93-95 Points - Joe Czerwinski (RobertParker.com) "The full-bodied 2017 Griffon's Key Grenache (tasted out of 500-liter puncheon) boasts knockout aromatics of roses and black cherries. Sweetly ripe fruit, silky tannins and a long, zesty finish suggest this will be great shortly after release yet have the potential of aging for up to a decade."
Winemakers notes "Griffons are powerful and majestic creatures that have the body, tail and hind legs of a lion and the head, talons and wings of an eagle. They symbolise divine power and are known for guarding treasure and priceless possessions. The key held in the griffon’s beak is believed to refer to the griffon’s role as a guardian as well as the Kay name. We felt that symbolism of the Griffon matched this premium Grenache perfectly.
The fruit was hand-picked from a remarkably expressive parcel in the Amery vineyard. Artisanal winemaking ensures a rich, concentrated and powerful style reflecting its name and character. Tread carefully past the mythological ‘king of creatures’ and discover the drinking pleasure it is guarding.
The vineyard has a North-Eastern exposure. Soils are shallow red sandy loam over complex geology comprising quartz and ironstone gravels, weathered and calcareous sandstone, siltstone and limestone. Bud-burst was late but flowering conditions were mild and fruit set was quite good. Because of the mild summer temperatures vine canopies thrived with little stress compared to most years. The final ripening period was warm with cold nights, very favourable conditions for flavor development. Setting the scene for an outstanding high quality vintage.
The best parcels of hand-picked Grenache were selected from the Amery vineyard. Fruit was open fermented and hand plunged for 10 days on skins, prior to traditional basket pressing in our 1928 press. The wine matured a further 10 months in aged French oak puncheons."
Zalto Denk-Art White Wine Glass
Zalto White Wine glass is perfect for crisp, vibrant, dry whites, aged Champagne such as 2007/08 and 2003 Late Disgorged. The glass is superb for many different types of white wines which do not need much aeration, the shape of the glass is focussed on the precision of the aromas. The Zalto White Wine glass covers many varieties such as Riesling, Pinot Gris, Viognier, unoaked Sauvignons or Chardonnays.
"the oldest family run estate still to exist in McLaren Vale since acquiring their Amery vineyard in 1891, the Kay Brothers estate is revered both home and abroad for its loyalty to their traditions"
The French call it ‘partimoine’ but in the realm of the Kay Brothers, it’s simply tradition. And their tradition is to produce full bodied, fruit driven red wines with unabashed confidence. Being the oldest family run estate still to exist in McLaren Vale since acquiring their Amery vineyard in 1891, the Kay Brothers estate is revered both home and abroad for its loyalty to their traditions as well as their ability to produce fantastic wines for more than a century. Of note, however, is the fact that they were one of the first to embrace screwcaps in Australia with all of the winery’s production bottled under this closure today. With such a long history of winemaking, at the disposal of the winemaking team is an enviable stock of old vine Shiraz yielding immensely concentrated berries which are used in the two superior bottlings, Hillside Amery Shiraz and Block 6 Shiraz. Coming from the same terroir what sets them apart is the more favourable position occupied by the Block 6 plantings. Widely regarded as the junior sibling of the two, the Hillside Amery Shiraz is more approachable when young and offers comforting drinking whilst waiting for the grand Block 6 Shiraz to mature. Medium tannins, dried fruit and aniseed notes are usually complemented by a full-bodied weight that manages to deliver an extraordinarily balanced wine.
Reviewed in early 2014 by eminent Master of Wine, Lisa Perrotti-Brown of The Wine Advocate, the 2005 vintage of Kay Brothers Block 6 Shiraz received an astounding 97 points with an estimated drinking window of up to 2024. Hand-picked fruit for this wine comes from the original vines planted in 1892 with fermentation taking place in original open-top fermenters.
"Red grapes flourish here due to the warm climate and varied soil type and the region is best known for soft and juicy Shiraz, old-vine Grenache, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot."
Nestled between the Mount Lofty and the Sellicks Ranges to the north east and south and the white sandy beaches on coast to the west, McLaren Vale’s winemaking history dates back to the 1830’s and the geological features surrounding the region are the key influences to its wine-making credentials. A relatively low lying, warm region with plenty of sunshine, plantings range between 50 and 150 metres and the climate is tempered by winds blowing through the foothills from the east and from the sea to the south west. These factors are responsible for the vast range of styles and varieties within Mclaren Vale, showcased by producers like Clarendon Hills who have a portfolio of wines that cover the diversity in sub-regions, vineyards and grape varieties across the region. It is these distinct sub-regions and variations between them that have been in discussion recently with a call to officially classify them, in order to recognize the specific identities of each micro-climate. This will eventually lead to producers being able to use these distinct terms on their labels, drawing further attention to the diversity across the region.
Early vines were planted here by names that have now become iconic in Australian wine. James Reynell and Thomas Hardy planted some of the earliest vines in 1938 and since then, the Hardy’s name has been intrinsically linked to Australian wine production. Kay Brothers is the oldest family run estate to still be operation in McLaren Vale, dating back to 1891 when they planted their first vines in the now legendary Amery vineyard. Production from these ancient vines continues today and plays a vital role throughout the Kay Brothers portfolio, yielding Shiraz and Cabernet Sauvignon of great depth and concentration. Since the 1990’s, Mclaren Vale’s reputation has sky-rocketed with the emergence of the boutique wineries such as Two Hands who, as well as in Barossa, have identified single plots and vineyards that further showcase the unique identity of McLaren Vale wines.
Around 50% of McLaren Vale plantings is Shiraz with many vines reaching 100 years old or more and harvesting extremely low crops of highly concentrated grapes, capable of producing deep, powerful wines that are very long lived. Cabernet Sauvignon is the second most widely planted variety creating structured wines that show intense blackcurrant flavours and cedar flavours, the cooler sites offering aromas of menthol, and licorice. McLaren Vale Cabernet has many similarities in style to wine from the northern Medoc and with age, these wines can gain great complexity and develop classic aromas and flavours of cigar box and pencil lead as they age. Grenache also has significant role to play either as a single variety or giving support to Shiraz in Rhone style blends. On it’s own it can be responsible for powerful, full bodied wines rich in black berry and luscious plum fruits. With the huge sub-regional diversity across McLaren Vale, it is no surprise that producers have identified specific sites that yield the highest quality Grenache and emphasize its qualities. Blewitt Springs is home to many old Grenache vines which are recognised for their intensity and power and Clarendon Hills are among the list of winemakers that recognized and exploited this.
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