When you are born as a fourth generation of a wine making family, and you want to do something other than make wine, what do you do? Lisa McGuigan had that problem and went off to run hotels and restaurants around Australia. But in 1996, the call to get back to wine came and she decided to do things her own way. Starting in a garage in Sydney she formed Hermitage Road, named after the road that runs past some of the family vineyards. The French got a bit narky regarding this, so they changed the name to Tempest Two. I tried their range and here is what I thought.
2010 Tempest Two Semillon Sauvignon
Soft citrus, a lot of booze coming off, a little plasticine as well. The palate is simple, a touch lemony with a bit of lime juice, though watered down. Simple and a bit thin. A bit high priced at £10. 78pts
2011 Tempus Two Copper Series Sauvignon Blanc
Spending two months in french oak, it smells quite nice. A bit of green chilli coming off with just a touch of oak emerging. The palate has more veggie flavours - green pepper and a little bit of dry wood coming off. A nice wine with good balanced acid on the finish. I'd like a bit more character for it's fifteen pounds price point, but still it is nice. 81pts
2011 Tempest Two Copper Series Wilde Chardonnay
Nice gentle oak - some charred wood and then a creamy element coming off with some peach and pear. A little bit hard on the palate, some oak first but the fruit is a little flabby. Alcohol comes on on the finish as does a lot of oak but, fortunately then it settles down. It is just a bit unbalanced and too expensive at fifteen pounds. 76pts
Big sweet fruit with a dark aniseed coming through the medium weight berries. There is a violet element coming off, but a bit confected. The palate is pretty much what you expect at a tenner, some greenery coming off and a bit of white pepper at the end. 80pts
2010 Tempest Two Copper Series GSM
As near as makes no difference, toilet cleaner on the nose. More of a baked berry pie from Tesco's Value section filling following it up so things are not going well. The palate has a bit of up front spice, some bitter, dark liquourice flavours and then an earthiness, but there is that chemically note coming all the way through. High acid, a bit punchy and although the finish is clean and short it doesn't make up for the rest of the wine. 64pts
2008 Tempus Two Pewter Series Shiraz
Big, sweet berry but with some more vibrant, raspberry aromas cutting through the jam. There is some black pepper there as well on the nose. Big, menthol, with some jamminess, but a backbone of spice, savoury and charred meat. A black pepper fest on the finish which is quite nice but MAN, the tannin and alcohol is big. Not bad though for a ballsy Shiraz at £16. 80pts
2011 Tempus Two Copper Series Moscato
Very bright, fresh and clean with some lovely light lemon and melon aromas. A clean style of Moscato with some sweet, fresh aromas. There is a nice, simple mousse, a lovely bright melon and peach flavour but without too much sweetness. Acid cleans things up nicely. 83pts
I can't help but think that making these wines a few pounds cheaper with less fancy packaging would make these wines a bit more sellable. Apparently Lisa McGuigan's plan was "to create something that had appeal to a niche market, a generation of wine lovers who had an appreciation for the finer things in life". To say these wines were all style and no substance would be unfair, they are just a bit too fancy and a bit too pricy for the contents of the bottle.