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JOHN ROZENTALS finds a viognier very much to his taste.

February 17, 2018 Beverage, Headline News No Comments Email Email

Heather Fraser, winemaker responsible for Yalumba’s 2017 Y Series Viognier, has been ideally mentored for the task.

Her boss, Louisa Rose, the company’s chief winemaker, is undoubtedly Australia’s most experienced hand with this often-difficult white variety.

Especially since creating the Yalumba white flagship, The Virgilius Viogner, Rose’s name has become virtually synonymous with the variety in this country.

Fraser, who had graduated in chemistry and marine biology before being bitten by the winemaking bug, has obviously learned well.

I must admit to not being the world’s greatest viognier fan. Too often, I simply find the variety’s hallmark perfumes just too overwhelming.

But this wine I found both complex and intriguing, delivering a range of flavours and not at all dominated by any simple perfume.

The winemaker’s notes mention orange blossom, ginger, fresh pineapple, honeysuckle and dried figs. I can’t disagree with any of those descriptors, neither with the food-matching suggestion of harissa chicken.

At $15, this is a great introduction to viognier, which in the Rhone Valley and Australia is also sometimes blended in small amounts with shiraz to create an alluring dry red, but that’s a completely different story.


Yalumba 2017 Y Series Chardonnay ($15): Complexity and creaminess are keynotes here, with a range of fruit flavours, including citrus and nectarine, mingling with the nutty, butterscotch flavours derived from fermentation in oak and maturation on yeast lees. This has sufficient weight to carry a white-sauced pasta dish such as carbonara.

Yalumba 2017 Y Series Sangiovese Rosé ($15): I wrote recently about the rapid growth in popularity of this Italian red variety for producing rosé styles in Australia. Here’s another example of sangiovese’s ability to produce aromatic, refreshing, zesty wines that are completely dry and suit our lifestyle so well. Drink on its own or, as the winemaker suggests, with rockmelon wrapped in prosciutto.


Shaw Vineyard Estate 2015 Winemaker’s Selection Cabernet Sauvignon ($15): I must admit that I usually prefer young shiraz to young cabernet, simply because it’s usually much more ready to drink on release, but I do like the cassis and blackberry flavours shown by this wine. It’s made entirely from the company’s Murrumbateman vineyards and should reward a decade’s cellaring. Drink with roast lamb.

Written by John Rozentals

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