Stuart George

Posts Tagged ‘Clare Valley’

Wendouree Darling

In Tastings on November 23, 2010 at 5:47 pm

I can only recall having tasted Wendouree wines twice before – at a Langton’s/Wine Australia tasting four or five years ago in London and with some friends in Clare a couple of years ago. Of course Wendouree is in Clare – I remember driving past its entrance, with a forbidding sign that discouraged visits. The wine drunk in Clare – I forget which one –  was very raisiny.

It was a rare privilege, then, to taste 14 Wendouree wines back to 1989 courtesy of those nice people at Find Wine. There were strong family resemblances between all the wines, which is not to suggest that the winemaking is heavy-handed; rather, it is to suggest that the vineyards have a particular character.

On the whole, I found the wines fleshy rather than extracted, with palpitating acidity and that distinctive Clare mintiness. The tannins were usually sociable – only the 1990 and 1998 Cabernet/Malbec and 2001 Cabernet Sauvignon seemed tougher than the rest, as hard as frozen ground. There was none of the raisiness that I found before, either, though the 1992 Cabernet Sauvignon was close to it.

Perhaps the most impressive thing about these wines was that they were all still going strong. Even the 1989 Shiraz/Mataro is good for at least another five years.

I will be in South Australia in December (hurrah!) and, despite that gruff sign, I hope to visit Wendouree.


The Duke of Hazard

In Tastings on September 13, 2010 at 11:16 am

At a friend’s birthday party on Friday evening I took a bottle of Kilikanoon The Duke Grenache 2006, which I’d had for a while, to sample. I have been to the Clare Valley four times since 2003 but have not come across Kilikanoon before.

I don’t often drink Clare Valley reds, and certainly not old vine Grenache. It was dry, verging on raisiny, with some developed faecal aromas, which I don’t mind. It was mature, developed and nicely textured.

However, the 15% alcohol declared on the label made me nervous. Sure enough, my head thudded like John Bonham’s bass drum after a couple of glasses of The Duke, though admittedly I’d had a couple beforehand – but it was only Prosecco. I’ve lost the photo I took of the bottle. This wine is hazardous.

Made in a self-consciously “big” style, this is really not my type. It’s just too heavy to drink with pleasure. Robert Parker likes it, apparently, which is probably as strong a warning sign as the printed alcohol level.