Had a visit this afternoon from the affable Ben Tolstoshev, who’s family runs The Lane, an Adelaide Hills vineyard with a suitably interesting range of wines.
The Lane Vineyard was actually the original source of the Starvedog Lane wines, with the family involved in a joint venture with Hardys until its takeover by Constellation. Recently, the emphasis has been largely on export markets, hence the smallish local presence, but I can see a ready market for the wines like this in the high end on premise market (the prices are a tad high for traditional retail me thinks).
What is also worth mentioning is the seriousness of the operation – BD but not certified, minimal handling, wild yeast ferments, extremely low sulphur regimes and a highly sophisticated water system (like all Adelaide Hills wineries, water use & recycling are fundamental parts of the operation, due to the Hills Catchment Area status).
Definitely one to watch.
The Lane Vineyard ‘Gathering’ Sauvignon Blanc Semillon 2008
Forward, lemony, slightly muted & quite green nose, but flecked with some creamy yeast influences. The palate has grassy green pea & citrus fruit in a rounded style, with some good textural elements, if a little forward. Ringing metallic twinge on the finish. Can’t help but feel this might be a bit vintage affected, but I like the interesting mouthfeel on offer. $40. 16.5
Off The Leash ‘Max’ Shiraz Viognier 2006
Light red colourwith a bricking rim. Fruit driven Shirognier nose in a simple, slightly open, confected style of easy appeal. The palate follows a similar route, with open, sweet berry flavours, though with some more complex roasted notes. It’s a friendly BBQ red, though the price could be a bit sharper. $25. 16
The Lane Vineyard ‘Reunion’ Shiraz 2007
Purpley red in colour, this is an interesting take on Adelaide Hills Shiraz. The nose is almost Amarone like in its slightly skinsy, sweet, caramelised cherry liqueur style, with some oxidative notes too. The palate mirrors this, with sweet, soft, pulpy fruit amidst some woody, peppery & slightly astringent structural elements. Its not quite cohesive as yet, but it is unquestionably interesting. $55. 17
The Lane Vineyard ’19th Meeting’ Cabernet Sauvignon
My pick of the reds. Dense, cassisy cool climate Cabernet characters with a lick of coffee oak. Its on the fragrant & utterly cool climate end of the Cabernet spectrum, with the hardwood & coffee bean aromatics to match. The palate follows with astringent tannins, but just enough generosity to match. It reminds me much of 85% cocoa chocolate, with the firm dryness and chalky, cocoa bean edge. Some slightly stewed characters on the end are the only detraction. Built for the future, but utterly fine grained and again interesting. Good. My only negative is the somewhat questionable value @$55. 17.3+