The Wine Advocate - June 2019 - Scores and Reviews

With top-flight vintages bookending the tasting—the entry-level 2018s and the flagship 2016s—I was most impressed by the fine showing of the single-vineyard 2017s and the 2017s in the Garden series. It was a fine and consistent performance overall, with the wines notable for the degree of elegance now being routinely achieved. These are fruit-forward wines but not fruit bombs, with restrained new oak use that averages only 15% each year. Readers may be surprised to know that the total production of Two Hands is only around 50,000 cases. The single-vineyard wines are capped at 150 cases each. Worthy of special mention this year are the bottlings from the Yacca Block in the Eden Valley and the Coach House Block in the Greenock subsection of the Barossa Valley, with honorable mention to the Charlie’s Garden (also Eden Valley) and, for best value, the 2018 Brave Faces Grenache-Mourvèdre-Shiraz is a plush sexpot that retails for $30Joe Czerwinski

The Wine Advocate’s Joe Czerwinski sat down recently with our GM Pierre- Henri Morel and the results of his tasting are featured in that latest e-edition of Wine Advocate, published June 12th, 2019.

We’re delighted at the results, with 25 wines awarded 90+ points.

Once again, it’s a testament to our team’s dedication and the blood, sweat and tears that go into each wine we craft.


2016 ARES  Barossa Valley Shiraz  – 94+? points

“The 2016 Ares Shiraz shows a glossy sheen of cedar and vanilla, but underneath that lies some impressively concentrated raspberry and blueberry fruit. There’s also a distracting lifted note. If that resolves in time or integrates with the rest of the wine, my rating could be conservative, as this firmly built wine should have the ability to age up to two decades. Right now, once past the initial burst of mixed berries, this full-bodied wine shows hints of leather and spice on the tannic finish, but it’s dramatically primary and tight, in need of decanting to show its best.”

2016 APHRODITE  Barossa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon – 94 points

“Hints of celery leaf accent cassis fruit on the nose of the 2016 Aphrodite Cabernet Sauvignon. It’s a more elegant style than you might expect from such a dark, concentrated Barossa Cab, being only medium to full-bodied, with fine-grained, silky tannins and plenty of length, but it’s all the better for that, giving it a clear, varietal voice.”

2016 AEROPE  Barossa Valley Grenache – 94 points

“The best of the Barossa Valley Grenache goes into the 2016 Aerope Grenache. Fermented in concrete and then aged in a mix of large barrels and stainless steel, it’s a crystalline, muscular version of the grape, powered by firm tannins and bright acids. Raspberry fruit eases into darker, somewhat tarry flavors on the palate, developing a softer, silkier feel on the prolonged finish.”

2016 ADRESTIA Adelaide Hills Semillon Sauvignon Blanc – 92 points

“A barrel-fermented blend of 85% Sémillon and 15% Sauvignon Blanc, the 2016 Adrestia Semillon Sauvignon Blanc features a substantial overlay of toasty oak and vanilla. It’s a plump, slightly creamy-textured wine loaded with citrus flavor, vibrant and energetic, with an extended finish. Depending on how aged you like your white wines, you could drink it now or five years from now.”

 


 

2017 COACH HOUSE BLOCK Greenock Barossa Valley Shiraz – 98 points – SOLD OUT

Wonderfully fragrant, with aromas of raspberries and crushed herbs, the 2017 Coach House Block Seppeltsfield Road Greenock Shiraz is a full-bodied yet marvelously elegant Shiraz. This has a mid-palate texture that’s creamy and rich yet never heavy, with fine-grained tannins that leave behind a silky feel that lingers for minutes, alongside hints of berries, mint and licorice. This awesome wine was looking even better the following day.

