Wine Reviews: Yangarra Estate

Posted by | Posted in Wine Reviews | Posted on 03-23-2019

Yangarra is one of those producers that has kept me interested in Australian over the years.

High Sands Grenache. Credit: Yangarra Estate.

High Sands Grenache. Credit: Yangarra Estate.

I’ve found their wines boast plenty of sunshiny fruit, but I love the freshness, acidity and non-fruit complexity I get in these wines.

Located in the northeast part of the McLaren Vale, Yangarra is a certified biodynamic estate focused on the classic Rhone varieties. Grapevines have been planted on the estate since the late 1800s, but its modern history begins in 1946, when Bernard Smart planted unirrigated, bush vine Grenache. This became known as the High Sands Vineyard (because of its sandy clay soil), and demand for the fruit from this vineyard grew and grew.

Today, Yangarra’s vineyards comprise some 100 hectares, spread into 35 different blocks.

In 2001, Jackson Family Wines purchased Yangarra, and soon after local winemaker Peter Fraser took the helm. He uses wild yeast fermentation and judicious use of new oak, and the resulting wines have a purity of expression that I find really attractive.

I recently tasted through some Yangarra wines, and found across-the-board quality. The ceramic egg and skin-fermented Roussanne, as well as the High Sands Grenache, really stood out and wowed me. I received these wines as trade samples and tasted them sighted.

2017 Yangarra Estate Roussanne - Australia, South Australia, Fleurieu, McLaren Vale
SRP: $35
Rich yellow color. Nose of apricot, lime, papaya, surprisingly vibrant fruit mixed with honey and orange blossoms. Plump texture, real depth on the palate, yet fresh acidity keeps the wine bright. Apricot, lime, green melon, pineapple, lots of fruit but it’s accented by honey, candle wax, white tea and ginger, notes of hay and salted almond. The balance here is really impressive, and the wine finishes clean and fresh. 13.5% alcohol, 100% Roussanne, aged 7 months in French oak, 10% new. (91 points IJB)

2016 Yangarra Estate Roussanne Roux Beaute - Australia, South Australia, Fleurieu, McLaren Vale
SRP: $50
Deep yellow, light orange color. The nose is wonderfully complex. It bursts with lemon curd, honeydew, white peach and lots of floral and spice notes (dandelion, mint, hay), even some subtle earth and desert after rain kind of notes – very cool. Medium-bodied (13.5%) with lovely freshness, beautifully integrated on the palate. Honeydew, lemon curd, peaches, and I love the complex floral tones, smashed rocks, minerals, hay, creosote – really complex and vibrant stuff. The textural depth adds all sorts of dynamics to this fascinating and delicious wine. This is all fermented in eggs, with half of the wine getting 137 days of skin contact. (94 points IJB)

2015 Yangarra Estate Grenache High Sands - Australia, South Australia, Fleurieu, McLaren Vale
SRP: $100thumbnail (4)
Light purple color. Deep yet pretty aromatics of red and black raspberries, plums, red cherries, along with complex roses, violets, wild herbs and spices – a lot going on here. Full-bodied but velvety tannins, yet fresh acidity keeps it really lively. Tart cherries, raspberries, plums, the fruit is rich but tangy and laced with mint, eucalyptus, wild herbs, black pepper, rose potpourri, some coffee and cinnamon notes. There’s a deep, pervasive minerality here as well. Bold flavors but a lot of freshness and elegance. Very impressive stuff. From 70-year-old vines in sandy soils aged 11 months in old French oak. (93 points IJB)

2016 Yangarra Estate Grenache Ovitelli - Australia, South Australia, Fleurieu, McLaren Vale
SRP: $50
Deep ruby color. Such pretty aromatics of raspberries, red cherries, candied apple peel, along with a host of spicy, earthy, floral tones (rose petals, rhubarb, spiced chai, clay soil and dusty earth). Full-bodied on the palate with smooth tannins and medium acidity; there’s this effortless, balanced mouthfeel that is great. Flavors of raspberries, cherries and red apple, the fruit is juicy, rich but tart. Complex notes of earth, clay, spiced tea, rose hips, menthol and white pepper – such complexity in here. There’s a lovely briskness despite the richness. Deep, intriguing, lovely Grenache, fermented and aged exclusively in ceramic eggs. (92 points IJB)

2014 Yangarra Estate Shiraz - Australia, South Australia, Fleurieu, McLaren Vale
SRP: $35
Rich purple color. Nose boasts tart black cherries and currants, plums, lots of fruit but shows freshness too, and notes of black pepper glaze, violets, Turkish coffee and mint. Full-bodied, velvety tannins, moderating acidity, and plenty of juicy but tangy black and blue fruit (black cherry, cassis, blueberry).  Notes of charcoal, coffee, vanilla, along with pepper, scorched earth and mint. Lots of depth and vibrancy in this wine — classic Yangarra style. All Shiraz, aged 13 months in ¼ new French oak. (90 points IJB)

2015 Yangarra Estate Shiraz IronheartAustralia, South Australia, Fleurieu, McLaren Vale
SRP: $100
Deep purple. Deep aromas of black cherries, dark currants, roasted figs, along with violets, sweet cocoa, mint, menthol and warm clay. Full and rich on the palate with velvety tannins and medium acidity. Flavors of roasted figs, plum cake, black cherries, along with mint, pepper, violets, cocoa. There’s some earthy, dusty, spice rub mixed in here, too. A lot going on, and it’s bright despite its richness and depth. I’d love to taste this in five years. Aged 15 months in 45% new French oak. (91 points IJB)

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