Not only in life, but with wine, too! I had the pleasure of meeting and dining with Jane Ferrari of Yalumba last Thursday. What a hoot she is! She loves her wine, her company and traveling. She is a total foodie, which is so much fun, and she unabashedly tells you what she thinks. Yes, there are many winemakers like that, but she’s got that Aussie personality that is a total joy to be around.
Meeting Jane was new, but Yalumba wines are old friends of mine. From the first Y series I drank years ago, to the delectable Octavius that I try any chance I get. And the great thing about Yalumba is that they are constantly improving their selection, coming out with new wines and working to perfect the current lineup.
Speaking of lineups, here are a couple we tried at lunch (you’ll get more stories and more wine later in the week as these wines have some great stories behind them.
Bush Vine Grenache – This wine reminded me of a cru Beaujolais, but better. If you are out buying those $10 or $11 Shiraz from Australia rated 90 points from Robert Parker, stop! This wine is so much better and comes in at the same price point! It shall be my new staple on the Thanksgiving table. Yumminess is what I say. Meaning, if I were rating it with some Netflix stars, this one would get 3.75.
Yalumba Organic Shiraz – woo-hoo! I love the organically grown Viognier from Yalumba and was excited to see a red with the same label. Jane loves the story behind this wine because the grapes come from where they are not supposed to come from. The grapes for the organically grown Shiraz come from a vineyard in the Riverland region. For those of you not familiar with Australia geography, Riverland is Yellow Tail country, aka, high yields, mass-produced fruit – not a region associated with organics. Some of the Oxford Landing grapes come from Riverland (though they come from producers who Yalumba has worked with for years), and while sourcing grapes for these labels, they came across a vineyard owned by the Barich family near the town of Renmark.
This family was passionate about organics – in fact, everything they grow and do there is certified organic. Plus, they are experimenting with biodynamic farming as well. They spread volcanic soil sourced from a lake made by a crater under the vines and their sprays are based on molasses. When the Yalumba team tasted wines from this vineyard, they were beyond impressed, and that is where this delicious Shiraz comes from. The wine is purple, with an elegant nose full of crushed red berry fruit and a hint of spice. The palate has great ripe berry, with an underlying note of black pepper – which is so telling of Shiraz. Bright acidity and mild tannins make this a light-bodied Shiraz, definitely not Barossa Valley style. It is perfect for food and all around pleasing.
Those are two of the reds I found most intriguing. Stay tuned for notes on the Eden Valley Viognier and the newly-labeled Y series wines.