Well, I snapped. Too many budget wines left me wanting something special. So I cracked this last night. I use Primo Estate’s first press Joseph olive oil copiously and I’ve been wanting to taste their wine since my brother returned with stories from the cellar door. This is how I love my wine to be made and sold. You pay a small fee and sit down with local bread and cheese and a generous sample of each wine. Then you are “taken through” the wines- their story explained and questions answered. It’s all about passion and character, as are the best wines of the Vale, or perhaps anywhere.
The fruit for this wine is sourced from three separate vineyards, located at the sites listed above. The Clarendon vineyard is a little cooler in climate. This is, once again, wine made with thought & care. It bears no resemblance to how Australian wine is portrayed by many overseas writers. It is intelligent and sophisticated, not industrial and sterile.
In 1953 Primo Grilli landed in Australia, leaving his homeland of Italy. You can read more about him and the Estate’s history by clicking on this posts’ heading. It will take you to a wonderful website full of information. The Italian heritage is very much on display in this wine. A blend of 80% Cabernet & 20% Merlot, the grapes are picked and left on racks to be air-dried for two weeks. Thus the wine’s name, Moda, derives from this Italian method of extracting flavour etc from the grapes. It leads to a fuller and more dense style of wine. It is matured for 24 months in a mix of one third New American, French and German barriques. I do not know what flavours German oak imparts, but I will seek more information in the future. The point is, the oak and the fruit match are matched beautifully, each very present and playing its part to perfection.
The resultant wine is nothing if not dense. Its real characteristics take at least two days to appreciate, or a long stint in the cellar. Taste it, then lay the rest down and forget about them is my advice.
On opening, the warm alcohol was very much present and I was concerned. No need, integration happened relatively quickly as the wine showed different facets of its personality. To begin with I was very much struck by aromas and flavours of cherry liqueur and cedary oak. But things moved into darker and more complex territory with time in the glass & the bottle.
Ground coffee beans and lashings of dark & milk chocolate flavour and texture wrapped themselves around a core of plums and blackberries with a dusting of pepper. Brazil nuts and peanuts joined the fray with vanilla streaks, and were completely intoxicating. An extremely slippery and delectable mouthfeel, apparent as a feature in many of my favourite McLaren Vale reds, was countered by some effective splinter like tannins, providing a raspy texture to the extremely long finish. The fruit was remarkably vibrant throughout the impressive onslaught of flavours. With further time, all of these flavours were given a coat of caramel, to complete the opulence sitting in the glass. Intellectually & sensually, utterly hedonic.
I somehow feel I have not done justice to how many different ways this wine tasted over the time I consumed it. It evolved with each sip, each smell. The complexity was more than a match for the richness.
It’s not cheap, but as Max Allen recently wrote, how “cheap” something is is by no means a measure of its value. This is value personified. Treat yourself one day. You’ll be tasting the joys of this wine well into the next.
Winery website- click on title