“Venerable vines, fastidious viticulture and cutting-edge winemaking kit. It’s a killer combination and the reason why Yangarra is producing some of the best wines in the Vale right now.” Max Allen, The Australian
Disclaimer: These are two wines, a Grenache and a Shiraz, not a Grenache Shiraz Blend.
This week we are offering an Australian modern classic… Yangarra from the Blewitt Springs subregion of McLaren Vale in South Australia. Modern because it is a winery with a talented and experienced young winemaker (Pete Fraser) with an eye on the future and a vineyard with an incredibly progressive organic and biodynamic farming program. Classic, because they craft wines of class that are proven cellar additions, regional leaders and revered amongst trade, media and wine drinkers across the world. The intense biodynamic farming program at Yangarra, with difficult to manage, untrained bush vines and the incredibly low yields means these wines should be far more expensive than the sub-$30 we are offering today.
Yangarra has become famous for its Grenache and Shiraz wines, and that is why we are offering a pack mixed with the three bottles each of the two wines. We think that to understand the winery and the region, both wines are important to see and enjoy. They are expressive, aromatic, elegant and balanced versions of their grapes. Pete Fraser’s Grenache wines are peerless in Australia, and Pete’s handling of this variety highlights fragrance, purity, spice and elegance that sees a wine akin to a plumper, spicier and fuller version of high-quality Pinot Noir.
We mention Blewitt Springs sub-region because it is an important piece of the Yangarra puzzle. This is the highest and coolest part of the warm McLaren Vale, and is famous for ancient sandy soils, white in colour with ironstone speckled throughout. This sits on top of limestone and has proven perfect for Grenache. (Note, the best Grenache sites in Chateauneuf du Pape sit on sandy soils). Yangarra have almost 100 hectares of bush vines that date back to 1946. 100 hectares may seem like a lot, but they only yield 15,000 cases from this, which is about a third of what other similar sized producers would aim for.
The Shiraz has refined power, dark, leathery fruits, but elegance and length through the palate that some find hard to achieve in McLaren Vale.
Yangarra wines routinely score in the high 90’s with the Halliday Wine Companion and we recommend keeping an eye on next weeks 2021 edition of the book, as these two wines will be sure to do well. Pete Fraser, who was awarded Winemaker of the Year in the 2016 guide, is McLaren Vale born and bred, has been at the helm since 2000. Since then, has worked closely with viticulturalist Michael Lane who is a staunch advocate for the organic/ biodynamic principles Yangarra practice.
Old Vine Grenache 2018
Medium bodied and aromatic wine with red flowers, raspberry, red cherry, aniseed, fennel, white pepper. There is a nice, open, grainy and soft tannin that frames juicy, spongy, voluminous fruit. Powerful, concentrated, elegant grenache. This is drinking beautifully now but will for another five years. This is super approachable, and its intensity would pair well with braised meats, especially pork, rabbit or beef whilst it is a good red for meat-based curries on the less spicy side.
This is classic McLaren Vale Shiraz in concentration and power, but with a touch of florals, spice and blueberry fruit that gives it a more nuanced feel. There is a nice amount of leather, coffee, earth and spice complexity and dusty, ripe tannins that delivery an impressive structure that will see the wine best from 2022 onwards. It will easily go for ten years. We’d be pairing this with straightforward, classic foods like lamb souvlakis, burgers or steak and pepper sauce.
Tom and Dan