Yalumba Winery claims to be the largest, family run independent winery in Australia. We were the first folks to arrive at Yalumba the day before Good Friday, which for those of you who haven’t been to Australia should know is one of only two days (the other being Christmas day) that the entire country shuts down for. So we started the Thursday before Good Friday bright and early, getting to Yalumba just after 9 AM. Yalumba's location includes a beautiful tasting room & campus of sorts in Angaston, which is in the Barossa Valley (north of Adelaidein South Australia). Yalumba makes an assortment of white, red and sparking wines, including a unique and very good red sparking vintage. They're well exported to the US, Europe and Asia.
We tasted the following:
- 2005 Y Series Riesling – good, temperate fruit, solid easy drinking Riesling, in the dry non-traditional style (dry).
- 2001 Eden Valley Hand Picked Riesling – again in the non traditional style (Dry), this has developed nicely with age displaying a bit sparkle to it.
- 2005 Pewsey Vale Riesling – good character, light tannins make it very nice. The Riesling grapes have been sourced from the Eden & ClareValleys.
- 2003 Barossa Bush Vines Grenache – Subtle, easy drinking petite bodied
- 2003 Hand Picked Tricentenary Vines Grenache – 116 year old vines produce a heavy fruit with earthy tones. Could use a couple of years to mature but it’s not well structured enough to age for a decade.
- 2001 Hand Picked Tricentenary Vines Grenache – 114 year old vines produced this vintage (same as the ’03), the maturity between the two was clear, this is a wine you should drink in the next year or so.
- 2002 Menzies Coonawarra Merlot – Menzies is one of the premium labeled wines from Yalumba, these grapes came from the Coonawarra region which is approximately 4 hours south of Adelaideon the cost that has developed a reputation for producing some great Cab & Merlot grapes. This one was unique, displaying strong black olive nose & taste with a pungent olive finish.
- 2003 Barossa Shiraz Viognier – The viognier blend (a common practice in Australia) provides a tint of sparkle and pushes the fruit forward in the young wine.
- 2002 “The Signature” – is one of Yalumba’s most premium wines, a blend of 60% cabernet sauvignon & 40% Shiraz. It’s a nice blend that speaks for itself.
Though anybody who is a regular reader of this site knows, I'm far from a wine expert. In fact I'm just what the site says, a Wino, but I personally enjoyed the Hand Picked Riesling, the Menzies Merlot (for its distinct flavors) and “The Signature” for its quality blend and robustness. If you get a chance to visit South Australia, make your way to Yalumba for the beauty of the grounds & wines. Expect a big winery with an Australian touch - meaning pleasant service, good wine and lack of crowds (unless its a weekend).