Tuesday, March 26, 2019

Oliver's Taranga Tasting

Among connoisseurs, Oliver's Taranga is best know for supplying grapes to Penfold's Grange. It is Penfold's largest supplier from the ever dwindling list of McLaren Vale suppliers. These plantings are from 1948, 1960, and the early 90s. Oliver's Taranga started its own label from its large 120ha vineyard in 1994. The soil tends to be loamy sand over limestone. The vineyard is slightly hilly, but is part of the more alluvial grounds as one moves south. I tasted four wines from the range.

The 2017 Grenache comes from relatively young bush vines and was matured in large old French oak vessels. Raspberry flavours are prominent, giving the wine some sweetness. There is also forest fruit and some spice. The finish is a bit short (89 points).

In an effort to differentiate from others, the owners have planted many southern European varieties. The 2018 Mencia is based on a variety which thrives in North-Western Spain. It has floral and lifted aromas. On the palate, it is dark fruited and quite fruity. It is more savoury on the back palate, and the thick tannins of the grapes provide a firm finish (89 points).

The 2017 Estate Shiraz sees 20% new oak (I think a mix of French and American), which add a slight vanilla flavour to the wine. Chocolate and mocca add to the blackberry fruit. The tannins are fine and well rounded (90 points).

The star of the line-up is the 2016 HJ Shiraz Reserve. Penfolds allows Oliver's Taranga to keep a small percentage of the fruit from the blocks which go to Penfolds. This wine uses fruit from the South Block of the 1948 plantings. The wine is matured in 30% new French oak. It has a darker colour than the standard, and the fruit flavours are more layered. This is an elegant wine with fine tannins and good length. 1000 6-packs were made (94 points).

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