Yangarra King’s Wood Shiraz 2018 is from the 2.3ha Block 12. Block 12 is the spiciest Shiraz grown on Yangarra. To accentuate the spiciness they use a large percentage of whole bunches. After wild yeast fermentation, the free-run wine ages in 2,500 litre French Oak ‘foudre’ for 15 months. Yangarra King’s Wood is a spicy, elegant wine that packs a lot of flavour at only 13.5% alcohol! Yangarra King’s Wood is a wine to leave for 5-10 years for the best result.
Yangarra King’s Wood Wine Review
JAMES HALLIDAY James Halliday Wine Companion 2021, 1 August 2020
“From the 12.3ha east-facing Block 12 on an ironstone sandy outcrop. Hand-picked, open-fermented with 25% whole bunches, matured in a 25hl French foudre for 15 months. Vivid crimson-purple through to the rim. An incredibly fresh wine that literally dances in the mouth, juicy streams of bright red flavours – this from ’18, not a vintage known for delicacy. Fantastic bargain.”
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.
A bit of a chameleon, Shiraz can change how it looks depending on the terroir and/or winemaker influence. The Syrah-based wines of Northern Rhone are dry and austere while the Shiraz of Barossa is rich and fleshy. A variety that lends itself to long aging but can be drunk at any time of its evolution.
The invasion of “Sunshine in a bottle” put Australian wine on the map. The fruity, easy-going, somewhat samey wines were endearing for a short time. Then the next big thing knocked them off their perch.
This forced producers to increase quality and emphasise the special terroirs of Australia. Of which, there are many. And many more yet to be discovered.
Wine is the result you get from fermented grape juice. There is proof of wine production dating back 8000 years ago. Fashions, innovations and many other factors have influenced the way wine has evolved over the years.
The wine grape is pretty special. It contains everything you need to make grape wine. Except for the yeast, which lives on the outside of the skins.
Human inputs can influence the final product. This includes the viticulture (growing) choices. And the winemaker can shape the wine to a point too.
The best wines of the world often refer to terroir. This is a French term that refers to all the climatic, geological and topographical influences on a specific piece of land. And it is true that neighbouring vineyards, grown identically, can taste noticeably different.
Fun fact; most of the colour for wines comes from the skins. There are only a handful of grapes that have red juice. Alicante is the most well known of these grapes.
By macerating the juice on the skins the wine gains tannins, and flavours. Certain compounds change the chemistry of the wine too.
Red wines tend to have higher alcohol. More tannin and more oak flavours compared to other styles of wine. But the thousands of grapes and terroirs they grow in influence this.