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Two Hills honeys from Jericho

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Whitey tracks two racy off-the-wall individuals from the marauding Jericho family, which has left Clare to pillage the ranges down south.

Jericho Adelaide Hills Fumé Blanc 2013
$25; 12% alcohol; screw cap; 94 points

Forget those grassy Kiwi Savvy-Beez.  Here’s a wood-aged lovely from Kuitpo fruit.  It’s more like the types you’ll find in the Loire Valley, where all this white Sauvignon business started.

Fermented in old mildly-toasted oak, and left there on yeast lees for months, it has naughty estery reeks of dried banana, fresh mango, and lemony carrot cake.  Its palate is creamy and smooth, with a bright reappearance of that cheeky lemon, which seems to feel the need to come back for an encore. I’m glad it does.  It can play right on – I’ll keep hootin’ and whistlin’.

This is a happy, audacious wine of its own lovely style. It has some of the comforting unction of a top cool-region Chardonnay, but tapers off so slow and gradually into that loooong dry lemony finish it’s not really quite like anything other than a good Loire fumé. Bring me the shellfish: scallops, grilled oysters, prawns, crayfish off the flames … plenty of chilli … goat cheese … crunchy bread and Paris Creek butter … you little beauty!

Jericho Adelaide Hills Syrah 2012
$35; 13% alcohol; Diam cork; 92+++ points

I can’t for the life of me work out why Shiraz grown properly is called Syrah in Australia.  Maybe it started when the dogged Frenchman Dominic Portet commenced making wine in Victoria’s Pyrenees at Taltarni away back in the early ’70s; Mark Shield, the greatest wine scribe of them all, was their sales rep.  Portet thought his wine was more French than our common or garden jammy old Shy Razzz. So he spelled the name the French way and got on with it.

This vineyard’s near Kuitpo, which to me seems as far from the Adelaide Hills as you can get, being just over the ridge from Willunga and all.  Another line drawn by boofheads. This vineyard is like Willunga Tops, just as Mengler Hill, Angaston and Eden Valley is the upland part of the Barossa.

It’s a real neat little honey of a wine: all blackberry vines, nightshade and juniper in the sniff division; svelte and athletic in the feelies; intense whipsnake lithe business in the flavour, and then tannin that’s more dusty matte goanna than shiny snakeness.  And look at that lovely little alcohol number!  It makes the wine more sassy and cheeky in a hissy blue-tongued way; the ideal follow-up to that Fumé. It reminds me of the lower-alcohol reds being made up my end of the Vales at Kangarilla. Or the Best’s Great Western Shiraz which won the Jimmy Watson the year before last.

Cute and sassy now; much better after five years in the dark cool dungeon. Hillsbillies, take note!

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