Wine review — Innocent Bystander, Voyager Estate and Yalumba

Innocent Bystander Yarra Valley Pinot Gris 2011 $20
Innocent Bystander Yarra Valley Chardonnay 2011 $25

Winemaker Steve Flamsteed writes, “2011 was a cool, wet and challenging year. White varieties revelled in the cool conditions and those growers who avoided late season moulds by careful vineyard work, produced some of the best fruit we have seen since our first vintage in 2000”. Flamsteed’s pinot gris and chardonnay display the lean and tight but tasty character of the season. The pinot gris shows varietal pear-like flavour and savoury, dry finish. The medium-bodied chardonnay reveals the more citrusy end of the chardonnay flavour spectrum, backed by a silky, smooth structure and lively, bone-dry finish.

Voyager Estate Girt by Sea 2010 $19–$24
As several of Margaret River’s top cabernet blends now push to $100 or so, Girt by Sea delivers an affordable and delightful, drink-now expression of the region’s great red specialty. Blended principally from cabernet and merlot (usually with a splash each of shiraz and malbec), it’s a rich but elegant, fine-boned red, based on just-ripe, mulberry-like varietal flavour, with an attractive overly of cedar and tobacco-like character that seems to come partly from the oak and partly from the varietal blend. The 2010 vintage seems a little more intense than the lovely 2009 – a classy wine indeed at this price.

Yalumba Running with Bulls Wrattonbully Tempranillo 2011 $17–$20
Yalumba makes two tempranillos under its Running with Bulls label, one from the warm Barossa Valley, the other from the cooler Wrattonbully region, several hundred kilometres to the south – between Coonawarra and Padthaway, on the Limestone Coast. The 2011 wine, made by Sam Wigan, is medium bodied, savoury and soft, though packed with tannins. The savouriness and tannins set the wine apart from mainstream, fleshy Australian styles, making it good company with savoury food or roasted red meats. Tempranillo, a Spanish red variety, performs well in a number of Australian wine growing regions.

Copyright © Chris Shanahan 2012
First published 27 May 2012 in The Canberra Times