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nepenthe

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Nepenthe

www.nepenthe.com.au

Jones Road, Balhannah 5242

Cellar Door: Daily (10 - 4)

Ph: (08) 8398 8888

 

View  from the cellar at Nepenthe
View from the cellar door at Nepenthe
nepenthe label

Nepenthe: described by Homer in The Odyssey as an Egyptian herbal drink so powerful that it eases grief and banishes sorrow from the mind.

Nepenthe was established in 1994 by the Twedell family at Lenswood and in 1996 they started at a second site at Balhannah. They were the second contemporary operation in the region to get permission to build a winery (after the long standing Petaluma winery)

Nepenthe has established itself as one of the more exciting new wineries in Australia, particularly for their whites;their apple and herb Rieslings, long finishing and intense Sauvignon Blancs and a real rarity in South Australia – a decent Pinot Gris.

Founder Ed Tweddell died in 2006 and the winery was sold to McGuigan-Simeon (Australian Vintage). It was soon sold again in 2009, this time to winemaker, Peter Leske and Nova Vita's Mark Kozned. The new head winemaker is Andre Bonar. ).

 

Nepenthe
Nepenthe vineyards in late Spring
Tasting Notes

There are three types of Tasting notes:

(W) Notes from the winery (blurbs from bottle)

(GXY) Notes from a GenXY wine reviewer

(G) Notes from GenXY's Tasting events (collective opinions)

Nepenthe†Altitude Sauvignon Blanc 2014

Purchased:†Vintage Cellars, Toorak ($18)

Drink: 2016

(GXY) Tasting: Dec 2014, small portion is barrel fermented, good regional expression showing spicy blackcurrant, guava and limes with flint notes and restrained herbaceousness,† fresh and minerally citrus acid finish (****)

Nepenthe Winemakerís Selection Late Harvest Riesling 2010

Purchased: Not ($25)

Drink: 2017

(GXY) Tasting: Feb 2014, a botrytis outbreak in the Riesling vineyard at Echunga led to this one-off release, left on vines for six weeks longer than usual, its really starting to shine now showing lush and vibrant lime marmalade, dried apricot and lychees, full of exotic sweet spices with well balanced limy acidity (****1/2)

Nepenthe Winemakerís Selection Viognier 2013

Purchased: Not ($25)

Drink: 2015

(GXY) Tasting: Feb 2014, floral orange blossom nose, creamy apricot and glazed pears with a gentle wash of gingery spice and musk, fuller viscous palate but has avoided the pitfall of excessive oiliness the variety slides into in warm vintages, crisp orange peel edged acidity and gentle phenolics (****)

Nepenthe Altitude Pinot Noir 2012

Purchased: Not ($19)

Drink: 2016

(GXY) Tasting: Feb 2014, firmish and light-medium bodied cherry, plum and raspberry with menthol and pepper notes, basic earthy palate, fine chalky tannins with a gentle wash of toasty oak spice and citrusy acid on the finish (***)

Nepenthe Winemakerís Selection Zinfandel Rose 2013

Purchased: Not ($20)

Drink: 2014

(GXY) Tasting: Feb 2014, fresh and creamy strawberry and watermelon with a touch of raspberry and garden herbs, fine phenolics and balancing acidity (***)

Nepenthe Cabernet Sauvignon 2010

Purchased: Not ($50)

Drink: 2021+

(GXY) Tasting: Feb 2013, a lovely example of Adelaide Hills Cabernet, supple and lingering core blackcurrant pastille and redcurrant with rhubarb/savoury nuances and a light touch of mint, medium-full bodied but never feels heavy, persistent dusty tannins and well integrated spicy cedar oak (****1/2)

Nepenthe Sauvignon Blanc 2011

Purchased: Not ($20)

Drink: 2013

(GXY) Tasting: Feb 2013, a challenging vintage, slightly creamy lime, cut grass and passionfruit, small barrel ferment input, possibly a touch of botrytis, firm grapefruit rind acidity with light herbaceousness(***1/2)

Nepenthe Pinot Noir 2011

Purchased: Not ($21)

Drink: 2014

(GXY) Tasting: Feb 2013, varietal red cherry, raspberry and garden herbs but fairly simple, firm edged and a bit dilute reflecting the cold vintage, fine savoury tannins, fresh citrussy acidity (***)

Nepenthe Tryst Sparkling NV

Purchased: Not ($14)

Drink: 2013

(GXY) Tasting: Feb 2013, Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, fairly broad and simple as you would expect at this price point, delicate and creamy strawberries and peach with a crisp citrus finish (***)

Nepenthe Zinfandel Rose 2012

Purchased: Not (?)

