The colour is dark red with purple hues. Sweet fruits such as mulberry and blackberry, come together to give a rich fruitcake bouquet, with well-cooked spice and rind. The subtle hints of fine grain French oak, mocha and 'rain on dust' grow in intensity with time in the glass.
The palate is opulent but elegant, viscous and supple. It shows typical McLaren Vale Shiraz juiciness and extreme length. Infinitely fine tannins rise long after swallowing, leaving the drinker with a final blast of dark chocolates and sweet alcohol.
The key to understanding the RockBare label is to understand McLaren Vale. This relatively small area of South Australia is well known as a premium grape-growing region, especially of red varietals. 100 percent RockBare’s grapes come from McLaren Vale. Winemaker, Tim Burvill, uses a winemaking process without a lot of handling or manipulation.
Tim gained extensive winemaking experience working at Southcorp, where he was responsible for making one of Australia's most expensive premium Chardonnays, Yattarna. But when Tim created the RockBare label in 2000, he decided to incorporate winemaking techniques that go back a hundred years or more. Using a minimal-filtering or no-filtering approach and very little oak aging, Tim makes wines with complex flavors driven by the fruit.
McLaren Vale has a moderate, Mediterranean-style climate that's ideal for growing super-high quality grapes. Spring and summer days are warm and dry. Nights are cool and breezy. Only slightly above sea level, the vale is characterized by beautiful, rolling hills with deep, rich alluvial soils that tend to be brown and red clays. Since Tim works with a wide array of grape growers, some of the grapes come from old vines and some from new. But all are highly characteristic of the grapes that produce the bright, flavorful and aromatic wines for which McLaren Vale is famous.
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McLaren Vale is home to the oldest Australian vineyard, with grapes planted in 1838. It's a coastal area with the Indian Ocean bordering the west, which contributes a cooling factor that prevents the grapes from getting too hot. In all, the climate is a perfect one for the vines.
In McLaren Vale, there are vines as far as the eye can see. As in other parts of Australia, Shiraz and Grenache are the most-planted grapes of the region. While red rules, whites are able to hold their own here too. With the warm yet reasonable Mediterranean climate, white grapes like Chardonnay, Semillon and even some Sauvignon Blanc grow well. The wines are round and smooth and the producers in the region are excellent.
Like the United States, which is about the same size, Australia's winemaking regions are huddled into one or two pockets of the country. The state of South Australia, which produces about 60% of the country's wine, also has the most wineries and sub-regions, including McLaren Vale, Clare Valley, Coonawarra and Barossa Valley. New South Wales is home to the Hunter Valley, while the smaller, southern state of
Victoria is best known for theYarra Valley. Head way west to the very large state of Western Australia and you'll find the tiny region of Margaret River at the southern tip.
1/19/2008 I rate this 90 points: Enjoyed this wine, we did a comparison between 3 Australia Shiraz and agreed that this was the best of the three. (the other two were MAK and Green Point) Serving Temp was 61 - Dark Red with Purple overtones, pronounced legs, medium aroma of blackberry and plum with some Oak. Wonderful fresh black fruit flavors, with some cinnamon, spice and black pepper. Long finish with oak, vanilla and earth flavors. Very Balanced with moderate complexity, strong structure, but has smooth tannins. Aged 12 months in French Oak. This wine has 14% alcohol, however I saw other references of 14.5 and 14.7, but our bottle said 14%. Have one more bottle and will buy some more. Listed as "smart buy" with WS. . . Cheers!
Most wine ranges from 10-16% alcohol by volume. Some varietals tend to have higher (for example Zinfandel and Cabernet Sauvignon) or lower alcohol levels (Pinot Noir and many white varietals), but there is always some variation from producer to producer. Some wine falls outside of this range, for instance Port weighs in closer to 20%, while Muscat and Riesling are usually a bit below 10%.
Wine Style Guide
Light & Crisp
Light to medium bodied wines that are high in acid and light to medium fruit. Typically no oak.
Fruity & Smooth
Light to medium bodied wines with lots of juicy fruit, typically medium acid and medium oak.
Rich & Creamy
Full bodied wines that have typically undergone malo-lactic fermentation and/or spent time in oak.