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Samuel's Gorge Tempranillo

Cracka Review

Although the recent series of seasons are none two alike I think the temperamental Tempranillo and I have come to an understanding over the last few years. Once again, this 2011 vintage Tempranillo from Samuel’s Gorge has in my mind achieved the harmony between the wild brackish notes and the divine sarsaparilla or dark cherry aromatics. The challenge I guess is bridling the potentially masculine tannins.

The 2011 vintage was a more overcast year than the usual blue sky summer of the Vale. We experienced an unusual dose of summer rain. Having said that we got off rather lightly compared with many Southern regions of Australia. A couple of 20mm rain events are not tragic but the cloud cover can block the light that drives the mature tannin range in this varietal. Considering the summer that never was, this wine shows plenty of power. A tribute to detailed viticulture and vineyards positioned on hill tops.

When I talk cherry notes I am reminded of my dear neighbour’s home made cherry liqueur used to compose some very fine Manhattans. The cherry waltzes with pomegranate juice, and then spins off all levels of savoury. Orange Pekoe tea, shitake mushroom and low level animal dung. Pop a Jaffa in the gob and then try the Tempranillo, explosive combination.

Winemaker's Notes

Although the recent series of seasons are none two alike I think the temperamental Tempranillo and I have come to an understanding over the last few years. Once again, this 2011 vintage Tempranillo from Samuel’s Gorge has in my mind achieved the harmony between the wild brackish notes and the divine sarsaparilla or dark cherry aromatics. The challenge I guess is bridling the potentially masculine tannins.

The 2011 vintage was a more overcast year than the usual blue sky summer of the Vale. We experienced an unusual dose of summer rain. Having said that we got off rather lightly compared with many Southern regions of Australia. A couple of 20mm rain events are not tragic but the cloud cover can block the light that drives the mature tannin range in this varietal. Considering the summer that never was, this wine shows plenty of power. A tribute to detailed viticulture and vineyards positioned on hill tops.

When I talk cherry notes I am reminded of my dear neighbour’s home made cherry liqueur used to compose some very fine Manhattans. The cherry waltzes with pomegranate juice, and then spins off all levels of savoury. Orange Pekoe tea, shitake mushroom and low level animal dung. Pop a Jaffa in the gob and then try the Tempranillo, explosive combination.

expert reviews about

Samuel's Gorge Tempranillo

Expert Reviews

James Halliday (2011 Vintage) says
To 2018
Australian Wine Companion 2014 Edition
92
Nick Stock (2010 Vintage) says
Another great edition of this wine, showing plenty of cassis and bright purple-cherry fruit on the nose - almost grenache-like perfume here, really bright and fresh. The palate's ripe dark fruits are stunning: really intense and concentrated flavour in well-proportioned structure here - assertive, long and juicy.
2015
The Good Wine Guide
94
James Halliday (2010 Vintage) says
To 2015
Australian Wine Companion 2013
90
James Halliday (2009 Vintage) says
Australian Wine Companion 2012 2011
91
James Halliday (2008 Vintage) says
Australian Wine Companion 2011 2010
93
Tyson Stelzer (2008 Vintage) says
Plenty of exotic, wild spice here and a good dose of morello cherry too—the oak’s built nicely in adding savoury tarry notes. Bright and measured on the palate with long fine tannins and black cherry pip flavours.
92
Nick Stock (2008 Vintage) says
A bit like the bloke who makes it, this has an exotic, wild and endearing persona. Plenty of tempranillo cherry and spice too, some savoury oak and a bit of regional earth. The palate has the forward richness of the vintage, with enough drive and carry to warrant a little cellar-time for further savoury complexity. Shapely and balanced.
The Good Wine Guide 2011
Campbell Mattinson & Gary Walsh (2008 Vintage) says
This is a tempranillo to stand up and take notice of. It's thoroughly exotic and thoroughly delicious. It tastes of orange rind, sour plums, earth and roasted nuts and chalk. It has sweetness galore and yet, by the time you swallow, it feels distinctly dry. It has lots of fine tannin and excellent, juicy, acid balance. Tremendous wine.
The Big Red Wine Book 2010/11 2010
95
James Halliday (2007 Vintage) says
Tangy cherry/plum fruit with a squeeze of sweet lemon juice; fine tannins and good length.
Australian Wine Companion 2010 2009
90
Campbell Mattinson & Gary Walsh (2007 Vintage) says
Samuel's Gorge is a small winery run by the talented Justin McNamee. It's worth checking these bottles out for the label design alone. Talk about wanting to like a wine! It's blessed with exotic flavours of prunes, orange peel and game, and these are backed up by juicy hits of sour cherry and plum. It looks the goods. When you swallow it, though, a drying, gamey character seems to take over, which in the end becomes distracting. Given extra time to mature in the bottle it may well hit its straps.
The Big Red Wine Book 2009/10 2009
88
James Halliday (2006 Vintage) says
Abundant colour; more richness. depth of flavour and structure than the vast majority of Australian tempranillos; complete and satisfYing; will cellar well.
Australian Wine Companion 2009 2008
94
Nick Stock (2006 Vintage) says
Quite an earthy richly scented tempranillo in a hearty McLaren Vale style, ripe dark cherries and berries, some plums and sweetly spiced earthy tones. Plenty of ripe fruit packed into the palate, dense and juicy, some tarry tannins through the finish. Superb fruit richness, this has more on offer than most.
Good Australian Wine Guide 2009 2008
92
Ken Gargett (2006 Vintage) says
I got a call recently from friends who'd been vineyard touring and said they'd found an absolutely fabulous Barossa shiraz. Couldn't remember the name, so I ran through every single winery I could think of. Nada. Next time I dropped round they pulled out a bottle. Tempranillo from McLaren Vale (ah, of course!). But we did agree it was terrific—jammed full of fruit, and a lovely intro to the venerable Spanish grape.
Don't Buy Wine Without Me 2008 2007
90
James Halliday (2005 Vintage) says
Fragrant aromas, and a light- to medium-bodied, spicy, elegant palate, the tannins tending to linger. Radically different to the '04.
Australian Wine Companion 2008 2007
88
James Halliday (2004 Vintage) says
Extremely concentrated and powerful; dark fruits in abundance. A little less extract would be better still, though the alcohol is fine.
Australian Wine Companion 2007 2006
90

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