After I’d visited McLaren Vale I realized how little I used to know about this beautiful region. I knew more or less where it is, I could describe soils and climate and I was able to say what types of wines are being produced there; but that was all. No details, no closer view, a not-real imagination. Now I know that books cannot give me the general picture of the region but to really get to know it I have to explore it by myself.
Living in Mclaren Vale was the opportunity for me to understand it, to get familiar with people, places and wines. Especially that there is a lot of wineries that are not famous in Europe, but they produce exceptional wines. Reason? They do not produce enough volume to import it to Europe or America or just it is not worth it from the financial point of view. To taste these wines you need to come to the Vale and visit the cellar doors. And this is how I found out about McLaren Flat which is located in the flatlands to the East of the town of McLaren Vale heading towards the Adelaide Hills.
Today I’m going to look closer at The Flatmates from McLaren Vale– DogRidge, Gemtree Wines, Hugo Wines, Kangarilla Road Wines, Shootesbrooke and Yangarra Estate.
DOGRIDGE WINES, McLaren Vale
DogRidge is a family owned winery that produces boutique wines. The cellar door and vineyards are located in the heart of McLaren Flat and it is worth to visit them. I will never forget the hospitality of Jo and the winemaker Fred, who welcomed us in the DogRidge cellar door during our Cheese and Wine Tour. I wrote about them lately and the whole article is available to read here.
HUGO WINES, McLaren Vale
Hugo Wines is another family owned winery from the flatlands of McLaren Vale. We had a pleasure to speak to Elisabeth Hugo, the owner, about the story of the winery and wines being produced there. We tasted seven wines and their virgin olive oil and after the tasting I had some time to watch the exhibition of local artists’ paintings.
A few words about the wines:
Hugo Sauvignon Blanc 2014 (13%vol., 16$) – a light and easy to drink wine with sour acidity; lots of tropical notes and a hint of honeysuckle; persistent lemony finish;
Hugo Cabernet Sauvignon 2012 (12%vol., 22$) – oily and muscular with beautiful aromas of dark fruits, herbs, green pepper (capsicum) and green beans; rustic on the palate with blackberry, blueberry and spices and ripe a bit stalky tannins
Hugo Grand Tawny (19%vol.) – delicate, buttery and full-bodied with lots of dried fruits, raisins and a hint of nuts. On the palate raisins, dried plums and dried apricots with medium nutty finish;
Hugo Unwooded Chardonnay 2014 (coming soon – check out Tasting Room)
Hugo Chardonnay 2013 (coming soon – check out Tasting Room)
Hugo Reserve Grenache 2012 (coming soon – check out Tasting Room)
Hugo Reserve Shiraz 2012 (coming soon – check out Tasting Room)
KANGARILLA ROAD WINERY, McLaren Vale
Kangarilla Road Winery surprised me. I get used to cellar doors being very “feels like home” and in here I felt like I was in the office (but it was a very nice feeling!). I loved the design of the place. It is a family owned business and they produce diverse varieties and wines shows the varietal character.
The lady that was talking to us was very professional and kind and we spend there more than one hour talking on regions, differences between McLaren Vale and other Australian regions and about our favourites wines. We tasted 14 wines and all of them were very good – let’s get through the list of them and check how I remember them! And I don’t have pictures of them because it the bottles were too far away.
