'Arguably Australia's finest...' - Gary Walsh from The Wine Front reviews our High Sands Grenache
Yangarra Estate High Sands Grenache 2010 – 2014 - Gary Walsh, The Wine Front (posted 28th June, 2017)
We’ve reviewed all vintages of High Sands prior (see here), though given Yangarra were kind enough to send us all a complete set of this, now benchmark, Grenache, I thought it only fair to make a bit of extra fuss over an emerging classic. Well, I say emerging now, but really it’s outright classic.
The High Sands comes from Block 31 of the dry farmed High Sands Vineyard, planted in deep sand in 1946. It’s well worth having a look at the interactive map on the Yangarra website (see here). In terms of treatment in the winery, the hand picked grapes are berry sorted (by machine), 50% is crushed, and then given a five day cold soak at 10c. Wild ferment. Only plunged, no pressings used, and old French oak is employed (second and third fill).
With great and distinctive sites, you can see vineyard through the prism of vintage clearly. Certainly it’s the case with sites like Tyrrell’s 4 Acres, and no different with High Sands. There’s a transparency and clarity that comes through year after year. A personality, distinct and wonderful. These then, are the wines that should make us proud of Australia.
2010 High Sands Grenache - 95 points
Here’s the most powerful and muscular of the wines on the table, though that’s no complaint either. It’s compact and ripe, a rich pool of darker fruits, some dried flowers, cedar perfume, a little liquorice even. Tannin ripples through the wine with a distinct gravelly feel, loam and savoury stuff, blackberry and raspberry, with a light mint garnish pushing through a long finish. Less graceful than some later vintages, but a powerful wine of substance and structure, still in evolution. 95 points Drink 2017-2027+ Production: 1,620 bottles. pH 3.28 TA 6.7 14.5%
2011 High Sands Grenache - 89+ points
This wine received a bit of a touch up from TWF on release, and while it’s certainly improved, it’s still the weakest link. Smells good. Perfume, red fruits, a little forest floor, and a dusting of pepper. Light to medium bodied, a core of cool red fruits and spice, a touch drying and astringent in the acidity and tannin department, with a finish that’s somewhat abbreviated, but does have a cool cranberry crispness that lends appeal. A little dilute, though it seems to be improving, rather than fading, so it may well have a few tricks left up its sleeve. 89+ points. Drink 2017-2025+ Production: 446 bottles. pH 3.26 TA 6.8 14%
2012 High Sands Grenache - 95+/96 points
Here seems to be the middle ground between the heft and density of the 2010, and the finesse and superb architecture of the 2013 and 2014 (reading ahead). It’s ripe and fleshy, dark raspberry, cherry, dried rose/potpourri perfume, concentrated and firm in the mouth with slaty tannin, a sweet and savoury finish of excellent length. Density and fruit weight. Great wine. 95+ or 96 points. Drink 2018-2030+ Production: 1,920 bottles. pH 3.36 TA 6.48 14%
2013 High Sands Grenache- 96+ points
An absolute screamer here. Cherries, raspberry, sage and dried mint, earthy and peppery too. Medium to full bodied, dark red fruit, spice, but so clear and articulate, and despite its heft, seems have a clarity and precision that marks it out as a special wine. The length is something to behold, with a slick of tannin and savoury/fruit sweetness mingling to compelling effect. Brilliant. 96+ points. Drink 2018-2033+. Production: 3,252 bottles. pH 3.12 TA 7.6 14.8%
Beautiful fragrance here – fresh field roses, raspberry, aniseed and dried mint, almost a chocolate thing going on too. Medium bodied, gentle sweep of sweet fine grained tannin, plump red berries lend succulence, but it’s not confected or gooey in any sense. Dusty and spicy, great length of flavour, with earthy tannin grounding it and pushing it long. Incredibly good wine. Hard to choose between the 2013 and 2014. The former with maybe more length and impact, the latter all grace and charm. 96+ points, though could even twist my arm to 97. Drink 2020-2037. Production: 3,336 bottles. pH 3.36 TA 6.48 14.5%
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