Riesling from South Australia’s Clare Valley has been putting the area on the viticultural map for years, but it wasn’t until I recently took a field trip to the region that I realised the emphasis that local winemakers place on their red wines as well.
Cabernet Sauvignon and Shiraz do very well in the Clare, but it was a Bordeaux blend from Sevenhill that really caught the attention of my taste buds. The St Ignatius 2012 is a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Malbec and Cabernet Franc and is quite lively in its youth. Where traditional French Bordeaux blends are lean and quite understated, the St Ignatius is bold, full bodied, yet nicely balanced. This jewel of the Sevenhill Cellar is a deep crimson colour in the glass and a touch earthy on the nose. But once the wine hits the palate the raisin and blackcurrant flavours take a hold before a posse of nutmeg, cinnamon and cloves reveal themselves at the back, with perhaps just a hint of white pepper spiciness.
A lingering cedary oakiness gives the impression that the St Ignatius will last a few years in the cellar but for mine, it’s a delicious “drink now” style that is a standout from the region.
Winemaker, Liz Heidenreich, makes some outstanding wines at the Jesuit owned Sevenhill Cellars and if you’re ever in the region, their wines along with their onsite cathedral and its underground crypt, are a must see.