I have to admit that I have been a fan of Hugo Winery wines from the Mclaren Flat area of Mclaren Vale for a long time. I first visited their cellar door when it was at a different location. Returning to their impressive new cellar door provides a sense of warm welcome and a frequent smiling face. The cellar door is the furthest from Mclaren Vale for the Mclaren Flat wineries (see location on the map). The cellar door is open 7 days per week (9:30 am – 5pm Monday to Friday, 12 noon – 5 pm Saturday and 10:30am – 5pm Sunday). The web address is www.hugowines.com.au.
The cellar door has a lawn area in the front with a rosemary hedge walkway from the carpark to the front door. As you walk along checking out the rosemary you can lift your eyes to your left to find a typical rolling vineyard. Apart from the welcoming smile upon entering the cellar door their is open fire readily stoked during the cold months and an ongoing small display of local art & craft items (all for sale).
And now for the wines:-
It should be noted that the white wines were not tasted at “just out of the fridge temperature” but were only slightly colder than room temperature. Thus the wines will have a different character than would be found when drunk colder.
2004 Sauvignon Blanc ($A14)
This had an aroma of gooseberry and some tropical fruits on the palate. Not overtly herbaceous and the acid finish was well balanced (ie not too much acid). This wine would be well consumed without food but with a group of friends on a sunny Sunday afternoon.
2008 Unwooded Chardonnay ($A12)
The aromas were closed (ie I could not smell alot) with a definite citrus character when tasted – probably a mixture of lemons & grapefruit. This wine would go well with a grilled seafood salad.
2008 Chardonnay ($A16)
This wine is oaked but only 30% of the wine has had the oak treatment (new french oak), and is not one of the older style over oaked chardonnays. This was my favourite white wine from Hugo’s as there is an extra level of complexity caused by the oak maturation and the buttery overtones of the malolactic fermentation. The wine has tropical fruit aromas with a hint of melons on the palate combined with a buttery mouthfeel and creamy finish. There is plenty of acid in this one so with all the elements the wine could be cellared – but why wait!
2006 Grenache/Shiraz ($A16)
Plum & spice on the nose with the vanilla of the oak coming through. Good stewed plum fruit characters of the grenache and the spiciness of the shiraz work well together (a Mclaren vale regional favourite). The wine is mainly fruit driven but there is oak elements to aid complexity. I could drink this at almost any time but it would go well with a Shepard’s pie.
2006 Cabernet Sauvignon (A$19)
A glass of this is a glass of blackberries with hints of clove & cinnamon spice combined with the toasty flavours from the good use of french oak. There was not allot of aroma on this one but, if you enjoy this varietal, then what is in the glass is worth a try.
2006 Shiraz ($A19.50)
The nose is all plum, spice and vanilla (from the oak). The good fruit shows plums and spice (cloves) is well supported by the obvious (but not overdone) American Oak. Drink this one in a few years with something slow cooked (eg beef ragu).
2004 Reserve Shiraz ($A33)
This older wine is made from 40+ year old dry grown vines and is definitely up a few notches of the quality stakes from the other shiraz. The bottle I tasted was only just opened and thus needed some time to develop in the bottle or glass (so make sure you decant this or at least give it some time open before serving) – but it was obvious to see the quality fruit and treatment (such as partial barrel fermentation to increase complexity). I did get some freshly cracked pepper on the noise with a full mouthfull of dark cherry & spice with the vanillian taste of american oak. Fine tannins and complex flavours indicates this will be a long living wine. Keep a few to drink with roast beef .
Grand Tawny ($A18 375ml bottle)
The first appearance shows a light liquid with tawny tinges. What you get on both the aroma and palette is a fine wine – full of nutty aromas, with a rich mouthfeel and a lingering after taste. These tawny styles are not made that often by the smaller wineries due to the high costs of carrying such aged wines plus the sales volumes have decreased for them. However, it is a pleasure it is to find such wines being sold. Some of this with a rich chocolate mud cake would be a wonderful way to finish a meal.
It would be a good time to get some of these wines before September 1st as Hugo Wines has a freight free offer until then. For domestic customers only, you can enjoy freight free on 6 or more bottles to capital cities or for 12 or more to country areas.
Hugo wines have also won awards for their Extra Virgin Olive Oil. None was available at the time of this tasting however I have tasted a previous vintage and found it excellent.