This is part 2 of a 2 part review of Scarpantoni Estate Wines – check out Part 1, which reviews the cleanskins, sparkling and white wines).
This winery has a long history of a close Italian family producing wine quality grapes and wines. From the hard work in clearing the land to plant the vines, we can now savour the fruits of this labour. The wines have won many awards over the years with the 2007 Jimmy Watson Award being the most recent of the prestigious awards.
2009 Ceres Rose ($A14)
I remember when this wine was first released I was eager to get some to try. I had not tried an Australian wine that was predominately Gamay. I was not disappointed then and I am not disappointed now. There is some complexity here in a light red. Aromas of rose water, cherries and strawberry finish leads through to the flavors of fresh raspberries and cherries. This wine is perfectly suited to consumption with a weekend lunch of a cheese platter and breads or a Ploughman’s Lunch (cheese, sliced meats, salami, pickles, pickled onions and crusty bread).
2007 Pedler Creek Merlot ($A14)
I got a sense of clever use of oak here – there is lots of plums here (both aromas and flavors) plus some oak driven chocolate/spice aromas and pepper/cedar flavors. There was good length here, much longer than many sub $15 Merlots that I have tasted. Lets share this one over a big bowl of pasta with a tomato and chilli sauce with lots of freshly grated Parmesan Cheese – with 2 forks, one for you and one for me.
2006 Pedler Creek Cabernet Sauvignon ($A14)
What we have here is a wine driven by smart use of oak – this is not a fruit driven wine. The aromas are toasty chocolate with just a little green capsicum “herbaceous” character. The flavours are dominated by oak driven toastyness, spice and chocolate – with the spice being particularly dominate on the finish. There are black berries here as well – so it is not just oak! There is a lot of complexity here – so much more than expected from a $14/bottle wine. This is a definite wine to drink now and how about a pepper steak or sizzling Mongolian lamb.
2007 Pedler Creek Shiraz ($A14)
Another wine from the Pedler Creek wine that over delivers. The black fruits of the Shiraz grapes are mixed well with the nutmeg and pepper combined with vanilla oak. The finish is soft on tannins but long on effect. Roast lamb shoulder roast with garlic slithers & rosemary sprigs pushed into slits made into the flesh before roasting.
2005 School Block ($A15)
Made from 60% Shiraz with 30% Cabernet Sauvignon plus 10% Merlot. The berries and toasty oak on the nose makes way to sweet black berries fruit that finishes with dry dusty tannins and hints of chocolate.
2008 Block 3 Shiraz ($A36)
The wine is made from on of the blocks that is close to the winery with these vines being about 60 years old. Most of the grapes were picked before the 2008 heat wave. The wine was maturated in 100% American oak of which about 50% was new oak barrels. The wine aromas were a little closed – probably due to the wine being recently bottled. The components of the type of Shiraz that McLaren Vale is known for – plums and black fruits combined with vanillin oak character with little licorice and spices.
2008 Brothers Block Cabernet Sauvignon ($A30)
Due to winery space constraints during the 2008 vintage, some of their Cabernet Sauvignon was picked latter that would have been seen as ideal. The resultant wine is high in alcohol – labeled as 15%. There is enough structure in this wine that the wine did not show any “alcohol hotness”. The nose shows some of the ripeness with licorice and chocolate notes combining with blackcurrent fruits. The flavors show sweet blackberry fruits with some mintyness, the spice character of cinnamon and nutmeg. There is plenty of structure here that produces a lingering effect.
2008 Estate Reserve ($A36)
This wine is made from what is considered as the best wine from their individual wine barrel tastings. This vintage this means a 80% Cabernet Sauvignon and 20% Shiraz. I suspect the wine needs time to open up – at this tasting the nose was closed. But the palate was a different matter – lots of red and black fruits with the cedar and vanillin oak characteristics. The effect has a richness that I was not expecting and a soft tannin finish – but this finish lingers. It is good to see Shiraz Cabernet or Cabernet Shiraz wines.
Liqueurs and Fortifides
Liqueur Riesling ($A26 375 mL bottle)
This wine used to be made at Scarpantoni’s in the late 80’s and the hot vintage conditions created an opportunity for a re-appearance. I must say this wine was nothing like I was expecting. I was looking for a viscous infusion of Riesling and old wood rancio character. Well I could not have been more wrong. On the nose I got a whiff of Mums old style baked apples with lots of cinnamon spice followed with a hint of stewed nectarine. The palate was light, and not cloying, nashi pear with the spices from the nose still coming through. Even this wine was fortified with neutral spirit the wine is only 17.5% alcohol, which probably goes with the lighter style. I would try this with mum’s apple pie or even just pour some over some vanilla ice cream.
Liqueur Shiraz ($A30 375 mL bottle)
After trying the Liqueur Riesling I was looking forward to this Liqueur! I was not disappointed, The aromas start with some lifted plums combined with a spiced rhubarb and go onto spice and blackberry notes. The flavors were an infusion of plum, cherry, rhubarb, raisins with just a hint of chocolate. The finish is not cloying and a fresh overall finish. This would be a great mix with a plate of dried fruit and cheese.
1999 Vintage Port ($A28 500mL bottle)
Vintage Port is not a fashionable drink as is shown by a comment at the cellar door that this wine has not been made since 1999. I enjoy the style but I do not drink it much as there is not many people I know to share it with – as once the bottle is open the wine “goes off” after a day or 2. This wine is quite good with both the aromas and flavours of dark chocolate, raisins and a licorice finish. There is nice warming spirit here as well. This wine would be perfect with After Dinner Mints.