About this Team…
Team name: Paddock Monkeys
Team colour: Apple Green
Team contact: Michael Paxton
Wine for Tasting:
Gemtree Vineyards The Phantom Red Blend II McLaren Vale 2010
If you turned down your McL amplifier two notches and then stepped away from the speakers a few paces, you would encounter The Phantom. This is a cunning take on the McL red blend but it’s made from less bombastic varieties than you would ordinarily encounter. Cab Franc leads the charge (with less oomph and more scent than wood Cab Sauv); Mourvèdre makes up 25% of the mix (with less brawn and pagan notes than Shiraz would) and PV completes the picture bringing earth, leaf and spice, adding detail to the whole. All in all, this atypical wine is a breath of fresh air and a change of pace which we should all welcome, proving that McL is far from being a one-trick pony.
Gemtree Vineyards Uncut Shiraz McLaren Vale 2010
I remember visiting Gemtree over a decade ago and listening to Andrew Buttery’s dream to create an ultra-organic haven in which to make his beloved wines. This dream has subsequently come true and 2010 Uncut Shiraz is testament to the fact that you can make spectacular wine at the same time as hugging the planet. For my money this is the most complete Uncut to date with a wistful nose of pepper, rose and bouquet garni and a super-sleek palate with perfectly balanced crunchy tannins.
Paxton Pinot Gris 2012 McLaren Vale
Biodynamic warlocks Paxton manage to make immensely appealing wines unlike so many Bio-Freaks in the Old World. Their regimes serve to heighten the pleasure of the variety and in this instance their PG is silky, creamy, pear and guava-scented and yet it is light to the touch unlike so many claggy NZ versions. The finish is thoroughly engaging summoning you back to the glass with uncommon regularity.
Paxton Jones Block Shiraz McLaren Vale 2009
This velvety plum and black cherry elixir seems not to have any tannin whatsoever, however, puncture the shimmering orb of fruit and inside there is the fertile McLaren Vale dirt. If you would like to have the pleasure of drinking a silky seamless red this evening then Jones Block is ready to go because all of the edges have been shined off and buffed up giving you immense pleasure and an unusual flavour experience bearing in mind it’s mighty origins.
Chalk Hill Cabernet Sauvignon McLaren Vale 2011
It’s hard to believe all of the doom and gloom surrounding the 2011 vintage when you taste a wine as joyous as this. With black berry and black cherry notes jousting with some leafier refreshing tones this is a forward-drinking, completely balanced Cabernet with serious charm and style. It’s such a joy to taste well-made wine from vintages that winemakers and journos alike have written off. It just goes to prove that people like Jock look after their land their punters, too.
Chalk Hill Sidetrack McLaren Vale 2011
Sidetrack seemingly has boundless energy on the palate which indicates to me that we should show some restraint before opening it. However, I have a way around this conundrum – the age old and underrated method of relaxing tense wine is, of course, to decant it. Once you’ve performed this manoeuvre Sidetrack displays unfettered red and black fruit and some luscious licks of cinnamon and cracked pepper. Not as heavy as Jock’s Shiraz, the Grenache component in this wine helps to even the palate and add complexity to the finish.