Yangarra Estate is an organic and biodynamic vineyard that concentrates on winemaking in the vineyard and then minimal winemaking interferences. Wines are picked based on flavor and not on laboratory results. The small wine batches from each section of the vineyard are kept separate to ensure blending options and the native yeasts are used to ferment the wines instead of things from the packet. Even barrels are chosen for subtlety and not for any any overpowering influences.
The cellar door overlooks a grassed area that is next to a creek which my son had a great time playing around while dad was wine tasting. I could see this area being suitable for a picnic – bring a basket and get some good wine there ready for you.
The winery has the latest in technology but they are trying to reproduce what is done in the Old World of wine. The crusher is a de-stemmer that even has a blower that is there to remove any shriveled berries. I am told that the conveyor is just a clean set of rolling berries. The numerous vats all have heating and cooling to ensure the temperature can be maintained no matter what the ambient temperature. The vats also have a mechanical cap plunger that can be moved from one vat to another – that is almost cheating.
I admit that I did not enjoy the white wines – too soft for me. The red wines are another thing, as I am sure you will see from my descriptions below.
2008 Chardonnay ($A18)
The aromas where restrained (possibly as the wines were cold and it was a cold day). The flavors were dominated by melons with good acidity (giving a minerality mouthfeel) and an inherent creaminess (from lees stirring). The wine is un-oaked and no malolactic fermentation so it is an unusual chardonnay where the fruit is just left to it’s own thing. I am thinking of sitting on an island in Queensland eating a seafood platter with a glass or so of this.
2009 Rousanne ($A28)
This wine is all about the minerals and citrus fruits. There is a excellent long acid finish and leaves the mouth feeling like you have been licking a lump of stainless steel dipped in lime juice – I think I would prefer the wine instead. The acid would cut through the fat of a creamy sauce so I recommend a creamy poached chicken breast served on a bed of fresh and crisp blanched beans.
2009 Viognier ($A25)
Green apples was the only real aroma I could determine here. By this time I could see a theme for the Yangarra whites – let the fruit do the talking with a lovely long acid finish. Quite restrained and elegant.
2008 Mourvedre ($A28)
Bringing this wine up to the nose brought a smile to my face and the word “WOW” to my lips. It was such a different wine. I tasted this wine with a group of people and I took note of what each person was saying about the aromas. The list was the smell of fruitloops and milk, perfume, rose, creamy, cooked garlic and thick balsamic vinegar. What a range of aromatic delights. My comments about the flavors were cranberries and bitter cherries. This is a smart wine that I am sure will age and it would be interesting to decant the wine and taste progressively over 1 to 2 hours.
2008 Grenache ($A28)
My favorite grape variety did not disappoint all the red fruits one expects backed up with a savory finish. Bring on a plate full of garlic marinated BBQ’d lamb chops (thanks to Michelle for the suggestion) and a bottle of this – I would be in heaven. Don’t ask me to share!
2008 Cadensia (Grenache Shiraz Mourvedre) ($A28)
Again I applaud the Cadensia project, where McLaren Vale winemakers are showcasing the unique McLaren Vale grenache based wines under this name. The aromas are wonderfully complex with the red fruits of the grenache, some perfume and a creamy finish. On the palate starts with the red fruits (cherries dominated) again and complexes into freshly roasted beetroot and lavender.
2008 Shiraz ($A28)
Oh this is just what one thinks about when you hear the term McLaren Vale Shiraz from Blewitt Springs area. Concentrated, strong mid palate, plum and red fruit character and the hint of Blewitt Springs peatyness. Bring on some char grilled kangaroo with a side of bush tomatoes seasoned with saltbush flakes.
2007 Iron Heart Shiraz ($A80)
As one would expect based on the price, this wine is a significant step up from the above wine. There is an increase in aromatics with some more obvious oak and blackberries. The flavors are a meaty combination of a plum/blackberry conserve with even a licorice and meaty finish. The flavor is lasting and bring on the osso bucco with a bottle of this and I would be happy – but not happy to share.
2007 High Sands Grenache ($A90)
If I though the Iron Heart was a memorable wine then I had to hold onto my head when I tried this as I thought my head was going to explode. An expression of my favorite grape variety where there is just so much happening! The old old bush vine grenache from the highest part of the vineyard makes something I believe everybody should try just to see how good Grenache can be. Aromas of red fruits and creme caramel moves through such a concentrated mouthful of red and black fruits, chocolate and fennel with such a lovely savory finish. My words almost do not do justice to this wine.