"In general, I find Coonawarra a vastly over-rated region for cabernet Sauvignon, with a few noticeable exceptions, one of which is Yalumba's the Menzies, a Cabernet Sauvignon aged in 300 liter French and American hogsheads for 22 months. The 2003 The Menzies Cabernet Sauvignon reveals gorgeous notes of creosote, blueberry liqueur, black-currants, licorice, and cedar. Full-bodied with great fruit purity, real stature, wonderful sweetness (from glycerine), ripe tannin, and a long, heady finish, it can be drunk now or cellared for 15 or more years."
Robert Parker The Wine Advocate
Yalumba is Australia's oldest family-owned winery, founded in 1849 by Samuel Smith. From modest beginnings, the Yalumba Wine Company has grown to become one of Australia's most successful wineries, owned by 5th generation Robert Hill-Smith. Yalumba regularly receives accolades for its outstanding wines, and for its leadership in viticultural innovation and sustainable farming. Yalumba was the first winery in the world to be recognized with the Climate Award from the United States Environmental Protection Agency (2007), earned the International Green Apple Gold Award from House of Commons (U.K. 2011), and was the first winery outside the United States to win the BRIT International Award of Excellence in Sustainable Winegrowing Competition (2013). The Yalumba portfolio commences with the fresh and flavorsome varietal wines of the Y Series, then moves up to the Samuel’s Garden line to capture the essence of the classic Rhone-influenced varietals of the Barossa and Eden Valleys, explores sub-regional complexity through innovative, modern wines in the Hand Pickedline, and culminates with the coveted, collectible Yalumba Rare and Fine wines including Signature and Octavius.
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Located on the Limestone Coast of South Australia, Coonawarra is quite flat, except for the vineyards, which are slightly elevated. That, along with the proximity to the ocean and frequent cloud cover, Coonawarra never gets too hot. There is a small strip of soil, about nine miles long and two miles wide, called Terra Rossa, or red earth. It is the coveted place to plant Shiraz & Cabernet Sauvignon in this small region.
Cabernet Sauvignon is the grape of choice here. There is a good amount of Shiraz planted as well, and blends of the two are popular. Cabernet grown in the Terra Rossa shows a sense of place, and the wines are in high demand. The wine is elegant in structure, with prominent acidity and firm tannins, while being full of ripe fruit flavors typical of Australia's style.
Like the United States, which is about the same size, Australia's winemaking regions are huddled into one or two pockets of the country. The state of South Australia, which produces about 60% of the country's wine, also has the most wineries and sub-regions, including McLaren Vale, Clare Valley, Coonawarra and Barossa Valley. New South Wales is home to the Hunter Valley, while the smaller, southern state of
Victoria is best known for theYarra Valley. Head way west to the very large state of Western Australia and you'll find the tiny region of Margaret River at the southern tip.
Most wine ranges from 10-16% alcohol by volume. Some varietals tend to have higher (for example Zinfandel and Cabernet Sauvignon) or lower alcohol levels (Pinot Noir and many white varietals), but there is always some variation from producer to producer. Some wine falls outside of this range, for instance Port weighs in closer to 20%, while Muscat and Riesling are usually a bit below 10%.
Wine Style Guide
Light & Fruity
Red wines that are more fruit-forward and lighter in tannin and body.
Smooth & Supple
Medium bodied reds that go down easy, with smooth tannins and supple fruit.
Earthy & Spicy
Wines where earthy and/or spicy dominate the flavors – typically medium to full body.
Big & Bold
Full bodied wines that have concentrated fruit and are higher in alcohol and/or tannins. Some need age.