McLaren Vale Wines – Madeleines

This lable (previously known as Vincognita Wines) is the infusion of 2 families.  The Belej family and the Dix family.  The Nangkita Vineyard was purchased by Peter Belej in 2003 after having significant Riverland vineyard experience – particularly with the Viognier variety.  Chris Dix was working for another winery but had intentions to produce his own wine and contacted Peter to buy some of the excellent Viognier fruit.  At the time Peter was sick of winemakers taking his fruit, and in his mind, destroying his product.  Peter thought that Chris had talent as a winemaker, however he refused Chris’s grape purchase request.  Peter had another idea – lets make the wine together.  That was in 2002 and the rest they say is history
The Nangkita Vineyard is situated in the souther Mt Loft Ranges and is in the middle of the Fleurieu Peninsula (also mid way between McLaren Vale and Langhorne Creek).  There is no cellar door, however you can see the vineyard on the outskirts of Nangkita (driving south on the Victor Harbour Road turn left at the sign post as you come into Mount Compass.  The vineyard is approximately 100 acres of a combination of Shiraz, Cabernet Sauvignon, Sauvingon Blanc, Gewurtztraminer, Primativo, Merlot and Chardonnay.  The area is about 160m above sea level and as such is cooler than the McLaren Vale region.  The soil is white sand (between 1 and 1.5 m in depth) over sandstone and clay. 

Madeleines Basket Press

 Another advantage is the high quality (low salinity) water in the aquifer under the vineyard.  Irrigation is kept to a minimum but the last 2 -3 years being in a drought has ment the water was vital to grape and wine quality.  Up until 2009 the best grapes were kept for their wines and the remainder was sold to other wineries.  With 2009 being difficult to sell wine grapes lead to a decision to utilise most of the for their own wine making pursuits. 

Madeleines Nangkita Vineyard

Nangkita Vineyard Views

The web site is

Now the wines:-

White Wines

2008 Nangkita Vineyard Viognier (A$19.50)

The grapes for this wine were picked before the 2008 vintage heat wave set in and the quality shows they made the right decision.  The wine is dominated by characters that I was not expecting.  This wine is full of ginger and cinnamon and not dominated by apricots.  Peter tells me there is 2 clones of Viognier one has the apricot flavours and the other has these ginger characters.  Obviously this wine is dominated by grapes from the second clone.  The wine has a wonderful mouthfeel – almost viscous and the acids are starting to soften.  The wine would go well with chinese or thai foods.

2009 Nangkita Vineyard Viognier (A$19.50)

The 2009 wine is very different to the 2008.  This wine has more of the apricot characters with hints of ginger.  There is plenty of acid in this wine and Chris believes the wine will be drinking best next year.  Tasting the 2 wines together is interesting to show the differences in style.  It will be interesting to see this wine in a years time but I do not think mine will last that long.

2009 Gewurtztraminer (A$15)

The wine was bottled only 4 weeks before the tasting – so it should have just settled down after the shock of bottling.  The wine has the usual floral characteristics on the nose but there is none of the sweet candy smells one can get with this variety.  The palate shows good acid, some minerality and the floral/turkish delight characters with a hint is spiciness on the finish.  There is almost an oilyness to the wine that I find pleasing.  This is a dry wine and would go well with chinese foods as it would compliment the various spices used in this style of cooking.

2009 Chardonnay (tank sample)

Straight from the tank – only a small proportion saw any oak and no malolactic fermentation.  Chris has tried to make a chardonnay that is different to the usual.  Partially due to the difficulty in the public’s perception about this wine variety but also to try a few different things with the wine.  The wine shows good apricot and peach aromas and palate with sufficient acid to make this a good food wine.  A nice piece of pork or a tuna steak would give you a good match.

Red Wine

2007 Nangkita Vineyard Primitivo (A$22)

The vines are basically the same as Zinfandel.  This wine is like a fruit cake in a glass, raisins on the nose and a mouthful of raisins with little oak influence on the tannins or the flavour characters.  Oak is there but not a big part of it (old french and american oak was used).  This would go well with a Moroccan Tagine of goat, vegetables and dates mixed with chilli, cummin and crushed tomatoes.

2007 McLaren Vale Shiraz (A$19.50)

This is a big wine with an inky colour (from the small berries from that years vintage).  The nose and palate shows lots of stewed plums that are almost sweet and the heavy oak (used to offset the fruit).  Make no mistake this is a big – big wine and will need a number of years before the tannins settle down.  I would not really drink this until after 2015.

2007 Nangkita Shiraz (A$19.50)

The wine has sice, plums, blackberries with oak influences on the nose.  The palate continues with ripe plum and blackcurrant fruits with lots of white pepper.  The oak is strong but so is the fruit.  The fruit is so concentrated that it lingers on the palate after the oak tannins have gone.  Again the wine is a big monster (not as big as the McLaren Vale Shiraz).  I would still let this wine alone for a while before trying it.

2007 NSX 10th Anniversary Shiraz (A$48)

This wine was made from the best barrels from 2007.  The wine is huge both in fruit and oak.  In saying this it more approachable now than the other 2 Shiraz wines above.  Great black berry and plum fruits mixed with lots of cedery oak tannins and a good acid lift.  Approachable now but will last for a long long time.

About Lonely Grape

Passionate about wine - particularly McLaren Vale wines. Check out my blog on different winery reviews and my wine sales web site
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2 Responses to McLaren Vale Wines – Madeleines

  1. Chris Dix says:

    I’d just like to clarify that Nangkita is at the southern end of the Mt Lofty Ranges, not Flinders (the commute would be a killer !). Cheers

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