Bondar Higher Springs Grenache 2021


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First Glance: Perfumed, elegant, savoury, herbal, powdery tannin
94+ points

A young Andre Bondar caught the wine-bug back in 2001 and between then and starting Bondar wines with his wife Selina in 2012/13, he amassed an impressive bag of vinous experience. Years of working at wineries both domestically, in the US and in France, including a transformational stint at Rhone producer Alain Graillot, led the couple to start their own project, making wines after their own ideals. And so they have, to great critical acclaim, from the elevated Blewitt Springs area in McLaren Vale, as well as with purchased fruit from trusted growers in the Adelaide Hills. The vinous DNA of Bondar is one of medium-weight and supremely detailed wines that are non-dogmatic at their core, yet still manage to feel like classic expressions of their respective sites.

The fruit here is from Sue Trott’s Wilpena vineyard. It’s in the heart of Blewitt Springs. The vines were planted in 1952 and are dry grown on deep sand. It faces quite steeply east, not a very common thing in McLaren Vale, so misses out on a lot of late afternoon (hot) sun. This makes for a very bright, lifted and more elegant style of Grenache, than is always the case in the McLaren. Hand-picked, aged in old French oak for 10 months, and hand-bottled with no fining, filtration or additions apart from a small amount of Sulphur to keep the wine fresh.

The Review:
94+ points, Gary Walsh, The Wine Front
Mint, menthol, ripe raspberry, aniseed and new leather. Medium-bodied, savoury sage-laced new leather flavour, lots of sandy grip to tannin, a cool feel, thyme and dried herbs, assertive dry tannin on a sticky dried herb finish of excellent length. Pretty firm and coiled up, with a chicory and black tea taste to close. Very good. Albeit kind of tense.