The buds are breaking out here, but it is harvest time in Australia. The grapes are being crushed and the must is fermenting. This Saturday we’ll be tasting some antipodal wines from McLaren Vale and Langhorn Creek where Shiraz is king. Come have a taste from the other side of the world.
2012 Shadow Chaser, Chardonnay $12
The grapes for the Shadow Chaser come from 4 vineyards across the McLaren. Altitude ranges from 71 to 175 meters above sea level, and soil types vary greatly; biscay, clay, sand, silt & ironstone. This variation from vineyard to vineyard helps to give the wine complexity. “Vibrant lemon and lime zest on the nose, with deeper pear and chamomile qualities in the background. Juicy citrus fruit flavors show good depth and tangy cut, with a gingery nuance kicking in on the back half. Bright, focused and tangy on the finish, which shows a hint of tarragon.”
2012 Imprimata, Grenache $17
The Imprimata is grown on a tough Ironstone laden hillside in McLaren Vale. The vines appear to float above the valley and the sea below, braving the winds off of the Southern Ocean and keeping yields achingly low, thus producing a profound Grenache of delicate balance. The wine is “Lush, expressive aromas of fresh raspberry and cherry compote, with a spicy topnote adding vivacity. Silky and sweet, offering intense red berry, floral pastille and spicecake flavors that gain weight in the glass. Finishes silky and long, with resonating spice and floral notes.”
2013 Spring Seed, Scarlet Runner Shiraz $23
Spring Seed Wines are made with organically grown, single vineyard grapes that express the unique characteristics of the McLaren Vale foothills. The label is inspired by vintage flower seed packets. Only 8% new French oak is used in the winemaking, keeping the emphasis on pure fruit flavors. “Dark berries, cherry and candied flowers on the nose. Plush and open-knit, showing sweet dark berry and candied violet qualities and a hint of bitter chocolate. Finishes on a spicy note, with good length and fine-grained tannins that add structure.”
2010 Winners Tank, Velvet Sledgehammer Shiraz $22
Winners Tank is a vineyard in the Langhorn Creek . The name refers to an old water tank that sits in the corner of the vineyard. A strong rivalry exists between the three neighboring towns in the local Australian Rules Football competition. Each year the winning team heads out to the vineyard to paint the tank in their team colors. The Sledgehammer is picked a week later than their other shiraz giving it extra richness. “Blueberry liqueur, cassis and hints of violet on the nose. Sweet, full and expansive, offering intense black and blue fruit flavors and a jolt of bracing acidity on the back half. Finishes with dusty tannins, appealing sweetness and lingering spicecake and floral nuances.”
2012 Flegenheimer Reserve Red $27
85% Shiraz, 15% Petite Sirah
Flegenheimer’s McLaren Vale vineyard consists of ironstone and clay over limestone and benefits from cool maritime breezes each afternoon. The wine “exudes aromas of warm blackberries and crushed black plums with hints of mulberries, black pepper, tree bark and charcoal. Very big and full-bodied, it fills the palate with warm berry preserves flavors and just a touch of pepper that is offset by chewy tannins and up-lifting acidity.”
Madrona Wine Merchants offers free wine tastings featuring 4-5 selections on a theme every Saturday from 2 until the bottles run out and on Sunday we offer a mini-tasting of two wines all day from 11-5. No matter what day you stop by we always have something open to sample.