Tuesday, March 9, 2021

Day Three: Adelaide Hills, part 1

 There is now a plethora of wineries in the Adelaide Hills. It is cooler than McLaren Vale or the Barossa and it attracts also some innovative approaches, mainly in the northern part. I have never visited there before. So I decided to split the day between more conventional wineries and some more adventurous ones. The first winery is The Lane Vineyard. It wants to be especially known for its Champagne.

The bottles are sweating. I had not noticed.

The first is the Lois. This is quite a find; a very refreshing, forward champagne, yet with very fine beads. I liked this a lot. It compares favorably with Croser or Chandon, in my view, for less cost (91 points). The second is the Estate Blanc de Blanc which has been on lees for five years. It is darker in colour and more textural, but I did not find it entirely convincing for this kind of approach (90 points). The third champagne is very rare; the Heritage, a champagne 2010 late disgorged. This wine is darker again, with brioche notes, and very long in the mouth (95 points).

I then participated in the Gathering tasting. This is a tasting of four wines, matched with canapés. This was very well done, and is supported by detailed information.

Skipping the Sauvignon/Semillon (you have to have some principles), let us start with the 2019 Beginning Chardonnay. There is flinty citrus and pineapple on the palate. The oak influence (30% new) is noticeable, but the wine is balanced - a good food wine (92 points). The 2016 Reunion Shiraz is quite a delight. This is a lighter style, very pretty. Red berries feature on the palate, lightly peppered. This is an elegant wine, finishing with soft tannins (93 points). I found the 2017 19th Meeting Cabernet Sauvignon a bit herbaceous. It is a clean wine, but the fruit weight is too light (89 points).

My second stop is at Murdoch Hill, increasingly known for its Chardonnay. The first wine I taste is the 2019 Sulky Riesling. The wine is fruity, a little sweet, with not much definition (88 points). Then come three Chardonnays. The 2020 standard Chardonnay delivers intense apple and pineapple flavours. 35% new oak adds vanilla on the palate. Overall, the wine is a little broad (90 points). the 2019 Tilbury Chardonnay is the premium wine. It consists of 100% Piccadilly fruit (think Petaluma). The flavours are quite intense and powerful. There is good length in this wine (93 points). The 2020 Tilbury Chardonnay has less new oak (15%), but more drive and intensity, as the apple and pineapple flavours are well supported by acidity (94 points).

The red wines are also worth a try. The 2018 Phaeton Pinot Noir comes from higher altitude at Piccadilly. The wine has a slightly earthy colour.  It is strawberry based with earthy undertones. There is 40% wholebunch in this wine, and the tannins are soft and silky - not your standard Pinot, but I quite liked it (93 points). The 2018 Landau Syrah is also a bit unusual. It is medium-bodied. Game and savoury notes dominate the palate. The wine is elegant, but slightly herbaceous (92 points).

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