2017 YACCA BLOCK Menglers Hill Eden Valley Shiraz – 97 points

“The blueberry and rosemary-scented 2017 Yacca Block Menglers Hill Shiraz bursts from the glass with another level of intensity. It’s full-bodied but not overdone at all, with bright fruit, crisp acids and a supple, silky finish that extends for well over a minute. Hints of mocha, licorice and baking spices bring complexity on the nose and finish, making it one of this impressive lineup’s top wines.”

2017 HOLY GRAIL Seppeltsfield Barossa Valley Shiraz – 96 points

“Hugely concentrated without being overly big or bulky, the 2017 Holy Grail Seppeltsfield Road Seppeltsfield Shiraz delivers waves of blueberry and blackberry fruit. Yes, it’s full-bodied and ideally needs a couple of years in the cellar, but it’s not too far off from being approachable already. The finish is tremendous, packing in plenty of fruit as well as spicy and herbal complexities that linger for minutes.”

2017 HEARTBREAK HILL White Hut Clare Valley Shiraz – 95 points

“Perhaps the darkest of the single-vineyard offerings this year, the 2017 Heartbreak Hill Roach Road White Hut Shiraz offers up an intriguing blend of thyme, rosemary and earth with layers of blackberry fruit. Full-bodied and intense, it’s the one single-vineyard wine that might need more than a year or two to round into form, but it has the stuffing to go the distance.”

2017 SECRET BLOCK Moppa Hills Barossa Valley Shiraz – 94 points

“The 2017 Secret Block Wildlife Road Moppa Hills Shiraz features gentle notes of toasted cedar accenting boysenberry and raspberry fruit. Hints of thyme and rosemary, cracked green peppercorns and slightly meaty notes creep in along the way to a long, silky finish. This full-bodied yet elegant beauty should be at its best from 2020 – 2030.”

2017 WINDMILL BLOCK Stonewell Barossa Valley Shiraz – 94 points

“Rich and earthy, the blackberry-scented 2017 Windmill Block Single Vineyard Stonewell Shiraz is a full-bodied, full-throttle example of Barossa Shiraz. Open-knit and velvety on the palate, it’s a dark-fruited wonder that drinks well already, yet it should age well for 10-15 years.”

 


 

2017 CHARLIE’S GARDEN Eden Valley Shiraz – 93 points

“Peppery and meaty on the nose, the 2017 Charlie’s Garden Shiraz is nevertheless ripe and fruity at the same time, with boysenberry and blueberry notes to sustain it across the medium to full-bodied palate. Silky and rich, it picks up hints of mint and licorice on the long finish.”

2017 BELLA’S GARDEN Barossa Valley Shiraz – 92 points

“Ripe and silky, the 2017 Bella’s Garden Shiraz boasts oodles of black cherries layered with loamy-earthy notes. It’s full-bodied and expansive but stays balanced, with supple tannins lingering on the finish.”

2017 LILY’S GARDEN McLaren Vale Shiraz – 92 points

“The 2017 Lily’s Garden Shiraz is marked by ripe cherry fruit and herbal undertones. Hints of thyme and mint appear on the nose, while the medium to full-bodied palate is creamy and ripe, turning silky on the finish. This is one of the few Garden series wines where the oak is evident, but it’s still well blended with the rest of the wine, showing up as just a bit of additional structure.”

2017 SAMANTHA’S GARDEN Clare Valley Shiraz – 92 points

“Hints of eucalyptus and bay leaf appear on the nose of the 2017 Samantha’s Garden Shiraz. Cola and plum notes fill out the full-bodied palate, balanced by crisp acids and some ripe, supple tannins. Like all of the Garden series wines, it should drink well for a decade.”

2017 HARRIET’S GARDEN Adelaide Hills Shiraz – 91 points

“Made with 20% whole bunches, the 2017 Harriet’s Garden Shiraz shows some herbal-stemmy notes, hints of green peppercorn and vibrant raspberry fruit. It’s medium to full-bodied, with a ripe, creamy texture leading into a long, silky finish. It’s a lovely blend of herbal-savory and ripe fruit that should drink well for up to a decade or so.”

