I found another treasure in our local duty free shop a Chain of Ponds ‘1999 Grave’s Gate Shiraz’, from McLaren Vale in South Australia. The homepage of Chain of Ponds (www.chainofponds.com.au), located in the Adelaide Hills, claims that they are “Australia’s “most highly awarded boutique vineyard”. After studying the page I have the feeling that for my taste, they are already much too big to qualify for such a label, but I am easy on that.
Of course their origins (in 1985) were small but they have grown over the years in a sizable business.
I just managed to get the bottle in the last year of the drinking time frame: best drinking 2003 to 2008, it says somewhere.
The wine background is given as follows:
Frost at the commencement of the 1999 growing season wiped out Chain of Ponds estate plantings of Shiraz, hence the sourcing of fruit from McLaren Vale for this wine.
In 2001 James Halliday gave a rating of 90 out of 100 point. The wine comes from the River Series, sold for A$ 18 per bottle. I payed US $ 18.20 for it, which seems to be quite reasonable. The wine could be described as follows:
<“Deep, bright red-purple; clean, fresh juicy/berry fruit on the bouquet is followed by luscious and sweet berry fruit on the palate. Neither the oak, nor the extract, nor the alcohol (13.5°) have been overdone”.
The winemaker is Neville Falkenberg. The 1999 wine must have been made by his predecessor since Neville has been with Chain of Ponds for only the last five years. The Adelaide Hills is a premier cool climate region of South Australia, only about a 20 minutes drive from the capital Adelaide. I love Adelaide not just because my wife originates from there, and recommend it for any visit to Australia. It’s a must, seriously.
Apart from this series, Chains of Ponds has a Premium Range segment. It also produces wines from Kangaroo Island grapes. Its Italian Varietals come from the Adelaide Hills (Nebbiolo, Sangiovese and Pinot Grigio). The low cost segment is called Novello Range (A$ 14/bottle). I have not been to the place but the homepage shows beautiful pictures. Another place to check out.