By Huon Hooke
2017 The Laird
Very deep, dark, dense red colour with purple and black tinges. The bouquet is very nutty, savoury, with freshly-turned earth and cedary, well-seasoned oak aromas, espresso coffee, mocha, raisiny fruitcake and dark chocolate coming up with airing. The palate is soft and already showing some attractive mellowness, while the palate is profound and fleshy, dense and high-extract, but the quality of the tannins is superbly smooth and equable. Some alcohol warmth is part of its formidable length. A massive, powerful wine of great persistence and amazing balance in spite of its proportions. An elephant in a tutu.
Very deep, dense colour with black tinges and the bouquet is very oaky and super-ripe, with black olive notes, coffee grounds, very dark chocolate too, and rich fruitcake that's full of dried fruits. It's not as fresh as it could be, but the wine is awesomely concentrated and muscular, there is a thickness to the texture and chewiness to the tannins that pervades all else. Oak tannins as well as skin. A massive wine that needs more time before I would drink it. Concentration and warmth, and stand-a-spoon-up-in-it density. Cellar!
2019 Les Amis Grenache
Deep-ish and bright red-purple colour; intense boiled lolly, spice and aniseed aromas, cooked fruit, a dash of oak, the palate is full bodied and firm, with very youthful blackberry fruit-bonbon flavour and bright tannins. Very good, and needs time to build complexity
2019 The Factor
Extremely deep, saturated purple-tinted colour, with a sweetly-scented blackberry, blueberry, licorice and graphite aroma, mirrored by a concentrated, powerful palate saturated by dense fruit and tannins, high extract and masses of fine, supple tannins that coat the mouth. Licorice, fruitcake and almost jammy berry flavours, hedonistic and lusciously fruit-sweet. A delectable wine for those who love big super-ripe Barossa reds. It's already great to drink
2020 The Gask
Concentrated, essency purple-red colour; inky red and darker fruit aromas, bold fruit and tannin - big and solid and robust. There is richness and concentration here. Balanced. A very good wine
2020 The Steading
Very deep, youthful purple colour, with a broken rock, graphite and slightly tarry aroma, while the palate is very intense and fresh, bright, with lively firmness in the tannins, good intensity and depth of flavour and persistence. There's impressive depth and drive, which powers a very long-lasting aftertaste. A ripping wine
2020 The Struie
The colour is super-saturated purple, which stains the glass. The aroma is impressively youthful, bright, concentrated and fruit-powered, framing blackberry and boysenberry with floral high-notes. The wine is almost painfully dense and concentrated, with mouth-coating tannins and extraordinarily chewy on the back-palate and finish. This is hard work at the moment and demands much patience. Cellar it—it will be worth the wait.
2020 Harris Vineyard Grenache
Very deep, vibrant purple/red colour leads into a ripe raspberry, spice aroma with touches of star anise and blackberry, the palate medium to full-bodied and supple, with abundant drying tannins and very agreeable balance. The tannins are ample but soft and gentle, the finish balanced and drying with a slightly peppery follow-through. A good wine to drink now or keep. (From bush vines at Marananga)
2020 Cuvee Juveniles
Deep purple/red colour, with a spicy, star anise, pepper, raspberry and blackberry jam aromas. Fruit-driven and possibly unwooded, the wine is medium-bodied and fleshy, soft and easy drinking, at the same time youthfully bright and fresh. Fine, restrained tannins. A very smart wine for the price. It should be a real hit in the trendy wine bars where 'crunchy, smashable' reds are all the rage.
2021 The Steading Blanc
Very light colour, bright and youthful, with flowery gardenia-like aromas, fresh and fruit-driven, while the palate is light but rich with plenty of presence including a gentle warmth of alcohol on the follow-through. Good balance. Drinks well already and has several good years ahead of it.