Another masterclass in at-ease elegance from Sandra de Pury
Yeringberg always seems a timeless and tranquil place, never more so perhaps than during 2020. But behind the scenes, as ever, it’s a hive of activity. The de Purys have been busy planting, with new vines going into the ground into the New Year. Buds from their favourite old vines were grafted onto rootstock and treated with tender loving care. They were given a month’s warmth in Sandra’s house, then grown in the family’s new hot house for a year.
The de Purys are taking the opportunity to change row orientation and vine spacing, and to choose cooler sites. The Pinot Noir will be on a higher, south-facing slope, the other varieties on an easterly slope. Spring was especially busy, with soil preparation, beneficial insect habitat/shelter belt planting, post-ramming and trellis-wire tensioning. The new vineyards will ensure Yeringberg has vines to replace all the current plants if/when phylloxera strikes, and slightly increase production in the future.
Such is the evolution at the nigh-on 160-year-old farm. As we release these 2018s, we already have so much to look forward to. Such is the bounty among passionate, pioneering farmers!
The 2018 vintage was earlier than the cool 2017, but slightly later than many vintages last decade. After a lot of rain in spring and early summer, the grapes ripened steadily in dry weather with mostly moderate temperatures. Careful disease management and bunch thinning resulted in all varieties being picked in excellent condition. Crops were relatively generous, and the wines show great intensity and depth of flavour at modest alcohol levels with perfectly ripe tannins.
Never a wine to hide its light under a bushel, Viognier really grabs your attention with its exotic, perfumed opulence and flamboyance. Our 2018 is immediately inviting, full of rich apricot, mango and orange blossom aromas that are beautifully framed by delicate floral notes, and hints of spice, candied ginger and musk. The palate offers the same flavours with more intensity, and a delicate pithy acidity which keeps everything fresh and lively. A hedonistic wine of really wonderful volume, depth and generosity, it’s a wine of deliciously moreish joy. Enjoy now or over the next 5 years. – Sandra de Pury
This is exceptional Viognier. Benchmark. Be it Australian or French. This level of warmth is necessitated to showcase the exuberance of the variety: honeysuckle, apricot and ginger glaze. The billowing phenolic chew beautifully melded to a gentle wash of acidity. A plume of flavour brushing the cheeks. This could do with more phenolic pucker, but very fine.95 points. Ned Goodwin MW, Halliday Wine Companion 2021
All the perfume. Laden with candied ginger, jasmine, apricot and spice. It’s fleshy and viscous, but keeps itself tight and spicy. There’s some nutty flavour in the mix too, and a long fragrant finish. Sure, there’s a slight warmth, but mainly it adds positively to texture and weight. Very good.94 points. Gary Walsh, The Wine Front
Marsanne 59%, Roussanne 41%. One of our favourites, the 2018 white blend continues a tradition of savoury depth and subtlety. Its youthful delicacy unfurls progressively with time, revealing layers of texture, flavour and nuance that offer fascinating drinking. Opening gently, the nose has aromas of jasmine, honeysuckle, pear and fennel. On the palate there’s a wonderful tension between the breadth of the fruit, the restrained pear skin-driven texture and the citrusy, quincy line of acidity that drives the wine effortlessly along your palate. Always a great food wine for now and in a decade’s time. – Sandra de Pury
Nectarine, honey and mint, ginger and pink grapefruit. It’s bright, but fleshy, with a fine chalky texture, some straw-like character, tight citrus bite through white fruit, and a long and focussed finish. Top shelf. Lovely now, should age beautifully.94+ points. Gary Walsh, The Wine Front
A wonderful year for Chardonnay, our 2018 shows the hallmark finesse, delicacy and poise the variety draws from our vineyard. The nose is cool, crisp and inviting with elegant aromas, notes of nectarine, white peach and a hint of struck match, and with time shows a spicy, delicately buttery, hazelnut and oatmeal richness. On the palate, juicy, tangy nectarine fruit adds beautifully to the rounded richness of the vintage. It has wonderful weight and drive, with an intensity, volume and length that belie the elegance of the structure. A wine to enjoy now or over the next 6-7 years. – Sandra de Pury
