Current Issue #488

2011 Vintage

2011 Vintage

In conjunction with The Adelaide Review, Wine Direct have created an exclusive 6 pack for the Review Wine Club that feature some of the best 2011 has to offer.

As you know, the Adelaide Review is a huge supporter of South Australian Wines, so much so we celebrate them yearly with our Hot 100 Wine Show and awards. We feel the 2011 vintage has received an unfair hammering – some of the wines produced that year are astonishingly good, in some cases better than their 2010 counterparts. We’d like to draw your attention to Matt Wallace’s (Buyer for Wine Direct) article on the 2011 Vintage. Matt concurs that the 11 vintage has unjustly copped a bashing -  you can read about Matt’s assessment of the vintage and some of the wines that particularly stand out in the latest issue of The Adelaide Review.

In conjunction with The Adelaide Review, Wine Direct have created an exclusive 6 pack for the Review Wine Club that feature some of the best 2011 has to offer.

2011 Red’s – Come and try them for yourself
Recommending a wine from the 2011 vintage is a little like suggesting that your significant other might prefer to share a ‘dutch oven’ with you over a back rub? There may well be copulatory analogies and inappropriate imprecations, salutations to a site situated inside the glutemas maximus and implorations to seemingly unseen interrogators to perform some quite illogical acts upon themselves.

It seems that every man and his dog, including a stack of wine writers, have concluded that the wines of 2011 will be on average rubbish, with a handful perhaps of excellent wines delivered via a combination of some of the following: luck, exceptional yield and canopy management, vineyard sites exposed to a lot of wind, early harvesting, blending a percentage of 2011 vintage into 2012 wines, and blending 2011 wines with up to 15% from the 2012/2013 vintages and stringent fruit declassification. 

Wet, wet,wet
Certainly in S.A. and Vic it was generally an extremely challenging vintage with up to 4 times the average annual rainfall creating ideal conditions for mildew and botrytis. SA had its 3rd wettest summer and Victoria the wettest since record keeping began. Disease pressure was enormous and plenty of vineyards suffered significant losses in quantity and quality of fruit.

Whetting your whistle
While there are certainly some unimpressive wines from 2011 there are some rippers too. I was in Paxton’s vineyards on the Friday before the big weekend deluge that gave botrytis the biggest leg up since the can-can was embraced by the French working class. Chatting with Tom Harvey we were looking at fruit being handpicked for his Chalk Hill brand. Tom acknowledged that the vintage had been challengingly cool and wet yet the fruit we were looking at was almost pristine and tasted stunning. What we tasted was clearly physiologically ripe (at a lower baume than normal) quite intense and absolutely delicious. Had he left the fruit for another week it might have been a different story.

As it turns out, some of those Chalk Hill wines are quite beautiful. By way of example, The Sidetrack is medium bodied with more spice and complexity than the 2010 edition – Chalk Hill chose not to pick about 30% of their grapes in 2011 and the wine is different but delicious and more accessible than the 2010. Paxton’s Quandong Shiraz is a belter too. Paul Limpus, Paxton’s gallivanter of sales reckons it is the best one they have produced to date. I love it, sweet fruit, spicy complexity and black and blue fruits. It’s a bit bigger than medium bodied but moves beautifully.

Vintage 2011 and wines like the above remind me as a wine drinker that medium-bodied with good to excellent fruit intensity beats gargantuan every day of the week. The experience of the titanic might be more intense but it’s a wonderment that is difficult to sustain as your palate is deluged with extract. Ultimately the fruit expression suffers, at least in the wines youth. The fruit is there but you really have to go looking for it or be prepared to leave the wine in bottle for a year or 9. The medium bodied wine will offer a great deal more pleasure in its youth and is likely to age just as well if not better than the bulked up ‘black is the new black’ behemoth.

The Adelaide Review Wine Club 2011 Six Pack and more
There are other 2011 wines that fit the bill too and are as good, if not better, than their 2010 counterparts … here’s a few we’ve looked at on the tasting panel recently.

• Hamilton Lot 148 Merlot is a stunner, trophy and gold winner to boot, unequivocally better than the 2010.
• Leconfield Cabernet is leafier and greener than the 2010 and with more astringent tannins, but very tasty nonetheless.
• Barossa Cabernet typically offers more in cooler years and we love Kalleske’s 2011 Merchant Cabernet as a perfect example of this. 
• Claymore’s Bittersweet Symphony Cabernet with some assistance from Malbec is delightful, 

These wines along with the aforementioned Paxton’s Quandong Shiraz form the Adelaide Review Wine Club 2011 Six Pack but are not the only good wines from 2011 – really there are far too many to mention.

The Adelaide Review Wine Club 2011 Six Pack
1x Kalleske Merchant Cabernet 2011
1x Paxton Quandong Shiraz 2011
1x Claymore Bittersweet Symphony Cabernet 2011
1x Leconfield Cabernet Sauvignon 2011
1x Hamilton Lot 148 Merlot 2011
1x Heirloom Barossa Shiraz 2011
RRP $167 – Review Wine Club special price $111

You can check out the Review Wine Club 2011 6 pack and save 33% by visiting

Or Taste if first at a Cellar Door on Sat 6th and Sun 7th July, 11am-5pm

Heirloom Barossa (@ the Salopian Inn McLaren Vale)
McMurtrie Rd McLaren Vale, SA

Hamilton Cellar Door
439 Main Road, McLaren Vale, SA

Leconfield Cellar Door
4km north of Penola on the Riddoch Highway

Paxton Cellar Door
Wheaton Road, McLaren Vale

Claymore Cellar Door
Main North Rd Leasingham, SA 

Kalleske Cellar Door
6 Murray Street, Greenock, SA

Placing orders at Cellar Door
Fill in an order form at a participating cellar door and they will do the rest. You should receive your order within 10 working days. Orders will be fulfilled by Wine Direct, partner to the Review Wine Club – or simply visit to order online.


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