viernes, 22 de marzo de 2013

McHenry Hohnen Rocky Road Vineyard Zinfandel, Margaret River, Western Australia 2010


"McHenry Hohnen Rocky Road Vineyard Zinfandel shows a fruit box of lifted aromas jumps from the glass at first sniff and is followed by blackberries, raisins and a handful of cranberries tempered with more savoury hints of black olives and anise. This is a flirty fruit-driven wine possessing perky purple fruits framedby fine grained tannins, finishing with great line and length". farehamwinecellar

- Winery: McHenry Hohnen wines was launched in 2006 by David Hohnen and his brother-in-law Murray McHenry and is a family owned wine producer sourcing grapes from four vineyards around the Margaret River in Australia. The Mediterranean climate of the Margaret River is perfectly suited to growing varieties associated with southern France and Spain as well reflecting the regions heritage with Bordeaux varieties. Common sense farming philosophies are employed, cultivating a system in which soil and its organisms, along with plants, insects and animals co-exist in a thriving equilibrium. Margaret River in Western Australia has a stunning coastline and world-class wineries.  It is synonymous with a new era in Australian wine, with its Mediterranean climate and soil being comparable to that of Burgundy. The region runs along the coast from Cape Naturaliste to Cape Leeuwin in the south. The Margaret River flows east to west through its centre and the Blackwood River flows southwest to Augusta. The region features a ridge running from cape to cape. The land is undulating and the soils are gravelly sandy loams. The climate is warm maritime with cooling breezes (and sometimes strong winds) off the Indian Ocean. Most rain falls in autumn and winter. Fruit is sourced from the Rocky Road vineyard which lies in the headwaters of the Chapman Brook, near Witchcliffe in the south of the Margaret River region. With a northerly aspect, the vines enjoy long days of sunshine, moderated by the vineyard's southern location.The family has been involved with zinfandel since the variety was first introduced to the region in 1972. The mother vines were imported from California, originating from a vineyard in Lodi. Judging perfect ripeness is the only difficult winemaking decision due to the uneven ripening of bunches a habit which is peculiar to this variety. From the point of harvest, winemaking is simple. The grapes are fermented in small open-top vats and plunged for colour, flavour and tannin extraction. Towards completion of the primary fermentation the skins are pressed and the wine is run to barrel for finishing and maturation. The wine is bottled in late summer prior to the next vintage.

- Price: £15.75


Zinfandel (or 'Zin'as it is affectionately known in its American homelands) is a dark-skinned red wine grape variety widely cultivated in California. It arrived in the Americas from Europe in the early years of the 19th century, and was an immediate success in its Napa and Sonoma strongholds. It wasn't until DNA research was carried out in California in the 1990s that the variety was confirmed (as had long been suspected) to be Italy's Primitivo under a different name, or Crljenak Kastelanski, originally from Croatia's Adriatic coast.

Zinfandel has been used to make various styles of wine since it arrived in the United States, including dry and sweet red wines and the famous 'White Zinfandel' blush, created to cater for a white wine-drinking American consumer base of the 1970s. The arrival of this new wine style in the early 1970s led to an explosion of Zinfandel plantings - perhaps ironic given that the style of wine was created to find a use for the swathes of under used Zinfandel vines already in existence.

By the 1990s the popularity of dry red Zinfandel had given these plantings a new raison d'etre, although they were still being used to generate many millions of liters of sweet pink blush every year. Today red Zinfandel has risen to become the signature wine of the United States, not due to the quality of wine it produces, but because it is as close to an 'American' variety as vinifera vines get. The discovery that it was an Italian variety in disguise led to mixed reactions, including pride at the association with a prestigious wine nation, but also a certain uneasiness that Zinfandel had lost some of its American individuality.

