Haselgrove Wine’s are interesting for their changes over recent history as they evolve into a “new direction” producer. I remember Haselgrove Wines having their cellar door at what was (until recently) the Turkey Factory Direct Outlet. This was closed and a very small cellar door tasting facility was opened on McLaren Vale’s Main Street (next door to Blessed Cheese cafe). The tasting room was so small they even marketed themselves as having the smallest cellar door facility in Australia. This cellar door was shut down about 18 months ago. I believe the company was owned by the banks for a considerable time until it was recently sold to a consortium of Italian heritage gentlemen who are transforming the company into a multi-regional winery – taking the best of what a number of South Australian regions can provide.
It is great to see a struggling winery given a new lease on life. The only issue I have with their branding is that for the people that have known Haselgrove Wines in the past would know the “H Series” to be the premium wine label. Under the new regime the “H Series” is their entry level wines. So there is a potential mix up of expectations from people that have consumed this wine in the past.
H by Haselgrove Range ($A12 – 15)
2009 Semillon Sauvignon Blanc
The aromas were dominated by passionfruit with hints of freshly cut grass and the distinctive tomato leaf characters. The palate continued with the passionfruit theme with hints of citrus. The citrus was unusual as this is normally associated with high acid and long finish whites – in this case the citrus was there but the wine was a little short on the palate. A clean and crisp wine that would go well when drinking with friends on a Sunday afternoon.
Straight away I get the aromas of stewed plums with a hint of cinnamon spice. The flavors show plum, mocha, nutmeg and pepper (on the back of the palate). The fruit is light to medium weight with minimum oak treatment plus showing a slight bitterness on the finish. This is another well made wine that the lighter weight red wine character would go so well with home made pizza.
2008 Cabernet Merlot
This is a typical light style of red wine with blackcurrent, red cherry and earthy aromas that as it opened up it gravitated towards the cherry being dominant. The flavors were cherries and blackcurrents with almost no oak characters. Just the sort of easy drinking to have at a BBQ or to consume with friends sitting in front of an open fire.
Primo Taglio (First Cut) ($A18 – 20)
2008 Adelaide Hills Sauvignon Blanc Semillon
Even though there is the usual herbaceous, it is not overt or “in your face”. There is also a real lychee smell evident as well. The flavors are passionfruit and lychee based with an unusual melon finish. The wine seems to lack an acid strength finish which means this wine would really Sunday afternoon session friendly.
2008 Adelaide Hills / McLaren Vale Chardonnay
I must say that I really enjoyed this wine – Chardonnay has such a bad wrap at the moment and selling it has not been easy, however if we keep making wines like this things will change. There are excellent melon and tropical fruit aromas. Tropical fruits dominate the palate, with pineapple very evident here. This is quite a long wine with some toasty oak on the end of the flavor profile. I would like to see this wine consumed with a a Ham & Pineapple wood fired oven cooked pizza or even the old ham steak with pineapple and grilled cheese.
2008 McLaren Vale / Coonawarra Cabernet Sauvignon
Interesting mix of wine regions – Coonawarra has a great reputation for Cabernet with McLaren Vale being a vastly improved Cabernet region. So I was looking forward to trying this wine.
The nose was all you expect with blackcurrent and blackberry aromas with pleasant spicy oak filed aromas (cedar based from the french oak treatments). The flavors are based around blackcurrent and the cedary oak with soft pleasant tannins. The flavors were a bit lacking in the mid palate but not to the point that takes much away from the overall experience. The one thing that was missing here is that Coonawarra Cabernet can have strong vegetative character which I quite often seems to me to be like green capsicums. I like the overall package of this wine and would love to drink it
2008 McLaren Vale Shiraz
This wine is a very obvious step up from the “H” Range. The aromas are an amalgamation of the fruits of mulberry and plum combined with the spice of pepper and cinnamon. There are also hints of cedar from the good use of oak. The flavors are black fruit based (blackberry and plums) with pepper and a toasty oak and lengthy finish. The tannins are well integrated and are not overpowering. How about trying this wine with Ricotta Gnocchi with a spicy tomato based sauce.
Bella Vigna (Beautiful Vineyard) ($A20 – 23)
2009 Adelaide Hills Pinot Grigio
The aromas were very light coming off the wine, so I waited for the wine to warm slightly in the glass in case wine temperature was the reasoning behind the relative lack of aroma. Alas, the aromas did not change much as the wine “warmed up” however, I could now determine a hint of fresh pears. The flavors continued with light offerings of pear and just a hint of sweetness. I would not consider this a food wine but more in line with consumption on a Sunday afternoon session on a warm Summers day.
2009 Adelaide Hills Sauvignon Blanc
As expected there is a strong herbaceous and cut grass aromas with pleasant passionfruit tones. The flavors are subtle where nothing really hits you but the overall effect makes good drinking. Passionfruit is the main theme here but I suspect each person drinking this wine will see different subtle flavor profiles. There is a good strong acid finish here which makes me think of seafood consumption – maybe some whole baked snapper with steamed seasonal vegetables.
2008 Coonawarra Cabernet Sauvignon
I wish I had tried this wine “blind” as my first reaction was this is defiantly a Coonawarra Cabernet – but maybe I was being led by the wine label. Anyway, the aromas were herbaceous with hints of capsicums plus blackcurrent with the cedar expected from French oak. I hope there was no suggestion here – but I thought there was just a hint of mint there (typically Coonawarra Cabernet character). There is a lot going on here on the palate – cassis, capsicum, mint with initial hit of soft tannins. There was an intensity here that gave a lingering experience that finished with grainy tannins coating the tongue and teeth. This wine has the structure to keep for up to 10 years – however I do not expect it to last that long. Roast rack of Lamb accompanied by mint jelly plus roasted root vegetables would go down a treat with this wine.
2008 McLaren Vale Premium Selection Shiraz
Straight away I need to say – “YUM”. The intense aromas of mulberries and plums with a lovely infusion of nutty oak. The flavors are complex and a joy to behold with blackberries, mulberries, nuts (particularly walnuts) and the classic cigar box tobacco and wood combination. There are plenty of good grainy tannins that work well with the intense fruit. With all this complexity the wine stays with you for a long while. It maybe boring but I just want a big thick T-bone steak with this wine.
Il Padtrone (The Boss) ($A25 – 30)
2007 Sparkling Shiraz
This wine shows some pedigree straight away – there is a fine bead of bubbles and the aromas plus flavors are like a nutty / plumy fruit cake with some nutmeg thrown in. There is a silky mouthfeel from the combination of the bubbles and the wines “texture”. The wine does start to get a little bitter when warm – so just drink it cold. I would classify this as a medium sweetness sparkling shiraz and as such drink it as an aperitif with a wide range of finger food.