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JOHN ROZENTALS salutes an inspired piece of Clare Valley vineyard establishment and finds himself saying ‘Have some Ladera, my dear’.

July 28, 2020 Beverage, Headline News No Comments Email Email

These days just about every winemaker seems to be spruiking access to tempranillo and the Spanish red variety is the in-vogue flavour.

Just 15 or so years ago it wasn’t like that and the Clare Valley’s Tim Adams was an Australian pioneer with the variety.

Adams already thought he was too old to bother with experiments but considered the valley a natural match for the variety’s Riojan homeland.

If the varety had done well there it should do okay where he came from, just outside of the town of Clare to the north of Adelaide, so he took the plunge and planted a substantial vineyard of the variety.

So convinced of the success of his move was he that he took an exploratory trip to Spain to meet the winemakers and taste wines in Rioja.

There Tim met Isaac Muga, of the noted winemaking dynasty. Isaac agreed to work with Tim in Clare for vintage 2004.

That year Tim had planted planted 6.5 hectares of tempranillo on a dry-grown site to the east of his winery.

He named this unique site ‘Ladera’, Spanish for ‘slope’ or ‘hillside’, as it had a very valuable and beautiful steep easterly aspect.

When Isaac took his first steps in the new vineyard he said “Ah Ladera”.

The name stuck and the rest is history.

WINE REVIEWS

Lillypilly 2019 Barbera ($19.50): I don’t normally review the same wine twice but I’ve made an exception here because this totally unwooded lightish dry red is so different. Sure, it has become slightly more bitter since release but that shouldn’t matter with food. More importantly, it’s as fresh and fragrant as the day it was made, and I see no reason to change my suggestion of pairing with good pizza.

Tim Adams 2014 Schaefer Shiraz ($40): This is a good, grippy full-bodied dry red and I like it. The vineyard was established by the Schaefer family in the 1980s and subsequently purchased by Tim Adams and his wife Pam Goldsack, who obviously know their Clare grapes well. It’s a richly flavoured wine with ample dark-berry flavours and plumminess. Try it with roast beef of just about any persuasion.

WINE OF THE WEEK

Tim Adams 2016 Ladera Tempranillo ($40): Like the Schaefer Shiraz, this dry red is part of the Adams’ ’Single-Vineyard’ series of wines. Small berries have led to intense flavous in this savoury number which is remarkably juicy and has a decided streak of cinnamon. The wine has at least a decade’s future in the cellar but, if you must try it now, do it the favour of matching it with high-quality roast lamb, complete with trimmings.

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