Showing posts with label Yarra Valley. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Yarra Valley. Show all posts

Wednesday, July 27, 2022

Looking for superb Chardonnay? We’ve got you covered!

 Looking for superb Chardonnay? We’ve got you covered!

Domaine Corsin Mâcon-Villages (AOP) 202, 13% 

RRP €26.99 Mannings Emporium. The Cinnamon Cottage Cork

This unoaked Mâcon is bright gold with refreshing citrus fruit on the palate and a long finish.

The nose is inviting and expressive, something magical about the lovely citrus notes. The aromas go on to the end, joined on the palate by more delightful fruit (peach and apricot). And our light gold wine - you also spot green tints - continues on its merry way, balanced by a refreshing acidity, to a very satisfactory finalé indeed.

Serve as an apéritif and with starters along with pork meats and goat cheese. The producers recommend a serving temperature of between 11°and 13°C. One of the best Chardonnays I’ve come a cross in a long while. Very Highly Recommended.

This was a good vintage in the Mâconnais and the harvest took place under perfect conditions; both yields and quality were excellent. The fruit for this wine come from vineyards around the villages of Davayé and Solutré, with a north-easterly exposure and an altitude between 200 and 280 metres. The Chardonnay vines are rooted in clay-limestone soils. The Mâcon-Villages plot “Les Prés Cousins”, is one of the oldest vineyards in Davayé, with an average vine age of 30 years.

Domaine Corsin, now in its fifth generation, has established an excellent reputation for making wines in Saint-Véran and Pouilly-Fuissé since 1864. They were among the first to label wines as Pouilly-Fuissé and Mâcon Blanc.

Innocent Bystander Chardonnay Yarra Valley 2021, 13% 

RRP €28.99 Mitchell & Son. O'Donovans Off Licence. Drink Store. The Wicklow Wine Co. World Wide Wines

This year marks the golden anniversary of Australian Chardonnay. With varietal labelled Chardonnay first produced back in 1972, I thought It would be a good time to try at least one example of modern Australian Chardonnay.

Colour of this Yarra Valley wine is a light straw. Aromas, not overly powerful, are a pleasant melange of pear, apple and citrus along with floral elements.  And the crisp and dry palate follows the same criterion, nothing like the big buttery Chardonnay that the Aussies sprang on the world three or so decades ago, rather it is a supple presence on the palate, beautifully citrus and stone fruit flavours with a youthful acidity delivering balance and a dry and satisfying finish. Very Highly Recommended.

This sophisticated and complex wine, bursting with vibrant stone fruit character and a hit of zingy citrus, is one to seek out and enjoy. Pairings? Simple. “Great paired with people” says the label. More serious recommendations are Paella del Mar, BBQ chicken with fresh coriander salsa verde, smoked salmon and brie frittata. Then there’s fiction, fantasy and a little romance.

Innocent Bystander add: Yarra Valley Chardonnay is a queen amongst wines; sophisticated, serene and perfectly poised. A variety whose remarkable winemaking heritage combines with regional youth and vitality to deliver a rewarding, multi-faceted wine able to satisfy a thirst or take to the table.

The year 2021 was the tale of two seasons. Leading up to harvest it was very wet and cool. Then only weeks before picking the sun came out and led to fully ripe and flavoursome Chardonnay with excellent natural acidity.

This winery changed hands in May 2016, with a family company, Brown Brothers (should probably be called the Brown Sisters nowadays), taking over. Geoff Alexander joined the Brown Family Wine Group as Assistant Winemaker in 2005. In October 2007, Geoff was promoted to the position of Winemaker and is now responsible for a portfolio of red, white, sparkling and fortified wines at a range of price points including the Innocent Bystander brand. He is particularly interested in the development of new varieties and wine styles, something for which the Brown Family Wine Group is rightly famous. A company to look out for then!

Monday, June 15, 2020

Australia 2020 Vintage. Not a great vintage for accountants but a beautiful one for winemakers.

