Royal Melbourne Wine Awards 2019: Gold
Hand-harvested, crushed and destemmed into half tonne open fermenters. Hand-plunged twice daily with some extended time on skins to soften the Cabernet tannins. Basket pressing and malolactic fermentation in two-year-old French barrels for 12 months.
75% Cabernet, 25% Malbec
Zalto Denk-Art Bordeaux Glass
The Zalto Bordeaux glass is recommended for weightier style reds, probably our most widely used glass when tasting in house, this glass is great for many different wines. The large bowl helping aerate and soften tannins whilst accentuating the wine's depth and concentration. The Bordeaux glass is the ideal choice for Cabernet Sauvignon, Shiraz, Zinfandel, Bordeaux or Rhône style blends and many other red wines. Surprisingly, it is also the glass of choice for oaked Chardonnay, the shape of the bowl accentuating the balance of ripe fruits and oak.
The brainchild of slightly eccentric, multi degreed, Dr of Philosophy Dr Bailey Carrodus, Yarra Yering Bordeaux and Rhone style blends have reached cult status and won international acclaim since their beginnings in 1969. Wine production in Yarra Valley had been strong in the mid and late 1800’s and into the early part of the 20th Century but rapidly declined due to economic and social pressures. It took the genius vision of Dr Carrodus to bring this region back into life. After searching for the perfect vineyard site that would be capable of creating wines of sophistication and elegance, consistent to the style that he fell in love with whilst completing his Doctor of Philosophy at Queens College Oxford. Having gained additional degrees in horticulture and winemaking, Carrodus is now credited as being a driving force in reviving winemaking in the now celebrated Yarra Valley.
After undertaking an in-depth study of the best vineyard sites on a tour across France, Spain, Italy and Portugal, he discovered Yarra Valley after accepting a position at Melbourne University and, taking full advantage of his botany students there, allegedly masterminded many field trips to Yarra Valley for his students to study the plant life, soils and typography of the region. He finally discovered the now legendary Yarra Yering site at the foot of the Warramate Hills that had good drainage, all day exposure to the sun and was high enough to avoid frosts and Dr Carrodus’ eccentricity and sometimes controversial methods gained him a reputation throughout the industry, often pouring away an entire batch and starting again. In one vintage he tipped away a thousand litres of Pinot Noir and recalled his entire red wine production offering a full refund in another vintage. These methods gained him a reputation for eccentricity but his unrelenting drive for quality awarded a reputation for excellence and he rapidly become one of Australia’s most celebrated winemakers. Sadly, Dr Carrodus passed away in 2008 but his philosophy continues today through winemaker Sarah Crowe, who’s talents as a wine maker were recognised in 2017 when she was named Wine Maker of the Year by James Halliday. The rest of the story is simply told through his iconic wines.
Sarah continues to take Yarra Yering to new heights, which was highlighted with the ultimate accolade from Halliday; ‘Winery of the Year’ for 2022. Jane Faulkner and Tyson Selzer summarised Yarra Yering’s outstanding win by saying, “Sarah is an intuitive winemaker with a profound insight into the contribution of each component in a blend. Her acute attention to the finer details has elevated the beautiful fruit from this site, through less reliance on new oak, and the resulting wine is immaculately preserved under screw caps.
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.
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