Yangarra Blanc is a shameless nod to the White Rhone blends of Cotes du Rhone, Lirac, and Chateauneuf du Pape. Mostly Grenache Blanc with some Roussanne, Clairette, Picpoul, and Bourblenenc. Mostly grapes you’ve never heard of and on their own, you probably don’t need to know much about… Their strength is in the blend. The wine itself is rich in the mouth. The flavours are subtle, melons, slightly unripe mango, floral, stones. This wine is great for any occasion; serve it chilled if you have a warm day. But it’s probably better at cellar temperature. Pair Yangarra Blanc with seafood, creamy cheeses. Drink this over the next 12-18 months.
Yangarra is one vineyard of 100 hectares broken into 35 blocks. Almost exclusively planted to the varieties of the Rhone Valley; in particular the Southern Rhone. But new plantings of Spanish grapes are underway. The core of the Yangarra offering is old, bush vines of Grenache. All the vines are certified organic and biodynamic. Their efforts are working as not only are the wines amazing, but James Halliday awarded Yangarra wine of the year in the 2020 Companion.
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.
Closely related to the more famous red Grenache, Grenache blanc shares similar characteristics. It is prone to high alcohol, low acids, and high cropping. Also, like red Grenache, Grenache Blanc does better in most cases when it is blended with other grapes. Commonly in the Rhone, it is Roussanne but there is half a dozen other native Rhone whites that can be used. Look for flavours in the citrus and herbaceous spheres.