Wine and Cheese

One of the best things about wine tasting in the Yarra Valley is the fact that the area also makes great cheese. Not surprisingly, the Yarra Valley Dairy has a selection of Yarra Valley wines available by the glass. What did surprise us though (and was totally unplanned) is that Alkimi Wines (which doesn’t have a cellar door) offers tastings and sales at Yarra Valley Dairy. So what was meant to be a visit to buy some cheese turned out to be another large spend on quality wine, direct from the wine maker.

2015 Roussanne: We really enjoyed this wine. As written about elsewhere, Roussanne is French in origin, from the Southern Rhone Valley but is quite rarely found as a straight varietal in Australia (we are only aware of two other winemakers: Tahbilk and St Huberts). The nose on this wine is stronger than we expected, as Roussanne is not known for being an aromatic variety. The complex palate had some very interesting fruit flavours, including mango coming through which made for a very nice experience. $27 per bottle.

2017 Marsanne: Regular readers of our reviews will know that we LOVE Marsanne as a variety. This particular example is very typical Marsanne colour in the glass, light gold with a nice green hue. The nose is not typical of Marsanne however, which was a bit surprising given the strength of the bouquet on the Roussanne (the two varieties are often blended together and with Viognier to make RMV blends). In terms of palate, the wine is softer than many 2017 vintage white wines which suggests some use of oak throughout the wine making process. The palate undergoes an interesting sudden change of direction for the aftertaste rather than the smooth transition the Roussanne is able to make and there is some chalkiness in the finish, andagain the acid is held very much in check. A reasonable Marsanne, but not our favourite. $27 per bottle.

2015 Grenache Noir: Grenache is an interesting grape. Like Roussanne, it is often blended (Shiraz and Mouvedre being the common partners), especially in warmer climates and once-upon-a-time it was one of the most planted grapes in Australia but used to make fortified wines. This Grenache has been made with great skill, not allowing the palate to be overly sweet or heavy. The nose has good raspberry notes (or cherry, depending on how you interpret the sweet and citrus balance) which supports the deep but still immaculately clear appearance in the glass. The palate is a bit on the light side but the gentleness of the tannins supports this very well. A really lovely wine; we were a bit worried about its potential for cellaring given how delicate it was, so decided to buy enough for drinking now rather than putting away for later. $32 per bottle.

2015 Syrah: This wine could be likened to a story about the mouse that wanted to be an elephant, such is the contrasting complexity of the experience which almost defies description (but we will try). For a start, the wine is darker in the glass than we expected from a Syrah grown in the Yarra Valley; the clarity remained perfect, so we assumed it was a result of the process, not the grapes themselves. The nose was then surprisingly light and floral. Some of these darker coloured Syrah wines can have powerful, herbaceous bouquets, but this was more of the violets and less of the potting mixture which is always good to find. The palate was remarkably soft, following the bouquet nicely, but there was a certain level of savouriness woven through the red fruit flavours quite skilfully. This could easily be a 95 points plus wine when we average our group tasting results, which would make it one of our high rating Yarra Valley red wines and certainly one of the highest non-Pinot Noir rated reds we have tried in the area for some time. The other Shiraz from the area to rate highly recently was the St Hubert’s “The Stag” Shiraz, so a parallel tasting may be coming up for the Walkabout crew… $32 per bottle.

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