James Halliday Wine Companion 2010

Four Stars

This is a venture of Anthony (Tony) and Krystina De Lisio, focused primarily on McLaren Vale Shiraz and Grenache the exception being a Southern Fleurieu Pinot Grigio and a four-variety red blend (Quarterback) which provides the major part of the volume of De Lisio Wines.

Tony has had many years’ experience as a viticulturalist and vineyard manager in McLaren Vale and has been able to source grapes grown just north of the McLaren Vale township, Clarendon, Blewitt Springs, Kangarilla and McLaren Flat. The overall style is strongly orientated to the United States, to which a significant part of production is exported along with Canada, Denmark, Singapore, Hong Kong and China. This is achieved through very ripe grapes from low yielding predominantly old vines which are open fermented and barrel aged in predominantly French Oak Barriques for up to 22 months.

2005 De Lisio Catalyst (McLaren Vale)
Rating 94 points
Drink 2015

Good colour despite the alcohol and Grenache has a very attractive savoury, almost spicy edge to the well balanced, medium bodied palate, very good length.

2008 Argento Pinot Grigio (Southern Fleurieu)
Rating 90 points
Drink 2010

Is not distinctively Pinot Grigio but is fresh, vibrant and mouth cleansing with green apple crunchy acidity.

2005 De Lisio Krystina Shiraz (McLaren Vale)
Rating 93 points
Drink 2015

Rich, powerful, glossy McLaren Vale style, with black fruits, liquorice, dark chocolate and vanilla coalescing on the long palate.

2006 De Lisio Shiraz (McLaren Vale)
Rating 91 points
Drink 2015

The alcohol is immediately apparent, but does not increase on the finish and after taste (as is common) glossy black fruits and a dusting of chocolate and liquorice.

The Wine Spy

De Lisio 2006 Quarterback Red Wine
I called an old friend and an expert in wine and food pairing to get a recommendation for a wine that goes with chili. She promotes “farmers juice” wines … small, family-owned wineries that still hand pick grapes as opposed to the corporate wineries that use machines to grab every last one from the vines. Quality is the key with these smaller operations not quantity. She immediately suggested De Lisio’s Quarterback Red. Chili, football season and Quarterback Red – the perfect ingredients for a great fall weekend. She was right on the money and I would strongly recommend this wine for the next game day party.

Layman’s Review: Berrydelicious – yes I know it’s not a word but the fruit flavors are wonderful and the smooth finish was a perfect accompaniment to temper the heat of the chili.

Expert’s Review: A dynamite value from down under. The De Lisio Quarterback is roughly equal parts of Shiraz, Cabernet, Merlot and Grenache, with plenty of black raspberry and kirsch flavors rounding out the rich textured, warm spice-box aromas. A nice kiss of French oak makes for a perfect gameday red. Ideal with chili, beef stew, or grilled meats. An excellent value.

Rating: Wine Advocate 90-92

Wine Advocate

2004 Releases

These are the finest offerings I have ever tasted from De Lisio, a truly nice guy whom I met in Adelaide when he was winemaker for Classic McLaren Wines.
–Robert Parker

2004 De Lisio Shiraz
96 points

Cropped at a measly half tonne of fruit per acre and aged almost entirely in new French Oak. It is a killer wine from a killer line up from De Lisio. Dense blue/purple to the rim this highly extracted (but not overly extracted) effort reveals notes of crushed rocks, blueberries, blackberries, camphor, lead pencil shavings and spicy oak. Boasting great purity, a full bodied opulent texture, high richness, but no sense of pruniness or flabbiness given its precision and refreshing structure, this is a well-balanced potentially complex McLaren Vale blockbuster. It should drink well for 15 years.

2004 De Lisio Grenache
95 points

Cropped at 1.5 to 2 tonnes of fruit per acre, boasts a deep ruby colour as well as a knockout fragrance of raspberries, cherry jam, loamy soil and a hint of spicy oak. Medium to full bodied with fabulous concentration, an expansive velvety texture and extraordinary purity as well as precision. It is a blockbuster Grenache (among the finest I have ever tasted from Australia) drink over the next 5 – 8 years.

2004 Krystina Shiraz
96 points

Fashioned from relatively young vines in limestone/slate soils in one of McLaren Vale’s highest elevations, and aged in primary French Oak (50%) new this riveting effort exhibits a dense ruby/purple colour along with a sweet pure nose of cassis, black raspberries, crushed rocks and smoky oak. Impressive structure and a tremendous multi layered texture and considerable stature intensity. It should drink well for a decade or more.

2004 De Lisio Catalyst (Shiraz 80%, Grenache 20%)
96 points

A blockbuster in the making, the 2004 Catalyst was aged in primarily neutral French Oak. Boasts fabulous aromas of flowers, lead pencil shavings, blackberries, cassis and subtle wood. This full bodied, intensely packed and stacked effort possesses huge fruit extract, wonderful mouth coating glycerine and a purity as well as a seamlessness that must be tasted to be believed. Drink this undeniably profound Australian red over the next 10 – 15 years.