Australia 2020 Vintage. Not a great vintage for accountants but a beautiful one for winemakers

"Not a great vintage for accountants but a beautiful one for winemakers."

That’s how veteran winemaker Virginia Willcock described the 2020 vintage at Vasse Felix where she has been part of close to 30 vintages; Virginia is, since 2006, Chief Winemaker at Margaret River’s founding wine estate. 

Monday’s webinar, organised by Wine Australia and moderated by Sarah Ahmed (The Wine Detective), also featured Louisa Rose (Chief Winemaker at 170 year old winery Yalumba in South Australia’s Barossa Valley) and Sarah Crowe (Winemaker and General Manager at Yarra Yering, one of the oldest vineyards in Victoria’s Yarra Valley).

Virginia was talking about the low yield and that was much the same account from across the vast country (Vasse Felix is about 4,000km from Canberra). Low yields yes but beautiful wines to come!

“Margaret River is a very different place”, she enthused. “Very interesting, dynamic, diverse. A unique piece of land formed millions of years ago and great surfing is one result!” The ocean, at three sides of the narrow strip of land, is a massive influence on the vines and the wines. “We have a Mediterranean  climate, cool wet winters, warm dry summers. The maritime influence is of huge significance, our ‘air conditioner’ cools the grapes and gives beautiful extra ripening time. It’s a beautiful cape, so many different areas, different characteristics. We do feel like an island here.”
Harvest 2020. Social distancing in a  Yalumba vineyard in Tasmania

And they certainly felt like it during the 2020 vintage when Covid19 arrived. “We were isolated and there was no vintage party. Our vintage casuals departed early, mainly to catch the last of the flights home. All our own hospitality had been closed down due to the virus and so the staff there helped out in the later stages of the vintage and it was great, some terrific bonding.”
Bush fires not too far away from Yalumba

Conditions over the seasons were pretty good in the area but Virginia points to the springs of 2018 and 2019  (very cool, with some hail) as having been major factors in the low yield for 2020. “Bunch numbers were down and those that survived had low weight. We didn’t get any dramatic vintage conditions. The vines were very healthy, a beautiful vintage.”

“Overall, very happy. Some beautiful whites and great reds with tannins and concentration, a phenomenal vintage for us. Chardonnay is magnificent. Sauvignon Blanc incredible. Cabernet brilliant and Shiraz great also.”

Louisa, who joined Yalumba (Barossa Valley) in 1992 and became Chief Winemaker in 2006, described her 2020 experience in the famed vineyard as “a rollercoaster of a vintage”. “Temperatures in October to December were all over the place. On November 18th, frost saw the overnight temperature drop to below zero. Two days later, as the vines were flowering, we had a 42 degree day!”

“And then the bush fires were not too far away. We were lucky here with the wind direction, kept the flames and the smoke away. Still it was a pretty horrific time.”

Luckily, the vines got a break a few weeks before the harvest. The weather got cool and stayed cool and that “refreshed” the vines. After a good ripening period, the harvest started. As expected, the yield was low, as much as 50% down in some cases. Still, like Margaret River, the quality is promising with excellent acidity a factor.

Sarah Crowe told us that Yarra Yering, in the Yarra Valley, is about an hour’s drive from Melbourne. “We are warmer than Burgundy, cooler than Bordeaux. The mountains and the Southern Ocean are major influences.”
Sarah Crowe

And it was much the same conclusion that she reported: “It was a year like none before and, I hope, like none that comes after. Quantities are lower, down by 30%, but we have lovely beautiful wines to come from this harvest, even if it was hard work. Picking was at the end of March with rainfall well above average and temperatures below average. The gumboots got a lot of use!”

The fires didn’t get close here though Covid19 did have an impact. “But we were classed as an essential business on the production side and so we were able to harvest and are pleasantly surprised at the result.”

Now, it’s over to the salespeople.  And the accountants, of course.