The Victory Hotel Circa 1858 is a place to share friendship over a drink and a meal; it has been so since the southern Fleurieu was opened up by the first crown surveyor, John McLaren. The Hotel looks north over the McLaren basin and sits in the foothills as the southern Willunga escarpment falls into the sea. The ocean has an influence on the comings and goings of daily life here.
The Rudderless vines are all grown on the five acre estate vineyard surrounding the Hotel. Combining the vineyards’ maritime climate and Winemaker Pete Fraser at Yangarras’ experience and dedication with Doug’s passion for his project, the resulting Rudderless wines are spectacular!
Doug Govan talks about the Rudderless vineyards…
The Lower Vineyard
“The original level-headed plan had been to plant 2.5 acres behind the hotel on my own property. However an identical size piece of land to the west beckoned me for two reasons.
Firstly it had been established with five meter tall almond trees which blocked the panoramic view; and secondly it had a gentler slope and would accordingly be easier to establish.
The Malbec adds up to a mere 487 vines from a 5-acre site. There’s no denying the quality, and while it has the variety’s tell-tale dark plum and plummy character, it’s beautifully restrained and fresh. Hints of black shoe polish on new leather, exotic spices, and plush tannins fall into place. Score: 95/100 Tasted: 01 January 2018 Drink: by 20282016 MalbecJames Halliday
A harmonious 44/38/18% blend, unencumbered by new oak – 9 months in old French barrels. The freshness and purity of fruit shines through like a light beam. While it has pretty aromas and flavours of raspberries, sweet red cherries and licorice, they’re pared back by its savouriness and fine, sandy tannins. Unlikely one glass will suffice.2016 Grenache Mataro GracianoJames Halliday
Score: 95/100 Tasted: 01 Jan 2018 Drink: by 2032
No shortage of colour – a black-purple hue; there’s a certain amount of concentration but it’s not heavy with its flurry of dark and red fruits, hoisin, menthol and some cedary oak spice (aged 15 months in French barrels, 16% new). Fuller bodied and approachable now, but the fresh acidity and ripe, raw silk tannins will ensure it’ll age easily. Score: 93/100 Tasted: 01 Jan 2018 Drink: by 20302016 ShirazJames Halliday
When Grenache finds its groove, it rocks. Aside from its vibrancy and raspberry-like acidity racing across the medium-bodied palate, this takes in spiced cherry fruit, star anise and red licorice. Definitely not confection, it’s wonderfully savory, earthy and immensely pleasurable. Score: 95/100 Tasted: 01 Jan 2018 Drink: by 20262016 GrenacheJames Halliday
60/40% blend, and what a colour – deep, dark purple-garnet; these two gems, one a stalwart of the Vale, malbec less well known, work in unison. Expect a fragrance of black shoe polish, dark plums, chocolate and a wave of ripe and pliable tannins crossing the length of the full-bodied palate. Add raspberry fresh acidity and there’s a wine of distinction. Score: 95/100 Tasted: 01 Jan 2018 Drink: by 20302016 Shiraz MalbecJames Halliday