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JOHN ROZENTALS reports on a new development for Yalumba with some of its oldest vines.

September 13, 2019 Beverage, Headline News No Comments Email Email

Anyway, there I am being driven round one of Yalumba’s home vineyards in the Barossa by Jane Ferrari, a winemaker by trade but described on the company’s website as its ‘wine ambassador’.

Suddenly she pulls up next to some old bush vines, opens the back of her covered ute, and fetches a couple of bottles of red.

Jane seems to know everyone in the Barossa, and she obviously loves the place dearly, but I think she seems happiest when she’s surrounded by the valley’s gnarled old vines and talking about the glorious reds they make.

“Thought you might like to taste the stuff we make from these old grenache vines,” she says as she pours a couple of glasses, “while we’re right among them.”

It’s mid-winter and quite cold in the Barossa, but the day has scrubbed up quite clear and to taste these superb reds among the vines from which they were produced is a highlight of my wine-writing career.

I’d done similar things in the Hill Smith family’s Pewsey Vale and Heggies vineyards the day before and the Yalumba people had assured me that they were planning similar events for the general public — so that anyone could taste the wine right within the terroir it was grown.

They may well have beaten me to the punch with Pewsey Vale and Heggies tastings but those same Yalumba people are now offering tastings-based tours of the company’s old-vine grenache.

The three-hour ‘Grenache Discovery’ tours and lunch are led by Kevin Glastonbury, Yalumba’s chief red winemaker, and are priced at $180 per person.

“There’s a sense that right now grenache’s time has come,” he said.

“Over the years I’ve been privileged to have worked with some amazing and significantly historic grenache vineyards.”

Phone 08 8561 3200 for further details.

WINE REVIEWS

Yalumba 2018 Block 2 Grenache Rose ($40): This is probably stretching things pricewise, but it is one hell of a rosé — made from a single block of 40-70-year-old bush vines grown on sandy loam over red clay. It’s dry. It’s vibrant. It’s probably the best rosé I’ve ever had. Need I say more? Apart from the suggestion to keep it for the very best smoked salmon.

Yalumba 2017 Wine Vale Grenache ($35): This youthful red is ample evidence that you don’t need loads of inky colour to have good grenache — any more than for some of the world’s top pinots. If you’re seeking an example of the variety’s hallmark sweet, floral fruit characters go no further than this gem made from 1949-planted dry-grown bush vines. I love it, especially with lighter meat dishes such as pork.

WINE OF THE WEEK

Yalumba 2016 The Tri-Centenary ($64): This magnificent, powerfully flavoured dry red is the epitome of the company’s old-vine grenache style. Made from a block of just 820 dry-grown bush vines planted in 1889, concentration of flavour is the key here. Save your pennies and share the bottle with a dear wine-loving friend, preferably unaccompanied to fully savour its dense flavours, or at the end of a meal with some excellent hard cheese.

Written by John Rozentals

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