Wes Pearson, an ex-pat Canadian is by day a sensory scientist working at the Australian Wine Research Institute (AWRI). He’s also the winemaker behind wine label Dodgy Brothers. He has two partners in the business: Peter Bolte, who’s a consultant viticulturist and who initiated the project, and Peter Sommerville. Production is currently at 2000 cases annually, and they have their own winery.
Wes was a serious snowboarder, and he got into wine through working in kitchens in winter sports resorts. He then studied winemaking at the University of BC in the Okanagan, and had assistant winemaker jobs there, most notably at Tantalus. With his wife Brenda he moved to France and got a job at Leoville Las Cases, before moving to Australia where he worked as a winemaker before taking his job at the AWRI.
All the wines are sourced from the McLaren Vale. Wes doesn’t like to add acid, so he picks by acid, taking the grapes off before the acid has fallen too much. The results are very good. He’s also a big fan of Grenache, describing it as the hero grape of the region. ‘It’s the grape we all get excited about,’ he says, noting that the region has high quality old vines on their own roots.
Dodgy Bros Pinot Gris 2015 McLaren Vale, Australia
Four barrels of this made, with 4 h skin contact and then pressed off with 30% solids to ferment in barrel. Taut and quite textural with lovely lemon and pear fruit, and some white peach. Nice focus with directness, and some pithy notes. 90/100
Dodgy Bros Archetype Grenache 2014 McLaren Vale, Australia
This is from two vineyards across the street from each other. It’s crushed and destemmed and goes to old French oak after fermentation. Supple, sweet and berryish with nice spiciness. Rich but fresh with nice sweet cherry fruit and some damsons. Has lovely fresh acidity. Juicy and direct. 92/100
Dodgy Bros Shiraz 2014 McLaren Vale, Australia
There’s a little bit of new oak here. Sweetly aromatic with a bit of vanilla spice. Sweet cherries, plums and spice. Sweetly fruited but still has freshness, and admirable purity. 89/100
Dodgy Bros Cabernet Franc/Cabernet Sauvignon/Merlot 2014 McLaren Vale, Australia
55% Cabernet Franc with 38% Cabernet Sauvignon (in new oak) and 7% Merlot. Lovely freshness here. Juicy and spicy with nice green notes alongside the blackcurrant fruit. Has an appealing sweetness to the fruit, with nice freshness. A bit of grip, too: notes of chalk and spice. Really impressive. 92/100
Dodgy Bros Archetype Shiraz 2014 McLaren Vale, Australia
Sweet, ripe and pure with attractive blackberry and black cherry fruit. Nice precision here: sweet and pure with lovely concentration and richness. Really well made in a richer style. 92/100
Dodgy Bros Grenache/Shiraz/Mataro 2011 McLaren Vale, Australia
This was the first vintage, and it was a tricky one, with cold conditions. Eventually, though, this wine weighed in at a hefty 15.5% alcohol. Sweetly fruited yet still fresh with nice spiciness under the sweet black cherry and raspberry fruit. 89/100
Dodgy Bros Grenache/Shiraz/Mataro 2012 McLaren Vale, Australia
15% alcohol. Ripe and sweet with nice spicy definition to the fruit. Slight brininess with nice raspberry and blackberry characters. Some notes of Ribena. 90/100
Dodgy Bros Grenache/Shiraz/Mataro 2013 McLaren Vale, Australia
70% Grenache this year. Sleek and fresh with sweet red cherries and plums. Sleek, attractive and ripe with lovely freshness and a hint of pepper. 91/100
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VISITING AUSTRALIA’S MCLAREN VALE