Just the ticket, tasting eight white wines shortly after breakfast, after a big night, after a big day’s tasting the previous day. Anyway, it was a beautiful crisp winters’ day in McLaren Vale, big doors slung open, cool breeze blowing in, rolling hills and vineyards the external vista, Mike B shuffling around in his tracksuit pants, tasting Shiraz, the internal one. That’s your mise en scène. Thanks to Pete Fraser for leaving the wines for us, and for making them so good.
2008 Yangarra Estate Vineyard Roussanne - 93-94 points
Dazzling golden colour. Spicy, waxy, nutty flavour with silky glossy texture cut by lemon zest acidity, honeycomb and cling peach, finishes bright and zingy. 2016-2020
2009 Yangarra Estate Vineyard Roussanne - 90 points
Funky estuarine smells, spice, low flavour, all tang and lemon with a slightly warm and loose finish. Like the spice and funk, and it looks pretty young, but doesn’t have a great deal of flavour or length. 2016-2020
2010 Yangarra Estate Vineyard Roussanne - 89 points
Honey and ripe line, briny, nectarine. Lightly toasty and honeyed, juicy lemon and fine acid cut, nice texture of gentle chalkiness, finishes with buttered lime marmalade on toast. Slight old butter character in the aftertaste. 2016-2018
2011 Yangarra Estate Vineyard Roussanne - 93 points
Slightly earthy, spice, delicate fruit, savoury style, bottle aged with crisp acidity and crunchy length. Lighter iteration, but thoroughly charming and interesting. 2016-2021
2012 Yangarra Estate Vineyard Roussanne - 93 points
Lemon curd, slight spice, light buttery tones, melon and juicy citrus acidity, good crunch on the finish and pleasing sense of harmony. Think this is just about in the zone. 2016-2020
2013 Yangarra Estate Vineyard Roussanne - 93-94 points
Preserved lemon, spice, fennel and honey. Bright and crunchy, with flesh and savoury flavours, cool acidity and chalky texture, long finish. Super release. 2016-2022
2014 Yangarra Estate Vineyard Roussanne - 94-95 points
Lemon barley, pie apple, honey and white flowers, touch of cedar and spice. Smooth, mellifluous tone, savoury and earthy with poached chicken and lemon zest. Super length. Beautiful complex wine. 2016-2022
2015 Yangarra Estate Vineyard Roussanne - 93+ points
Fresh perfumed, fennel seed, white flower and vanilla perfume, ripe lemon. Rich and almost creamy, maybe a little under-powered, but full of character. Airy kind of feel to it, and a good finish. Tasty. In evolution, but fine now too. 2017-2024
2014 Yangarra Estate Vineyard Old Vine Grenache - 90 points
Deep red with a tinge of purple; the bouquet is spicy and vanillan, quite intense and complex with some of the earthy ironstone mineral notes this vineyard often shows. It's rich and smooth, round and - true to the vineyard - not as fruit-sweet or lush as McLaren Vale grenache from lower altitudes. (14.5% alc.) Tasted 5/4/2016 | Drink 2016 to 2026
2014 Yangarra Estate Vineyard Mourvedre – 90 points
Deep, dark red-purple hue and a meaty, pepper and spice aroma, loaded with character. The wine is intense and structured, with some fruit sweetness, and a certain animal note which is common in this grape. It's tightly focused and firm to finish. (14% alc.) Tasted 5/4/2016 | Drink 2016 to 2027
2014 Yangarra Estate Vineyard GSM – 91 points
Deep purple-red glowing youthful colour and a pepper/spice and gently vegetal aroma which is clean and characterful. It's intense and full-bodied with taut acidity and greater amplitude than the straight grenache, lasting long on the aftertaste. A terriifc mouthful of wine at the price. (14.5% alc.) Tasted 5/4/2016 | Drink 2016 to 2030
2013 Yangarra Estate Vineyard High Sands Grenache – 93 points
Deep-ish red with a tinge of purple and a very smoky, seemingly oaky bouquet, plus lots of crushed-rock mineral notes. The acid is high, the tannins abundant and firm, and the wine should be long-lived. It's very tight and firm. A total contrast to the rich, opulent fruit-sweet styles of lower altitude McLaren Vale sites. (14.5% alc.) Tasted 5/4/2016 | Drink 2020 to 2038
2013 Yangarra Estate Vineyard Ironheart Shiraz – 95 points
Very deep, dark red-purple hue and a tremendously concentrated aroma of graphite, pepper, spices and earth. It's very full-bodied and dense, concentrated and firm with tight tannins and relatively little fruit sweetness. Instead, there's amazing structure. The whole-bunch component gives a vegetal note to the complex bouquet. A very big, muscular, powerful wine which needs ages. (14.5% alc.) Tasted 5/4/2016 | Drink 2021 to 2043
2014 Roux Beauté Roussanne - 94 points
Two concrete eggs, with one left on skins for 100 and something days. Final blend is 60% of the extended skin contact egg. I'd love to have tasted a 100% verson, though that's just me.
