A BMW 5 - series for a Commodore price

February 18, 2020

People are always asking for ‘inside’ information about wine – who always delivers great value, who do other winemakers respect and the like. Time and again to this kind of question I give the same answer: Tim Adams.

Tim Adams is one of the best success stories of Australian wine. A former maker of the classic Stanley Leasingham wines I used to enjoy for Saturday lunch while at university, he has focused much of his career on what he learned through process and inspiration from his late mentor, Mick Knappstein. In an industry then full of characters, none stood taller than Mick, who is credited with the unforgettable line: ‘There are two kinds of people: those who were born in the Clare Valley and those who wish they were’.

Tim, who with his wife and business partner Pam Goldsack now owns several of the historic old vineyards whose fruit he used to use, not to mention the winery he was formerly employed at, has a second label simply called ‘Mr Mick’.

I’ll never forget one time I was talking to him about what he intended to do with some new vineyards he had purchased. I had also told him, for the umpteenth time, that he was selling his wine too cheaply. ‘I own my home and car’, he said. ‘I want to make the best wine I can for the people who buy it. And now that I have more vineyards, I can crop them lower to deliver even more quality.’ That’s the kind of winemaker we all want.

'Mick Knappstein preached to me a million times that if a wine isn't balanced when it's young, it never will be', he explained. 'He was right twenty years ago and he's right now'. Tim Adams whites are typically fine and stylish, with a taut, sometimes chalky structure framed by clean acids. Like his reds, you can take to them young or much, much older. Sourced from old vines, Tim’s flagship wine, the Aberfeldy Shiraz, was first made in 1998. It’s a genuine Australian classic, delivering exemplary depth of flavour, structure and presence and it’s emphatically a Clare Valley wine. While they can reveal notes of mint and eucalypt, the finest Clare Valley reds can also underpin their fruit with a mineral aspect and fine, drying tannins. The best live for ages.

The Tim Adams Aberfeldy Shiraz 2015 is a polished, luxuriant Clare Valley shiraz with more than a touch of class. Steeped in spicy, faintly meaty aromas of dark berries, plums and cherries knit with dark chocolate/cedar oak, it unfolds scents of cracked pepper and mint. It’s smooth, sumptuous and evenly paced, with a deep, measured core of fruit supported by velvety tannins that will build over time. It finishes long and balanced, with lingering notes of licorice, mineral and graphite.

It retails around $65. While that’s far from being cheap, it’s a lot of wine for that price. Typical Tim Adams.

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