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.



Belleruche, Cotes-Du-Rhone

I have a fascination with France and its culture. If you were to ask me what city I most want to visit, my immediate response is always Paris. I think it comes from some romantic notion of the French lifestyle. I have visions of sitting at a sidewalk cafe drinking coffee, enjoying a bottle of wine with a baguette and cheese under the Eiffel Tower, and fine dining by candlelight.

Until I get the chance to travel to France I have to satisfy myself with the occasional meal or bottle of French wine such as my latest treasure a bottle of 2014 M. Chapoutier Belleruche Côtes-Du-Rhône.


2014 M. Chapoutier Belleruche Côtes-Du-Rhône

The Rhone wine region is located in the southwest of France, and is situated within the Rhone valley. This region produces a number of different wines all under various AOC designations with the most significant appellation being in the Côtes-Du-Rhône AOC.

Maison M. Chapoutier is an estate vineyard that has been involved in grape growing since 1808, and prides itself in its approach to growing, harvesting, and making wine. This is reflected in its family motto “Fac Et Spera”, – do and hope. Hope is the patience that comes with working with Mother Nature, and do is what goes into the process of making wine that people will enjoy.

The 2014 Belleruche is a blend of Grenache and Syrah, which gives it the strong pepper notes of a Syrah, but the soft mouth feel of Grenache. This was very easy drinking but had enough texture to stand up to a spicy beef dish that it was paired with.

On the nose I picked up strong notes of ripe fruit such as raspberry and black plum and slight hints of oak and dark chocolate. I found the ripe fruit aroma to be quite strong, almost overpowering.

Black pepper was front and centre on the palette, but also notes of dried fruit. There was lingering flavour on the back of the tongue that I had a difficult time identifying. I can only describe the taste as smoky, almost like BBQ meat. It’s definitely something I will be on the look out for next time.

I was really taken with colour of this wine, a deep burgundy with just a slight hint of violet. Looking at the wine in the glass my immediate impression was this was going to be a rich full-bodied wine and it certainly didn’t disappoint. This is definitely a wine to be added to the cellar.




  • Winery: M. Chapoutier
  • Vintage: 2014
  • Grape: Syrah / Grenache blend
  • Region: Cotes-Du-Rhone, Rhone Valley
  • Country: France
  • Nose: Raspberry, Black Plum, Oak, Dark Choclate
  • Taste: Black Pepper, Dried Fruit
  • Purchased: Oak & Vine
  • Price: $18.99