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Friday 24 May 2024

Yangarra single block wine releases shine

Integrity, complexity, vitality, drinkability.

Those four words sum up the new premium single block releases from McLaren Vale organic and biodynamic trendsetter Yangarra. 

Long-serving winemakers Peter Fraser and Shelley Torresan are known for their willingness to experiment; from unusual grape varieties to ceramic eggs, to oxidative handling to use of Austrian oak. 

Yangarra makes wines that push the boundaries, but are always well considered, 

Yangarra Estate is in Blewitt Springs in the north-east of McLaren Vale, a region where Rhone Valley varietals - both white and red - shine.

There is an emphasis on old bush vine grenache - vines planted in 1946. 

Fraser and vineyard manager Michael Lane have been in charge for close to a quarter of a century, with Torresan, who led a Hobart tasting, starting in 2006. 

Wines from single blocks like High Sands, Ironheart King's Wood and Ovitelli shine in the new releases from the 2021 and 2022 vintages. 

The tasting this week arranged by distributors Mezzanine demonstrated that both red and white wines benefit from around a decade in the bottle. Museum wines from 2014 and 2016 were certainly singing, while what Torresan describes as "long, cool ferments that don't fluctuate" have clearly played a role across the board.  

The 2022 Ovitelli Blanc ($70) is a blend of grenache blanc, roussanne, grenache gris, bourboulenc and clairette with extended skin maceration adding impressive mouthfeel and complexity. 

The 2022 Roux Beaute Roussanne ($70) is a single-varietal that saw skin fermentation and time in large ceramic eggs with the blend remaining on skins for four months. This is a superb food wine. 

There are no fewer than three grenaches: the tightly coiled, very pretty 2022 Hickinbotham Clarendon Grenache ($90), the fruit-forward Ovitelli 2022 Grenache ($90) with remarkable depth of flavour, and the star of the show, the complex and immediately impressive 2021 High Sands Grenache ($325).

Torreson describes the High Sands as "the best of the best" with subtle Austrian oak playing a support role in a complex wine that I noted was "marvellous". A landmark red with style and power in equal measure. 

For me, the grenaches outshone the shirazes on this merry-go-round. 

That said, the varietal but elegant 2022 King's Wood Shiraz ($70) offers cellaring value. A single percent of viognier adds perfumed notes here. 

The 2022 Ironheart Shiraz ($130) is long, intense and delicious with hints of French oak influence and a little bit of ferrous minerality.

It's certainly well worth checking out this range. See

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