97 Points - Stuart McCloskey “A blend of 44% Syrah, 33% Cabernet Sauvignon and the curious addition of 23% Nebbiolo, which I originally thought would provide a less than exciting drinking experience. However, I was completely wide of the mark as it’s bloody marvellous and packed to the rafters with fresh, juicy fruit. I sampled the ’18 over two days and directly from the bottle – both occasions providing a fabulous experience. The nose reveals cassis, blackcurrant, dark plum, violet, blood orange and leather. The palate is complex, layered and follows the same synergy as the bouquet. The fruit is ripe and wrapped with lithe tannins. The acidity being judicious and the oak regime (10 months of which 25% is new) provides a fresh bite of structure. I love the suede-like texture; it’s so evocative and inviting. There’s intensity and abundant flavour without the slightest sign of heaviness or any notion of being a cumbersome hodgepodge. It’s surprisingly approachable now, and with a quick hour or two in the decanter will provide a thoroughly satisfying experience. Unquestionably, worth every penny. Drinking now to 2030. Served using Zalto Bordeaux glassware.”
Yarra Valley - Itata Valley - Syrah - Shiraz
Located just east of Melbourne in Victoria and surrounding the Yarra River, Yarra Valley enjoys a mix of influences both Mediterranean and continental with the two main soil types being the bright red, fertile, volcanic soil found mainly around Seville. Yarra Valley has a climate slightly cooler than Bordeaux enabling a range of grapes from Bordeaux varieties such as Cabernet, Merlot, Petit Verdot, Sauvignon and Semillon to Rhone varieties such as Shiraz, Mourvedre, Viognier and Roussanne, but it is the cool climate varieties, most notably Chardonnay and Pinot Noir that the region is becoming most well known for, rivalling the great wines that are coming out of Margaret River and Tasmania.
It is known as the birthplace of Victoria with vines first being planted back in 1838, the region’s wine industry grew rapidly up until the early part of the 21st Century when the wine industry ceased production due to increased demand for fortified wine. It wasn’t until the 1960’s when names such as Dr Bailey Carrodus of Yarra Yerring and Dr John Middleton began replanting that the regions industry was revived. These names who were responsible for bringing the region back to life, have inspired a new generation of winemaker to continue taking the region forward and now Yarra Valley’s wine industry is thriving.
The Yarra Valley has a reputation across Australia as being a region that is buzzing with creativity. With experimental winemakers, pushing the boundaries, creating a culture of ground breaking, innovative winemaking that is driving Yarra Valley’s reputation as one of the most exciting regions in Australia today. This tendency towards pushing the boundaries of winemaking has spawned a minimalist movement in the region and you can find many producers that are creating wines with the absolute minimum of interference, sometimes bottling the wines unfined or unfiltered.
One of the most exciting producers that we’ve discovered from Yarra Valley is Hoddles Creek Estate, owned by winemaker Franco D’Anna. Franco specialises in creating Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. With the majority of their plantings in the cooler upper Yarra Valley, Hoddles Creek keep to the Yarra ethos of minimal, gentle winemaking and have created a range of Pinot Noirs and Chardonnays that are up there with some of Australia’s very best.