The Group The Murder McLaren Vale Shiraz 2017
92 Points – $34
Punchy aromas on display here . . . red licorice, plums, confection notes, a world of baking spice, warm earth, mushroom and hint of oak. In keeping with other members of The Group, this Vale shiraz offers up a full-bodied wine experience, but in this instance it’s more old school than new wave; bold and sweet-hearted in fruit intensity and it comes with a high-ish alcohol reading of 15%. Very old school, indeed.
In keeping with the wine’s bigger structure and fruit intensity, tannins are more pronounced accordingly. They do the wine justice. This is a wine that should age well but, really, I have no trouble enjoying it right now.
The Group The Quiver McLaren Vale Grenache 2019
91 Points – $34
A quiver of tangled cobras looks out from the label. They don’t look like they’re happy, no sir. Inside the bottle, the scene is more familiar and comforting. This is the kind of Vale grenache we are coming to know and love; less powerhouse (despite the high-ish alcohol, but more on that later), more elegance and expression of the fruit rather than the winemaking.
Bright, solid red in colour. The lifted scent of satsuma plums, raspberry – lots of concentrated raspberry – confection, gentle florals and spice is inviting. This wine has your attention immediately. Expectations rise and are met. It’s soft and plummy – very approachable – with upfront fruit, a pastille brightness and there’s a peppery twang in there, too. Bright as button, little thought is given over to the 15.5% alcohol. The wine is mostly well-balanced throughout with just a touch of alcohol heat to close.
Tannins are silky and smoky oak adds a sprinkle of seasoning.
The Group The Shadow Adelaide Hills Pinot Noir 2020
89 Points – $34
Who says wine labels aren’t informative? One look at the 2020 Adelaide Hills pinot noir from The Group and I now know that the collective noun for a bunch of jaguars is a shadow. All the label names in the portfolio are connected to groups in the wild, thereby reflecting the nature of The Group, which sources grapes from a large collection of growers in McLaren Vale and the Adelaide Hills.
The Shadow pinot noir offers a different interpretation of Hills pinot to the usual. Dense in colour and flavour, it feels and tastes much bigger than its 13.5% alcohol might suggest. Shut your eyes and it could very well be a Hills syrah, such is the big mouthful of flavour that coats the mouth and the overall density of the wine. It shows stewed plums, violets, chocolate and a noted spicy presence on the bouquet. Then moves easily onto a palate edged in smooth tannins. Vanillin oak is generous throughout and
the finish, with its leafy, herbal notes, brings us back into the world of pinot noir.
The Group The Fever McLaren Vale Grower Blend 2019
88 Points – $34
Interesting blend here of merlot, cabernet sauvignon and mataro (aka mourvedre). Sourced from a Vale-based “grower-owned collective” which, according to the back label, is made up of more than 100 growers, the wine brings back memories of the last Vale co-op, the famous Southern Vales Winery of the 1970s.
Colour is of a deep, dense purple intensity. The bouquet is discreet, give it a swish or two to activate, and slowly blue fruits, black berries and floral spice emerge. This is one tightly structured red with tannins taking a prominent role. It’s firm – another swish or decant might be called for – but once again, slowly, a picture is drawn of a dense young wine primed for a good life.
It tastes of the soil with an earthiness and ferrous-ironstone quality that is so often associated with Vale shiraz. Layers of spice and ripe, black fruits bring a warmth and roundness in tandem with ripe tannins.
And the meaning behind The Fever? In keeping with the collective vibe behind The Group wines, a fever is the name of a group of stingrays which, helpfully, appear on cue on the front label.