Jet lag was gone and we started at the Fall from Grace tasting room with Gill Gordon-Smith. We were invited with hugs, pâté and some amazingly delicious Italian varieties from McLaren Vale. You are always a little skeptical/excited when you hear of someone doing off-the-beaten-path wines. Gill’s were damn good though. They were full of freshness and still true to their varietal character.
Over lunch we chatted about the McLaren Vale region and who was doing what. This I believe is the best way to find both the classics as well as the new kids on the block. Gill, along with other winemakers we met, all said that we need to see the people at Noon Winery, but it was very hard to get a visit. Most people would just say, “Oh well,” and move on to the pub to take their frustrations out on meat pies and beers, but we asked Gill if she could text him for us. She did and within two minutes we heard her phone ding and it was a text from Drew at Noon saying we could stop by!
We quickly packed up and headed over. We were greeted by some of the oldest and yet prettiest grenache vines, a big Great Dane named Rosie and Drew and his wife Raegan. The grenache-based wines here were ridiculous. They were a touch fleshier than the others that we previously had but were still nuanced and vibrant. You could really taste the polish of the wines and it made sense why the sign for their winery out on the main road said, “No more wine!” So not to interfere with his daily duties we moved on to Yangarra Estate in Blewitt Springs.
This is home to the special terroir we heard about…It’s sand! So weird and awesome how you are standing on a higher-elevation vineyard but your feet are dug into the sand. What a trip! The wines from this vineyard made by Yangarra Estate were really hearty, dark and spicy. This is the style I was most used to seeing in the US but was excited that we would start to discover the wines on the other side of the spectrum during our visit here in McLaren Vale. The search continues….—Josiah Baldivino
This story appears in the print issue of jan 2019.
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