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JOHN ROZENTALS tries some wines that Mr Mick would definitely have approved.

February 24, 2018 Beverage, Headline News No Comments Email Email

When Tim Adams and his wife Pam Goldsack purchased much of Stanley Leasingham, one of the largest vineyard-and-winery operations in South Australia’s Clare Valley in 2011, it was something of a coming home for Tim.

They named their new venture Mr Mick, in honour of legendary winemaker Mick Knappstein, who had worked at Stanley Leasingham for many years and been managing director from 1962 until 1985.

In 1975 Mr Mick appointed Tim as his “last apprentice” and expertly guided him to being one of the Clare’s pre-eminent winemakers, one who in 1986 founded his eponymous winery, which he still runs as his ultra-premium operation.

Tim has always had great respect for his mentor and still asks himself before releasing a wine if Mr Mick would have approved of it.

He and Pam quickly revamped the Leasingham operation, rebranding it as Mr Mick, introducing a mid-priced brand under a fresh label, and establishing a successful restaurant, Mr Mick’s Kitchen, in the historic cellars.

The aim was to make wines that were easy drinking and that you didn’t have to think about too much until the bottle was empty and you had to consider whether to have another one.

I know from tasting experience that he’s succeeded admirably in doing that.

These days the range consists of a sparkling brut named Gela after Mr Mick’s wife, a rosé made from sangiovese, a riesling, a vermentino, a pinot grigio, a shiraz, a cabernet merlot, a ‘Novo’ sangiovese-malbec blend, a tempranillo, a late-harvest riesling and a tawny.

All retail for $17 except for the late-harvest and the tawny, which are packaged in 500ml bottles and retail for $15 and $20 respectively.

There are three new releases, including a 2014 Cabernet Merlot in addition to the two wines I’ve reviewed in this column.


Mr Mick 2017 Vermentino ($17): A fresh, vibrant white wine with just a touch of sweetness, made from an Italian variety that I reckon will go gangbusters in Australia’s warmer areas. Flavourwise, think apples and citrus, especially grapefruit. I’ll take Tim’s word on it being a match for seafood, but I can vouch that it’s a good aperitif.

Mr Mick 2016 Novo Sangiovese Malbec ($17): An easy-drinking, medium-bodied dry red that perfectly fits the Mr Mick philosophy. Oak maturation has been eschewed, allowing full expression of the lovely red-berry flavours. I’d be drinking it with pizza or red-sauced pasta dishes, especially while the weather remains warmish to hot.


Gartelmann 2016 Sarah Elizabeth Chardonnay ($30): Made from high-ish altitude grapes from the slopes of Mt Canobolas … just high-enough at 620 metres for the wine to qualify as coming from Orange under the 600-metre rule. Plenty of complexity due to barrel-fermentation and batonage, but no malo-lactic fermentation so still quite pure in its stonefruit flavour. Oak is subtle and well-handled.

Written by John Rozentals

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