – not a wine at all! There is apparel available with the Red Dingo logo.
2004 Vintage Port ($A30)
It is great to see this excellent style kept alive. This wine has essence of prunes and quinces enveloped in dark chocolate. Long finish and would be great after dinner at any time but particularly in the winter months.
NV Cream Sherry ($A12)
Tastes like figs with a clean and dry finish. I would recommend you try this wine and not be put off by the stigma of a “cream sherry”.
Marsala da Cucina ($A20 for 1 litre)
This is the classic marsala with a twist – a whole vanilla bean is added to the bottle that gives some excellent vanilla characters to the wine. It is used in cooking but I found as much went inside mw while I was cooking as went into the pot.
Bulk Port and/or Muscat ($A12/2 litres)
Did not taste.
The next 6 wines are provided as a flight of wines (at a cost of $5 that is fully refundable if you buy any of the wines). Do yourself a favour and try these even if is just for the experience of the different types of wine – please take your time to savour each one. My only problem with this is to decide which wine/wines to buy from this range as that are just that good. Note that the wines are stronger of flavour as you go along the list. All Liqueurs are bottled in 500 ml bottles.
Liqueur Palomino ($A30)
A traditional sherry style. Very light a spicy with a long finish.
Liqueur Black Pedro ($A30)
A black sherry amoroso style – like a liquid toffee
Liqueur Tinta Negra ($A30)
A classic Maderia style – very complex and just like drinking fruitcake.
Liqueur Red Frontignac ($A30)
Sweet creamy mouthfeel.
Liqueur Verdelho ($A30)
Honey flavours that just last and last.
Liqueur Muscat ($A30)
Different to the classic Rutherglen style but excellent just the same – raisins, raisins and more raisins.