Regions > South Australia > Adelaide Super Zone > Mt. Lofty Ranges Zone > Clare Valley region

: Wendouree

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Wendouree

Wendouree Rd, Clare, 5453

Cellar Door: By appointment

Ph: (08) 8842 2896

sign

Tony and Lita Brady are the latest custodians of the Clare Valley’s and one of Australia’s most iconic old vineyards and wineries. The reds almost invariably are in the top couple of rungs of Langton’s classification of Australian wines.

Both Lita and Tony are trained wine-makers and they sometimes draw on the consultancy expertise of their friend Stephen George from Ashton Hills (Wendouree is the source of the Clare valley part of the Ashton Hills portfolio).

Along with Sevenhill it is the regional survivor from 19th century wine industry at Clare. Wendouree was established in 1895 and can draw upon its century old vines. They use the original equipment.

Wendouree uses Shiraz, Cabernet, Mataro (Mourvèdre) and Malbec grapes in various combinations depending on the vintage and a dessert wine from Muscat of Alexandria. The tannic red wines are all extremely long cellaring wines.

Wine writer, James Halliday, who has been drinking Wendouree wines for a lot longer than me describes their artisan reds as an "iron fist in velvet glove" but has commented that the style in recent vintages has become more medium-full bodied.

The winery is located in a 1914 stone building. The production is small and always sells out to their tightly restricted mailing list and a handful of fine wine stores. Thus there is no website, e-mail or cellar door.

Wendouree vines
Wendouree's century old vines during my Clare Valley cycling-wine trip (photo genxywines)
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)

Wendouree Shiraz 2010

Purchased: Not ($180)

Drink: 2035+

(GXY) Tasting: Oct 2014, fragrant long and briary blackberry pastille and blueberry with black pepper, rose petals and anise notes, the deep set palate is enmeshed with firm, drying powdery tannins and graphite minerality, the creamy cedar/vanilla oak is in the background, a wine for the ages (*****)

Wendouree Malbec 2010

Purchased: Not ($93)

Drink: 2030+

(GXY) Tasting: Oct 2014, quite unlike any other Australian Malbec, perfumed redcurrant, plum and prune with brown spice and rose petal notes, some of vineyard’s eucalypt aspect is in there as well, juicy medium-full boded palate is underpinned with firm, powdery tannins, has a beautiful line and shows some elegance leading to the drying, savoury finish (*****)

Wendouree Shiraz Mataro 2010

Purchased: Not ($93)

Drink: 2032+

(GXY) Tasting: Oct 2014, perfumed and fairly supple core of redcurrant, cherry and blackberry with rose petal, eucalypt, sage and bay leaf notes, subtle spiciness, dusty, deep set and medium-full bodied, firm, savoury and powdery tannins, restrained cedary oak (****1/2)

Wendouree Shiraz Malbec 2010

Purchased: Not ($97)

Drink: 2035+

(GXY) Tasting: Oct 2014, quite aromatic, lithe and linear core of black cherry and blackberry with some plumcake from the Malbec, some rose petal and spice notes, medium-full bodied with tight knit, firm tannins and juicy, citrussy acidity (****1/2)

Wendouree Cabernet Malbec 2011

Purchased: Not ($89)

Drink: 2020

(GXY) Tasting: Oct 2014, product of a cold vintage, juicy cassis, plum and cranberry with violet, mint and sage notes, fairly intense and minerally medium bodied palate with drying, grainy tannins, lacks the length of the best vintages (****)

Wendouree Shiraz 2008

Purchased: Not ($160)

Drink: 2026+

(GXY) Tasting: Nov 2011, medium bodied but complex, briary and ethereal raspberry, dark plum and blackberry with flashes of white pepper, sage and iodine, liquorice and mint, firm backbone of dusty tannins with the oak bringing cinnamon/clove/cedar/chocolate to the finish, will live much longer than my recommended drink date but the winery’s continued use of the cork seal makes more conservative with wine longevity estimates (*****)

Ashton Hills Sparkling Shiraz 2002

Purchased: Not ($45)

Drink: 2011

(GXY) Tasting: Dec 2010, this wine is made by Stephen George from the cool 2002 vintage Wendouree fruit of their ‘young’ 70 year old vines, four years in barrel before tiraging, intense blueberry and blackberry with asian spice, mint and savoury yeast complexity, very long, the fine tannins and coffee-cedar oak mask any dosage integration issues, has structure and finesse that meets any doubts about the legitimacy of this wine style (****1/2)

Wendouree Shiraz 2006

Purchased: Not ($160)

Drink: 2022+

(GXY) Tasting: Nov 2010, this is lighter bodied than previous releases with a modest 13% alcohol and the ethereal qualities that render descripters obsolete with each sip, its tight core of sour edged medium bodied blackberry, red cherry, plum, iodine, liquorice and mint leaf wrapped in firm astringent tannins, the oak brings cinnamon/clove/cedar/chocolate, a complex, dense and briary wine (*****)

Wendouree Shiraz Mataro 2005

Purchased: Not ($50)

Drink: 2020

(GXY) Tasting: Sept 2009, a briary and deep set blend showing rich blackberry, redcurrant and liqueur black cherry with dried fennel, white pepper and eucalypt aspects, medium bodied with some lively sappy acids, well integrated vanilla/clove/cedar oak and firm dusty tannins, very good drive and length, needs plenty of breathing time if you open this up early (****1/2)

Wendouree Shiraz 2004

Purchased: Not ($150)

Drink: 2026+

(GXY) Tasting: Sept 2008, perfumed and deep set core of sour edged blackberry, blueberry and dark plum fruit with toasty cinnamon,, anise, white pepper and mint, not quite as intense as the 2002 but more supple, medium-full bodied with spicy vanilla-cedar-chocolate oak, mouth-filling tightly structured, firm and powdery tannins, impeccable length and controlled power (*****)

Wendouree Shiraz 2002

Purchased: Not ($150)

Drink: 2025+

(GXY) Tasting: Sept 2006, heady and very deep, multi-layered and intense blackberry, blueberry and cassis with black pepper and mint notes, briary, complex and medium-full bodied with firm tightly knit drying tannins and sour edged acidity, well judged spicy vanilla-chocolate, exemplary line and length showing the classic velvet glove on an iron fist trait associated with Wendouree, if you open this before its time make sure you give it plenty of breathing time (*****)