Chasing the Unicorns

Helen and Joey Estate in the Yarra Valley have chosen the Unicorn as their symbol. Drive up their driveway and you will meet multiple unicorns guiding you to the cellar door, where there is a unicorn to greet you. The view over the valley from the cellar door is amazing, but arrive early if you are visiting on a weekend because this is a very popular place for lunch (followed by many drinks)

2018 Blanc de Blanc: 100% Chardonnay grapes that provide a clean and crisp sparkling wine. Certainly one of the better examples of this type of wine we have discovered and certainly reasonably priced too. The length and acid balance in the finish are excellent. $28 per bottle.

2018 “Inara” Pinot Gris: We have started to see a lot of Pinot Grigio and Pinot Gris at wineries in recent times and in some cases it is quite a unique and pleasant wine. In other cases it can be difficult to distinguish from Chardonnay. This Pinot Gris falls very much into the latter category, although the pear flavours do hint at Pinot Gris to an extent. The colour is also much lighter than Chardonnay. The soft and creamy texture however blurs the lines a bit. $25 per bottle.

2018 “Wayward Child” Pinot Gris: Soaked on skins for a few days, so the colour is deep orange rather than light yellow. It may have been overdone in this case, as there is hardly any aroma coming from the glass and the lingering taste is tart and acidic. $35 per bottle.

2017 “Inara” Chardonnay: The minerality in the nose suggests this wine has been matured in steel tanks (it has). Overall the wine doesn’t look like much but the palate is actually very nice, with good length (longer than some Chardonnays) and quite good balance. A nice unwooded Chardonnay. $25 per bottle.

2016 “Alena” Chardonnay: This wine has been matured entirely in French oak (20% new) and it shows in both the nose and the palate, where a nutty creaminess is very clear. The length of the palate has been reduced noticeably, but everything else is superior. $50 per bottle.

2016 “Inara” Pinot Noir: There was a sense of excitement here from the first pour when the colour came out much darker than expected. There was a distinctly unusual smell coming from the glass that one taster suggested was rhubarb (which makes sense). There was a slight sourness in the finish after the musk(?) and spices which was a bit of a let down to an otherwise very nice wine. $25 per bottle.

2016 “Alena” Pinot Noir: In complete contrast to the previous Pinot Noir, this wine has orange as the dominant colour. Matured in oak (20% new) adds a level of interest, yet the fruit remains dominant. The finish is nice, but overall the wine is not completely there in terms of complexity for a premium Pinot Noir. Still very good, not sure about value for money though. $50 per bottle.

2018 “Inara” Cabernet Sauvignon:  An unusual wine in that oak staves (the bits that support the barrels from the inside) have been used in stainless steel tanks. The result is a very nice looking wine with a very pleasant Cabernet Sauvignon bouquet. The palate benefits from the use of oak, but there is still something missing which is difficult to determine. The earthiness which is typical of this variety is present, but enough fruit is allowed through to make a very pleasant drink. $25 per bottle.

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