Hardys Tintara McLaren Vale Grenache 2002
I should confess at the start to being a Grenache kind of guy (dog). This is a style I like, very earthy with raspberry like fruit. It is not overripe (alcohol listed at 14%) and not hot on the palate. It is a good example of what some large companies can do with good fruit using mainly traditional practices, like open fermenters and basket pressing, and keep prices reasonable. I say very good value if you like this style. My only negative is that the wine does not achieve great length and after a couple hours aeration was even shorter. This indicates to me that the label instructions to age for 5-8 years might be a bit optimistic.
The Hermit Crab d’Arenberg McLaren Vale Marsanne Viognier 2002
While I am confessing and drinking McLaren Vale wines, I should say that this style is one of my wife’s and my favourites too. We can’t often afford the Rhone equivalents, or even the $45 Yalumba Viognier. This $14 wine is very good value for the quality. The criticism is that the wine is a bit rough, with some apparent extraction, but overly so. The blend seems ot be heavier on the Marsanne with very good mouth feel, a thick and almost luscious quality. The Viognier is not strongly apparent, no strong honeysuckle flavours, just a lingering sweet fruitiness and aftertaste. The wine is excellent with various starters, like smoky dips, olives, and cold seafood. Two years in bottle have reduced the fruit, but made the wine more complex without being flat.
Le Pommier Sauvignon Blanc 2002 (Walker Bay South Africa).
This wine probably would have scored higher if I had opened it sooner. Walker Bay is a cool climate region east of Capetown along the coast. The style is meant to be drunk young. I gave it 85 because it still tasted good, with balanced natural acidity, some fruit, and a bit of a honeyed taste from the bottle age. The alcohol was high at 14%, but there were no harsh traces or hotness. The bit of bottle age made it taste more European than New World, with the emphasis on texture and complexity, rather than strong up front fruit.