A tall tale (or two)

With a big, black steel gate, a long winding driveway and a pond with a rather odd looking island in the middle, Yarrawood Estate is a very picturesque winery. The croquet lawn at the café and cellar door was a bit of a surprise too.

2017 Verdelho: we are always surprised to find Verdelho in the cooler wine regions (it is only grown in Australia and Madeira to our knowledge) but we do generally like a number of alternative white varieties, so this was on our tasting list. Certainly a Verdelho in the bouquet, tropical fruits really dominate; but without the pineapple flavours present of other examples, it seemed to be missing something. Still a nice drinking wine. $24 per bottle.

2017 Chardonnay: it is always nice to see that winemakers have struck the correct balance when it comes to oak and Chardonnay. We could write at length about the issues of too much or not enough. This offering has it right. Well rounded, smooth and full of good fruit flavours. Gives the Verdelho competition for our favourite white. $26 per bottle.

2017 Shiraz: For a cool climate Shiraz (we have a bias towards South Australian Shiraz and are quite open about it) this is a very good wine. Tannic, so well structured, and amazing in colour with lots of good fruit flavours. We really liked this one. At $30 per bottle it is not cheap but certainly affordable as a regular drink. Will cellar for a few years, we’re sure. Our pick for best value red wine.

2017 Cabernet Sauvignon: Again, we will openly admit to having a bias towards Western Australian grown grapes of this variety, but again we were very happy with this wine. The nose is “earthy” and the palate “leafy” as is common for Yarra Valley Cabernet Sauvignon, so the wine is comparable to other examples from the region. $30 per bottle.

2017 “Autumn Harvest” Riesling: This is a Riesling made very much in the New Zealand Waipara/Malborough style where there is a fair amount of residual sugar in the grapes which then produces a wine which has a distinct flavour of apple-juice coming through. Whilst we did like this wine, compared to some examples (such as Bel Canto from Pegasus Bay) the length just wasn’t there. We liked it enough to purchase (also because we’re nearly out of Bel Canto…) but are not totally sold on it like we have been other sweeter whites. $24 per bottle.

2016 Botrytis Riesling: Again, there are better Botrytis-ised wines out there if you are prepared to look *our long term favourite is Noble One) but this is certainly good enough to warrant a place at our table when the cheeses come out. Marmalade flavours, typical of the style, are dominant but the sweetness plays the leading role and complexity has a support act; we feel it should be the other way around. $32 per bottle (375mL)

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