Yalumba (Barossa Valley
❁ Yalumba (Barossa Valley) www.yalumba.com
Hill Smith family Eden Valley Road, Angaston SA 5353
Tel: 08 8561 3200 Fax: 08 8561 3393
Yalumba is the only big Australian wine company still to be family-owned and, founded in 1849, is Australia’s oldest family-owned company at that. Winemaking, led by Brian Walsh since the late 1980s, is now headed by the talented Louisa Rose. With more than 650 ha of vines from diverse sources, the range is necessarily large and continually evolving and, though some wines have a long history, there is no shortage of innovation here. Indeed, for such a large operation, the company is remarkably fleet of foot. It is at the vanguard of environmentally sustainable practices, pioneered Viognier Down Under and has been bang on trend with its recent introduction of several single vineyard reds, designed to showcase old vine fruit from different Barossa sub-zones. Ageworthy premium Barossa reds are traditional in the sense that they are full bodied with ripe, powerful tannins and no shortage of oak. But there is also a terrific concentration, purity and animation to the fruit, especially in recent years. Premium wines begin with The Reserve, a very limited-production Cabernet Sauvignon/ Shiraz blend made in 1990, 92, 96, 98, 2001, 2002 and 2004. Others produced on a more regular basis include Octavius, an expensive, richly oaky old-vine Barossa Shiraz (recently joined by plummy junior Barossa Shiraz, Patchwork), and The Signature (two-thirds Barossa Cabernet, one-third Barossa Shiraz), a suave, flattering blend streaked with vanilla in which the Cabernet lends gravitas to the more exuberant Shiraz. Yalumba’s faith in this blend is underlined by the re-introduction of the super-intense FDR1A Cabernet Shiraz (reviving a label first used in 1974) and The Scribbler, a new junior tier, this one more forward, with Shiraz the dominant partner. Coonawarra is the source of The Menzies range, a Cabernet, Merlot and Cabernet/Shiraz. New to the Coonawarra range is The Cigar, a glossy, more approachable young vine Cabernet with impressive concentration. MGS (Mourvèdre/Grenache/Shiraz) from the Hand-Picked range is a ripe, spicy berry-fruited example of this style of Barossa red. Other reds in this range include an expressive, floral Bush Vine Grenache, velvety Shiraz Viognier and an innovative Tempranillo Grenache Viognier blend (not tasted). There is also an Adelaide Hills Chardonnay, FDW (Fine Dry White) sourced from select growers. It shows some of the stylish complexity and subtlety typical of the best examples. Much has been made of Yalumba’s efforts with Viognier (it pioneered plantings of the variety in South Australia) and vine age, the introduction of new clones together with a more oxidative approach to winemaking is paying dividends. With ripe, but not overripe, apricot and increasingly savoury lees nuances, top tier Virgilius can give Condrieu a run for its money, while the mid-priced Eden Valley wine shows good fruit purity and balance, representing good value for money. Late-harvested/botrytis styles now include Riesling, Sémillon and Viognier under a Noble Pick label. Dolcetto, Nebbiolo and other varieties have also been released locally under the Vinnovation Collection label. Y is a series of relatively inexpensive varietals including an unwooded Chardonnay, Riesling, Viognier, Pinot Grigio, Merlot and Shiraz; for a small premium, certified organic versions of Shiraz and Viognier are now available. Even cheaper are the simple, innocuous wines of budget brand, Oxford Landing, produced from Riverlands fruit. Other wineries owned by the family include the Eden Valley estates of PEWSEY VALE and Heggies as well as JANSZ from the Pipers River area of northern Tasmania. A very impressive Mesh Riesling, made in collaboration with Jeffrey GROSSET, shows a touch more fruit weight and punchier acidity than other Eden Valley examples, gravitating towards the Clare Valley in this respect. The Heggies wines are made by Peter Gambetta and include Riesling (occasionally also made in a botrytised version) with a pure citrus and mineral character and elegant, complex Chardonnay. Reserves of both are also made. The only red is a variable yet sometimes stylish Merlot. Smith & Hooper wines come from Wrattonbully fruit and include an ambitious Reserve Merlot. (SA)
To find out more about Yalumba and their wines, and to see how we reviewed and rated their wines you can check out the Regional Guide here..
Or indeed you can check out the Main Guide that is 2250 pages, reviews over 4000 vineyards and over 30,000 wines here …