It’s easy to heap praise on premium wines, for there’s often an outstanding quality to their fruit or winemaking that attracts easy attention. And we expect a lot from expensive wines, so it’s no surprise when they display excellence of style. I often think the task of the quaffing wine is so much more difficult. These are wines that are made to a certain price point, perhaps limiting the winemaker’s options with regard to fruit and oak. It’s the difference between the architect designing a luxury villa versus affordable mass housing. Yet, does the latter demand less intent or attention? I don’t think so. The challenge is simply different, and should be appreciated differently.
I’m thinking these thoughts as I taste this sub-$20 wine from Barossa producer Yelland & Papps, whose house style is firmly oriented towards easy drinkability at all price points in its range. What I’m looking for here is regional character and a total absence of the sort of insultingly simple fruit character that, all too often, gets trotted out at these price points. Happily, this wine delivers.
It’s not a wine of refinement or delicacy, nor does it need to be. The nose, in fact, is quite blunt, with highly regional ripe plum fruit character bursting from the glass, tangles of spice swirling around its core. That’s it, more or less, with little in the way of nuance or layers, but its total honesty carries it through and gives it attractive appeal.
The palate is of moderate weight and intensity, carrying a consistent line from the aroma through to entry and middle palate. There’s a simple rusticity to the flavour profile; red fruit and brown spice sharing equal billing; that makes this an easy, generous experience, despite its modest dimensions. Is the oak a little obvious (even synthetic) in character? Perhaps, but that only slightly detracts from the straightforwardness of the experience.
This seems really well-judged, as much for its lack of pretension as anything else. Drink, enjoy.
Yelland & Papps