The Tasting Panel magazine

December 2015

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32  /  the tasting panel  /  december 2015 KANGARILLA ROAD'S WINES SPEAK TO THE DIVERSE NATURE OF AUSTRALIA'S MCLAREN VALE REGION by Rich Manning Mapping it Out K angarilla Road CEO/Winemaker Kevin O'Brien usually has several maps with him when he hits the road to promote his notable stable of Australian wines. Yet these maps aren't for personal navigation, nor do they give precise directions to his winery, whose oh-so-Aussie-sounding name simply references the street where it's located. O'Brien carries these maps because he's a student of the soil. Specifically, a student of the complex terroir of McLaren Vale, the appella- tion Kangarilla Road calls home. According to O'Brien, the charts represent the culmination of a long scientific and educational process. "There have been geologists who have studied the winemaking capabilities of McLaren Vale for 20 to 30 years," he states. "We're just getting to fully understand the region's unique geological properties. The maps mark these properties, which have allowed us to pinpoint the best spots to grow certain varieties." This ability to dig into McLaren Vale's dirt at this level of minutiae is greatly reflected in Kangarilla Road's eclectic creations. The winery does craft selections from typical Aussie grapes like Cabernet and Shiraz, the latter of which is produced by 60% of the region according to O'Brien. They also produce sublime wines from somewhat unexpected Italian varietals like Montepulciano and Primitivo; selections that act as a nod of sorts to O'Brien's days of seeking out global grapes for the Australian Wine Research Institute. Additionally, O'Brien's appreciation for McLaren Vale's topography—and those that have researched it—has inspired him to create Kangarilla Road's Geology Series; a collection of wines devoted to showcasing the unique qualities of grapes culled from a single block. "The goal behind the Geology Series is to highlight the results of the geologists' efforts," he says. "These wines demonstrate that our talk concerning the diversity of the landscape isn't just anecdotal." Of course, if you want further evidence of McLaren Vale's diverse landscape, don't worry. There's a map for that. INTRO-VINOUS

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