Drink: 2013

(GXY) Tasting: Feb 2013, Zin blush, but luckily not as sickly sweet as the candyfloss Californian stuff, this is slightly candied raspberry, watermelon and strawberry, fairly dry finish with fine phenolics, albeit this is still one for sweet tooths (***)

Nepenthe Altitude Range Pinot Gris 2011

Purchased: Dan Murphys, Melb CBD ($17)

Drink: 2013

(GXY) Tasting: Sept 2012, half way between a Grigio and a Gris with some partial barrel ferment, fresh, light-medium bodied pear, apple and white nectarine with subtle nut nuances, slightly creamy texture on the mid-palate and a streak of chalky minerality, crisp and clean acid finish, alcohol is a bit lower at 13% which is positive step, pleasant, easy quaffing wine but doesnít show enough complexity to stand out from the Pinot G pack (***)

Nepenthe Tempranillo 2008

Purchased: Not ($25)

Drink: 2013

(GXY) Tasting: May 2010, generous, savoury and medium bodied blueberry and raspberry with tobacco, tomato leaf, sage and light smattering of brown spices, fine tannins with citric acid and choc-mint on the finish, perhaps the cool summer and hot March have lifted this sometimes sturdy and leathery wine to a new level (****)

Nepenthe Adelaide Hills Sauvignon Blanc 2008

Purchased: Not ($19)

Drink: 2009

(GXY) Tasting: Mar 2009, Gold Medal at Adelaide Hills Wine Show 2008, fairly intense regional style showing tropical fruit, guava with some sweet lime, lively spicy capsicum finish with zesty lemon acids, small barrel ferment input has added texture without blunting the freshness needed for this style (****)

Nepenthe The Good Doctor Pinot Noir 2005

Purchased: Not  ($40)

Drink: 2011

(GXY) Tasting: Mar 2009, from the Charleston and Lenswood vineyards, much more stylish and ethereal than the Charleston, red cherry, dark plum and strawberry with cinnamon, autumn leaves and mint notes, medium bodied palate builds up to finish, fine savoury tannins (****)

Nepenthe Adelaide Hills Pinot Gris 2007

Purchased: Not ($22)

Drink: 2009

(GXY) Tasting: Mar 2009, Silver Medal at 2007 Adelaide Hills Wine Show, sits stylistically about half way between a Grigio and a Gris with some wild yeast, barrel ferment and lees inputs, spicy pear and honeydew melon with nutty and cinnamon nuances, silky texture, powdery lemon acids, only let down by a slightly loose and phenolic finish (***1/2)

Nepenthe Handpicked Riesling 2006

Purchased: Not ($20)

Drink: 2010

(GXY) Tasting: Mar 2009, fragrant floral bouquet, tangy and intense lime, musk and passionfruit, vibrant chalky citrus acids, a bit too phenolic and angular for a higher score (***1/2) )

Nepenthe Charleston Pinot Noir 2006

Purchased: Not ($23)

Drink: 2010

(GXY) Tasting: Mar 2009, spicy and richly flavoured plum, raspberry and red cherry with mint and leather notes, medium bodied, a little sturdy and confectionary, some mocha-chocolate on the finish, silky and tightly knit tannins (***1/2)

Nepenthe Adelaide Hills Shiraz 2005

Purchased: Not

Drink: 2014

(GXY) Tasting: Mar 2009, Mar 2009, about 7% Zinfandel input to add depth, ripe mulberry, redcurrant and dark plum with olive, clove and white pepper notes, savoury and medium-full bodied with fine tannins and balanced French oak (***1/2)

Nepenthe Adelaide Hills Zinfandel 2005

Purchased: Not ($38)

Drink: 2011

(GXY) Tasting: Mar 2009, rather ripe, meaty and porty although the 15.5% alcohol is almost restrained by Californian standards, a tapestry of plum, redcurrant and prune fruit with some dried herb, clove and cinnamon complexity, ample sweet cedar oak with fine but slightly green tannins (***1/2)