2017 MAX’S GARDEN Heathcote Shiraz – 91 points

“Meaty and savory, the 2017 Max’s Garden Shiraz is an earthy take on Shiraz. The grapes are brought to the winery in the Barossa and crushed there, but there’s a distinctive difference in this wine when compared to the other Garden series wines. Sturdy and somewhat foursquare, this full-bodied wine can be cellared a year or two and then consumed over the next decade.”

 


2018 GNARLY DUDES Barossa Valley Shiraz – 91 points

“Lovely mixed berry notes appear on the nose of the 2018 Gnarly Dudes Shiraz. It’s a prototypical Barossa Shiraz made with modern sensibilities, marrying subtle hints of French oak with bold fruit. Hints of mint and licorice add interest, while the full-bodied palate is ripe and creamy without going over the top.”

2018 BRAVE FACES Barossa Valley Grenache Mourvèdre Shiraz – 91 points – released July 2019

“A strong vintage for this bottling, the 2018 Brave Faces Grenache Mourvèdre Shiraz showcases the unique characters of each of the three varieties: red raspberries from the Grenache, savory mushroom/tree bark notes from the Mourvèdre and peppery licorice notes from the Shiraz. It’s a fresh, fruit-driven, medium to full-bodied red with silky tannins that should provide a lot of pleasure over the next 3-4 years.”

2018 ANGELS SHARE McLaren Vale Shiraz – 90 points

“Pretty cherry and raspberry scents mark the nose of the 2018 Angel’s Share Shiraz. Sure, there are some darker notes creeping in as well, but this is a bright, primarily red-fruited wine with crisp acids and fine-grained tannins. It’s medium to full-bodied, showing a bit of astringency on the finish.”

2018 SEXY BEAST McLaren Vale Cabernet Sauvignon – 90 points – released July 2019

“The 2018 Sexy Beast Cabernet Sauvignon features classy hints of pencil shavings, mint and cassis. It shows appropriate varietal restraint on the palate, gliding along in a streamlined, focused manner without being tight or ungenerous. It’s medium-bodied and silky yet firm, with a long finish.”

2018 FIELDS OF JOY Clare Valley Shiraz – 90 points – released July 2019

“Hints of eucalyptus, bay leaf and sage appear on the nose of the 2018 Fields Of Joy Shiraz. That’s balanced by bold boysenberry fruit flavors, a medium to full-bodied palate and a taut, crisp finish. It’s a wine that would benefit from a brief decanting or a couple of years in the cellar.”

 


 

2016 TWELFTREE Schuller Blewitt Springs Grenache – 94 points

“My favorite of the 2017 Grenaches under this label—from vines that are now 91 years old, planted at a slightly higher elevation than the Moritz Road bottling—the 2016 Schuller Road Blewitt Springs Grenache shows fewer herbal nuances but instead delivers richer, riper flavors of red raspberry and even a savory touch of meatiness. It’s medium to full-bodied, with a tannic structure somewhere between silky and creamy and a long, lingering finish.”

2016 TWELFTREE Moritz Blewitt Springs Grenache – 92 points

“Grown on sandy soils, the 2016 Moritz Road Blewitt Springs Grenache is a cherry and herb-scented beauty that shows a surprising degree of delicacy and elegance. Hints of pepper and fennel add nuance to the bright, cheerful red fruit flavors. It’s medium-bodied, with silky tannins and a long, crisp, mouthwatering finish.”

2016 TWELFTREE Vinegrove Greenock Grenache – 90 points

“Matured entirely in concrete, the 2016 Vinegrove Road Greenock Grenache is very different in style from the McLaren Vale wines. It’s darker fruited and earthier, with scents of leather, spice and grilled meat. Medium to full-bodied, it’s rich and creamy on the palate, delivering a mouth-coating experience that lingers on the finish.”


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