2010 d'Arenberg The Money Spider Roussanne

Roussanne Grapes
The McLaren Vale Region is world renown for its reds, but occasionally some whites appear from under the radar and made you sit up and take notice. This rare beast, a wine made of 100% Roussanne from Chester Osborn's d'Arenberg winery is one of them. There are far more prominent examples of the variety around such as the Aeolia from Giaconda but The Money Spider over delivers for a fraction of the price.

Normally blended with its cellar companion Marsanne to produce the Rhone Valley's famous Hermitage wines, Roussanne on occasions is allowed to reign supreme in varietal wines particularly here in Australia. Amongst a vast number of varietals and eclectic blends on its portfolio, d'Arenberg has championed the Rhone Valley white varieties since the mid-nineties. The Hermit Crab  Viognier Marsanne is a perennial favourite but the Roussanne is one of those quirky varietals that hits on both the pleasure senses and the cerebral front. If you want to experience what qualities the grape brings to the table, then Chester Osborn's example is the one to try first. 

The Money Spider is a complex and intriguing dry wine that will reward patience and perseverance. It pours a brilliant yellow gold colour and the subtle aromatics need a swirl or three to entice the honeysuckle, peach, honey and citrus blossom nuances to lift from the wine. I love the aromatics and further breathing reveals hints of cinnamon spice and vanilla bean. Wow. Worth the price of admission. But wine drinkers and cognoscenti alike do not live on the sniff alone ! 

The palate has this unctuous mouthfeel to it that reflects the exotic aromatics. Bolstered further by savoury pistachio nut, lime and nectarine flavours with an omnipresent honey nuance throughout, it never feels oily, rather balanced, fresh and lengthy. Texturally complex. Underrated in blends, Roussanne can be a diva on its own and in my opinion, this one is a standing ovation. Take a bow. Overall, a varietal that for me is now far more opulent than its stablemates Marsanne and Viognier which pallor in comparison. 

Source: Retail Purchase. Alcohol: 13.2%. Closure: Screwcap. Rating: 93 Points. 

Website: http://www.darenberg.com.au/

2007 Dog Ridge Reserve Petit Verdot

Petit Verdot Grapes
There's life in this old dog to be sure and I can assure you that this is not a dog of a wine. Sorry about the doggone puns, but it's time to pause now and reflect upon this beauty from the McLaren Vale ! 

Pre-dating Cabernet Sauvignon, Petit Verdot has traditionally been used to prop up and enhance its more illustrious counterpart in classic Bordeaux blends. In Australia and California however where conditions are more conducive to its late ripening properties, the grape is often produced as a single variety wine. Indeed, four times as much is grown here as it is in France and the quasi Mediterranean climate of McLaren Vale allows Petit Verdot to ripen to its intense and distinctive potential for which the variety is known. These characters are invariably intense colours, generous and fragrant aromas, rich dark fruit flavours and soft tannins. 

Dog Ridge is a small family-owned winery in the McLaren Vale with vineyards located throughout this premium wine growing region. The small Petit Verdot vineyard is planted over very ancient shallow topsoils with underlying limestone. Viticultural practices embrace biodiversity and sustainability. The variety's small, thick, black-skinned grapes produce an inky purple, glass-staining wine. Opaque and dark. Black as the ace of spades! Allowing time to aerate, there are lifted blackberry, plum, violet and liquorice aromas. A serious and intense nose. Bitter chocolate, spice, notes of oregano and cracked black pepper enhance the underlying firm, dark fruit mouthfeel. Quite a juicy palate, sharpened by fine-grained tannins and acid on the back end. Good weight and lingering soft fruit, mineral finish. I like the varietal expression of this Petit Verdot very much. There will be more planted of this underrated variety in future as global warming envelopes us. Forget your Cabs for the time being, put this impressive wine on your radar and give it a try. Make no bones about it !

Source: Retail Purchase. Alcohol: 14%. Closure: Screwcap. Rating: 92 Points. Website: http://www.dogridge.com.au/