Tasting wine with the person who made it is a pretty unforgettable experience. Apart from gaining unparalleled insight into the final product, one can often witness the personality of the winemaker imprinted on the wine. This is perhaps my favourite part about wine – its ability to express not only the site, region, variety and weather from whence it came, but also, occasionally, it tells you a little bit about who made it.
Last week, I was fortunate enough to taste through the Yarra Yering range with the winemaker, Sarah Crowe. Hailing originally from the Hunter Valley, and now based in the Yarra, Sarah was crowned Gourmet Traveller’s Winemaker of the year last year, and deservedly so. The awards didn’t stop there – she also received James Halliday’s Winemaker of the Year 2017 (the first woman to have won this prestigious title). The wines she makes are exceptional, and they all possess a lightness of touch, a delicacy and a very strong identity – all qualities that I would apply to Sarah, after having met her.
The Yarra Yering wines are on the pricey side. However there is another range of wines made at the winery called Warramate, also from the Yarra Valley. All of the Warramate wines are RRP $28. Don’t miss the 2013 Warramate Cabernets – it absolutely hits the ‘cabernet spot’, and with four years under its belt, it’s a compelling ‘lunch claret style’ defined by the Yarra Valley’s soft/gentle cabernet tannins.
2016 Yarra Yering Light Dry Red
50% Pinot Noir (100% whole berry), 50% Shiraz (100% whole bunch)
“Ripe strawberry, spice, pure cassis – this is juicy, bountiful. The texture of the tannins lend this structure; the spice makes it so moreish – I could drink this all day. Delicious in a word. Perky. Vibrant. It has a Nebbiolo-like line and countenance – but it’s jollier. Get me a straw. This is a ‘drink now’, not for the cellar. 97 points and available only on-premise, approx. $90.”
2014 Yarra Yering Dry Red No. 1
65% Cabernet Sauvignon, 20% Merlot, 15% Malbec, 5% Petit Verdot
“Invest in this. Truly. This is silky, fine, supple… it has balance and finesse. It’s powerful yet elegant; there is pure cassi: perfect integration of the varieties. 2014 was a cooler vintage than 2013, with an elongated ripening period. I bought the ’13, I bought the ’14 – I can’t wait to see what they’re like in 10+ years hence. Gosh. 98 points and $92”