Nepenthe Adelaide Hills Tempranillo 2005

Purchased: Not ($25)

Drink: 2010

(GXY) Tasting: Mar 2009, from warmer sites at Echunga and Charleston, leathery plum and black cherry, savoury and medium-full bodied with sage, rosemary and tobacco notes, a bit broad and hard-edged (***)

Nepenthe The Good Doctor Pinot Noir 2003

Purchased: Not  ($38)

Drink: 2008

(GXY) Tasting: Oct 2006, sweet plum and black cherry, not as full bodied as the Charleston but with much brighter fruit expression and well developed savoury and forest floor features, silky tannins with subtle chocolate notes on the finish (****)

Nepenthe Chardonnay 2002

Purchased: Not ($24)

Drink: 2009

(GXY) Tasting: Oct 2006, lively nectarine and grapefruit aromas, buttery palate shows bisciuit and wholemeal complexity with a hint of matchstick, spicy vanilla oak and a zesty finish (****)

Nepenthe Limited Release Tempranillo 2004

Purchased: Not ($25)

Drink: 2008

(GXY) Tasting: Oct 2006, sweet raspberry and plum palate is offset with dry rosemary and oregano features, hint of mint and leather, drying savoury tannins, not quite varietal but interesting (***)

Nepenthe Unoaked Chardonnay 2005

Purchased: Not ($16)

Drink: 2007

(GXY) Tasting: Oct 2006, crisp unoaked, no malo fruit-driven style, bright honeydew melon and tropical fruit flavours with a touch of nectarine also evident on the palate, clean acidic finish (***)

Nepenthe Charleston Pinot Noir 2004

Purchased: Not ($20)

Drink: 2007

(GXY) Tasting: Oct 2006, redcherry and stewed plum with some chocolate and herbal notes, confectionary and medium-full bodied but lacking in bright varietal expression with some stalky sourness and leather, drying tannins are quite firm, I don’t reckon the stale fruit will hold out long enough for this to pull together (**1/2)

Nepenthe Adelaide Hills Sauvignon Blanc 2006

Purchased: Not ($21)

Drink: 2007

(GXY) Tasting: Sept 2006, gooseberry, passionfruit and guava nose, brighter fruit than the 2005, tangy limey finish with mineral notes (***1/2)

Nepenthe Adelaide Hills Pinot Gris 2006

Purchased: Not ($21)

Drink: 2007

(GXY) Tasting: Sept 2006, clean, spicy pear with lifted honeysuckle and musk mid-palate features dry and crisp finish (***)

Nepenthe White Tryst 2004

Purchased: Cellabrations, St. Kilda ($17)

Drink: 2007

(GXY) Tasting: June 2006, Semillon and Sauvignon Blanc blend with 5% of Pinot Gris, gooseberry and passionfruit aromas, mid-palate shows the lemon and herbal features of the Semillon, the touch of Pinot Grigio adds some spice complexity, well crafted budget blend (***1/2)

Nepenthe The Rogue 2002

Purchased: BWS, Kingston, Canberra ($20)

Drink: 2009

(GXY) Tasting: June 2006, a Cabernet (60%), Merlot (30%) and Shiraz (10%) blend, sweet plum and red currant with pepper and liquorice notes, light-medium bodied, hint of choc-mint on the finish, drying tannins and finishing a bit green edged (***)

Nepenthe Adelaide Hills Sauvignon Blanc 2005

Purchased: BWS, Kingston, Canberra ($21)

Drink: 2007

(GXY) Tasting: June 2006, gooseberry, passionfruit and guava nose, the palate shows tropical fruit features and is not as deep and the nose promises, tangy, herbal finish, would be have been a classic if not for the slightly subdued fruit brightness (***)

Nepenthe Adelaide Hills Pinot Gris 2003

Purchased: BWS, Kingston, Canberra ($25)

Drink: 2004

(GXY) Tasting: Dec 2004, finally a good Adelaide Hills example of what this variety is mean to taste like - abundant spice, musk and pear but with enough structure not to turn it into a musk frutti tutti, a dry, savoury finish with well judged lemon acids (****)