Bernice and Julian have been making wine together since 2012. The culmination of their experiences is the Ministry Of Clouds Kintsugi: The best Rhone inspired blend they can make. A blend of Grenache from 100-year-old vines in Blewitt Springs with Mataro, Shiraz, and Cinsault. This is the closest I’ve had to Chateauneuf-du-Pape from Australia. The colour is actually lighter and a hint brown. The wine is seamless, silky, nuanced. There is a lot to love in the glass. We tasted straight from a newly opened bottle. I can only imagine how much it evolves when it has been open for a few hours. I believe this is a wine that will age gracefully for 15-20
The home and heart of Ministry Of Clouds are in McLaren Vale. 9.5 hectares of red grapes planted on the Seaview Ridge complemented by fruit from growers in the local area. There are also Riesling from Clare Valley and Chardonnay from Tasmania. Both of these wines are made in the region they are grown. This means that Bernice and Julian have to be in three places at once during vintage.
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The maritime climate and sandy soils of McLaren Vale make it a great place for growing grapes. Reds in particular excel here. Shiraz of course, but the Spanish varieties Grenache and Tempranillo seem well suited too. The maritime climate helps mitigate some of the heat from the SA summers and the sandy soils mean that phylloxera could not survive and so they have some of the oldest vines in the world.
Spain’s gift to the world. We know it as Grenache and I think everyone has a soft spot for it in some way. Almost too exuberant in expressing its sweet red fruits and high alcohol, it often needs a little bit of other wines to add moderation, structure and depth. Much like Abbott and Costello. Despite this, the wines of Priorat, Chateauneuf du Pape, Rioja and Aussie GSMs have an amazing ability to age for the long-term.