Steve (owner, grape grower and winemaker) has been making wine from his lovingly tendered vineyard since 2003 (with the exception of 2005) and has supplied grapes to many well known McLaren Vale wineries – wineries that only look for grapes that will provide strength and character in the wine. Strength and character is what is delivered consistently under the wines tasted for this label.
The business model for this stable is to sell some grapes and make wine with some and hope that makes enough money to live on. There is no website for Danshi Rise and there is no real marketing for the wine either. With payment issues from restaurants and the cut throat nature of selling to the wine retailers, Steve seems to sell what he can through word of mouth. I suspect this word of mouth works to some degree because the wines are so full of what a lot of wine consumers would be looking for – including the price. All the wines to date are sold for $25/bottle – even though advice has been given from many wine industry people that the wine should be priced about $40 (so people could see this is a serious wine). Steve can see the benefits of a price increase for his wine, but declines to do so – as he does not want to upset his current following. I applaud this sentiment and I can see a large following being happy to almost steal the wine at the lower price. One would be vary lucky indeed if you could find a wine so packed full of flavor at this price range. The wines are at their best with food – I had a bottle with a lovely rump steak dinner and I was a very happy man.
The vineyard is almost all planted to Shiraz (~14 acres) with some Cabernet (0.5 acre) plus Tempranillo (1 acre). most of the vines are about 12 years old with the Tempranillo planted last year. The vineyard is situated on the Willunga “foothills” between the Willunga township and Aldinga. The views from the winery are just sensational – firstly overlooking vineyards that seem to stretch out to the sea.
I filmed a episode of Lonely Grape TV at Danshi Rise – check it out.
And now the wines…….
This wine took some time in the glass to open up, but I got clean fresh plum fruits and milk chocolate aromas. The milk chocolate theme continued over onto the palate with rich plums and chewy tannins – in a word rich.
The wine I tried was a mix of different barrel samples to try to show how the overall effect would be. The effect in a word was – WOW! The aromas were an intense infusion of licorice and plums with just a hint of tobacco. The intensity continues with the flavors where the fruit, licorice and grainy tannins bring strength and balance.
This wine is not far from bottling and I for one am looking forward to this. Again there is a theme of intensity with the constant being expanded to the licorice and plumyness. What is different here is that I get some of the American oak coconut and more of a fruit sweetness that I got with the other wines. I also got a sense of minerallity – more than the other wines – oh so very interesting.
The wine is not far from bottling and this is a small volume wine (1 barrel) that shows why this variety is being lauded as the next big thing from McLaren Vale. The aromas are just full of red and black fruits wrapped in an American oak coconut sweetness envelope. The flavors are earthy cherries with fine soft tannins that has, dare I say it, sexy smooth and lasting finish. Bring it on in the bottle, I say.
Just essence of McLaren Vale Shiraz here – all the plum, licorice and just a little chocolate. The mid palate that McLaren Vale red wines are famous for is shown so well here. Added to this is a sense of place – the minerallity of the soil mixes well with the strength of the fruit and the grainy tannins. The tannins are interesting as there are lots of them but they just meld so well together with the weight of the fruit. This is a wine that is all round complexity and even though it could be drunk now would continue to get better over the next 5+ years.
Combined with plums is a sense of black fruit and just a hint of coconut from the American oak. The wine is all about strength and structure but at the same time providing a smooth experience for the palate. This wine was slightly softer than the 2006, but not by much. Definitely a food wine – steak all around!