Outside the United States the variety is grown in South Africa and Australia, where it has been bottled as both Zinfandel and Primitivo. It hasn't acquired any particular significance in either of these countries - more a product of a few key producers than an independent grape variety. Also, as Australia has a developed a strong tradition in Shiraz, there is little motivation to bring in and develop a similar variety to compete with it. Cape Mentelle in Margaret River has taken up the reins as an Australian pioneer of Zinfandel, and has made a name for its Cape Mentelle Zinfandel.

Primitivo's star is rising once again in Italy - as evidenced by the promotion of Primitivo di Manduria Dolce Naturale to DOCG status. A number of Californian vineyards (mostly those of Italian heritage) already label their Zinfandel wines as Primitivo, a fashion which may or may not catch on.

The variety also known as Crljenak Kasteljanski is used to make deeply colored, full-bodied red wines along the Adriatic coast of Croatia. It was once believed to be identical to the Plavac Mali variety, which also grows in Croatia's coastal vineyards. DNA has shown that Plavac is in fact a natural crossing between Crljenak Kasteljanski and Dobricic. To add to the list of synonyms, in inland Croatia, Crljenak has also been known as Pribidrag and Tribidrag.

Synonymns include: Primitivo, Crljenak Kasteljanski, Pribidrag, Tribidrag.

Related blends include: Petite Sirah - Zinfandel, Petite Sirah - Syrah - Zinfandel.


Margaret River is a highly respected wine region in the south-western corner of Western Australia. Famous for having a more 'European' wine style than its counterparts across the country, Margaret River has made its name through its unusually refined Cabernet Sauvionon (often blended with Merlot), gamey Shiraz, intensely citrusy Chardonnay, and refreshingly grassy 'SSB' blends of Sauvionon Blanc and Semillon.

The region runs along the western Australian coast from Cape Naturaliste in the north to Cape Leeuwin, 60 miles (100km) to the south. The square-faced peninsula on which it sits, juts out 40 miles (65km) from the main coastline into the Indian Ocean, while its northern edge is formed by Geographe Bay - which gives its name to Margaret River's northern neighbor, Geographe.

This position endows both of these regions with a heavily maritime-influenced climate, without which its trademark wine styles would certainly be less restrained and complex. Margaret River's winemakers are particularly proud of this temperate, coastal location - and of the similarities it enables them to draw to Bordeaux (despite Margaret River being a whole 10 degrees of latitude closer to the equator). The words Cape, Bay and other oceanic references are very common in Margaret River wine names. One local wine is named Girt-bv-Sea - a reference to both the Australian National Anthem and to the peninsula's three coasts.

The first commercial vines were planted in Margaret River after the area was surveyed and analyzed in the 1960s by viticultural scientist Dr John Gladstones, who identified its potential as a quality wine region.

The Leeuwin-Naturaliste ridge is responsible in no small part for the Margaret River terroir. A ridge of gneiss and granite which runs north-south for the length of the peninsula, it is covered by rusty-red laterite soils, rich in aluminum and iron. Although not very high, the ridge gives sufficient shelter to the vineyards immediately behind it and moderates the prevailing coastal breezes that blow in from the nearby beaches. Just three hours' drive south of Perth, Margaret River is a popular tourist desination, capitalizing on the beautiful coastline and forests - which keep the visitors happy and the sun-soaked vineyards cool.

The average Margaret River vineyard is planted with the grape varieties stated above, along with a showing of Chenin Blanc - a variety which rarely plays anything more than a cameo role in other Australian wine regions. Plantings of each of these varieties have undergone substantial growth over the past decade (Chardonnay has doubled since 1999 while Merlot has increased three times over), but it is Semillon that stands out as the regional favorite. More commonly seen as the signature grape of the Hunter Valley, on the other side of the continent, Semillon is also the quiet, confident force behind the Margaret River wine scene. It is now the most widely planted variety here, closely followed by Cabernet Sauvignon and Sauvignon Blanc (reinforcing the Bordeaux comparisons), and then Shiraz. This dominance of Sauvignon Blanc and Semillon is unusual for an Australian wine region and suggests a shift towards the more affordable strata of the wine market, building on the region's already- established reputation for high-quality reds.

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