This a wine that straddles two states- Mule is a new label for Yarra Valley stalwart – Innocent By Stander, who sourced the fruit for this wine from a vineyard in McLaren Vale.
We loved this wine when we tasted it, for not only is it a great wine from a fantastic winemaker, it also pays homage to one of our favourite regions, the Cote Roite in France. This region is famous for including a small percentage of the white grape variety Viogner in their Shiraz which adds a lifted floral note to the wine . The Mule Shiraz does this as well, with Viognier making up 4% of the wine.
When Innocent Bystander were asked why they got involved with a South Australian vineyard, the answer was because they can. Plus the Gateway Vineyard is one of the jewels of the McLaren Vale. The wine is all about intense full bodied fruit, and none of the cool climate, elegant styles of wine that Innocent Bystander are better known for. The wines are totally reflective of the dirt, heat and crisp salty air of McLaren Vale.
The fruit is hand tended and hand picked then brought back to their winery in the Yarra for some pretty serious and fastidious winemaking. Whole Bunch Fermentation, indigenous ferments, post fermentation maceration to soften the tannins and then as the ferment approached 11% alcohol, they were over seeded with a Rhone isolated yeast just to ram home the Cote Rotie influence. – Great stuff. The wine was then aged for 16 months in French Oak Barriques (50% new)
Not surprisingly it is not immediately McLaren Vale on the nose and there is quite a sweet lift from the Viognier that reveals raspberry and black cherry as well as an earthy, mineral laden aroma. Big and bold on the palate, amazing fruit concentration with black and red fruits jostling for attention. A pretty serious wine!
The nickname mule was given to this project, not because the grapes or the winemakers are stubborn but rather, because a mule is stuck to one piece of dirt and traditionally worked by hand. Why didn’t they put a mule on the label then?