James Halliday’s Australian Wine Companion, 2019 Edition

We are thrilled to share Yangarra’s accolades from the 2019 James Halliday Wine Companion, which were announced on 1st August at the Halliday Wine Companion Awards evening.

Most notably, the  2015 High Sands Grenache took out the top spot in the “Best Other Reds” varietal category at the awards evening, scoring an impressive 98 points.


2015 High Sands Grenache  - 98 points “Exceptional”. Rated as being special value within the context of its score
From Block 31, the highest section of the vineyard at 210m planted '46, 50% whole berries, 50% destemmed, wild yeast open-fermented, matured for 10 months in used French oak. For many devotees of McLaren Vale grenache, Yangarra Estate High Sands is the king. It's not for idle dalliance as is young grenache that is focused on freshness and purity of red fruit flavours, this has power and depth, the oak simply softening an edge or two here and there, most assuredly not about imparting oak flavour. Red and black fruits both contribute without cutting across the power of the other. Drink to 2045

2015 Ironheart Shiraz – 97 points “Exceptional”. Rated as being special value within the context of its score
Hand-picked, wild yeast open-fermented with 25% whole bunches, matured for 15 months in French oak (40% new). A distilled essence of shiraz from two blocks within a single estate vineyard. It's in no way overdone, but it does have some of the authoritarian stance of top flight cabernet. The black fruits speak in one voice of the ironstone soil in which the vines are planted. Great vintage, great wine. Drink to 2045

2016 Ovitelli Grenache – 96 points “Outstanding”. Rated as being special value within the context of its score
70yo vines, hand-picked, 100% destemmed, 50% crushed, fermented in two 675l ceramic eggs, remaining on skins post fermentation for 140 days, no oak maturation. Peter Fraser says he can't explain why eggs perform as they do, and (of course) nor can I. But I am sure you could not bypass oak in favour of stainless steel tanks. The eggs give the wine texture akin to tight-grain oak, and no reduced characters whatsoever. Drink to 2036

2016 Roux Beauté Roussanne – 94 points
Estate-grown 13yo vines, 50% foot-stomped and fermented in a 675l ceramic egg, remaining on skins for 160 days before pressing, 50% also fermented in a ceramic egg without skins, the final blend resulting in 60% extended skin contact, 40% without skins. It's incredible that so little evidence of wild, way out winemaking has produced a bright straw-green wine, that truly tastes of roussanne, a non-aromatic variety. The only sign is a touch of heat or ginger (I don't know which) that flickers every now and then. Drink to 2026


2016 Yangarra Estate Vineyard Shiraz – 97 points “Exceptional”. Rated as being special value within the context of its score
50% whole berries, 50% destemmed, wild yeast open-fermented, matured for 10 months in used French oak. Just another $30 McLaren Vale shiraz? Absolutely not. This is profoundly exciting, another masterpiece from Peter Fraser, Wine Companion Winemaker of the Year '16. It's not often I'm tempted to sneakily swallow half a mouthful of a wine, it's almost as if an unseen force refuses to let me actually drink a little. The wine is spicy, textured, with a rainbow of dark fruit flavours - bloody gorgeous. Drink to 2036

2016 Yangarra Estate Vineyard Old Vine Grenache – 94 points
From bush vines planted '46, 50% whole berries, 50% destemmed, wild yeast open-fermented, matured for 10 months in used French oak. Very good colour; rich, full predominantly red fruits supported by fine tannins. No hint at all of confection or jam. The finish simply reinforces the depth and the freshness of the fruit from 70yo vines. Bargain. Drink to 2026

2016 Yangarra Estate Vineyard GSM – 95 points “Outstanding”. Rated as being special value within the context of its score
Magical, deep crimson; as devotees of Chateau Rayas, and others from the Rhone Valley will attest, Grenache has many faces, the most admired in that part of France, it’s serious, long-lived, complex and structured single-varietal pose. But it’s usually in a blend, and in Australia usually with shiraz and Mourvedre, and this a compelling example of all the individual flavours of its components. Drink to 2041

2016 Yangarra Estate Vineyard Mourvedre – 95 points “Outstanding”
Matured for 10 months in used French oak. Normally this goes into the GSM, in exceptional years made as a single varietal. This is high quality mourvedre, with luscious purple and black fruits with a markedly juicy palate and aftertaste. Drink to 2031

2017 Yangarra Estate Vineyard Roussanne – 94 points
It all sees oak, though only 10% of it is new. This just has that something extra; it carries along in competent style but the sparks really fly on the finish. It’s slippery and textural, though not oily, fresh with fruit, and then wild with dry spice, roasted nuts, fennel, fruit and mineral to close. You want more? It gives it to you. Drink to 2021

2017 Yangarra Estate Vineyard Grenache Rosé – 94 points.  Rated as being special value within the context of its score
Pale copper-crimson, gorgeously aromatic, spotlessly clean and a delight to drink. Echoes of redcurrant and spice, dried herbs and cherries. Dry and racy, but not anaemic or underdone. Everything here, price included, is in alignment. Drink to 2019

2017 Yangarra Estate Vineyard Small Pot Clairette – 93 points. Rated as being special value within the context of its score
From a 0.4ha patch of vines on the south-eastern section of the estate. It's fermented in old oak before going into a 675l ceramic egg for 4 months. It has flavour and texture but more importantly it's retained its acidity well; it feels straight and strict even as it blooms with honeysuckle, mineral and nectarine-like flavour. It's a most attractive wine. Drink to 2020

