2008 Gemtree "Tadpole" Shiraz McLaren Vale South Australia (Elsewhere $14.99)

SKU #1048357

An untamed animal with minimal intervention (that means no filtering, no fining, and pretty much no hand of the wine maker in evidence whatsoever), this is a naturalist's dream: 100% juicy, soft and drinkable Shiraz in a fruit-forward, jammy and yet balanced style. A fantastic value and a lot of bang for around ten bucks. "Since I became aware of this property last year, I have been extremely impressed with the quality and value they have to offer. James Halliday, who is one of Australia's foremost wine writers and founder of the Coldstream Hills winery added them to his list of ten 'dark horses' to watch. The grapes are grown organically and since 2008 they have become 100% biodynamic. For every bottle sold, they also donate to Greening Australia which supports the wetlands on their property. Last year the Wine Spectator gave their 'Uncut' Shiraz ($19.99) 92 points and it made the Top 100 list, and by the way, we recently were able to procure another dollop of this fine wine. The Spectator also awarded 90 points to the 2007 Tadpole, and I'm here to tell you the 2008 is even better. For a wine at this price, it shows remarkable concentration with a perfumed nose of blueberry, blackberry, iron, crème de cassis and a hint of milk chocolate. On the palate the wine is rich with good acidity and silky tannins that present superb balance and length. The wine is bottled without fining or filtration." (Jim Chanteloup, K&L Australian wine buyer)

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Price: $7.99
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Staff Image By: John Majeski | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: 7/13/2009 | Send Email
After initially tasting this wine I pulled an eye muscle over the shelf price, wondering aloud how a wine of such phenomenal fruit thrust, savoriness and sinuosity could be such a bargain. Youthful and vigorous, with just the right degree of brambly spice, cassis and mulberries to keep going back for a second sip, and a third.....oh, let’s just call this the perfect wine for a backyard barbecue of grilled marinated spareribs and skewered veggies!
Top Value!

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- One of France's noblest black grape varieties, Syrah is known for its intense and distinctive perfume reminiscent of briar fruit, tar, spice and black pepper and its firm structure. One of few black grape varietals frequently vinified on its own, the best examples of Syrah come from the Northern Rhône, particularly Hermitage, but also Côte-Rôtie, Cornas, Crozes-Hermitage and St-Joseph. These wines are very astringent in their youth, though some Crozes-Hermitage and St-Joseph can be enjoyed young, relatively speaking. Given the requisite patience, though, these wines can reveal amazing complexity and secondary fruit characteristics like plum and blackcurrant as well as subtle hints of smoke and flowers. In the Southern Rhône, Syrah is used to add structure and complexity to wines dominated by Grenache and complemented by Mourvèdre, like the more immediately drinkable Côte du Rhônes, as well as the long-lived wines of Châteauneuf-du-Pape. In recent years, plantings of Syrah have spread throughout the Languedoc-Roussillon where it is produced on its own or blended with other varietals. Outside of France, the most important Syrah growing country is easily Australia, where it is called Shiraz. Quality levels here depend greatly on yields and geography, and the wines range from bold, fruity and easy-drinking to intense and ageable, like the famed Penfolds Grange. Often bottled on its own, in Australia Syrah is also can be blended with Grenache and Mourvèdre, as in the Southern Rhône, and is increasingly combined with Cabernet Sauvignon. Syrah has also been steadily increasing in popularity in California, thanks to a group of advocates called the Rhône Rangers. Its most successful iterations come from the Central and Sonoma Coasts, where winemakers are pushing boundaries and creating some incredible wines. In recent years Syrah has also found a number of proponents in Washington State, which is definitely a region to watch for this variety.


- While it is true that the greatest strides in Australian winemaking have come in the last 30 years or so, commercial viticulture began as early as the 1820s and has developed uninterrupted ever since. The majority of the great wine regions are in the southeastern area of the continent, including Barossa Valley, Clare Valley, McLaren Vale, and Coonawarra in South Australia; Yarra Yarra Valley and Pyrenees in Victoria; and the Upper and Lower Hunter Valleys in New South Wales. Many of the wines from Southeastern Australia are based on Shiraz or Cabernet Sauvignon and various blends including Grenache and Mourvedre. In Western Australia, along the Margaret River, great strides are being made with Pinot Noir as well as Bordeaux-styled reds. There are also many world-class releases of Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc from the land Down Under, where Riesling also enjoys international acclaim. While many equate Aussie wines with “value,” there are more than a few extremely rare and pricey options, which never fail to earn the highest ratings from wine publications and critics throughout the world. View a list of bestselling items from Australia.

South Australia

Specific Appellation:

McLaren Vale