Category Archives: Yarra Valley

Apr 04 2015

A Wine to Put on Your Radar: DCB Wine Pinot Noir 2013

Posted on April 04, 2015 | By merrill@cellarit.com

You may recall that not long ago I raved about a bottle of Hoddles Creek 1er Cru Pinot Noir 2013 we enjoyed over dinner. The Wine Front’s Gary Walsh remarked that at $45 per bottle the wine was a bargain, arguing that “To get quality like this out of Burgundy, you’d be looking at up to $150+”. (Hoddles Creek 1er Cru Pinot Noir 2013, The Wine Front 14 January 2015)

Consequently I was very intrigued to read Mike Bennie’s impressive review of the DCB Wine Pinot Noir Yarra Valley 2013 (rrp $20) in this month’s Gourmet Traveller Wine. It’s the first release for a new label by Chris Bendle, one of the members of the winemaking crew at the Yarra Valley’s Hoddles Creek. According to Bennie, this wine and its sibling, the 2013 DCB Wine Chardonnay, will undoubtedly make the list of Australia’s best-value wines. (From Big Things by Mike Bennie, Gourmet Traveller Wine, April/May 2015)

Bendle has been making wine at Hoddles Creek since 2010. He told Bennie that “The D’Anna family [owners of Hoddles Creek have had a big influence on me. I’ve learned that people seek out value in wine, and that wine can be about pleasure, enjoyment as well as accessibility.”

In 2013 Bendle was fortunate to secure some pinot noir and chardonnay from a vineyard halfway between Healesville and Woori Yallock. Usually most of the fruit is reserved for Hoddles Creek. The wines, made at Hoddles Creek, are unfiltered and unfined.

Here’s Bennie’s review:

2013 DCB Wine Pinot Noir ($20) is packed with plush, red berry flavours and just a faint hint of dusty wood from older oak barrels. It’s easy drinking, yet stylish in its own way, punching well about its weight”

by Merrill Witt, Editor

The wine is still … Read the rest

Jun 06 2014

Coldstream Hills Pinot Noir: Terroir + Experience = Superb Results!

Posted on June 06, 2014 | By merrill@cellarit.com

I’ve been fortunate to enjoy a couple of bottles of the Coldstream Hills Pinot Noir 2012 over the past few months. On both occasions I was really impressed with the enticing dark fruit aromas and the vibrant, pure fruit flavours complemented by a thread of minerality and ever so slight savoury undertones.

The 2012 Coldstream Hills Pinot Noir is quite Burgundian in character

The Wine Front’s Mike Bennie described this wine as being quite Burgundian in character, meaning, to quote Bennie, “fancy oak aromas for the first five minutes, then the dark and red fruit flows with a higher tone of what I call alpine herbs. Very pure and tense across the palate, finishes with almost the pucker of sourness, but it’s not, it’s just hewn to a rapier-point with succulent acidity. Smooth, flowing, light to medium bodied feel with graphite minerality laid under bright fruit flavours.” (The Wine Front, 21 May 2013)

2012 was an exceptional vintage for Yarra Valley pinot noir

Bennie spoke with wine critic and Coldstream Hills ex-proprietor James Halliday, who was ebullient about the quality of the Yarra Valley fruit for the 2012 vintage. The flagship Coldstream Hills Reserve Pinot Noir 2012 is also winning rave reviews.

Coldstream Hills winemakers are finalists for 2014 Gourmet Traveller Wine Winemaker of the Year

Coldstream Hills is a winery that seems to have hit its stride. Chief winemaker Andrew Fleming and winemaker Greg Jarratt are both finalists for Australia’s Gourmet Traveller Wine’s prestigious Winemaker of the Year award. Fleming recently told wine critic Huon Hooke that “We’ve always been very successful with chardonnay but our pinots have come on in leaps and bounds in the last few years…The pinots have been improving because the vines are getting older, but also because the people are getting older, and … Read the rest

Jun 06 2012

Mount Mary Quintet: The Quintessential Cabernet Blend

Posted on June 06, 2012 | By merrill@cellarit.com

When I was reading Jay McInerney’s article on Paso Robles blends, I couldn’t help thinking about Australia’s most renowned blended wine, the Mount Mary Vineyard Quintet Cabernets. Justin Smith of Saxum, one of Paso Robles’ most respected winemakers, told McInerney that “Blends are a great tool for winemakers to be able to bring complexity and balance to their wines, especially when working within a single site.” (Discovering the Beautiful Blends of Paso Robles by Jay McInerney, The Wall Street Journal, 15 June 2012)

Mount Mary has been putting Smith’s approach into practice for over 40 years. Back in the early 70s, Mount Mary’s founder, the late Dr John Middleton, decided that he wanted to make an elegant, low alcohol Bordeaux blend. He settled on a gentle, north facing slope in the heart of the Yarra Valley and planted it to cabernet sauvignon (46%), merlot (26%), cabernet franc (18%), malbec (5%) and petit verdot (5%). These varieties became the basis for his celebrated Mount Mary Quintet Cabernets.

Elegant, structure and complexity are the adjectives most used to describe the Quintet’s style. Middleton preferred the taut, tight and lean flavours of great old red Bordeaux, and modeled the Quintet on the classical proportioned wines he revered. When it was first released in 1979 the Quintet proved a revelation to consumers, more used to a richer style of Australian cabernet. Available only to buyers who gained a spot on the coveted mailing list, it quickly attained a cult-like status.

Today the Mount Mary vineyard is regarded as an exceptional site, and the crops are carefully managed to insure that the integrity of Middleton’s original style is maintained. (Apparently Middleton was very hands-on up until his death in 2006 at age 82.) Each variety, for example, is picked only after … Read the rest