Gemtree Tadpole Shiraz

I haven’t babbled about wine for a while, but I think this one is worth a post. I found it in the Newcastle branch of Oddbins, a shop that regularly impresses me with its selection of wine I’ve never seen before[1]. One of the really nice things about Oddbins is the way they let the staff write descriptive labels for the wines. These are often quite bonkers, and make the whole wine buying process just that little bit more entertaining.

A few weeks ago, I spotted an intriguing item on the shelf: the 2005 Tadpole Shiraz from Gemtree Vineyards of McLaren Vale, South Australia. Now I’m very partial to a nice Australian Shiraz, and this one looked interesting.

Tadpole? The name comes from the Eastern Banjo Frogs that inhabit the wetlands that the family-run company has established. As the label copy has it:

As a family we wanted to give back to the environment and local community and the Gemtree Wetlands will be a legacy that future generations can be proud of.

All very good, and the kind of thing I approve of, but it wouldn’t really matter if the wine wasn’t up to the job. Well, I’m pleased to say that it’s rather good. It’s described as an “untamed animal” – no filtration, no fining[2] and “minimum intervention”. All very natural, and in this case it’s produced a nicely full-bodied, fruity and very drinkable wine.

I bought another bottle shortly after the first one, and that was rather nice too. After work this evening, I decided that I wanted to get a bottle of wine, so went to Oddbins before getting the bus. Being me, I couldn’t quite remember the name of the wine, but I found it quickly enough. As it was being wrapped, I mentioned to the salesman that it was a good wine for the price, and he told me that it was popular with the staff. So it’s not just me.

Anyway, if you like a nice Shiraz with a good kick (it’s 14.5% alcohol), you’ll probably enjoy this. It’s currently £6.99 a bottle in Oddbins, and it’s a very good wine for the price.

[1] While it’s nice to have regular selections like the lovely Wolf Blass Yellow Label, trying something new is always a Good Thing.
[2] That’s a process used to clear wine, often involving dropping something into it.

8 thoughts on “Gemtree Tadpole Shiraz

  1. Twisty

    I’m looking forward to having you teach me the finer nuances of an excellent red. Meanwhile, you might want to reconsider posting while imbibing – it does odd things to your footnotes. :wink:

  2. Lewis

    Well, I’m a wine advisor for Oddbins myself, and I’m a MASSIVE fan of the entire Gemtree portfolio. If you think this is good though, try the Gemtree Bloodstone Shiraz; like this, but more so :P on every level. The Tatty Road blend is awesome too, as is the tadpole white (as long as it’s the chard-viognier blend). And, if you’re one of the VERY lucky people to see it knocking around, the White Lees shiraz is one of the best wines to pass my lips; very limited edition (only a few thousand bottles, and so far a one-off experiment using old chardonnay barrels with the lees left in), it’s absolutely superb.

    Anyway :) hope you try more of our range (which should be expanding and improving vastly since being sold by Castel). As for Wolf Blass; while it’s good for a mass-produced wine, it’s still that: mass-produced. Pop into Oddbins and you’ll find we still do a huge range of interesting, tasty and good value wines under a tenner. There’s no reason to EVER buy a wine from the supermarket again.

  3. Les Post author

    Funny you should mention that, Lewis. On one of my regular visits to the Newcastle Oddbins, I spotted the Bloodstone Shiraz, and gave it a try. The sales assistant described it as something like “bigger and more Shiraz-y” than the Tadpole, which sounded like exactly the kind of thing I was after. And it was, too. A wee bit more expensive than I normally go for, but well worth it for an occasional treat.

    I have to agree about Wolf Blass – I haven’t bought any for ages. I’m not sure if its greater popularity has led to a drop in quality, or if I’ve just developed my tastes a bit, but the last time I had some, it was disappointing. Tends to be better if left for four years or so, but not all that good when new.

    Oddbins is always good for finding something new – great shop. :bow:

  4. Les Post author

    And it’s time for an update. I’ve since tried the Tatty Road variety, and it is indeed a damn fine wine. I spotted it in the Newcastle branch and bought it on the general principle that it was a red wine from Gemtree, and was therefore likely to be good stuff and good value. And before I’d had time to drink it, I was given a bottle as a Christmas present. Woo hoo!

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