XO Wine Co is an Adelaide Hills based boutique winery that specialize in small batch wines in Adelaide Hills and McLaren Vale, established by Greg Clack and Kate Horstmann.
A note on their website states “MAKING GOOD WINE IS ABOUT DRINKING GOOD WINE, BUT MAINLY ABOUT DRINKING BEER”. A sentiment that sets the tone for their sensibility and no-nonsense approach to crafting varietal and site specific wines with artistic flair.
XO Chardonnay 2021
The 2021 Chardonnay is sourced from two vineyards in the Adelaide Hills, one vineyard in Kuitpo and the second from Kenton Valley both sit around 400m in altitude. The wine opens with vibrant apple blossom and the prettiest white, cut nectarine and feijoa. The elevated white florals are alluring and have me sitting a little straighter and stopping for a moment of pause. Crushed chalk and river pebbles lend way to electric acidity of ripe grapefruit and lemon citrus. The partial malo-lactic 50% adds a crème fraîche creaminess whilst never marring the energy of the wine. A wine of purity and precision. Drink with thin sliced abalone or pearl meat preferably prepared by someone in the know.
XO Cherry Pie Light Red 2021
When you name a wine Cherry Pie the imagery and phantom smell is so alluring you better ensure the wine is too. Luckily for buyers of this wine, its stonkingly delicious. The lions share of this blend is Pinot Noir with additions of Barbera, Tempranillo, Dolcetto and Grenache. The wine dances around the glass with juicy morello cherry, macerated raspberries and fresh picked strawberries. The vibrancy of fruit is thanks to clever handling of carbonic maceration in the varieties which suit the method. Tanned leather and studs of clove add a spiciness. The wine is puckering, and succulent, and smooth as silk. This would suit those warmer days and or early afternoons when 5 o’clock just can’t come soon enough. Drink with friends that make you belly laugh with balsamic and sea salt crisps.
XO Barbera 2021
It’s fantastic to see Barbera achieve the promised glory in the cool Adelaide Hills. It’s a varietal that I have always pondered why it hasn’t achieved a greater following. The XO Barbera is handpicked and pressed off to French Hogsheads with one new French puncheon and it’s the thoughtful handling of oak that allows the Barbera to shine. Black berries, dried plum skin and pungent violets. There is also a licorice bullet and anise spice frame that sits so well into the wine. The steep acidity and dusty tannins make for a wine that would work well with more robust spices like paprika. Think Chorizo based stews and or king prawns and chorizo in a tomato sugo.
XO Grenache 2021
McLaren Vale Grenache blended with small portions of its familiar friends Touriga and Shiraz, and you can see the boost from Touriga immediately. It’s enthusiastic in its character and not in an obtuse way. Black currant, black dried cherries and kalamata olives are followed by farmhouse raspberry compote and fresh bay leaf. It’s highly concentrated and lusciously complex with solid tannins that will provide the structure for longer term aging. A total showstopper of a wine. Drink with squab or perfectly pink duck breast and pink peppercorn. Ooft!
XO Tempranillo 2021
This wine once again shows the consideration from Greg and Kate that goes into selecting fruit from two sites at opposite ends of the Hills. Blueberry and elderberry with hints of blackberry leaf and dark brooding spices, clove, cardamon and almost smokey vanilla pod. The wine hits right in the middle palate making it both full bodied and still elegant. Drink with roast meats like T Bone steak or charred pork chops.
XO Single Vineyard Nebbiolo 2020
The intrigue of Nebbiolo’s aromatics is found in this 2020 vintage. White and red strawberry, wild rose and under growth. Dried leaves and brown mushroom with hints of cinnamon and baking spices. On the palate the red berries are riper and denser with a lushness and almost chewy mouthfeel. Tannins are fine grained, taut and carry the flavours on and on. An excellent example of Adelaide Hills Nebbiolo and Australian Nebbiolo for that matter. A wine for your cellar, your favorite friends and a couple of bottles just for you, because you are WORTH IT. Drink with your most expensive Burgundy shaped glass and a wild mushroom and truffle woodfired pizza.