In 1969 Dr Bailey Carrodus founded Yarra Yering after a lengthy search for the perfect vineyard site. He chose deserted but promising territory near Coldstream in the Yarra Valley, Victoria. Today, Yarra Yering produces concentrated blends dominated by Cabernet Sauvignon, Shiraz and Italian and Portuguese varieties as well as elegant single variety Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Merlot wines. The wines are in such high demand that the cellar door only opens for two days each year and most of the annual production is sold within the first hour.
Yarra Yering's philosophy is to make classic but elegant wines. They attribute their success to the outstanding quality of fruit that grows on their unique terroir. Despite the widespread Australian trend of the 1960s to adjust soil characteristics, Yarra Yering's vineyards of gravel and clay loam remained untouched, leaving them with pure soils high in natural minerals.
These, combined with the cool climate of the Yarra Valley, low-yielding old vines and no irrigation, have resulted in wines of very concentrated, pure fruit character with high natural acidity, fine minerality and exceptional longevity.
The blended wines are known simply by number. Dry Red No. 1 is Yarra Yering's original, structured Cabernet Sauvignon-dominated blend with Malbec, Merlot and Petit Verdot. Dry Red No. 2 is a supple, Côte-Rôtie-style Shiraz, with a touch of Viognier and Marsanne. The exact proportions of each blend are never revealed.
Single variety wines contain 100% of each named grape. The Underhill Shiraz came into being in the late 1980s after the neighbouring Underhill vineyard was acquired; this is a broad, muscular Shiraz similar to a Rhône Hermitage in style. Both the Pinot Noir and the Chardonnay have beautifully pure fruit supported by perfectly balanced acidity and a subtle use of oak, while the Merlot is a voluptuous rarity indeed, with just a barrel or two made only in years when perfect ripeness has been achieved.
Last but not least is the Potsorts - Yarra Yering's innovative after-dinner speciality, made with indigenous Portuguese varieties and fortified in a Vintage Port style.
The legendary Dr Carrodus sadly passed away in September 2008., leaving us with an Australian icon that delivers very special wines.