Kangarilla Road Chardonnay 2014 – (20$) simple and delicate wine with floral aromas and freshness on the palate
Kangarilla Road Duetto 2014 – (25$) a fresh and light blend of two grapes, Fiano and Vermentino; subtle and lemony aromas and palate full of citrus fruits;
Kangarilla Road Pinot Grigio 2014 – (20$) fresh and light wine with tropical fruits, pear, honeysuckle and lemony flavours;
Kangarilla Road Terzetto 2012 – (30$) a blend of three grapes, Primitivo, Sangiovese and Nebbiolo; quite fresh and medium full on the palate with beautiful flavours of black cherries and plums with a hint of aniseed and cardamom
Kangarilla Road Primitivo 2013 – (30$) a balanced and aromatic wine with dried fruits,plums, cherries and sweet spices flavours and salty finish
Kangarilla Road Sangiovese 2012 – (30$) black cherry, blackberry, lots of spices with intense cardamom and aniseed; in the mouth it is full bodied and complex with round tannins
Kangarilla Road Montepulciano 2012 – (30$) a bit perfumed with a note of dark fruits, stewed red fruits, oranges and sweet spices; silky and rich on the palate
Kangarilla Road Shiraz 2013 – (25$) plums, blackberries, blackcurrants and black cherries with a hint of white pepper; palate is elegant and velvety with round, ripe tannins
Kangarilla Road Blanche Point 2011 – (45$) very earthy with some mouldy and musty aromas; lots of black fruits, heavy green tannins with a rustic impressions on the palate
Kangarilla Road Cabernet Sauvignon 2012- (coming soon – check out Tasting Room)
Kangarilla Road Devil’s Whiskers 2012 – (coming soon – check out Tasting Room)
Kangarilla Road Alluvial Fans Shiraz 2012 – (coming soon – check out Tasting Room)
Kangarilla Road Q Shiraz 2010 – (coming soon – check out Tasting Room)
Kangarilla Road Zinfandel 2013 – (coming soon – check out Tasting Room)
YANGARRA ESTATE, McLaren Vale
I couldn’t decide whether I should write about Yangarra Estate or not. On one hand it is a good looking place, they do great job with wines and it’s good to know what they produce, on the other hand I have the worst memories from here thanks to the woman that was working in the cellar door during our visit. I don’t like to be negative but this rude someone really pissed me off (M. was also very angry) and we just quickly tasted wines and left. At the end of the tasting she informed us that we have to pay 20$ (yes, 20!!) for the wines we’d tasted; I asked at the beginning whether the tasting is free or not and I don’t care if she lied deliberately or ‘by chance’ but it was the worst investment of 20$ that we ever made. I think the wines are ok to taste, but I do not recommend visiting this place. It’s better to buy a bottle or two and drink it somewhere else.
Yangarra Estate Roussanne 2012 – (13,5% vol., 32$) delicate and balanced with pineapple, lemon and quince flavours
Yangarra Estate Viognier 2014 – (12% vol.) floral aromas with a hint of oranges and peaches; elegant palate with nice structure;
Yangarra Estate Old Vine Grenache 2012 – (32$) nice aromas of flowers, blackberries, blueberries and strawberries and a hint of oak
Yangarra Estate Mourvedre 2013 (coming soon – check out Tasting Room)
Yangarra Estate Vineyard Shiraz 2012 (14,5% vol., 25$) cranberries, plums and chocolate aromas; on the palate overcooked blackcurrant, leafy and a bit too lean for Shiraz
Yangarra Estate GSM 2012 (28$) heavy aromas of flowers and dark ripe fruits; palate surprised me – was unbalanced with too much hard drying tannins
Yangarra Estate High Sands Grenache 2012 (14% vol., 125$) very nice aroma of flowers with intense lavender, blackberry and spices; on the palate some residual sugar, flavours of cigars, and tabacco with overcooked fruits and – again – too much unripe, drying tannins
Yangarra Estate Iron Heart Shiraz 2012 (14,5% vol., 100$) dark fruits and oaky aromas with nice hint of cedar wood; in the mouth some dark fruits overwhelmed with drying aggressive tannins; wine is very short with woody finish
GEMTREE WINES and SHOTTESBROOKE, McLaren Vale
Unfortunately I haven’t visited these two cellar doors but at least I will have something new to explore during my next visit to McLaren ;)
That’s it! Such a small area and so many places to visit! To be perfectly honest I am not sure why just six of the McLaren Flat wineries are the part of this ‘Flat-club’ and the rest exists on their own, but I can imagine that there’s a reason for that. Sometime soon I will write about other wineries from McLaren Flat that I’ve visited this year.