Rusty Mutt Rocky Ox McLaren Vale GSM 2014
$28; 14.5% alcohol; screw cap; 93+++ points
“From Bernard Smart’s ancient bush vine vineyard – his personal one – high above the Onkaparinga Gorge, which presents a splendid southerly vista over the whole of McLaren Vale to the Gulf St Vincent, patron of viticulturers, the base wine here is about as good as Vales Grenache gets. Winemaker Scott Heidrich has added bits of Shiraz and Mataro to add a sinister gunmetal glint to both the colour and bouquet of that rosy morello cherry Grenache.
It’s added black flavours, too. The wine is as slick and sensuous and as deadly as an asp. It has jet swarf rather than tannin, after steely whiprod acidity. It actually tastes shiny and black. It is neither rusty nor muttish, but more your polished hybrid.
This wine is a delicious, vibrant example of the difference between Grenache and the old GSM blend first labelled so at Rosemount in the ‘nineties. All these ingredient wines are first class examples of their style, so it’s a pure and true blend. But these darkening tones contributed by even the smallest percentages of Shiraz and Mataro quickly move you from the strawberry field and cherry orchard to the blacksmith’s forge. Which, let’s face it, is a more traditional place to be for the older Australian wino. Even when it’s this silky and shiny. It’ll probly entice the shiniest, silkiest, most slick-backed drinkers. Turf Cork-tipped smokers. Or Craven A.
Tea-smoked duck and shiitake eaters.” Philip White