McLaren Vale Wines – Minnow Creek Wines

Minnow Creek Wines comes from 2 friends – Bill who as a businessman enjoyed his wine and thought it would be good to make some plus Tony who was a winemaker friend who had just finished with another winery.  So they got together and Minnow Creek was born.  They do not own any vineyards but instead look to get the best fruit that shows regional characters.  The wines are made at other wineries but under the instruction of Tony.  They try to source their wines from McLaren Vale, but have settled on Sauvignon Blanc from Adelaide Hills and the use of Langhorne Creek as a varietal supplement.

I found the use of wild yeast fermentation on small portions of their wines and then back blended to add complexity and textural feel to some of the wines.

The wines are value for money and I would recommend that one checks out the wines if you get a chance.  The wines are found in some Adelaide restaurants and bottle shops or you can get them on line at

2009 “The Silver Minnow” Adelaide Hills Sauvignon Blanc / Semillon ($A17 or $A14 by the dozen)

The Semillon makes up a small proportion of the blend but is makes a big difference.  The reason for this is the Semillon has been fermented using wild yeasts in French oak.  The aromas are not over the top like a lot of Sauvignon Blanc’s can be and I get passionfruit and an interesting undertone of stone fruits.  The flavors are arranges in 3 waves.  The first is the immediate hit of tropical fruits, the second on the mid palate is a creaminess that suspect is coming from the oak treatment and then the third component is a strong acid finish that has a citrus feel.  I do not normally like Sauvignon Blanc, however this wine has interest and appeal – I even took a bottle home with me to have with Homemade Pesto Chicken Fettuccine.

2009 Rose ($A14 or $A12.50 by the dozen)

Yes – a dry style Rose wine (less than 5 g/L sugar) and made from Cabernet Sauvignon plus Sangiovese.  Interestingly a portion of the Sangiovese has been fermented with wild yeasts in 3 year old French oak Hogsheads.  The aromas are red berries (mainly cherries with some strawberries) and a creamy finish.  The flavours continue wiyh sour cherries and some earthiness from the Sangiovese.  All in all it is well balanced and would go well with a really creamy Brie on freshly baked crusty bread.

2008 “The Black Minnow” McLaren Vale Sangiovese / Cabernet / Malbec ($A17 or $A15 by the dozen)

This is the largest seller for Minnow Creek with this vintage receiving 4 stars from Winestate Magazine in their Regional McLaren Vale tasting.  The 2008 vintage was difficult and so sourcing quality fruit was also challenging – for this wine some of the grapes were sourced from Langhorne Creek.

The first thing that hit me when I got the glass near my nose was what appeared to me to be a bouquet of different herbs and then the cherries and rhubarb with an interesting dustyness in the background.  The were a ssoft balance of black fruits, anise, spice, soft acids and soft tannins.  It is easy to see this wine being very popular – particularly for the drink now cafe set.  A well made wine and well priced.  The wine would have gone well with the fantastic home made Lasagna my wife made a couple of days ago.

2007 Shiraz ($A24 or $A20 by the dozen)

There must be something right here as this wine won a trophy for the Dry Red Still Wine >$25 in the 2008 McLaren Vale Wine Show.  The wine is a single vineyard from Aldinga fruit with most of seeing 4 – 4 year old oak – both French & American.  The aromas start with black fruits and move into licorice wrapped in a cigar box.  The flavors were interesting as they are dominated by blackberry and not the usual plum and again with some cedary oak.  Nothing is out of balance here so I believe this wine is drinking well now.   There is a finesse here that is sometimes missing from the up front fruit and oak bombs that you sometimes see around.  The structure here means this wine would be at home being served with charred BBQ meats or with a pizza.

2008 Shiraz ($A24 or $A20 by the dozen)

Mostly made from the same vineyard fruit as the 2007 wine but so so different.  Here you immediately get the vanilla sweetness from the American oak.  This continues with aromas based on plums, blackberry & rhubarb.  Interestingly I got red and black fruits on the palate with the fruit and oak sweetness (again developed from the use of the American oak).  I felt the flavors were not as lingering as the 2007 Shiraz.  I can see a lot of people going for this wine even though it lacks the finesse of the 2007 wine.  This wine would go well with richer meat dishes or highly flavored Thai dishes such as Beef Massaman Curry.

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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