This month marks the highly anticipated release of the 2020 Yarra Yering Cuvée. Winemaker and General Manager Sarah Crowe says the 2020 wines are full of grace. “The influence of the cool growing season on the wine style is reminiscent of historic Yarra vintages and has a very traditional harvest energy in the Yarra Valley.”
While the unsettled weather had an impact on yield (by around 30%), Sarah says the cooler season is present in the flavor of the wines. “Average weight and bright acid lines. This is a small but mighty crop.”
The vineyards at the foot of the Warramate Hills.
Yarra Yering, one of the oldest and finest wineries in the Yarra Valley, was established in 1969 by Dr Bailey Carrodus. The winery released its first vintage in 1973 (including the first of the iconic Dry Red Wine No. 1 and Dry Red Wine No. 2). The release was the first commercial vintage the region had seen in 50 years, placing Yarra Yering at the forefront of the modern Yarra Valley wine region. Almost 50 years later, the vineyards at the foot of the Warramate Hills are producing some of Australia’s finest wines.
Sarah Crowe joined Yarra Yering in 2013 after more than a decade in the Hunter Valley. She was drawn to Victoria by the winery’s impeccable reputation and desire to produce cool-climate wines. In 2017, Sarah was named Winemaker of the Year by Halliday for 2014 wines – her very first vintage with Yarra Yering. Andrew George, the manager of the local Yarra Valley vineyard, works harmoniously alongside him, who celebrates 10 years with the winery in 2022.
Sarah Crowe, winemaker and general manager of Yarra Yering.
Together the two continue to refine the winemaking process, while still working according to the philosophy of Dr. Bailey Carrodus – growing the best fruit possible and bringing that meticulous detail into the winery. Sarah says the goal is for Yarra Yering wines to speak of place. “Small-batch fermentation, hand-diving and gravity-filling in an underground cellar are all key elements in the crafting of our premium wines. They represent the Yarra Valley, our wine site as well as the styles and blends on which our reputation has been built.”
Check out four of the 2020 wines below.
60/20/15/5% Cabernet Sauvignon/Merlot/Malbec/Petit Verdot. The Cabernet fruit has been scraped and crushed, the other varieties kept as whole berries. Aging 15 months in French barrels (40% new). A deep and luminous crimson purple hue. Essence of grand cabernet with its fruit core of cassis and boysenberry, plus a complex assortment of cardamom, coriander seed, black tea and sweet, fresh tobacco leaf. Equally good on the detailed, layered and lingering palate. There’s a freshness and restraint to the blackcurrant fruit that builds, culminating in a long finish with chalky tannins. A complete and beautiful wine. Philip Rich, Halliday Wine Companion, 97 points.
MSRP $140 | Drink until 2035 | yarrayering.com
Shiraz with 3% mataro and 1% viognier, the latter added as a skin to some of the fermenters. Aging 15 months in French barrels (30% new). A deep purple red. Concentrated red currants, satsuma plums and blackberries accompanied by fennel seeds, olive tapenande, dark chocolate powder and a little fresh vanilla from the oak. A full-bodied wine with its dark sour cherry fruit, a slight savory edge and firm, very fine tannins that give it the structure it needs to age well into the decade and beyond. Philip Rich, Halliday Wine Companion, 96 points.
MSRP $125 | Drink until 2032 | yarrayering.com
From a 3.2ha block of Shiraz, planted in the far west of Yarra Yering in 1973. Half was fermented with 20% whole bunches in an old 3,500 liter oak barrel, pressed and returned to this barrel to mature for 12 months. The other half was matured in puncheons for 12 months. A very bright medium crimson purple. A delirious amalgamation of aromas including blueberries, potpourri, licorice root, Sichuan pepper and caraway seeds. Medium-bodied and elegant, it has terrific viscosity and the tannins are oh, so powdery and fine. Beautiful now and for the next 10+ years. Philip Rich, Halliday Wine Companion, 97 points.
MSRP $125 | Drink until 2035 | yarrayering.com
75/25% cabernet/malbec. Mainly sorted and destemmed berries with a small amount of whole bunches. Aged in French Bordeaux-style barrels (15% new). A deep purple red. Scented with darker red fruits, freshly hung meat and a lifted floral-herbal character from the Malbec. An open, confident, bright and utterly delicious Yarra Cabernet. Philip Rich, Halliday Wine Companion, 94 points.
RRP $105 | Drink until 2028 | yarrayering.com
For the month of May, the winery organizes tastings of the new Yarra Yering and Carrodus. Tickets for the one-hour sessions are $50 per person and include a tasting of eight wines. You can book your visit to the Yarra Valley Tasting Room here. The Yarra Yering 2020 vintage is available now at yarrayering.com.