2004 Quarterback Red (Shiraz, Cabernet, Merlot, Grenache)
91+ points

Spent 12 months in a combination of French and American Oak. It offers a dense ruby/purple colour along with a terrific fruit intensity, excellent purity and notions of liquorice, pain grille and spice box. Plump and opulent it is best consumed during its first 6 – 7 years of life. 

Wine Advocate

2005 Releases

This winery continues to go from strength to strength, I remember being impressed with De Lisio’s vision of winemaking when I met him in Adelaide, and recent vintages have reflected an extraordinary commitment to quality as well as preserving the character of McLaren Vale.
–Robert Parker

2005 De Lisio Shiraz

No De Lisio Shiraz was made during the 2005 vintage as the parcels of Shiraz fruit normally chosen was not conducive to maintain the standard set by preceding vintages. The Shiraz fruit from the 2005 vintage was still able to make it to the Krystina Shiraz which you will note won Gold at the Australian Boutique Winemakers Awards.

2005 De Lisio Krystina Shiraz
92 – 94 points

Is 100% Shiraz from relatively young vines planted on limestone over slate sectors of McLaren Vale. Seventy percent new French Oak was utilised and the wine, which was going to be bottled unfiltered about a month after I tasted it, exhibits a sweet note of blackberries, raspberries, smoke, camphor and graphite. Full bodied, rich and intense with sweet but noticeable tannin, a firm structure and an accessible style, it should age for 12 – 15 years.

Gold Medal Winner, Australian Boutique Wine Show

2005 De Lisio Grenache
92 points

Tasted prior to bottling, comes from 70-year-old Blewitt Springs vineyard plated with old bush vines. Aged 18 months in French Oak (30% new) it exhibits a dense ruby/purple colour in addition to a sweet bouquet of black raspberries, cherries, currant and incense. Spicy and rich with supple tannin, this impressively endowed Grenache should drink well for 4 – 6 years.

2005 De Lisio Catalyst (Shiraz 82%, Grenache 12%)
92 points

Spent 26 months in French Oak, 30% new. A glass coating opaque purple, it offers a brooding nose of wood smoke, Asian spices, pepper, blueberry and blackberry liqueur. Lush on the palate, it has a mouth filling fruit, tonnes of spicy blue and black fruit flavours, enough structure to evolve for several years and a long, fruit filled finish. Drink it through 2020.

2005 Quarterback Red (Shiraz 30%, Cabernet Sauvignon 27%, Merlot 22%, Grenache 21%)
90 – 92 points

An intriguing blend of Shiraz, Merlot, Grenache and Cabernet Sauvignon aged in mostly older French wood. The deep ruby/purple tinged 2005 Quarterback reveals notions of new saddle leather, black currants, liquorice and spice box. Full bodied as well as elegant, restrained and Eurocentric in character, it should be consumed over the next 6 – 10 years.

Wine Advocate

2006 Releases

Review by Dr. Jay Miller

2006 De Lisio Shiraz
88 – 91 points

Spent 18 months in a mix of French Oak 76% new. Opaque crimson purple, it offers up notes of pain grille, smoke, plum, blueberry and blackberry liqueur. This leads to a full bodied streamlined Shiraz with supple texture, sweet fruit and a medium long finish. Drink it over the next 10 years.

2006 Krystina Shiraz
88 – 90 points

Aged 18 months in 305 new oak, purple coloured, it exhibits a fragrant perfume of spice box, pepper, pencil lead and blueberry. Full bodied and made in a racy style, the blue-black fruit flavours are intense, but narrow somewhat in the moderately long finish. It can be enjoyed over the next 8 – 10 years.

2006 De Lisio Grenache
92 – 95 points

Was sourced from 45 to 80-year-old dry grown bush vines with miniscule yields of 1.5 tonnes per acre. It spent 17 months in French Oak 15% new. It is dark ruby coloured with fragrant aromas of red fruit, kirsch and a slightly roasted character. Supple textured, sweet and hedonistic, this seamless wine can be enjoyed over the next 10 – 12 years.

2006 Quarterback Red (Shiraz 30%, Cabernet Sauvignon 27%, Merlot 22%, Grenache 21%)
90 – 92 points

It spent 15 months in secondary use French Oak. It offers a complex perfume of cedar, spice box, black cherry and black raspberry. This leads to a full-bodied wine with opulent, ripe, sweet fruit in a seamless package. This OUTSTANDING VALUE wine has tonnes of flavour and a long, pure finish. It will evolve for 2 – 3 years but why delay your gratification.

2007 Quarterback Red (Cabernet Sauvignon 30%, Merlot 27%, Shiraz 26%, Grenache 17%)
90 points

This wine aged for 15 months in seasoned French Oak. Dark ruby in colour, it delivers and enticing bouquet of floral notes, spice box, black cherry and blueberry. Full bodied, ripe and sweetly fruited on the palate it managed to retain a sense of elegance. This lengthy blend has enough structure to evolve for 1 – 2 years but there is no reason to delay your gratification. It is also excellent value.