I do this blog for fun, the wines here are some of the very few I can be bothered to write up. The cream has risen.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Marius Harvest 2011

Whilst I wasn't in the place I most desired to be at 7am on a Saturday, I did appreciate the sunrise over McLaren Vale as we arrived at Roger Pike's vineyard. Earlier in the week, the weather forecast suggested we might get some rain, but I don't think I saw a cloud all day and you can see a long way from up there.

Roger made sure we had everything we needed, including plenty of food and drinks. It was a very enjoyable day, I found that after a while I settled into a rythym and could run pretty much on auto-pilot, with just enough of my brain tasked to watch for the very rare bad grapes - a stalled verasion caused just a few grapes to not fully ripen, and an even smaller number suffered bunch stem necrosis.

In the end I thought the picking went very quick, and I was suprised just how fast beer-o-clock came around. I thoroughly recommend the experience if you get the chance. Cheers to all my picking mates, hope to see you all again next year.

Fantastic weather and fabulous view, not long after sunrise.

Small, black and very tasty
Some bunches weren't so easy to pick off the vine
To make wine, first get a bucket of grapes

The bin is half full - I think I'm being optimistic
When the grapes reach the top of the bin it's beer-o-clock!
Amazing what people will do for a taste of Marius wines

The after picking session included some incredible wines from Roger. I didn't take notes so I've only got overall impressions, and thus I also hope I got the years right!

2008 End Play
Probably the lightest of all Maruis wines that I've tried but that's due to the tannins being fairly subdued compared to the others. Could be a Shiraz Sangiovese blend, maybe, but nobody dropped any hints that I heard. Very good wine.

2006 Simpatico
Wow, just wow. Drinking beautifully now but clearly many years ahead, great complexity. Excellent wine.

2005 Symphony
Superb wine, the kind of wine that makes you close your eyes so you can devote more of you brain to your tastebuds. Showing a bit of age complexity, my #2 overall if I was ranking.

2006 Symposium
Mind bogglingly good, my favourite Marius to date, though I'm a latecomer to them. More compexity than the 07, but that could simply be the extra year's age, but she's certainly a more classy Queen. Outstanding.

2008 Simpatico
Slightly surprising to me this wine is already into it's drink now window, it is earthy and savoury and very impressive. I like it a little bit more than the 07 Simpatico. Excellent.

2008 Symphony
A bit more fruit forward and less 'developed' than the Simpatico and thus I won't be touching mine (if I get my hands on some) for a couple of years at least, the orchestra is still tuning up atm. However clearly a great wine with fabulous structure, I have no doubt I would rate it excellent in about a years time.

We also had an unblended barrel sample that I am unsure of the year which was very interesting, and a sample of the straight Mouvedre which again I am unsure of the year, but I found it a bit young with very dry tannins so I don't have a good handle on it's flavours as a single variety. 

A great tasting session and it's abundantly clear that Roger is an artist when it comes to creating balanced and complex wines that get better with age.

I believe the 08s are being released after the 2011 vintage madness gives him some spare time to do it.

I know very little about how the flavours of ripe grapes translate into wines, but I can tell you the 2011 grapes tasted absolutely delicious, and combined with me tenderly soothing every bunch I picked into the bucket you can all expect the 2011 vintage to be superb.   Grin

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