Herb & Sandie Van De Wiel have a boutique gem between Mclaren Vale and Mclaren Flat (see map). The Foggo Road cellar door is closed on Mondays and open 10:30 – 4:30 Tuesday to Friday plus 11:00 – 5:00 Saturday, Sunday and public holidays. The winery is based on 2 key items – firstly old vines (some planted in 1915) that are mostly dry grown, and secondly a control of all aspects of the wine making process. They own and tend the vineyards (Sandie was even pruning the vines before opening the cellar door), make the wines and they even have their own bottling line. They produce an average of 3,500 cases of wine and it would be very unusual to find their wine for sale anywhere other than the cellar door.
Some vine highlights would be 95 year old dry grown shiraz, 87 year old dry grown & bush vine grenache and 59 year old Rhone variety Cinsaut (pronounced sinsay). These red grape vineyard is on Foggo road with the whites coming from a Blewitt Springs vineyard.
My single wine highlight was the age of the wines – all wines are only released when they are in good condition and have both oak age and bottle age. The Chardonnay was from 2004 and the reds were from 2004 or 2005.
The cellar door has a couple of outdoor tables and some shade sails – you could do worse that taking some time to sit and relax in the vineyard setting.
Now some comments about the wines:-
This winery is rated as 4 stars by James Halliday in the 2009 Wine Compendium.
2007 Unwooded Chardonnay ($A18)
The Chardonnay from Foggo Wines is cold bunch pressed (not crushed). This wine has typical melon characters on the palate and is quite enjoyable. Best to drink this one young and would go well with a plate of BBQ yabbies.
2004 Chardonnay ($A25)
Again cold bunch pressed and fermented in french oak and shows stone fruit characters. The wine is not showing any real age characters but has a layered complexity with the soft french oak is matched well with the fruit. This was my favourite white wine.
2007 Unwooded Chardonnay Viognier ($A18)
Good fruit driven wine showing melon and apricot on the palate. Again, drink this one cold and soon (not one for the cellar).
NV Sparkling Cinsaut Rose ($A18)
The sample tried did not have any bubbles left but it is obviously a good dry style with a hint of strawberries on the finish. A great one for drinking with friends on a Sunday afternoon.
2007 Cinsaut Rose ($A15)
A good dry and lighter style Rose – I don’t really like the sugar driven Rose styles. I could drink this with a lunch of good goats cheese and some crusty bread!
2004 Grenache Shiraz Cinsaut ($A25)
This wine is a 60:30:10 ration blend of the stated varieties. Has a great nose and the palate has a spice mixed with rubard and the finish is lingering. This lighter style would work well with white meats such as pork.
2005 Bush Vine Grenache ($A30)
Lots and lots of soft fruit reminiscent of black cherry mixed with subtle oak (french). So well balanced that even the 15.1% alcohol does not over shadow the wine. As readers of my blog will know I like a good Mclaren Vale Grenache and this is one on that list. Drink this one with a slow cooked lamb ragout and, if you were generous, share it with family &/or friends.
2005 Old Vine Shiraz ($A30)
Bring it on and I would only share this one with loved ones! The fruit come from the 1915 planted vines on the Foggo Road block and is totally dry grown – so the vines are low yielding and the fruit concentrated magic. The fruit is fermented in open topped barrels and is unusually aged in french oak. Again the wine is so well structured that the 15% alcohol is not overpowering or showing the hot characters expected from this level of alcohol. If you like shiraz then this is one to try. I have some waiting for just the right beef roast or a T-bone steak.
2004 Cabernet Sauvignon ($A30)
I am continued to be surprised at the high quality of some of the cabernet in Mclaren Vale. This one won a silver medal in the San Francisco International Wine Competition in 2008. I found violets on the nose and berries on the palate.
NV Black Myriah Sparking Shiraz ($A35)
This bottle fermented wine has the 2004 Old Vine Shiraz as the base wine and is topped up with a late picked shiraz (see comments below) and has created a lovely character – just the way a sparking shriaz should be. I had a couple of bottles of this wine with our Xmas turkey and cranberry sauce – a great combination.
2004 Hubertus Reserve Shiraz ($A50)
This wine was not tasted, however it is highly rated by James Halliday (the 2005 vintage was rated 91/100).
Golden Botrytis ($A20 375ml bottle)
Made from Semillon & Chardonnay and shows honey characters and it lighter than the “normal” botrytis styles and would be good with the Xmas plum pudding.
NV Tawny ($A18)
8 year old tawny port style made from shiraz & grenache. It is a lighter style as you would expect from a relatively young wine of this style.
NV Muscat ($A20)
Again this is a 8 year old wine which shows good raisin fruit. A good style for drinking on those cold winter nights in front of the open wood fire.
Foggo wines releases other wines at different time. They sometimes have cleanskin wines available. They also have a late picked shiraz (called 3 Sheds Shiraz) which is used as the top up wine for the Black Myriah and the remainder is bottled in 500 ml bottles. This wine is approximately 18% alcohol with no alcohol additions. I tried this wine late last year and found it a quite different and enjoyable wine.