McLaren Vale Wine – Kay Brothers Amery Vineyards

Kay Brothers Amery Vineyards Road Sign

Kay Brothers Amery Vineyards is one of the original vineyards of the McLaren Vale region.  First plantings were in 1859 with the Kay Brothers purchasing the property in 1890.  The current winemaker, Colin Kay, is third generation family winemaker.  The winery is well know for it’s flagship red wine – the Block 6 Shiraz.  The old vines for this wine produce such small amounts that you can only purchase the wine from the winery if you are a wine club member and commit to purchasing 6 other wines.    The wine club is worth signing up for as you get discounts on the wine (available from the time you join ie if you join at the cellar door then you can get the discount straight away).

Kay Brothers Gardens & Surrounds

The cellar door has a a wonderful view of the vineyard covered valley running down from the winery.  There are old vineyard equipment examples and picnic tables around the large grassed areas – perfect for kids to safely run around.  I have been to the cellar door on  may occasions and there is definitely a sense of old world and a smiling face to greet you.  If you have not been there yet it is one that you should visit.

The cellar door is open 9 – 5 on weekdays and 12 – 5 on weekends and public holidays.  Their new web site is at

Kay Brothers Cellar Door

2008 Eden Valley Riesling ($A22)

Not what I was expecting to see an Eden Valley Riesling here in McLaren Vale.  The fruit came from 60 year old vines and produces a wine full with lemons and limes with some apples and the usual flintyness that one expects from Eden Valley Riesling.  The wine was just starting to show some aged characters on the nose, so I expect this wine will soon be transitioning from the fruit driven youthfulness to kerosene nuances of older Riesling.  The crisp acid finish is just begging to be consumed with freshly cooked but cold shellfish.

2008 Amery Vineyards Viognier ($A22)

The nose on this wine was closed, however the flavors had pears and nectarines and quite a lengthy finish.  These flavors were unusual for a Viognier, but there was no real interest for me to purchase this wine – so a pass for me.

2010 Amery Vineyards Viognier ($A22)

Even before I got the glass up to my nose I could get some significant aromas of passionfruit and other tropical fruits with a hint of grassyness.  The flavors just kept on going with the same theme with lots of good acid.  A marked step up from the previous wine (note that there was no Viognier made in 2009 due to the heat wave conditions).  This would go well with many different Asian foods – how about an old favorite Thai Green Chicken Curry.

Amery Vineyards

2005 Amery Vineyards Merlot (A$22)

Another unusual offering.  This Merlot sparked my interest.  The aromas had the usual plum, but there was rhubarb and a hint of peppermint as well.  The flavors had cherries and mulberries with quite pleasant layers of tannin that drew you into a slightly bitter finish.  One of the more interesting Merlots I have found for a long time – a pitty about the hint of bitterness on the finish.  Still if you like Merlot and would drink it with food then I would check this out.  Food matching would lead me to a Beef stir fry – say Broccoli Beef Noodle Stir Fry.

2007 Amery Basket Pressed Cabernet Merlot ($A22)

The floral aromas blend into flavors of blackcurrent and mulberries.  The finish is very dry – the tannins seem to suck all the moisture from your mouth and even coat the tongue.  The overall effect is lingering however the very dry finish makes me think this wine needs a year or 2 to mellow before being at it’s drinking best.

2005 Amery Shiraz ($A22)

An interesting blend of blackberry and vanilla aromas make way for the flavors of ripe plums, vanilla (from the American oak) and really nice white pepper.  The overall effect was good and was lingering.  A step up from the other reds so far.  It is also good to see reds with a bit of age on them being sold through cellar door (though I hope this is not because they have not been able to sell the wine).  How about a Tuscan Burger to go with this.

2006 Amery Basket Pressed Shiraz ($A22)

Another step up! the 2006 was a good vintage and this shows in this wine – Yum.  An interesting aroma mix of plums with tobacco and eucalyptus (just on the back of the nose).  The flavors infuse plum, fennel, blackberry and oak (well balanced).  The fruit flavors are from fleshy fresh fruit and not your stewed styles and the finish is just so persistent.  At this price I seriously suggest you get some of this wine.  As a winter comfort food lets have a big plate of ricotta gnocchi with a spicy tomato and basil based sauce.

2004 Hillside Shiraz ($A40)

Oh how I love these steps – the 28 months in oak (about 50% new oak) has really made a difference in this wine.  Black cherries on the nose and flavors of blackberry spices (fennel, nutmeg and pepper), vanilla and milk chocolate.  There is no oak monster here the fruit and oak blend well together to make a very interesting whole.  This wine is just made to go with slow braised lamb shanks.

2006 Hillside Shiraz ($A40)

What a difference a couple of years and a good vintage makes.  The quality that the 2006 vintage brings to the table is shown with this wine output.  This wine is significantly more a fruit wine combined with very cleaver oak use with aromas of floral plums, pepper and hints of fresh leather.  The flavors start with spicy mulberries and finish with cedar, tar and dark chocolate.  A very pleasant dry finish that leaves the mouth wanting more.  I can see that both the 2004 and 2006 wines are very different and will appeal to different people and with different foods – this is one of the reasons I love wine the variations and permutations available to the skilled winemaker for us to taste.  How about a serving of Rosemary and garlic roast lamb with crispy roast potatoes and peas?

2010 Moscato ($A22)

This sweet offering has quite a following from the cellar door patrons and the last time I was at the cellar door this wine was sold out.  It is good to see more to this wine than just sugar and grapyness.  On both the nose and the palate there were lots of green apples and a lovely finish of cleansing acid.  I can see many a bottle of this being consumed in the great outdoors during summer.

Amery Founders Very Old Tawny Solera ($A22 375 mL bottle)

This wine was first released to celebrate the winery centenary (I still have my bottle of the first release sitting in my wine fridge).  This blend has an average age of 16 years and I must say this shows everything a tawny “port” should bring to the table.  The richness, the nuttiness combined with just so many flavors into an experience that needs to be shared.

Amery Founders Grand Liqueur Muscat ($A22 375 mL bottle)

This one is about 14 years old (on average) and is just like drinking a raisin based Christmas Pudding.  There is a lovely viscous mouthfeel here that just lingers and lingers.  I am thinking a nice runny Brie with dried fruits and nuts while drinking this – but I must warn you I may not share this wine.  Worth every cent!

Rare Liqueur Muscat ($A60 375 mL bottle)

Made mainly from the 1992 vintage there is a real difference here compared to the above wine.  Here there is none of the freshness a solera system can provide – this is just concentrated yummyness.  This is a concentrated and intense viscous mothfull of toffee, figs, coffee and raisins.  If you can afford this then it is an experience just to try.  You will have to get your own though – I will not be sharing any of this with anybody!

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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