What I really like, more than anything, about Yangarra is that it’s a winery built around a great vineyard.
That’s somewhat unusual in the world of Australian wine, where typically labels come first, vines later (when someone can afford to buy land). An environment where winemakers are still celebrated more than great vineyards (though that’s changing).
Admittedly, Yangarra’s fortunes were almost guaranteed with the deep pockets of Jackson Family Wines helping to kick things off. But that’s discounting the smart talent on the ground of Peter Fraser and the vineyard team, which has helped take Yangarra from concept to McLaren Vale region leader in less than twenty years.
If you’ve ever poked your head around down there, you’ll know the certified biodynamic Yangarra Vineyard is a special plot. Think gnarled old bush vines, starkly contrasted against the beach-like sandy earth. It’s quite a sight at quite a site.
These four new super premium releases do such a top shelf vineyard justice.
Yangarra Ironheart Shiraz 2015
My favourite wine of the range and just a perfectly formed McLaren Vale Shiraz. From Block 15, this was handpicked, with 25% whole bunches and matured in 48% new oak, the finished wine then an individual barrel selection. Numbers: TA 6.3, pH 3.43. It’s such a bright and exuberant red, loaded with purple fruit in a lavish mode. Energetically fruity, but with this sense of savouriness too, the oak an afterthought, the tannins fine and perfectly balanced. It’s not a heavyweight, it’s not oaky, it’s just a really vital Shiraz. The sort of wine that you just drink and marvel at the balance at every sip.
Best drinking: Now to twenty years. 18.7/20, 95/100. 14.5%, $105. Would I buy it? A lot of dollars but also a lot of wine. Worth the money.
Yangarra High Sands Grenache 2015
From bush vines planted in 1946 and a yield of just 15hl/ha! Includes 50% whole bunches. Wild ferment and matured in old oak. Numbers: TA 7.4, pH 3.22. Bright and energetic molten raspberry fruit is the key point again here. Again, such lively wines – it just makes for an immediately drinkable style. Interestingly this is only medium weight, the extraction leaning towards freshness rather than grip, the tannins fine and elegant with minimal stem influence. Perfectly balanced, I can still taste the beautiful raspberry fruit here. A picture of the beauty of McLaren Vale Grenache. It’s just shaded by the intensity of the Shiraz, but yum.
Best drinking: Now to 15 years. 18.6/20, 95/100. 14.5%. $140. Would I buy it? I’d marginally take the Shiraz, but again a worthy purchase.
Yangarra Roux Beauté Roussanne 2016
This is what Australian Roussanne should taste like. 13yr old Roussanne vines, the fruit separated into two parcels – one batch destemmed and fermented on skins in ceramic eggs, remained on skins for 137 days. The other half was taken off skins and matured more traditionally (but still in eggs). 60/40 skin contact parcel vs non skin contact in final blend. Numbers: TA 5.62, pH 3.35. An entrancing Roussanne, with a thrust of concentrated pear juice, the layers of succulent and tangy pear juice is offset by this vague phenolic punch. That textural grip is just a delight – no oak but who needs it? Layers of mealy apple pie flavour. It’s so full and yet the tannins matches perfectly. What a drink!
Best drinking: I’d drink this within six years as it’s probably perfect now. 18.5/20, 94/100. 13.5%, $72. Would I buy it? Yes.
Yangarra Ovitelli Grenache 2016
Sourced from Block 20 planted in 1946, yields of 41hl/ha. Handpicked and berry sorted. Spends 191 days on skins POST ferment in a concrete egg, no pressings used. Sappy, luscious, black fruited style. It’s just a bit simple, but so bright and driven by these fine tannins. Maybe a little confected? The more I look at this the more I liked it. So bright but there’s the finnessed tannins. My only gripe is that it’s a little bit syrupy – generous, but interestingly I think it still feels like the primary fruit is trying to resolve with the tannins. Still v.nice wine.
Best drinking: Wait until next year and then 15 years easy. 18/20, 93/100+. 14.5%, $72. Would I buy it? I’d like some in the cellar, but just a half bottle for now.
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