Wine review — Yalumba & Peter Lehmann

Yalumba Eden Valley Viognier 2004 $19.95 to $22.95
Yalumba offers three viogniers, each outstanding at its price – and little wonder. Since establishing Australia’s first significant plantings in the Eden Valley in 1980, they’ve worked hard to tame and bottle what winemaker Louisa Rose calls an ‘incredibly challenging’ and ‘unpredictable’ variety. The amazingly plush, complex $60-a-bottle ‘The Virgilius’ comes from those original plantings; and at the other end the $10-$13 ‘Y’ is a tasty South Australia blend. In between, at $19.95 cellar door or $22.95 retail, comes this trophy winner from the recent Cowra and Barossa Shows. Partly barrel and partly tank fermented with indigenous yeast, it offers viognier’s unique and delicious apricot-like aroma and flavour and silky, slippery texture.

Peter Lehmann Eden Valley Riesling 2005 $16 to $20
More often than not the very best rieslings reveal more as they age. This was reflected in last week’s Barossa wine show results. Amongst the 2005 vintage contenders, the flagship rieslings of Peter Lehmann, Yalumba and Leo Buring all rated behind cheaper commercial releases from the same companies. But, over time, we are sure to see those delicate, steely flagships surge ahead. Meanwhile, as these mature, there’s huge drinking pleasure in the more revealing, slightly cheaper rieslings like this trophy winner from Peter Lehmann. With lovely aromatics, delicious fruit and taut, ultra-fresh, dry finish, it’s a stunning summer drink. Watch for the specials when it’s released in the next month or two.

Yalumba Barossa Bush Vines Grenache 2004 about $18
This gold medal winner from last week’s Barossa show presents a fragrant, bright, fruity expression of grenache without the confection character sometimes found in the variety. Winemaker Kevin Glastonbury says it’s all sourced from 60-70 year old Barossa vines. The fruit is hand picked, crushed, partially de-stemmed then left in fermenters varying in capacity from 8 to 20 tonnes. After a couple of days soaking on skins a spontaneous ferment begins but this is augmented by the addition of cultured yeasts shortly thereafter. Part of the wine sits on skins for a few months after fermentation. The balance goes to 3, 4 and 5 year old barrels for maturation.  The result is a generous, soft, savoury red featuring slightly brighter fruit in the about-to-be-released 2004 than in the more savoury, currently available 2003.

Copyright © Chris Shanahan 2005 & 2007