Yarra Valley tastings

Jan 26th, 2010 Jayne Pearce

Back in November 2009 I visited the cool climes of the Yarra Valley which is about 30km to the NW of Melbourne, Australia.  Both De Bortoli and Yering Station provide great wine tasting opportunities and even some great kiddy distraction - entertainment while the Mums and Dads tuck into the tastings.  My kids loved the chunky chalks provided at Yering Station and they were literally invited to scribble all over the vast tasting room concrete floor and walls - inspirational!

Anyway, back to the vino.

De Bortoli

The De Bortoli winery has more than 240 hectares under vine in the Yarra Valley not including those up in Hunter, King Valley and Riverina.  It started producing wine 150 years ago.  It concentrates on the classic varieties such as Chardonnay and Pinot Noir where the climate is generally said to be warmer than Burgundy but cooler than Bordeaux. The Gulf Station wines are from 14 year old vines and the Yarra Estate wines are from typically 39 year old vines.  Sadly, the 2009 bush fires leading up to the harvest is likely to have affected 20% of the De Bortoli Yarra Valley vines.  It remains to be seen whether the fires will impact on the flavours of those that managed to get harvested in time for the 2009 vintage.

Gulf Station Riesling 2008: This bone dry pale lemon Riesling has subtle white floral notes with good acidity. Works very well as an aperitif or with lightly fragranced Thai food and grilled fish.

Gulf Station Sauvignon Blanc 2008: Grassy aromas complimented by tonnes of gooseberry and some mineralty on the palate.  Try with seafood.

Yarra Valley Estate grown Sauvignon 2007: In contrast to the previous Sauvignon, this wine has had 6 months in 5 year old oak barrels giving it a subtle creamy vanilla nose and a complex citrus palate with good acidity.  Long length.  I am personally not a fan of oaked Sauvignons as I think the grape speaks for itself without requiring any maturation to give it complexity.  What do you think?  Please feel free to comment in the blog comment box!

Yarra Valley Estate grown Viognier - 2008: This is a lovely Viognier with good depth of fruit and acidity to match. The spicy palate would work very well with some lightly spiced Indian dishes.

Yarra Valley Estate grown Chardonnay - 2007: This potentially big Chardonnay needed a bit more time when I tried it but was already showing a nice creamy nose with figs and hazlenut on both the nose and palate.

Yarra Valley Estate grown Pinot Noir 2007: This Pinot is showing lots of finesse with a mushroomy-savoury nose and plum on the palate.  You could drink it now or keep it for a few years and it would go very well with duck in a plum sauce.

Yarra Valley Estate grown Shiraz Viognier 2006: This one is very powerful and doesn’t need any coaxing.  Loads of red berry fruit and white pepper on the nose makes it very approachable.  A silky smooth palate with integrated tannins and balanced acidity makes it a great wine for drinking well now. Barbequed chicken and pork would work very well with this.

Yarra Valley Estate grown Cabernet Sauvignon 2007: This is an elegant Cabernet from some of D Bortoli’s older vines.  The style is reminiscent of Bordeaux with blackcurrant and integrated oak on both the nose and palate.  There is some good tannic grip which would benefit from a bit of cellaring.

Yering Station


Yering Station winery was the first to produce wine in the state of Victoria.  The winery also boasts a great restaurant, bar and general holistic well-being making it an award-winning tourist destination if you love that sort of thing.  I mentioned the chunky chalk earlier - enough said.

Yering Station Reserve Chardonnay 2005: I think this is trademark Oz gently oaked Chardonnay at its best.  The light straw hues shine brightly giving off a toasty nose with citrus.  The palate if abundant with cream and citrus and some mineral notes.  It hangs about in your mouth for ages with lots of acidity to balance out the tonnes of fruit and texture.  This one gets a big thumbs up but then it is AUS$75 a bottle but is worth every $.

Yering Station Cabernet Sauvignon 2006: This is a great example of a Cabernet with elegant blackcurrant leaf on the nose and nicely integrated oak on the palate.  It could do with a bit more time as was a bit tight but has lots of potential.

Yering Station Pinot Noir 2007: A cherry red colour gives way to cherry and raspberry coulis on the nose and the same on the palate with a hint of cloves and earth.  This medium bodied wine is a classic example of cool climate Yarra valley Pinot.

Yering Station Late Harvest Riesling 2008: I love late harvest Rieslings and this one is beautiful.  After you’ve wondered at the pale straw hues, the cooked lemon rind and honeyed nose follows through to the palate with the acidity to back it up and a pinch of mineral to give it extra freshness.  A glass of this on its own as you watch the sun go down would be perfect.

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