High Sands is Yangarra's Grail. It captures the essence of their prized old vines. High Sands means intense, brilliant, taut yet harmonious, serene, wholesome and complex. High Sands is grown on the highest point of the white/grey, ancient sandy dunes, on the very top of their Estate. The gnarly old bush vines were planted by Frederick Arthur Smart and his sons in 1946. His eldest son, Bernard Smart still lives adjacent to the property and still farms Grenache at Clarendon.
The fruit was hand-picked and mechanically berry-sorted, with only 50% crushed. Five day cold soak at approximately 10 degrees. Open fermenters were used, wild yeast ferment. Plunging only took place during fermentation. No pressings were used. The wine was kept on yeast lees in 100% older French oak for the 11 months of maturation. We have selected individual barrels that showcase the pedigree of the deep sand, with intense fragrance juxtaposed with intense fruit expression and gritty long tannin structure. Not Fined. Certified organic/biodynamic.
The Yangarra philosophy centers around producing wines solely from our single-vineyard estate, where our bush-vine Grenache is the keystone variety. With our feet firm in history, and our eyes on the horizon, Yangarra Estate now exists to deliver the essence of this beautiful place to your glass. McLaren Vale folks like to think that their region on the Gulf St Vincent, patron of viticulturers, has “the best Mediterranean climate on Earth.” With this foremost in mind, Yangarra Estate is devoted solely to producing wines from the best grape varieties of the southern Rhone, which lies on the north-west Mediterranean coast. Yangarra’s combination of rare geologies, moderate altitude, abundant sunshine and cool evening breezes make it perfect for growing varieties that thrive in these moderate maritime environments. Our respect of this special piece of country is evident in the wines we make from its grapes - every Yangarra Estate wine is a confident reflection of the nature of this land.
JAMES HALLIDAY - HALLIDAY'S WINE COMPANION
From Block 31, the highest section of the vineyard at 210m planted '46, 50% whole berries, 50% destemmed, wild yeast open-fermented, matured for 10 months in used French oak. For many devotees of McLaren Vale grenache, Yangarra Estate High Sands is the king. It's not for idle dalliance as is young grenache that is focused on freshness and purity of red fruit flavours, this has power and depth, the oak simply softening an edge or two here and there, most assuredly not about imparting oak flavour. Red and black fruits both contribute without cutting across the power of the other.
STEVE LESZCZYNSKI - QWINE
I'll unashamedly admit this is the best Grenache I have ever seen come across my bench. It's pristine but a bit rustic all at the same time. It's tight yet doesn't come across tense. Dark berries and fruit are pinned together by measured minerality and dusty feels in the mouth. Grown in sand which runs two metres deep, these bush vines produce only five to six bunches each. I felt an air of calmness as I walked this vineyard with winemaker Peter Fraser only a month ago - a sacred site in Australia's wine history planted back in 1946. No irrigation, grown organically and biodynamically, there's so much to savour with this wine. Brilliant!
From Yangarra's highest blocks of 1946 bush vines, planted on soils so sandy they resemble a beach, this biodynamic Grenache is remarkably complex and ageworthy. Driven by minerals, the hot stone and iodine aromas weave seamlessly into softer ones like drying violets, crunchy red fruits, ground pepper and a basket of freshly picked herbs from the garden. The palate has focus, structure and finesse, the signature of a sensitive and highly experienced winemaker (Pete Fraser). Tannins are chalky and fine, pinning in the crunchy high-toned fruit, corset-like, and allowing more terroirs-driven elements to shine through. A berry and wild herb finish lingers on the close.
HUON HOOKE - THE REAL REVIEW
Deep red/purple colour. The bouquet holds smoky, charry, savoury aromas with some dry spice notes, and has depth and gravity which mirrors the deep colour and is more profound than usual in pure grenache wines. Clove, pepper, mixed-spice aromas, full body and powerful flavour. The tannins are fine and soft and nicely balanced, providing impressive structure to the wine. An outstanding grenache.
CAMPBELL MATTINSON - THE WINE FRONT
Keen fruit, pure tannin, a keen line of acidity and stunning length. If there’s oak here it’s so hand-in-glove that you’re hard pressed to detect it. Kirsch, redcurrant, fennel and generous flings of dry spice. It needs a little time but it’s a ripper wine. 94.5 Points