Yangarra’s devotion to fostering a new homeland for many varieties of France’s Rhone Valley in the eastern sands of McLaren Vale is reaping amazing rewards.
Winemaker Pete Fraser’s success with grenache in several straight up versions, from different blocks and using conventional winemaking techniques as well as employing ceramic egg-shaped fermenters, is well recorded and awarded.
Following the popularity of a Preservative Free Shiraz, the Y-team have this year also created a 2020 PF Grenache for the Dan Murphy/BWS group, and in Pete’s own words, “it’s going off the charts, and shows that a lot of people are really getting into grenache now”. For the record, it sits nicely in the frame of young vine, bright and fresh red wine, fruit out front, light-hearted, yet able to offer a pretty decent soft-tannin foundation if you want to treat it more robustly at the table or barbecue.
But there’s more to Fraser’s Rhone-ish game plan than just grenache, and, in fact, much more than its usual red blend partners shiraz and mourvedre.
With two new releases they bring into their broader varietal team lineup the likes of carignan, cinsaut and counoise in a red blend, and for a white blend grenache blanc, clairette, roussanne, picpoul and bourboulenc.
All these are among the 20-odd varieties allowed in the Rhone Valley’s range of regional appellations, and there will be more appearing in Yangarra’s vineyards in the near future.
While many producers wave the flag for “new” varieties, be it for curiosity, explorative or marketing reasons, or climate resilience, or all of the above, few have shown such commitment as Yangarra in these very thoughtful wines. These wines are in the same Circle range as the PF wines, although are not preservative free, with only small additions.
On top of the intellectual pursuit Fraser and gang have shown, both the following wines are genuinely delicious and delightful to drink. And, it would be somewhat mad if you didn’t buy them as a pair. They are, after all, a beautiful set of twins.
Yangarra 2020 Blanc
The varietal mix first: grenache blanc (60%), roussanne (17%), clairette (10%), picpoul (8%) and bourboulenc (3%). All grown in Yangarra’s Kangarilla vineyards, and using a mix of ceramic egg shaped fermenters and older French barrels with four months settling on their yeast lees for some texture and savouriness. This wine starts with a delightful fragrance – herb garden florals – and a unique swirling of sub-tropical fruits, apples, and fennel like undertones. Delve as much as you like, the real deal is its brightness, its chirpy acidity and its palate energy. Brilliant.
Yangarra 2020 Noir
Okay, let’s do that varietal mix thing again: grenache (62%), shiraz (15%), mourvedre (12%), carignan (6%), cinsaut (3%) and counoise (2%). And clearly they love a party. In the bottle. In the glass. In your mouth. Very appealing in its kitchen herbal/ floral introduction, with some light earthiness underneath before you’re hit with a fantastic burst of red fruits like sweetly ripe, red cherries. Some rhubarb notes as well. Lots of fun to sip, and a great red sibling to the Blanc.