The New Wines From Kangarilla Road

A break from BC wines today to write about a trade tasting I went to this morning for Kangarilla Road winery, which was hosted by Brix restaurant.

This McLaren Vale operation has been around since 1997, with the name coming from the Aboriginal language (referring to the abundance of local resources). I first came upon them a few years ago, when Parker started to rave about them from a price/quality ratio.

There were two whites to taste. The 2012 Veil was quite unique. Made from Sauvignon Blanc, it was styled after the ‘vin jaune’ wines from the Jura region in France, which are made in the style of Sherry. And you can tell — there was a nuttiness and slight oxidation, big body, little or no oak and just touches of citrus. A nice wine, but a bit of an acquired taste to be sure.

The 2008 Chardonnay was more my style. It was kind of like a cross between California and Chablis. There is the butter and vanilla, but not too much. Fairly big body, nice fruit, a good bargain at $19.99.

Next were Kangarilla Road entry level reds. The ’10 Terzetto is an intriguing mix of Sangiovese, Primitivo and Nebbiolo – Italy in Aus! Beautiful floral/red cherry nose, but a bit light and quite tannic (more than the fruit can take, I think).

The 2009 Zinfandel is nicer. Bang on from an aroma point of view, all ripe blackberries and brush. Smooth and ripe, almost elegant for a Zinfandel, and not an alcoholic powerhouse. But it is just a bit short on fruit…and a bit high in the price tag at $31.99.

The last five reds were the heavy hitters, both price and quality wise. The ’09 Shiraz/Viognier is lovely, very much like past vintages I have tasted – blackberry jam, smooth and full bodied. The ’08 Cabernet Sauvignon was a bit funky at first, but then a classic Bordeaux nose developed, with cedar, chocolate and tobacco emerging, followed by ripe black cherries in the mouth. If only most of Bordeaux was this ripe — and under $25!!

Three high end ($40 – $70) Shiraz’s finished things off. Interestingly, I think the cheapest was the best! The ’10 Devil’s Whiskers is a great example of what old vines can give you – super ripe and concentrated blackberries, some kirsch and licorice, big body, and so smooth. Not sure what the alcohol was on this one, but sure tasted great!

The ’10 Scarce Earth Project came from soils with lots of minerals, and they have a (positive) impact on the wine. More French Syrah than Aussie Shiraz in style, it is ripe but a touch leaner, with more pepper and licorice. Kind of like a riper version of Crozes-Hermitage. I loved it!

The final ’09 Q Shiraz is just a baby! The deepest purple and least developed of all the wines, it is also the most concentrated. I would give it 3 – 4 years in the cellar for it to open up.

All in all, a great bunch of wines and very nice event. Kudos to Icon Fine Wines & Spirits for putting it on and Brix for hosting with such great food!


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