Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Rhone Rangers

The term Rhone Rangers was coined for Californian wine makers producing wines from Rhone varieties, in particular Shiraz and Grenache. It should really be a term for Australian winemakers, as Shiraz, Grenache and blends are much more prominent in Australia than in the US.

At this particular tasting, 14 wines were presented, 2 whites and 12 reds. The whites were nothing special, so I will focus on the red wines. I will describe them in three tiers of quality

The wine of the night was a real surprise. It was the 2014 Tellurian Heathcote GSM.  This wine was lively with lifted and spicy aromas, and a good intensity of plum, raspberry and strawberry flavours. The fine tannins lead to a smooth finish. The other wine at this level was the 2014 Clonakilla Shiraz Viognier. This wine showed the typically fragrant bouquet. On the palate, dark berry flavours stood out, leading to a very long and silky finish. I just found the lifted element of the Viognier a bit too much.

In the second tier were the 2012 Chapel Hill Bush Vine Grenache with rich raspberry flavours and some earthy notes, but a slightly alcoholic finish. The 2014 Sons of Eden Kennedy GMS has a focus on ripe red fruit, cherries and wild berries, and was well balanced. The 2012 Spinifex Esprit, also a GSM with some Cinsault and Carignan thrown in, was fresher and more elegant, with good complexity, but lacking mouthfeel a bit.

The best in the third tier was the 2014 Tahbilk GSM. Grenache flavours dominate in this wine, but oak is more prominent than fruit. Having said this, the wine is quite harmonious and elegant. The wines I liked less were the 2012 Evans & Tate Redbrook Shiraz (harsh tannins), the 2014 McWilliam's Appelation Canberra Syrah (lacks mouthfeel), the 2015 Purple Hands MSG (not balanced), the 2013 John Duval Annexus Grenache (big and plump), and the 2014 Schild Barossa GMS (raspberry bomb).         


Anonymous said...

Hello Thomas,
The www for Tellurian states the abv on the GSM is 14.8%, I really enjoy Heathcote Reds but often baulk at the higher alc levels.
You haven't made any reference to any warmth or heat which encourages me to give this a try.
Do you remember any nuances that may relate to the 14.8%?



Alontin said...

Hi Colin,

I was only aware of this later and surprised. I did not notice any heat.