By my count this is the fourth vintage of View Road Wines that have passed the desk, and this latest collection is without doubt the most interesting – if also the most variable.
For a little context, View Road Wines is the ‘ultra boutique’ label of Adelaide based Josh Tuckfield (who also writes at vino-review), the wines made by Josh and his father Brian using fruit from the Adelaide Hills, McLaren Vale and the Riverland.
Part of the appeal of these wines is the sense of experimentation behind ’em. Tapping into the minimal intervention vibe of the Adelaide Hills these are quirky wines (and often quirky blends) utilising old oak, wild ferments and minimal sulphur additions to produce wines with a real handmade feel.
Perhaps the only challenge here is that they can be just a little too handmade. Still, that’s the joy really – a sensation that these are wines made by people, with their hands. Not in tanks with pumps and hoses and electronic temperature controlled water jackets.
Now, I’ve already reviewed the tasty Fiano so best start there. The rest were tasted recently…
View Road Wines Adelaide Hills Syrah 2014
Sourced from Trevor Griffen’s vineyard at Kuitpo. Wild fermented (like all the View Road Wines), this spends 6.5 weeks on skins before old oak maturation. Mid red with a little purple, there is a little vanilla bean which is surprising – a vineyard character given that it is old oak? I love the spice and meat and game on the palate, all lithe red/purple fruit with a spicy edge. Ripe and full and almost conventional in its juiciness, then thicker, wilder, gamier and with a grunt to the extract. Good stuff. It’s still mid weight and suave, but with meaty, surprisingly thick edges. Cool clime Hills Shiraz, but with guts. It’s maybe a little awkward on the finish, but that will resolve with more time in bottle. Impressive regardless. Best drinking: 2018-2025. 18/20, 93/100. 13.8%, $37. Would I buy it? I’d share a bottle.
View Road Wines Adelaide Hills Chardonnay 2014
From the renowned Swaby vineyard at Mt Lofty, planted by former CSIRO scientist Bernie Swaby. Green straw coloured, this has a lovely buttercup and melon nose, the style driven by acidity and with leesy overtones, before a long, slightly twangy finish. At present this seems just a little too lean to be great, yet with time in the glass it looked better and better. Quality here in the lean and fresh style, with every mouthful uncovering just how long and serious this is. Very important plus signs. Best drinking: 2017-2022. 17.8/20, 92/100+. 12.6%, $37. Would I buy it? I’d enjoy a few glasses at least. Even more next year.
View Road Wines The International Adelaide Hills Syrah Sangiovese 2014
Adelaide Hills Syrah and Sangiovese. The best part about this is that it has some definite Sangiovese varietal character. Spicy red berries and a little red Robitussin, it’s just a bit treacly, yet also with a hint of hedge too, a nod to some mixed ripeness. Still, I like the genuine forest berry fruit and the savoury licorice streak. Length is sold too. Best drinking: 2017-2023. 16.5/20, 88/100. 13.2%, $35. Would I buy it? Not quite.
View Road Wines Adelaide Hills Rosato 2015
Based on Sangiovese from the Piccadilly Valley which spends a short time on skins before pressing to old oak. 12.5%, $32. Pale orange salmon pink, the closed nose doesn’t give much away initially. Things build nicely on the bone-dry palate with forest berry fruit on the bone dry palate before a truckload of acidity on the slightly raw finish. I can see the intention, but this is ultimately too dry and lean – harsh even, without the flesh to carry off the acidity. No. Best drinking: 2016-2021. 15.5/20, 85/100. 12.5%, $32.
View Road Wines Picked By My Wife Piccolo Rosso 2015
A blend of 50% Aglianico, 25% Sagrantino, 24% Merlot and a dollop of Bianco d’Alessano. Wow! Sourced from McLaren Vale, Adelaide Hills and Riverland. Some of the fruit was picked and pressed straight off skins, others (like Merlot) spending 2 weeks on skins. Bright purple mauve, more light red than rose colour. An odd, spiky little light red with light purple fruit and plenty of acid. Not serious, it’s a bit spiky and awkward. Reminded me of one of the cheap Vernatsch based reds from Alto Adige; wines that skirt the edge of ripeness and people drink with a little water as they’re often a bit rough edged. Anyway, I’m not a fan. Best drinking: 2016. 15/20, 82/100. 12.5%, $24. Would I buy it? No.
View Road Wines The International Piccadilly Valley Prosecco 2015
Adelaide Hills fruit. This is a Col Fondo style which means that the lees are left in the bottle producing a cloudy Prosecco. Unfortunately that misfired with this particular bottle which was going through a refermentation and fizzed like a geyser. Hope this is a one off as it is basically an undrinakble mouth of fizz. Shame as this cloudy Prosecco seems interesting. Best drinking: ?. NR. 12%, $29.