Kangarilla Road 2009 Sangiovese


You will struggle to find this wine. The 2010 (featured in the Winter issue of Sumptuous) has been sold out for ages. But my local bottle shop almost always has something interesting tucked away if you do a bit of hunting. Andy brought a bottle of this home for me one day, and I returned a couple of days later and bought the last bottle.

Kangarilla Road is a McLaren Vale winery with instantly recognisable labels: a black ground with an image of the vine leaf. Very striking and easy to spot.

Sangiovese is something of a ‘thing’ in McLaren Vale. Its Old World home is Tuscany. I guess I’d describe the climates as being vaguely similar but Tuscany has some rolling hills and makes McLaren Vale look seriously flat. Despite its Tuscan pedigree, Sangiovese is actually part Tuscan and part Calabrian, and is actually found growing in many wine producing areas, under a variety of synonyms. For example, you can find Coriscan, American and even Swiss examples of this wine. In Australia it arrived in the 1960s but was not commercially planted until the 80s, with the first block being in Penfold’s Kalimna vineyard. The commercial pioneers are considered to be Coriole and Dromana Estate (Mornington Peninsula).

I tasted this wine on 29 June, and the bottle had been open one day.

In the glass, the wine was ruby in colour with medium intensity.

The nose was quite pronounced: black cherry, vanilla, even blackcurrant. In fact, the blackcurrant was pushing towards blackcurrant jubes. There was a very slight green or herbaceous character to the nose which was a good thing as it balanced out the slightly confected jube notes.

The black cherry was dominant on the palate, with firm, but not drying, tannins providing a lovely structure. There was some cedar spiciness and the wine had good length. I did wonder if the finish was perhaps a little hot, but that didn’t stop me heading back and buying the last bottle.

This wine was purchased from Cellarbrations, Flagstaff Hill for $26.
Closure: screwcap.
Alcohol: 14% abv.

In the mouth,

Domain Day 2005 One Serious Sangiovese

I’ve spent the last two weeks enjoying the company of a head cold so I’ve had plenty of alcohol free days and stuck to drinking the odd beer and very little in the way of interesting wine.

I do have a backlog of proper notes to type up, so fresh content is on its way!

As the cold stuck in its claws, I opened a bottle of Domain Day 2005 One Serious Sangiovese which I’d found in a bottle shop, (slightly) reduced to $27.

No tasting note today, as I drank the wine under the weather and figure that it’s hardly fair to either the wine or readers to attempt to pass sophisticated judgement. I will, however, say that I enjoyed it very much over a couple of nights. Based on my slightly befuddled state, I’d buy it again!

However, I thought I’d use this as an opportunity to write not about a grape variety, but a little about a winery whose focus is very much on the alternative varieties.

I first came across Domain Day when I was researching some wines for a client. In this instance, I was after a Saperavi. There’s actually a few South Australian Saperavi producers and in this instance, the Domain Day offering ticked quite a few boxes: it was one I hadn’t tried before, it was at the right price point and it was (relatively) easily available retail. I was pretty impressed with the wine – and, if I recall correctly, at least a couple of people in the resulting class had rated it highly too – so Domain Day as a producer was already on my radar when I saw the Sangiovese.

In addition to the Saperavi and Sangiovese, Domain Day produces a Lagrein, sweet and dry Garganegas, and a few wines made from grape varieties with which you most likely will be familiar.

The winery is at Mt Crawford, in the south eastern corner of the Barossa. In fact, it seems that it’s really pretty well subsumed by the Barossa as various erudite wine tomes* fail to mention it individually. At 450m the Domain Day vineyards are high enough to enjoy a cooler climate so they get to grow Riesling and Pinot Noir alongside the slightly quirkier varietals.

Robin Day is the proprietor and winemaker and comes scarily well credentialled. He’s ex Orlando Wyndham and Pernod Ricard with plenty of overseas experience.

Domain Day is a great example of a smaller, and dare I say it, less well known winery, with some formidable winemaking experience at the helm. Personally, I will always pick up a wine with which I am not familiar in preference to a big brand name. I’m on a bit of a mission to convince other wine buyers to do the same. A small, unfamiliar name doesn’t mean a lack of inside nous and competence.

This wine was purchased from Cellarbrations, Flagstaff Hill for $27 (reduced).
Closure: screw cap
13.8% abv

* By which I mean Sotheby’s Encyclopedia and the World Atlas of Wine.