Honey and almonds, something like chicken stock, subtle apricot perfume. Juicy and almost peachy, with citrus and almonds, suede-like tannin, spot on acidity and a savoury, yet honey nut cornflake infused finish. Yum. Feels a little bolder than last year, but tastes just as good.
2013 High Sands Grenache - 96 points
271 cases. 210 meters above sea level. 1946 planting. Only old oak. 50% whole bunch. The 2012 was very easy to judge in the glass, while this 2013 took a while to get my head around. As an aside, a Nebbiolo/Burgundy glass ended up being the best vessel for delivery of this wine. Needs a decant or plenty of air, if you open one now.
Very earthy, peppery and spicy, boot polish, Old Jamaica chocolate, dried roses, raspberry, cherries, dried mint – so much going on! Medium bodied, deeply fruited, tannic, but in a very silky way (likely that will make sense should you taste it). Plush raspberry flavour, meat and spices, fresh acidity, distinct ‘mineral’ feel. Long and almost blackcurranty in the aftertaste, with a trail of fine silty tannin. A vin de garde; feels unevolved and painfully young at present. Challenging. I thought about it. And thought some more. Drank some. Then drank some more. And in the end? A conclusion and a score.
2015 Yangarra McLaren Vale Pet’Nat - 90 points
Straight up confession; I am wary of wine that is heavily framed around process as it can often see actual wine quality shuffled back in the pecking order. Not so here. This is a tiny make of carignan (46%), roussanne (42%) and graciano (12%) all fermented in amphorae that contain some Yangarra clay. Pale red with a gently creamy foam, it smells of dried cranberries and goji berries, clear yeasty notes and some dried yellow rose and stone fruit perfume. It foams and fizzes smoothly on the palate, delivering a burst of raspberry and very gently sweet nectarine flavor, yeasty savory notes kick in and the finish has a neat phenolic stamp. Chill and drink fast and don't mind the red crystalline sediment, it's a natural by-product of the last phase of fermentation of grape sugars in the bottle, which is what gives the wine its light fizz.
2015 Yangarra PF Shiraz – 91 points
A beautifully fragrant and floral shiraz that offers up masses of perfume and rich red to dark berry fruit aromas, alluring stuff here. The palate has a pulpy, bright and succulent core of cassis, blueberry and mulberry fruit, smooth playful tannins, terrific flesh. Drink now.
2013 Yangarra Old Vine Grenache – 93 points
A brambly and bright red fruited grenache that has very attractive purity and effortless appeal, raspberry, dried leaves and herbs, some light spices also in the mix. The palate has assertive drying tannins, plenty of liquorice flavor amid bright raspberry amid red cherry fruits, gently drying finish.
2013 Yangarra GSM – 94 points
Subtle mocha spice sits across earthy darker berry fruit aromas here, there's gentle liquorice, dark chocolate too, some roasted meats and bracken. The palate has fine-grained, gently grippy tannins that make for an impressively deep and concentrated wine, graphite, cocoa, dark cherries and more, very balanced, long and fine.
2013 Yangarra Shiraz – 93 points
An attractive meaty savory edge to this dense and concentrated shiraz, plenty of deep plum and fragrant spice on the nose, the palate delivers a supple twirling core of dark plum and black cherry fruit right through to a long and flavorsome, smoothly hewn finish. Deceptive power here. Drink now.
2013 Yangarra Small Pot ‘Egg’ Grenache – 93 points
A very settled nose with attractive mineral-like purity and neatly ripened raspberry and red cherry fruits, some nutty older woody notes too. The palate has sapid, zesty appeal, tannins are deep-set, long and majestic, really impressive structure on offer, great length, detail and balance. Needs a year or two to settle.
2013 Yangarra Small Pot ‘Whole Bunch’ Shiraz – 93 points
McLaren Vale shiraz really eats up while bunches, there's very little exaggerated character here, just rich and convincing dark plum, mulberry and black cherry fruits, swirling spicy fragrance and a deeper tar and earth layer. The palate has a long and powerful thread of dark rich plum and chocolate flavor. the tannins ripple handsomely below all the flesh. great wine. Better in 2017.
2013 Yangarra Roux Beauté Roussanne – 93 points
This partial skins-fermented white has a cloudy appearance and delivers a wealth of bright tropical and stone fruits on the nose, plenty of waxy lemon and fresh straw too, really fresh and attractive. The palate delivers a very settled and deeply balanced impression, more lemon and waxy melon here too, fine smooth phenolic sheen through the finish. Profound wine. Drink now.
2012 Yangarra Ironheart Shiraz – 96 points
A very dark, intense and brooding shiraz that also as a sense of real refinement and purity, it oozes black plum and blackberry fruits, black stones, plenty of spice, hints of tar and dark leather. The palate's rich, fresh and beautifully poised around a core of blackberry fruit flavor, sweet spice, liquorice and very supple, noble and long tannins. Age this one. Drink in 2018.
2012 Yangarra Grenache High Sands Grenache – 96 points
A very profoundly intense nose with immense fragrance and spice, darker brambly berry fruits and an almost chalky mineral edge. The palate has a very strong core of sturdy tannin, deep-set dark berry fruit flavors heads into dark cherry and plum territory. tight, long and powerful. Drink in 2018.