McLaren Vale Wines – Lavina Estate Wines

Lavina Estate Wines has their cellar door and administration at their Main Street McLaren vale premises.

Please note that as of 2013 Lavina Wines have moved to 12 Beltunga Close, Blewitt Springs SA 5171.

Lavina Estate Administration and Cellar Door

Lavina Estate Wines do not own any vineyards but have been working with a number of growers for a number of years.  Their still wines are made at Yangarra Estate under the watchful gaze of winemaker Tim Whitrow and CEO Sam Daw.

I was not sure what to expect from these wines – were they just a bulk wine merchant (they do a lot of exporting of wine) that bottled some wine on the side or were they serious about what they are putting into the bottle.  I am happy to report that they were the latter – as you can see from the reviews below.

Their Cellar Door is currently open on weekdays only and you can check out the Lavina Estate Portfolio web site.

Cellar Door Sparkling ($A18)

Sparkling White

I was not sure what to expect from these wines – I was pleasantly surprised as the wine had a fruity, creaminess with a nice cleansing acid finish.  Not a sweet wine and I thought was well put together.  The wine fits in an aperitif style so drink this before a meal.

Sparkling Red

Regulars to the Lonely Grape Blog will know that I am a fan of Sparkling Reds.  However, this is not an overall statement as the very sweet red bubbled wine is generally not for me.  Thus I was very interested to find out was this a sweet one dimensional wine or one of the better styles.  First off this is not an overly sweet wine with very pleasant berry aromas and flavors.  I would call this a mid tier sparkling red and lots of people would like this as a “drinking with friends” style wine.  For my money I would pay a few dollars more for other Sparkling Reds around McLaren Vale.

Mitcham Estate ($A10)

2009 Adelaide Hills Chardonnay

15% of this wine has undergone malolactic fermentation and 5% has had some oak maturation.  The aromas are melon based and there is some unusual citrus hints.  The flavors start with melons, work into oak hints and then a buttery mouth feel finish.  Good value – definitely worth the money.

2008 Shiraz Cabernet

I could not believe this wine for the price.  Lots of mid weight black fruits and a perfumed nose.  Over delivers for a tenner.  Any charred BBQ meats would be a good match – just invite me along to help you with both.

2008 Shiraz

A little light on for aromas and oak flavors.  Quite a fruit driven wine – so look for lots of the plums you would expect from shiraz.

Gold Series – Barossa Range ($A15)

These red wine have had approximately 18 months oak maturation.  80% French and 20% American oak – 15 – 20% new oak with the remainder of the oak being 2 or 3 years old.

2008 Cabernet Merlot

The aromas are very obvious – blackcurrents and blackberries.  The flavors are fruit based with very soft tannins –  but are not lingering.  Cab Merlot is not usually a drink of choice for me and this does not change that generalization.

2008 Shiraz Cabernet

Straight away it was obvious that the wine was different to the usual McLaren Vale wines I normally taste.  The aromas could be considered typically Barossan with strong fruit and earthiness.  There is good ripe fruit here though the flavors are not jammy – berries and plum action.  The strong fruit action of this wine would work well with honey soy steak & vegetables and rice.

2008 Shiraz

Again, typically Barossan.  Good fruit (plum) characters and again not jammy.  Good value at $15.

Gold Series – McLaren Vale (A$15)

2006 Shiraz

After tasting the Barossa Range it was an obvious change up with the aromas here.  I can smell McLaren Vale in this glass.  The fruit flavors are delicious and again value for money.

Select Series ($A25)

2006 McLaren Vale Cabernet Shiraz

The aromas were a little closed and I suspect this would be improved with decanting and general breathing before drinking (the wine was opened just prior to tasting).  There was black fruits combined with soft tannins plus nutmeg based spices.  I enjoyed this so much it made me think of an old favorite of Spaghetti Bolognaise.

Special Releases

A lot of effort has been put into these wines but also the packaging has been worked on.  There will be no small bottles to reduce the “carbon footprint” etc.  These have thick and unusual bottles (one of the wines will be in a bottle that is unique in Australia) and labels that are directly printed onto the bottle.  The idea here is to have these wines stand out – and I recon they have done just that.  Put these wines in amongst normal bottles and ones eye will be drawn straight to these beauties.   Oh yes, the wine are very good also – which helps!

As the wines have just recently been bottled and are still suffering from bottle shock, I have not made food recommendations as I have not seen the best of these wines as yet.

2008 Aurum Release Shiraz ($A49)

This wine was just bottled and will be released in about a month.  100% french oak – 30% new with the rest 2 or 3 years old.  2008 has been classified as a difficult vintage due to the heat wave conditions.  This wine shows that generalizations can be an issue, as the grapes were picked just before the heat arrived – not because the heat was coming but because the fruit sugar and acid balance was good plus the flavors were just where the winemaker wanted them.  Cold soaked and open fermenters produced a beauty – floral (violets), plums and mixed spices on the nose flowing into fruit cake flavors with a savory finish.   This was my favorite wine from the range – and it will only get better after settling down after the recent bottling.

2008 Select Series McLaren Vale Shiraz ($A99)

The wine is made a different Shiraz clone (compared to the normal McLaren Vale vines) and it produces a wine with more of blue fruit characters.   The growers are producing crops at around 2.5 t/acre.  This wine was only bottled a month before the tasting and the wined showed it – the aromas were not really evident and the flavors showed some of the blue fruits but not much of them.  The tannin structure was impressive so I expect this wine to be pretty good in the coming weeks.

2007 Select Series McLaren Vale Shiraz

It was difficult to see the real character of the 2008 wine so I was happy to be able to taste the previous years wine.  The aromas just open up so well with the blue fruits and there is a nice lift here.  A combination of blue and red fruits dominate the palate with layers of tannins to produce a silky mouth feel.  If the same pedigree remains then the 2008 will be a beauty.

2008 Grand Royal McLaren Vale Shiraz ($A129)

This is a single vineyard offering with 100% french oak maturation of which 90% was new.  Again this wine was just bottled and was not showing it’s best – but one could see the class shining through.  The nose was a little closed but the flavors were immediately stronger than the other wines.  The extended maceration provided strong fruit flavors (plum based), lots of black tea tannins (showing both grape and oak tannins).  One gets a sense of ripe fruit being used to produce the wine but the finish is very savory.  This will be a keeper and probably not show it’s best for about 5 years and will live strongly for another 5 after that.

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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1 Response to McLaren Vale Wines – Lavina Estate Wines

  1. Shane says:

    Please note that Lavina Wines has moved to
    12 Beltunga Close, Blewitt Springs SA 5171.
    Check out the latest review at

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