It’s been a few years since I tasted a range of Yarra Yering wines. I first came across them when sometime in the 1980s Nick Chlebnikowski (Nick’s Wine Merchants) brought the wines and proprietor and winemaker Dr Bailey Carrodus to the UK. They were an unusual combination: Nick exuberant, loud and full-on; Dr Carrodus quiet and, dare I say, somewhat snobbish.
Somehow this seemingly mismatched pair got along, and after an awkward start I got on with both of them very well. The wines at that time were certainty different from the mainstream Australian offerings. Some were exceptional, others not so, though Carrodus was sensitive about criticism.
Carrodus may have been quiet but he thought his wines equal to any Bordeaux first growth or top end Rhone wine. His wines were also on a roll in Australia, James Halliday being a strong supporter.
The good doctor died in 2008. A year or two later the business was acquired by a syndicate and Sarah Crowe was appointed winemaker.
Crowe has continued the individuality, and to my mind lifted the quality, removing the hit and miss of vintages from the early ’80s.
Dan Murphy’s stocks several of the wines at about $10 a bottle cheaper than the full retail price, or about $15 bottle cheaper in a mix of six.
All wines were tasted in March 2017.
Yarra Yering ‘Agincourt’ Yarra Valley Cabernet Malbec 2014: A nose that requires thoughtful consideration as it changes from the green/tart of cabernet into the softness of ripe plum malbec. They seem to take turn in dominance. In the mouth it’s a joy as it crosses the palate, providing a lot of character on the journey. 94 points. $86 seems high but in global terms it’s about right.
Yarra Yering ‘Underhill’ Yarra Valley 2015: Earthy nose and very adult across the palate. It’s savoury and sour cherry with a sweet edge, a world of complexity in one sip. It’s a world-class wine, 96 points, and worth its $100.
Yarra Yering ‘N°2’ Yarra Valley Dry Red 2015: Nothing defined jumped out of the glass for me, but I happily spent some time smelling the wine, trying to pin whatever it offered. Across the palate it offered a lot of deep flavours, more savoury than fruit. On the upper level sour fruits such as blackcurrant and cherry provided points of delight. 96 points and worth $100.
Yarra Yering ‘N°1’ Yarra Valley Dry Red 2015: Strange for a Bordeaux-style blend, but I got a whiff of meat on the nose along with bramble hedgerow, all good. It’s very elegant, gliding across the palate giving pleasure all the way. 97 points and $100; add another $50 plus for an equivalent Bordeaux.
Also sent with the Yarra Yering wines were two Warramate wines. The vineyard is next to Yarra Yering, and owned by the Church family.
Warramate Yarra Valley Shiraz 2015: Slight fresh mushroom nose to start that changes to plum. Gentle on entry with a silkiness that slips to the middle of the palate before deeper layers are revealed. It doesn’t go too deep; just enough to make it interesting and enjoyable. 94 points and value at $28.
Warramate Yarra Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2014: Light on the nose but cabernet hints of blackcurrant are there. It has the cabernet bite as it travels across the palate, showing why so often it’s blended with softer grapes. At the time of tasting it’s better with food but it’s built to last so another couple of years should show those dusty, dry cabernet characters. 92 points now and more as it ages. Top end of its price spectrum at $50.