New Review: Yangarra Estate Vineyard 2012 McLaren Vale Old Vine Grenache

I have a wine problem!

I’ve fallen into a tendency lately to focus on only a few select wine regions when it comes to tasting, buying or drinking wine. When reviewing my tasting notes from the last couple of months I noticed this trend. A quick peek in the cellar confirmed my suspicion.

Perhaps calling it a problem is not accurate, but it is a concern. If you limit yourself to wine from only certain areas, you run the risk of missing out on some potentially great wine being produced elsewhere.

A perfect example of this is the 2012 Old Vine Grenache from Yangarra Estate Vineyard from the McLaren Vale region of South Australia. I don’t tend to drink a lot of wine from Australia not because it’s not good, but just because it’s not a region I tend to think of.

So when I got the chance to sample some of this wine a while  back I jumped at the opportunity. This was possible a chance to add a new wine and a new region to my repertoire. I was impressed enough with I had tasted to pick up a bottle to bring home with me.

Yangarra Estate Vineyard - 2012 McLaren Vale Grenache

 

Yangarra Estate Vineyard.

The winery is in the McLaren Vale region which is located on the southern tip of South Australia near the city of Adelaide. It sits on the eastern side of the Gulf St. Vincent and tends to benefit from a Mediterranean style climate with abundant sunshine and cool evening breezes.

The first vines were planted in the vineyard in 1946 and originally the grapes grown were used by local winemakers to beef up local wines from surrounding wineries.
In 2000 the vineyard was purchased by Jess Jackson and Barbara Banke (Jackson Family Wines proprietors) and they began the process of developing the vineyard into what it is today.

The vineyard encompasses 100 hectares and is divided into 35 individual blocks. Currently, plantings include Grenache, Shiraz, Mataro, and Carignan, and white grapes such as Roussanne and Viognier.

The Old Vine Grenache vines are located along the western side of the vineyard, in sandy soil with a layer of clay underneath. The sandy top soil acts as a reflector for the daytime heat but also releases heat captured during the day in the evening.

The vines are freestanding, with no support system or wires, allowing the fruit to spread out evenly and to allow greater airflow.

In keeping with a desire for quality, the grapes are handpicked and received via a belt elevator. They are then destemmed and sorted, the tubs of whole berries are tipped into open fermenters in an effort to avoid maceration.

The grapes are cold soaked for up to 6 days and allowed to undergo wild fermentation. Finally, the wine is put into old French barrels for 12 months prior to blending.

2012 Old Vine Grenache

Right off the bat, the first thing you notice is the color of this wine, a deep burgundy color with just a slight ruby rim. Upon the first pour, you notice right away aromas of cherry which slowly give way to notes of plum and bay leaf. After the wine had a chance to breathe the cherry notes started to change to almost a black cherry like aromas. Also, the bay leaf faded to the background and was replaced by a slight leathery note.

Red Wine

Taking the first sip, I noticed right away a significant acidity to the wine, it had quite a mouth puckering effect with a somewhat tannic almost harsh finish. I let the wine sit for about 15 mins before I tried it again and that had a significant effect on it. That initial acidity was replaced with a smoother almost velvety feel in the mouth and was able to pick up some flavors of white pepper, blackberry and plum.

The longer the wine sat the better it got, that original harshness faded and the flavors and aroma really started to open up. This is definitely a wine that will benefit from a good long decanting, allow it to breathe and mellow before serving.

All in all, this was a good wine and I quite enjoyed it. It might even get me to take a peek down that Australia aisle once in a while.

Cheers,

LB

Review: Fox Run 2012 Lemberger

One of the blogs that I routinely look forward to reading is pop & pour, written by local wine aficionado Peter Vetsch.  I first came across Peter on Twitter and was quick to check out his blog,  becoming an instant follower.

When it comes to the world of wine I still consider myself quite an amateur, so it’s great when I can look to others as valuable sources of information. In Peters’ case I appreciate the fact I get exposure to wines I might not otherwise get.

Case in point Peter recently wrote a number of posts regarding wines and vineyards in the Finger Lakes area of New York. I had heard of the Finger Lakes area earlier this year on a podcast, but really had no idea what the region had to offer.

So one night last week I just happened to be killing some time before an appointment and wandered in to the Kensington Wine Market to have a look around. As I’m walking down one the aisles, a label catches my eye. A black label, with the works “Fox Run” printed on them. Something about the name stuck in my head and then it came to me. That was one of the vineyards and wines that Peter had just written about. It was decided, I had to try the wine.

Fox Run Vineyards 2012 Lemberger

Fox Run 2012 Lemberger

I really had no idea what to expect with this wine. As I mentioned earlier I was not familiar with the area or this grape variety so I decided to do some research. The grape variety is very common through central Europe, in countries such as Austria, Germany, Hungary, Italy, and Slovakia. The common name for this grape is Blaufränkisch, but is known by other names depending on the country. In the US, the grape is referred to as Lemberger, and is primarily grown in Idaho, Washington, and the Finger Lakes.

Fox Run Vineyards, got its start as a dairy farm, but began planting grapes in 1984.  In 1990 the farm was converted into a winemaking facility with further renovations being done in 1996. The winery is a family run vineyard and prides itself on its philosophy of low impact agriculture.

In addition to Lemberger, it also produces Riesling, Gewürztraminer, Chardonnay, Cabernet Franc, and Pinot Noir.

I was nervous opening the bottle, I just wasn’t sure what to expect. Interestingly enough as soon as I opened it the first thing that struck me was a strong note sweet almost overripe fruit. I was actually a little concerned that perhaps there was something wrong with the wine. However, I decanted it and let it sit for a couple of hours.

When I went back to the wine that aroma of overripe fruit had really dissipated and in its place was the spicy note of black pepper. Once poured into a glass, I was able to also note the aroma of blackberry and what I thought was blackcurrant.

In the glass the wine showed a striking ruby colour with a slightly less vivid rim. On the tongue I was struck by the contrast the wine presented. The body was densely complex  yet very soft and mellow all at the same time, with a wonderful full body.

FoxRun_Lemberger_02

The black pepper aroma carried over into the flavour of the wine, giving it a delicious hint of spice. I noted just a slight hint of fruit on the tongue, but I couldn’t quite put my finger on what it was. There was also a real herbal note to the wine, almost like basil or tarragon that really provided a wonderful savoury finish.

At the end of the day I was very impressed with this wine, deep and complex but easy to drink. It paired amazingly well with a rib eye but continued to drink well even after dinner was finished. Based on this experience I can’t wait to try some of the vineyards’ other varieties. Well worth the money spent.

Cheers,

LB

Notes: 

  • Winery: Fox Run Vineyards
  • Vintage: 2012
  • Grape: Lemberger
  • Region: Finger Lakes, NY
  • Country: United States
  • Nose: Black pepper, blackberry, black currant
  • Taste: Black pepper, herbal (basil, tarragon), berries
  • Purchased: Kensington Wine Market
  • Price: $29.99