|Super modern Primo cellar door. You like?|
New releases from the Primo Joseph range
Primo Estate has come a long way. From the days of being principally an Adelaide Plains producer of Colombard and the odd characterful red, to now being a famous producer of some of Australia’s best olive oil and a range of Italian leaning wines..
You can see evidence of this evolution at the Primo Estate McLaren Vale cellar door – it’s perhaps the moodiest, most contemporary and most stylish of any cellar in the Vale, the tasting area setup second-to-none in terms of look and feel.
The wines too are more evolved, more interesting and more detailed than ever, still made at the Elizabeth (on the outskirts of Adelaide on the ‘Plains’) winemaking facility, yet now with fruit from all over McLaren Vale, the Adelaide Plains and the Adelaide Hills. Notably, the Colombard is still an important part of the range, making up a vast proportion of the wineries production. It is a pretty handy, easily refreshing little white to boot.
It is with the more premium ‘Joseph’ range that the Primo team are best able to showcase their winemaking nous, and these new releases are some of the best iterations I’ve seen. When I popped by the other week I was even tempted to buy some, even if the terms ‘wine cellar’ and ‘lounge room’ appear to be much the same thing in my world at the moment. Need a bigger house, clearly…
Primo Estate Joseph d’Elena Pinot Grigio 2012 ($28)
A blend of Clarendon (McLaren Vale) and Woodside (Adelaide Hills) fruit, this is fermented entirely in tank and bottled early. Alcohol 12.50%. pH 3.24. Total Acidity 6.5 g/l
Apple and pear fruit. Has a careful textural edge to that white fruit, giving an almost barrel fermented richness. Acidity is firm but not hard, suggesting perfectly ripe fruit. Excellent weight for a Grigio and shows a real length of flavour, carrying through the finish. Convincing. 17.7/20 92/100
Primo Estate Joseph Nebbiolo 2007 ($75)
As ever a bitch of a variety in what was a hard, drought year. This is all Clarendon fruit that was produced in open fermenters and spent 20 months in new oak (20% new). Alcohol 13.5%. pH 3.5. TA 6.67 g/L
Raisined edge to the nose. The drought year has sucked up all the fruit, leaving just oak sweetness and loads of tar and acidity. Welcome varietal character if dented by the baked vintage. Hard going. 15.8/20 86/100
Primo Estate Angel Gully Shiraz 2010 ($75)
I reviewed this first in a big blind lineup at the Scarce Earth Shiraz tasting. Looked even better here in context, with cheese. Worthy. All Clarendon fruit with a small amount of air dried grapes. Alc 14%. pH 3.74. Total Acidity 6.0 g/L
Compact. A fraction oaky but attractive, pencil shavings oak. Very firm, dark and backward palate promises much – no show pony this. Lovely restraint and firm, oak drawn tannins. Those drilling, black tannins are a highlight. Great form and worthy of a spot in the cellar. 18.5/20 94/100
Primo Estate Angel Gully Shiraz 2003
Always good to have a reference point with an older wine. This, in many ways, just looked ‘older’ rather than more wondrous, though an entirely pleasant drink. Another very hot year wine ala the 07 Neb above.
Just a little raisined perhaps, but that slightly caramelised edged and the sweet (American?) oak works to gives a nice richness. Good tannins and still lively on the palate, it is a fraction warm but a nice, mid weight, coffeed plum Shiraz. Pleasure. 17.7/20 92/100
Primo Estate Moda Cabernet Merlot 2010 ($75)
You won’t see much resistance from me with this wine. It is the Amarone I wish most Amarones would taste like, if in a McLaren Vale Cabernet Merlot mode. This is the best vintage I’ve tasted since the 2004 (which I bought). 80% Cabernet, 20% Merlot from Clarendon and Mcmurtrie Road (which you might call ‘McLaren Vale’ sub-region of McLaren Vale, as confusing as that sounds) with the fruit air-dried for 2 weeks and then crushed and fermented in open fermenters before spending 20 months in 50% new American and French oak.
Welcome hedgerow and pencil shavings varietal nose. Varietal! I think the Merlot was early picked too. This looks rather restrained and less heavy with dried fruit this year, the middle carrying a big cassis punch through the middle, finishing with even and manicured, brown sugar tipped (the joys of air drying!) tannins. Excellent length and real quality. Superb. Perhaps not an easy wine to love, but thoroughly Italianate in its form. Vital too. I want some. 18.7/20 95/100