Saturday, April 10, 2010

2008 Yelland & Papps Old Vine Grenache (Devote Range) RRP $32 (Sample)

It is no secret that RedtoBrown is a fan of this winery. In a short space of time, Yelland & Papps have developed a reputation for consistency, regardless of vintage conditions. Given the relatively small size of the winery, Susan and Michael Papps add a very personal touch to their wines. Based on the quality of the 2008 Old Vine Grenache (in my view their signature wine), they have achieved success with what was arguably the most difficult vintage for several years.

The Old Vine Grenache is a single vineyard wine made from dry grown vines planted in the early 1960’s in the Greenock sub-region of the Barossa Valley. It has spent 20 months maturing in old French oak, and as is the case with all of the Yelland & Papps Devote range of premium wines, is bottled unfiltered.

In the glass the Old Vine Grenache has an attractive bright warm crimson colour, and there are scents of strawberry, vanilla musk and some soft sweet spice. It is a medium to light bodied wine, with raspberry, a bit of cherry and red fruit from the front to the back palate with a touch of subtle spice also throughout. The tannins are fine, soft and ripe, yet with some nice grip at the end. It finishes dry and with more pronounced spice.

What I love most is its focused line and length, relative elegance and the level of restraint Yelland & Papps have managed to achieve. The old oak is in the background, the structure or ‘architecture’ of the wine is rock solid, and there is none of the sweet flabbiness that is often associated with Australian warm climate Grenache. The acid is balanced nicely with the fruit, suggesting that as with the 2007 Old Vine Grenache, the 2008 model will also age well and gain some very nice tertiary characteristics in the cellar.

The 2008 vintage in the Barossa saw early ripening in January (as a result of the drought / lack of rain) and an unbroken two week heat wave in March. With this in mind, I have to say it is a relief to taste a 2008 Barossa Grenache made in this style; it says a lot about how the winemaker can mitigate the impact of the adverse vintage conditions Mother Nature sometimes throws at you (through careful selection of fruit and other winemaking techniques). RedtoBrown will be reviewing the remainder of the Devote range of wines from the 2008 vintage in upcoming weeks.

For me, the result is a wine that does not display any obvious over-ripeness of fruit, nor overt alcohol warmth on the finish (as can be the case with some warm climate Australian Grenache). All in all the Old Vine Grenache is a comparatively elegant, restrained and age worthy example of the variety – a wine that Yelland & Papps should be proud of.

14.5% ABV
Release Date: May 2010
Winery Website:

Footnote: New Yelland & Papps Winery
Yelland & Papps have also recently gone from a virtual winery to a bricks and mortar winery, moving to Lot 501 Nuriap Road, Nurioopta. We look forward to seeing how the winery develops over upcoming vintages with an established home and added flexibility of estate vineyards.


Jeremy Pringle said...

I ended up being very impressed by the 2006 of this. It sealed the deal on the second day and I'm very interested to see how some of these Yelland & Papps OV Grenache age.


Brown said...

Thanks for your comment Jeremy. I felt the same way about the 2007 and also this wine. On the second day it had not lost much and had the balance that I liked about it on day one. It is always a 'wait and see' with many wines, and I will be cellaring a few of these to see how they go in upcoming years.



Andrew Graham said...

Good to see a Barossan Grenache from 08 that isn't cooked either. Plenty of 'em are...

Brown said...

Thanks for the comment Andrew. I would be interested to get any recommendations on some that you felt were not cooked (if any).

From my experience I agree that Grenache in Australia can be over cooked or too jammy,especially in a vintage like 08 where the conditions were warm and there was the heatwave in March that led to a log jam at harvest (no pun intended).
Based on some of the unexpected gems from the 2007 Barossa vintage, there will undoubtedly be some 2008 Grenache and Grenache blends that are better than the average, and I firmly place this wine in that category (primarily due to the fact Y&P rejected as much cooked fruit as possible and made it in a smaller batch).
It will be interesting to see how my view of the overall quality of 08 Barossa Grenache evolves as more of them are released. However, I will be basing this view on the quality of the wine made by wineries that pay careful attention to Grenache (eg Y&P, Teusner), and not those that have a Grenache or a GSM as a range-filler (which I imagine will more likely to be sweet, jammy and short lived).



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