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Saturday 2 April 2011

Noel Young's Magpie Estate Wines

At the recent Matthew Jukes Top 100 Australian Wines Roadshow in Cambridge, Noel Young had also put out a number of older vintages ("museum wines") of his Magpie Estate Wines for sample, too.

Magpie Estate is Noel's Australian joint venture with wine-maker Rolf Binder, based in the Barossa Valley, and the two have been making wines together for over a decade now.

The wines are indeed, in a sense, museum pieces, as the vintages on show that night are long since sold out , so these were something rather special - however, more recent vintages of the same wines are available from Noel's shop.

I started with his mid-priced Barrossa Shiraz, The Sack, which came in two vintages, 2003 plus the first ever, 2001; the 2003 was a sure-fire crowd-pleaser with lots of ripe, indulgent fruit, a soft, smooth texture with minty eucalyptus and vanilla sweetness and a good finish.

By contrast, the 2001 was a quite different and much more impressive wine - less fruit-driven, it was denser and more restrained, with great texture, and felt really well-made.

The notes on Noel's website for the 2001 say that the grapes come "from 3 vineyard sources and are aged in around 40% new oak, of which 80% was American 20% French oak ... We blended in c5% Grenache and this has given the wine a mid-palate lift."

As Noel later explained, 2003 had been a much more difficult vintage than 2001 with the resulting wine being quite different.

The final wine was Noel's 2004 "Call Bag" Mourvedre-Grenache blend - I had tried the 2007 at a recent tasting (see here) where it was voted best wine of the night.

This earlier vintage - with a few more years in bottle and opened several hours earlier in the evening -  was even more impressive with good ripe fruit acidity, aromas of pencil shavings and some toasty oak.

The Wines

Magpie Estate 'The Sack', Shiraz, 2001, Australia, Barossa Valley
Magpie Estate 'The Sack', Shiraz, 2003, Australia, Barossa Valley
Magpie Estate 'The Call Bag', Mourvedre-Grenache, 2004, Australia, Barossa Valley


Noel Young Wines - http://www.nywines.co.uk/

Magpie Estate - http://www.rolfbinder.com/index.php?cmi=24

Magpie Estate (new website under development) - http://www.magpieestate.com/

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