The Real Review - Huon Hooke

2015 Yangarra Estate Vineyard High Sands Grenache – 95 points
Deep red/purple colour. The bouquet holds smoky, charry, savoury aromas with some dry spice notes, and has depth and gravity which mirrors the deep colour and is more profound than usual in pure grenache wines. Clove, pepper, mixed-spice aromas, full body and powerful flavour. The tannins are fine and soft and nicely balanced, providing impressive structure to the wine. An outstanding grenache. Drink 2020 - 2040

2015 Yangarra Estate Vineyard Ironheart Shiraz– 95 points
Deep, youthful red/purple colour. The bouquet is shy but fresh, bright and clean, with dark plum fruit and quite strongly stated oak. It's very full-bodied, rich and deep, with youthful and slightly undeveloped, tightly-packed flavours, which promise to bring forth more in the future if it's cellared. There's a super-abundancy of tannin as well, balancing the formidable concentration. A big, solid, rugged shiraz. One for the cellar. Drink  2021 – 2043

2018 Single Block Release - Campbell Mattinson

Yangarra Estate Roux Beauté Roussanne 2016 – 94 points
Grown biodynamically. 50% fermented on skins in two ceramic eggs, 50% fermented in ceramic eggs but not on skins. Final blend is 60% of the extended skin contact egg portion. Bottled unfined. 250-ish dozen made. Beautiful white wine. It crackles, it floats and it charms. Spice, florals, stone fruit and mineral. There’s grip to the finish but it doesn’t gather; it’s exquisitely well pitched and balanced. A class. Heady with florals but taut and controlled. Drink 2018 - 2022

Yangarra Estate Ovitelli Grenache 2016 – 95 points
Vines planted in 1946. Hand-picked, sorted, destemmed, crushed and tipped into 657 litre ceramic eggs. Kept on skins for 191 days post ferment; this is full of grape tannin goodness. No oak time at all; ceramic eggs only. It smells of grapes. It smells of the earth. It smells wild or free or something like that. It’s red-fruited with a trace of licorice, shows a gentle line of chicory, is spicy and earthen, and has a keen insistence to the finish. Tannin here, silty, is quite gorgeous. It has flare but it also has understatement. It’s a wine to take to the world. Drink 2018 – 2024

Yangarra Estate High Sands Grenache 2015 – 94+ points
Bush vine grenache, planted 1946. Handpicked, wild fermented, 50% whole berries, cold soaked, open fermenters, matured in French oak but none of it was new. Certified organic/biodynamic. Released May 2018. Keen fruit, pure tannin, a keen line of acidity and stunning length. If there’s oak here it’s so hand-in-glove that you’re hard pressed to detect it. Kirsch, redcurrant, fennel and generous flings of dry spice. It needs a little time but it’s a ripper wine. Drink 2019 - 2025

Yangarra Estate Ironheart Shiraz 2015 – 95 points
Hand-picked (organically-grown) grapes. 25% whole bunches. Cold soaked, open fermented, wild yeast, 48% new French oak for 15 months. Brilliant wine. Its quality impresses from the outset. Full-bodied but polite about it. Blackberry, plum, a jellied sweetness, a full serve of cedarwood oak, florals, peppercorns. Pretty in part, gutsy in other, svelte. Tannin rolls and rumbles from the mid-palate onwards but it comes flooded with flavour. Generous and joyous. Drink 2019 – 2032+


Anthony Keys of The Keys Report wrote an editorial piece and reviewed six of Yangarra’s wines. Please see below for the reviews and you can also click here for the full editorial.

2015 Yangarra Estate Vineyard Mourvèdre  – 97 points

This is the vinous equivalent of puddings with names such as death by chocolate. It offers so much pleasure it should only be sold to those of strong heart, deep passions and apprehension of sensuality. Let’s not spoil such beauty with winespeak.

2014 Yangarra Estate Vineyard ‘Old Vine’ Grenache  - 96 points

I got violets on the nose but others may find different smells. There’s a soft, juicy, raspberry start, which is often why (in my opinion) grenache isn’t taken seriously. It’s from the centre to the end that the magic appears. Complex flavours emerge, twisting and dancing around each other as in a pagan rite of fertility. After the dance of flavours there is the soft tranquility of cool reflection on the beauty of the wine.

2016 Yangarra Estate Vineyard Roussanne - 95 points

Twisting the glass in different directions, one can see hints of green or yellow. It’s rich on the nose, as in a faint scent of a rose. There is also a hint of damp, fresh earth. In the mouth it oozes across the palate (if the taster takes time) with a slight herbal edge to the richer apricot central spine. The wine rolls to the centre, where all flavours combine and finish the journey building in intensity, with great satisfaction for the drinker.

2014 Yangarra Estate Vineyard Shiraz – 95 points

Oh, so naughty. The nose is all those sexy pheromones that one senses but can’t define or pin. It’s full at the front of the mouth but not heavy, and sashays across the palate to end in glory.

2015 Yangarra Estate Vineyard GSM  - 95 points

One of the world’s great blends, this works on many levels, with a basket of red/black fruits skipping along on the upper level, and a sound base of acid/tannin supporting underneath

2016 Yangarra Estate Vineyard ‘PF’ Shiraz - 93 points

Not only biodynamic but preservative free, this has to tick many boxes for some wine drinkers. Black berry and plum fruits on the nose, medium weight on entry, well balanced on the journey and complete on the finish.

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