Yalumba: two new to the UK reds plus The Signature 2012
Last year Yalumba-owned importer Negociants hosted an Icon Release Tasting. It was good to catch up with Red Winemaker Kevin Glastonbury (pictured), with whom I judged at Rutherglen Show in 2013. These two new reds from Yalumba caught my eye and, as ever, Yalumba The Signature was exemplary.
Yalumba Steeple Vineyard Shiraz 2010 (Light Pass, Barossa Valley)
Yalumba has singled out special vineyards for its Distinguished Site range. This example hails from the Steeple Vineyard in Light Pass, whose well drained soils were planted to Shiraz (own roots) in 1919. In this vintage, and with judicious use of oak (38% spent 12 months in new French oak barriques, the balance in 5 year old French oak hogsheads), the emphasis is initially very much on the beautiful Barossa Shiraz fruit – sweet but juicy red cherry, mulberry, blackberry and plum with a lick of toast. The juiciness – a harmonious ripe acidity – extends and balances the palate. The finish is long and persistent with fine grained, gently supportive tannins and a very subtle, cool hint of spearmint. As it opens up, its complexing earthy liquorice note takes firmer root, building in the glass. Generous yet composed, quite linear; good to go now and into the mid-term. 14%
Yalumba FDR1A Museum Release Cabernet Sauvignon Shiraz 2005 (Barossa)
This is the bottle Glastonbury is cradling in his right hand. With good reason. It was one of my picks of the whole tasting. Released to celebrate Yalumba’s 165th anniversary in 2014 it comprises 78% Cabernet Sauvignon from Eden Valley and 22% Barossa Valley Shiraz. The Cabernet Sauvignon was sourced from Eden Valley, near Moculta, from 30 year old vines grown on gravelly red brown earth. The Shiraz is from two vineyards around the Light Pass region, the first (presumably Steeple Vineyard) planted in 1919, grown on rich red brown earth over red clay. The second, planted in 1970, is grown on very sandy loamy soil over red clay. The nose is polished, perfumed and refined, yet still so fruity, with vivid, very intense, blueberry and blackcurrant fruit, lifted but savoury balsamic notes and slinky tannins. Wonderful richness with persistence and terrific poise. Thoroughly delicious, with plenty to give yet. It was matured for 22 months in 50% new French oak hogsheads and barriques, the balance in two year old French and Hungarian hogsheads. 14%
Yalumba The Signature Cabernet Sauvignon Shiraz 2012 (Barossa)
In 2012, The Signature’s 54th signature belongs to none other than fifth generation proprietor Robert Hill-Smith. Given the difficult vintage, this flagship, extremely ageworthy red (click here for my notes on the 2004, 1992, 1976 & 1966) was not made in 2011 for which reason, said Glastonbury, the 2012 was released a little earlier than usual. Compared with the 2010 The Signature’s bounteous, more broachable fruit, I found the 2012 firmer – drier of expression (a common trait in this year). The tannins are papery, very fine, but abundant. Though they seemed to absorb or blot the fruit on my quick snifter sample, there was no disguising the deep seam of cedar-laced cassis and black olive fruit yet be mined with air and time. Like the very best of its 53 predecessors, I reckon this is a serious keeper. And at the moment, as they say in cricket, let this one go straight through to the keeper; cellar before broaching for at least five years, preferably decades. It was matured for 22 months in 25% new French hogsheads and barriques with the balance in older French, Hungarian and American hogsheads. Sourced from vines planted between 1935 and 1969, much of the Cabernet Sauvignon was sourced from the Miles vineyard in Eden Valley. The Barossa fruit came from blocks in Williamstown, Gomersal, Light Pass and the Krondorf foothills; the Schiller vineyard on the Barossa Valley floor providing much of the Shiraz. 14%