Fall From Grace is one of the most interesting Jewels of McLaren Vale. At the smallest wine store I have ever experienced one can find:-
- French & Italian wines from artisan producers
- high quality glassware
- restaurant cookware
- French & Italian wine region maps
- wine related books
- Opinel Knives
- Vinturi wine aerators
- French Spirits (Gill is the brand ambassador for Cerbaco)
- French Market baskets
- The only tasting outlet for S.C. Pannell wines
All this in a space no more than 2.5 meters wide and 6 meters long.
But a list such as this cannot fully convey what this special outlet can provide the visitor. Gill has spent many years travelling the wine world with Qantas and calls McLaren Vale home. As such she knows most people that walk past and those that drop in for something different – either as a gift or a wine that would just go well with what is being cooked for tea tonight. The room is bordered by seating so you can take your time. I spent a couple of hours there today and just enjoyed watching and meeting people that just dropped in. I must say it was a very enjoyable time – and even met a reader of the Lonely Grape.
What an interesting mix of wines and what a concept. Who would have thought a shop selling overseas wine would have such an interest in one of Australia’s best wine producing areas (McLaren Vale of course). Gill does not sell Australian wine – even though Fall From Grace is the only tasting outlet for S.C. Pannell Wines. Every weekend there will be one of Steve’s wines available for tasting (however you cannot purchase these wines from there). Steve’s wines have received acclaim from just about everywhere so even 1 wine for tasting is worth just dropping in.
Fall From Grace is in the Main Street of McLaren Vale, in what I would call, the trendy area of the street and just next to Blessed Cheese Cafe.
The owner of Fall From Grace, Gill, alone is worth the effort to call in. Not only can she talk about each wine and who makes each wine from her shop but she is just so passionate about every aspect of wine – so much so that her real overall passion is wine education and conducts courses for the Wine & Spirit Education Trust plus conducts 1 day tasting courses (over lunch) that sound very civilized.
As well as a wine from S.C. Pannell available for tasting there is usually a wine from her shop also available for tasting.
Fall from Grace has a blog – check it out here.
S.C. Pannell web site (including sales) is also worth checking out.
Well enough about Fall From Grace but lets discuss wine:-
Le Pere Jules Poire (De St Desir-De-Lisieux) ($A20)
This is a pear cider from Normandy, that funnily enough smells and tastes like pear. I hear that during the recent vintage here in McLaren Vale this was a drink of choice after maany a long day in the winery.
2007 S.C. Pannell Nebbiolo ($A45)
This Adelaide Hills Nebbiolo wine is a blend of many different clones which just adds to the overall complexity here. One of the very interesting things with this wine is that only yeast was added to this wine and then it was aged in large old oak barrels for 24 months. The aromas just keep developing while the wine is in the glass – I got an earthy mixture of roses, tar and cherries. Very different to the citrus characters of the Nebbiolo wines I have tasted from McLaren Vale. The flavors were just this wonderfully savory mixture of cherries, tar, great acid levels and this lovely tannin structure. The tannins must have mainly been delivered from the fruit (as only old oak was used) helps the wine to produce this layering effect that just keeps rolling well after you have finished the last sip.
I agree with Gill that a Porcini Mushroom Risotto with lots of “stinky” hard Italian cheese would be worth traveling a long way for the combination.
2007 Montefalco Rosso ($A34)
Straight away one can tell this is different and when I heard the words “this is a blend of Sangiovese, Sagrantino, Cabernet & Merlot” I knew this was! Both the aromas and the palate had lovely fruit layerings of cherries and raspberries that finished with lovely tannins. These tannins I felt were soft to start with, but I soon found there was an underlying strength to these tannins that worked so well with the tannins. All I could think of as a food match while I was tasting this wine was to continue the Italian theme, with pizza.