My wine sales web site www.tastemclarenvale.com.au is about to roll out the new Backyard Shed Cru wine tasting pack. The idea of the Backyard Shed Cru packs is to showcase small artiesan wineries from the McLaren Vale region. The web site also offers a membership deal where one can sign up and recieve these packs every 6 months automatically and with a discount on the normal price as well as freight fee. Check this out at Taste McLaren Vale’s Membership page.
And now for the important stuff – the wines…….
2009 Minnow Creek Black Minnow
Interesting name for an interesting blend of Sangiovese (80%), Cabernet Sauvignon (15%) and 5% Malbec. I cannot remember having this blend before other than previous vintages of the Black Minnow. Aromas are basically cherry based – just like having a bowl of freshly macerated cherries. There is some difference to the cherries so I suggest there is aromas of both black and red cherries – smells like Christmas time with the local McLaren Vale and Adelaide Hills cherries. There is a bit of dust on the nose as well from the smattering of oak that has gone into the maturation of this wine.
Cherries dominate the fruit flavour but there is secondary red and black fruits in abundance. As one may expect from Sangiovese there is a feeling of earthiness while the wine sits in the mouth and as you swallow it the tannins dry the mouth which makes you wanting more. Not a wine to cellar but a wine to enjoy now.
2009 Cabernet Sauvignon
This was the surprise for me – I am not normally a Cabernet drinker but I could drink a heap of this. The aromas of blackcurrent and mint just fly out of the glass so much so, you don’t even have to do the “wanky thing” to get the aromas. I get cassis and chocolate with a minty finish. As I am finding with McLaren Vale Cabernet the usual donut effect where the flavors disappear in the mid palate, does not happen here. Good old McLaren Vale is having it’s effect and so the mid palate is there is spades.
One of my favorite blends and this wine does not disappoint. there was something immediately interesting here and I will admit that I could not work out what it was. The Shiraz portion of the wine was co-fermented with the Roussanne pressings (from the above wine). The result is a real lift added to the aromas from the red fruits that comes through the from the Grenache. The wine had a portion unoaked and the remainder oaked with various aged barrels – in other words they have been smart by producing the best wine they can from small volume by keeping small parcels separate and treating them differently. Blending of these small batches allows the winemaker to produce the style they are looking for without compromise. This outcome is worth the efforts. There is balance here the red fruits from the Grenache, with the structure of Shiraz and the strength of Mourvedre mixed with a layered tannin structure that is not over bearing. I can see a big pan full of chilli mussels in this wines future.
2005 McLaren Park Shiraz
Firstly, this is a classical Genders wine with all the developed characters but more importantly for me the wines change so much over a period of time. One of the reasons I was there so long (well that was my excuse anyway). The aromas started with developed dark briary fruits but after a while changed to that typically shown from Dianna’s wines – floral notes. Then some cinnamon kicks in as well. The flavors also change dramatically. Firstly starts with the briary / black fruits with oak tannins not over done and lots of good acid i.e. Really good structure. Over time the flavors change to include lots of spices and not your normal spices. I got more of cardamon and sage as the wine opened up. After being open for nearly 2 hours there were more changes – the fruits of blackberries and blueberries came through.
A lighter that expected offering from the Blewitt Springs vineyard. The peatyness comes through again on the nose with red spicy fruits – Yum. The flavors are a medium bodied mixture of raspberries, cherries & spice with just a hint of oak. This is a drink now wine but I am sorry, as if I open a bottle it is unlikely I will be sharing this.
2010 Graham Stevens Wines Vintage Shiraz
I will admit this wine was a surprise. Firstly, it was the first wine I tasted from the 2010 vintage – a port style being an early release. Then I was shown the bottle and it was a screw cap! I thought this unusual and I asked Graham about it. His response was the Vintage style requires clean conditions and minimal oxygen contact so why not a screw cap. Upon thinking about it more, I remembered that some old vintage port styles I have opened from the 70’s had cork disintegration issues. So I should talk about the wine.
Straight away the wine is all about the plum character that is McLaren Vale Shiraz as well as the clean spirit. The aromas and flavors are like Shiraz grapes have been hand squeezed into your glass. The plum is so clean and intense that the spirit does not interfere at all. Once in the mouth the plum explosion is just complemented and cleaned up by the spirit and acid. Wines such as this are a joy to consume and it can only make one wonder why this style has almost disappeared from the Australian and McLaren Vale winemaking scene. Do yourself a favour and try this wine – I cannot see you will do anything but enjoy it.
Please note that I have conducted video tastings of these wines and can be viewed in the coming weeks as Lonely Grape TV.