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(2024) It's always interesting if a wine has a particular human story behind it, and this one certainly has. Winemaker Marty Edwards spent two decades with a larger wine company before being diagnosed with Parkinson's Disease in 2012, whilst still barely 40 years of age. So he quit the job, and after life-changing Deep Brain Stimulation surgery in 2018, felt well enough to establish Silver Lining Wines, where profits go to support Parkinson's research and charities in Australia. The wine displays its cooler-climate credentials coming from vineyards at altitude in the Adelaide Hills. Whole berries were fermented with natural yeasts and foot trodden, then matured in new and used French oak barriques for 10 months. It has game, olives and plenty of pepper on the nose, a certain roughening tannin adding a welcome chewiness to plush, mouth-filling black fruit. Spicy, well-balanced and satisfying stuff. Watch the video for more information.
(2024) Cool climate character is good, with herbs, pepper and a certain meatiness. Plummy, the palate perhaps a slightly raw quality, a touch of charry character from the oak adds to that. Tannins are firm and this has reasonable balance overall. £24.99, but 'Angels' pay £15.99
(2023) Classic Coonawarra Cab in many ways, from Terra Rossa soils and Hollick's the oldest blocks, the wine matured in French oak. Leafy and herbal edge flit around the aroma on first opening. Blackcurrant and something definitely meaty emerges. In the mouth the sheer sweetness surprises. Assuming this has negligible residual sugar, it must be the decadent ripeness of the black fruits captured in the glass. Tannins are firm, and along with 14.9% declared alcohol, do give a slight heat but plenty of grip. That sweet fruit drives the finish rather than oak, and the crispness of the tannins alleviates the meaty structure of the wine.
(2023) A Barossa Shiraz from St Hallett, who built their name on this variety and place, this cuvée aged in American and French oak for nine months. Loads of blueberry and blackcurrant richness on the nose, minty and chocolaty too, a mere suggestion of gaminess in the background. In the mouth the rich, sweet, burstingly ripe black fruit powers the mid-palate, oak, tannin and acid perhaps a little harsh. Delivers on what you would expect from a mid-price Barossa Shiraz, but the sweet-ish character and harsh finish would be smoothed by a piece of red meat protein. £14.00 Tesco Club Card price at time of review.
(2023) This 35-year-old vineyard is planted on terrarossa, and after extended cold maceration was matured in French oak. Winemaker Ben Wurst believes that the long skin maceration gives length in the finished wine. Quite a bright, glossy and fresh fruit character on the nose, a little background herbaceous note adding freshness. Balanced and medium-bodied, the palate follows the same line, fruit the driving force here, pretty and juicy, pert acidity and tight tannins creating a wine that seems to defy its 14.5% alcohol. No UK retail stockists at time of review. Again, already very drinkable.
(2021) The vines here are 95 years old, on red clay soils. Made in open fermenters, aged on fine lees in steel for 12 months. Lovely pale colour, translucent on rim, quite herbal with small red berries. The fruit is firm and elegant on the palate, savoury, juicy, less overtly sweet fruited than some but has that clean, long, elegant character.
(2020) Made by Yalumba since the early 1990s, and one of the most popular wines among the Yalumba staff. There are vine components here from plantings that span the 1890s through to the 1970s, the average age of vines for the wine has been calculated as 75 years old. A hugely juicy, again leafy and earthy style, that basil or curry-leaf component is there again, and that fairly striking tart raspberry juiciness with an axis of red fruit and acid. Tannins are a little smoother than the GSM, but it still grips the finish giving that savoury appeal.
(2020) Grenache, Syrah and Mourvèdre is the trio of Rhône grapes on which Barossa’s reputation was partly founded. This wine was first made in 2010, and the 2016 is led by 55% Grenache (a similar blend having previously been led by Mourvèdre ). A nice, quite transparent ruby colour, there’s loads of juicy, summery fruit and spice on the nose, a little slick of vanilla smoothing things out. In the mouth there is grip here, a bit of basil and leafiness as well as a savoury fruit character, quite a creamy texture. Keen acidity and a rustic, savoury bite of tannin gives great gastronomic possibilities. This sees a mix of barrels for ageing, from barriques to large oak vats, but overall only around 15% of oak is new.
(2017) The recently launched 'Max's' range from Penfolds is of course an homage to Max Schubert, the first Chief Winemaker for Penfolds, and the man who created Grange. As is usual with so many of Penfold's premium wines, fruit is sourced widely across South Australia, and the wine is aged 24 months in older American and French oak barrels, with about 10% in new French oak. It's made to be accessible early, but it is still a wine with a bit of grip and structure, the plush blackcurrant and blueberry aromas framed by sandalwood and vanilla, before a mouth-filling palate of sweet fruit but with a bittersweet twist of liquorice acidity and tight, grippy tannins as well as a touch of alcoholic heat. A few years in the cellar will do this no harm.
(2017) 40% Grenache, 33% Shiraz and 27% Mourvedre. A dry, lightly leathery and gravelly character with small redcurrant and black fruit dryness. The palate has a fine, racy profile, spices and crunchy acid against quite sweet, but agile and savoury fruit. Drinks easily but well.
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