Bright, light to medium-yellow colour. The bouquet is nutty, with background stone fruits, restrained and already building attractive complexity. The wine is medium to full-bodied and pleasantly dry on the tongue, with a trace of tannin adding extra backbone and cleansing properties to the aftertaste. Hints of preserved grapefruit and lemon peel. A lovely wine that combines flavour with delicacy and refinement.95 points. Huon Hooke, The Real Review
Flavour, creamy nougat richness, stonefruit, green banana and spice, but with a firm cut of grapefruity acidity. It’s a bold wine, though it’s not loose, and doesn’t rely on struck match stuff, more delivers an appealing hit of traditional Chardonnay goodness. Has something of a chalky feel, but smoothness and gloss too, with toast and biscuit spice on a fresh finish. It drinks very well now, and is likely at its best over the next couple of years.94 points. Gary Walsh, The Wine Front
Bright and spicy, our 2018 Pinot Noir is a wine that balances delicacy and finesse, with the sense of depth and complexity that old vines produce. The initial bouquet of wild strawberry, raspberry and red cherry merges into more complex aromas of rose petal, cumin, liquorice and nutmeg, with a hint of earthy mushroom. The palate is full of crunchy red fruit, with subtle rose petal and spiced rhubarb flavours, but there’s also a deeply savoury layer bringing a real complexity to the palate. An almost indistinguishable line of acidity gives brightness, length and wonderful perfumed lift to the back palate. Lovely drinking now, but equally a wine to savour over the next 8-10 years. – Sandra de Pury
Red berries, smoky toasty oak, ginger and almond biscuits, latent floral perfume. It’s fresh and autumnal at once, a fine mesh of tannin and bright almost tangy acidity, spicy wood plays a pretty firm hand, lively finish of good length. Good wine, but needs some time to settle down.92+ points. Gary Walsh, The Wine Front
Shiraz 97%, Viognier 3%. The depth and character of the fruit that our Shiraz vineyard is now producing is a delight to see. Subtle, savoury and deep set, the 2018 Shiraz offers aromas of blueberry, black pepper and dark cherry, building weight and presence as it unfurls, with complex notes of bay, thyme, salumi and liquorice. At the same time, there’s a freshness that wraps itself around the core of deep fruit, giving real lift and vibrancy to the perfume. The palate is immediately bright and energetic, with weight and richness too, savoury, subtle yet deeply concentrated, tightly wound and finely structured. Tasted over a couple of weeks, this is a wine that just keeps on evolving, so while it’s wonderful now, we’re equally confident it’ll provide drinking pleasure for many years to come. – Sandra de Pury
Highly perfumed, exotic notes of cracked pepper and spice, red and black fruit, and grilled meat. It’s medium-bodied, svelte and juicy, subtle kind of wine, but no shortage of flavour in the spice and mixed berries kind of thing. Tannin is fine with an emery board quality, perfume of jasmine and stone fruit carries the finish. Stylish. Better with a few more years in bottle, I’d say.93 points. Gary Walsh, The Wine Front
Cabernet Sauvignon 58%, Cabernet Franc 13%, Merlot 11%, Petit Verdot 10%, Malbec 8%. As always, our Bordeaux blend is a perfect example of the saying that the whole is greater than the sum of the parts. The 2018 vintage is a great example, seamlessly combining depth and power with purity, elegance and finesse. An imposing nose of cassis, violets, plum and roasted peppers, with aromas of graphite, cigar box, cedar and bay – everything in place, well controlled, perfectly proportioned. The palate, powerful this vintage, opens in typically generous and fleshy style, with ripe black fruits, plummy Merlot plushness, and wonderful floral lift, while the ample, well-knit tannins provide savoury shape and structure. The palate finishes with effortless length and complexity. This is a wine to enjoy now, but as always, a wine that will reward cellaring over 15 to 20 years. – Sandra de Pury
Beautiful perfume of dried flowers, sweet tobacco and spice, blackcurrant and redcurrant, even almond meal. Dense and dark, with a smattering of dried herb, ripe cherry, crisp acidity, firm grainy tannin, and a distinctly ‘mineral’ and savoury finish of exemplary length. It’s a textbook example of superb Yarra Valley Cabernet.96 points. Gary Walsh, The Wine Front