Val is most likely who will greet you at cellar door as they have it incorporated into their actual house living area. It feels quite homey yet also very classy, and the view is beautiful. I was made to feel very welcome indeed even though it was my first visit there, and I think I was there over an hour talking, mostly not even about the wines. Val is just like the cellar door, classy but comfortably down to earth. Even if the wines weren't so good I reckon I'd visit for a chat anyway. But they are good, very good in fact.
They grow Viognier, Mataro/Mourvedre, and Grenache, but the majority grape by far is Shiraz. With those varieties they do a straight white Viognier, a Shiraz/Viognier co-ferment, a GSM, a Shiraz/Mataro, and a straight Shiraz or two.
The Shiraz-Viognier was quite impressive because, unlike many of that blend, there was no overt apricot, but instead the co-ferment simply lifted the bouquet of the Shiraz, giving it a different feel and style to the straight Shiraz, without detracting from it.
All of the wines are fruit forward style with lively, and good quality, blue and black fruits.
Sadly I didn't keep notes of all the wines I tried at the cellar door as I was enojoying the chat, but I am enjoying the 2006 Ernest Shiraz whilst writing this, and in fact I drank it over two nights.
The colour is almost black but there's just a hint of crimson when held up to the light. There are aromas of ripe blackberries and black cherries, with some cedar and soy loitering around. Those all continue on the tongue, supported by lovely silky tannins and lively acid, overall presenting a muscular frame. The fruit is forward but not sweet, and the complete package is well balanced. The finish is pleasingly long and quite savoury. This should go at least another 5 years as it was noticably even better on the second night. $20 cellar door.
The winery is slightly off the beaten path but well worth the side trip from Tanunda.
I didn't get around to publishing this for a while and in the meantime I've tried a couple more of the wines, so here's my notes on those.
The 2008 Shiraz Mataro has a big rich nose, blue and black fruits, a bit of nutty oak combined with some floral hints to keep you interested. Dusty tannins and a refreshing acid blend with the fruit forward style to present quite a sophisticated wine. Went reall well with a mildly spicey stir fry. $20
Tonight I had the 2008 Special Release Shiraz, and whilst all of them will age well, of the three this one really is demanding more time in the cellar to show it's best. Based on it's structure I can only assume it was built to age. There's a fair bit of oak, but then there's a fair bit of everything. Intense black fruits on the outside, with some chocolate and Shiitake mushrooms providing a delicious earthy core. $28
All three wines I rate as Highly Recommended and ****. All of them are capable of going 10 years past vintage, but give the SR 08 at least another 2 years minimum.
BTW, if you've got access to James Halliday's notes and you're comparing to mine, I've confirmed he's got the 2006 and 2008 Shiraz backwards.