Adelina’s vineyards are neighboured by Wendouree, one of Australia’s most significant vinous properties and there are some striking similarities of style, most notably in relation to tannins and shape. The finished wines provide us signposts to the styles that Col McBride and Jen Gardner like to drink; Pinot Noir and Nebbiolo. Fragrant, floral, ferrous and mineral, full of textural tension, savoury al dente tannins, driving acidity and cool fruits. High toned fruit, combined with a brooding earthiness, with fiery, smoky campfire notes. Tannins provide a spine from the very beginning, but it would be too simple to suggest that the wines are linear. Precise, yet the tannins not only provide great length but sideways breadth too, although you couldn’t possibly call them broad.

Adelina’s style for whites shares with the reds a love of purity and fruit expression, without winemaking embellishments. Taught, tight and coiled, with terrific acid drive, salty, chalk and stony minerals, dripping with pure, ripe citrus. Acidity’s are high and the pH’s very low, so for all their mouth-puckering dryness, there is absolutely no sourness. With such high acidity and low pH, coupled with richness of fruit and length of flavour, the whites are destined for a very long life indeed, and will cruise through several decades.

The oldest vines were planted in 1915 and the vineyard, all 7 Ha is farmed organically. But old vines aren’t the be all and end all. A good site will express more than an average one full of old vines, and Adelina is blessed with a great site, with a mix of old and newer plantings. Col explained that organic practices weren’t just a choice and expression of environmental considerations, but that such methods forced him to be present and work in the vineyards. “I’ve spent the best part of twenty years learning how to make wine, and now my focus is almost entirely on the vineyard”.

It is incredible to taste such striking wines, of uncommon elegance and verve, particularly when you know they are from the near desert Clare Valley. I suppose that’s why in my mind I referenced Barolo and Burgundy, the signposts for me pointed to Europe. And yet the landmark is Clare, and I wonder if much of what I imagined of Clare, was false. Wendouree after all don’t make massive wines; powerful and immense certainly, but not big. Tasting through the latest release of Adelina’s was a delightful and humbling experience and brought to mind the Australian author Hazzard. In the final paragraph of her masterpiece , The Bay at Noon ” We take our bearings from the wrong landmark” and this,

“When the territory is charted, its eventual aspect may be quite other than what was hoped for. One can only say, it will be whole – a region from which a few features, not necessarily those that seemed prominent at the start, will stand out in clear colours. Not to direct, but to solace us; not to fix our positions, but to show us how we came”


Adelina Polish Hill River Smith Vineyard Riesling 2023

The Smith Vineyard is organically grown with old vines rooted in grey-brown loam in shale and sandy limestone. Col McBryde told us that it’s “Clare Valley on steroids”, and it is, but it’s also finer than you’d expect from Polish Hill. Savoury spice, fennel and sage, with juicy lime, grapefruit and lemon, with a zesty firmness and mouthwatering salinity. The pulpy fruit lends curve and movement, and acid driven though it is, it’s the fruit that sings from the front of the palate to the end of a very long finish. Superb and bargain value territory.


Adelina Grenache 2022

Fragrant with sweet red fruits, lavender, fresh roses, sweet earth and Middle Eastern spices. Exceptionally complex with a lovely interplay between tannin, acid, fruit and the more savoury elements of spices and earth. Sweet and savoury all in one with darker fruits on the palate and mouthwatering ones such as plum, pink grapefruit, blood orange and redcurrant. Curvy, great movement, detailed and precise, finishing with trademark al dente tannins. A modern classic and like the shiraz, more Nebbiolo than Pinot Noir.


Adelina Shiraz 2022

Col McBryde told me that he liked to drink Pinot Noir and Nebbiolo whilst at home and their influence is clear. Expressive with kirsch, lavender, pink peppercorns, cassis, blackberry, cocoa, mint, fresh compost and a ferrous quality not always present in Clare shiraz. Medium bodied and mouthwatering, the fruit picked perfectly ripe. Very pure, deep and brooding, a weightless quality, effortless flavour and long, fine, bow like al dente tannins. More Nebbiolo than Pinot for me. Mineral.


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