Grammatically and phonetically this name has caused enough internal debate. Arguments were presented as to whether it is pronounced “Evans” or “Ivaans”, to which the reply from the winery came, “Depends how posh you are; but Evans is fine.” I could further try and split hairs for the sake of argument, and agreement of numbers, shouldn’t it be that Evan & Tate “come” to India as opposed to “comes”.
OK that last one was lame. Please excuse. Here is the rest of the story…
With most of the major Aussie brands already present in the country it was the turn of McWilliam’s Wine Group to bring their ware to India: the well-known global brand of Evans & Tate. McWilliam’s Wine Group was setup in 1877 in New South Wales by Samuel McWilliam. Thereon, the company set many milestones and introduced to the world some of the best wines from Australia. Today, it is one of Australia’s oldest wine houses standing its ground firmly alongside some of the most renowned brands in the country, and even abroad. And why wouldn’t they, given how they have the experience of six generations of dedicated winemaking who gave to the industry, their passion, and craftsmanship. Local brands like RedVale, Brand’s Laira Coonawarra, Lillydale Estate Yarra Valley, Barwang, Evans & Tate, Catching Thieves, X&Y, and a few international labels all come under their umbrella. All these collectively have also made it one of the most awarded groups in the country.
Evans & Tate is predominantly a Margret River based brand. The winery was rated highly by Aussie wine critic James Halliday. Nielsen MAT (local rating system) also rated their wines as the number one Margret River wine producers in 2010. Part of this credit also goes to the versatility of the region. Margret River, a.k.a. the Bordeaux of the southern hemisphere (although Aussies prefer Bordeaux being nicknamed the Margaret River of the Northern Hemisphere), is known to produce excellent Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, and Semillon among the whites and robust Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Shiraz for reds. Their Sauvignon-Semillon blends are also very famous.
They label their wines under various names, all holding some relevance and having their own historical narrative. The Classic range comprises simple everyday-drinking table wines. Split River showcases the essence of Western Australian natural beauty through its wines. The Margret River range focuses on the concept of typicity and individuality of the region to showcase what strength it beholds. They also have a Reserve range, Metricup Road label, Single Vineyard collection, Zamphire (sparkling wine), and Gnangara (aboriginal for underground spring).
Wi-Not loves diving Down Under and an offer to taste these wines was too obviously good to turn down, or delay! The moment they arrived, we went all corkscrew on them, never mind that they were all in screw caps! We also tasted the Catching Thief range and Barwang wines.
Here’s Wi-Not’s collective verdict:
2010 Catching Thieves Semillon + Sauvignon Blanc (White)
Very catchy artistic New World-style label. Fresh nose with dominant notes of shrubs, asparagus, cut grass, gooseberries, and limey citrus. Dry on the palate with crisp refreshing tart acidity. Vegetative flavours with green tomato and straw being prominent. Tad spicy and sharp with undertones of candied white fruits and an oily finish. An indicative style of an Aussie Sem-Sauv style white, very approachable and value-for-money.
2009 Evans & Tate Classic – Semillon + Sauvignon Blanc (White)
Pale straw appearance. A mix of floral and fruity notes on the nose with touch of green notes at the end. Light bodied dry wine with crisp acidity and minerality. Touch of oak, green fruits’ peels, buttery mouthfeel, lemon citrus, earthy tones. Clean aftertaste with minerality lingering for long. A great sipper and a worthy light meal wine
2008 Barwang Chardonnay Tumbarumba (White)
Straw hue with touch of green, fading rims showing signs of aging. Coconut cream nose with white fruity notes, floral touches, and sense of oak. Dry palate with well balanced acidity, alcohol, and body. Creamy mouthfeel with notes of green + white fruits, white butter, touch of spices (from the oak), white pepper, and a tingling effect at the end. The aftertaste is long and has notes of citrus and candied undertones. Oak is very well used, not too experimentative. The wine is in its best form to be relished now. Our pick amongst the whites
2009 Evans & Tate Metricup Road Chardonnay (White)
Nice straw colour with touch of green. Clean fresh nose with green peel aromas, warm alcohol, white fruits, touch floral, and tad talc. Woody punch at first which mellows down and let out the creamy mouthfeel, very fruity, lime citrus, earthy and minerally. The palate was tad grainy and granular, in a good way. High acidity and balancing alcohol makes the wine an easy drinking food wine. The wine can still age for another 2 years.
2010 Catching Thieves Cabernet Sauvignon + Merlot (Red)
Young wine with deep ruby colour. Medicinal nose with warm alcohol. Touch of roses, unripe red fruits, spicy notes, ‘jamun’, dark berries, and earthiness. Dry wine with gripping tannins at start. Fruity wine with prominent notes of citrus + vegetal notes. High acidity makes it refreshing. The wine is an early drinking style but the tannins need some to smoothen.
2009 Evans & Tate Classic Shiraz + Cabernet Sauvignon (Red)
Deep ruby colour with fading rims. Smokey nose with cola, black polish, plum jam, and olive tapenade notes. Dry punchy mouthfeel, fruit forward with notes of plum jam, Ribena juice, beetroot, black olives, capsicum, and dark fruits. Woody + dusty unripe tannins. Good oaky grip. Alcohol comes a bit strong, typical of Margaret River reds. A good wine to pair with meats and cold cuts.
2009 Evans & Tate Split River Western Australia Cabernet Sauvignon Blanc (Red)
Very appealing deep ruby red colour with fading rims. Indicative Aussie-style nose. Punch of dark fruits, grape concentrate, oaky notes, and warm alcohol were definitive. Pleasant dry palate, fruity-styled, tad sweet spices. Raspberries, cranberries, plums, cinnamon, liquorice, low smooth tannins and earthy aftertones. Character driven well balanced indicative Aussie Cabernet wine. A great drop, must try!
2008 Barwang Hilltops Cabernet Sauvignon (Red)
Deep ruby colour with rims starting to fade away now. Dusty oaky nose, coconut husk, dry coriander, good complex nose, majorly fruity. Dry soft mouthfeel, very round powdery tannins. Fresh coconut-like oak, earthy, powdery, olive dust, spices, dried mangoes, minerally. Tangy aftertaste. Complex wine. Demands some time to appreciate it, best decant it. Can age for another 2 years. A wine worth saving for an occasion.
2008 Evans & Tate Shiraz Margaret River (Red)
Opaque with fading rims. Dark, dusty nose, tones of spices, ink, brick, dust and earth. Alcohol warmth is noticeable on the nose. Dry, juicy style, tad sweet, soft easy sipping wine. Touch of soft yet elegant oak. Not a heavy true aussie-style, more like a warm climate Merlot. Tannins are punchy but very delicate. A great sipping + food wine. Our pick amongst the reds.