0800 280 2440
2006 Yarra Yering Agincourt, Victoria
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.
Cabernet Sauvignon lends itself particularly well in blends with Merlot. This is actually the archetypal Bordeaux blend, though in different proportions in the sub-regions and sometimes topped up with Cabernet Franc, Malbec, and Petit Verdot.
In the Médoc and Graves the percentage of Cabernet Sauvignon in the blend can range from 95% (Mouton-Rothschild) to as low as 40%. It is particularly suited to the dry, warm, free- draining, gravel-rich soils and is responsible for the redolent cassis characteristics as well as the depth of colour, tannic structure and pronounced acidity of Médoc wines. However 100% Cabernet Sauvignon wines can be slightly hollow-tasting in the middle palate and Merlot with its generous, fleshy fruit flavours acts as a perfect foil by filling in this cavity.
In St-Emilion and Pomerol, the blends are Merlot dominated as Cabernet Sauvignon can struggle to ripen there - when it is included, it adds structure and body to the wine. Sassicaia is the most famous Bordeaux blend in Italy and has spawned many imitations, whereby the blend is now firmly established in the New World and particularly in California and Australia.
Victoria’s oldest viticultural area dates back to 1837. Initially it won admiration and trophies for its dry wines before losing out first to the fortifieds from South Australia, and then to the dairy cow. The 1960s saw its revival with Dr Bailey Carrodus founding Yarra Yering in 1969, closely followed by another medic, Dr John Middleton, launching Mount Mary in 1971.
Famous for its Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, the region has attracted interest from sparkling houses, notably Domaine Chandon as well as from one or two corporates; Melbourne’s continued sprawl represents the biggest threat to this Victorian idyll.
The climate is cool maritime (it’s just 15 miles to the ocean), exposed to wind and rain with spring frosts a potential risk. The region’s warmer northerly aspects are preferred for viticulture. The best soils are underpinned by a low vigour, red-brown clay subsoil, while a significant swathe of the region is characterised by vigorous deep-red loam.
Recommended producers: Toolangi, Mount Mary