Nose: Sweet and floral with perfumes of strawberries, violets and toffee apples.
Palate: Medium body with a velvety mouth feel. Soft, round and supple tannins. Hints of cranberries and raspberry licorice.
Innocent Bystander Winery
The idea behind Innocent Bystander is to produce great value, food friendly wines that are not your run of the mill varietal blends. Taking fruit from various sources in Central Victoria (in particular Sangiovese, Shiraz, Pinot Gris and Viognier) the team at Innocent Bystander is inspired to utilize and showcase the natural qualities of each region in their unique blends.
As a group of winemakers and viticulturalists who eschew the bland direction and market dominance increasingly exerted by the large corporate winemaking groups, the folks behind these wines see themselves as innocent bystanders. They remain accountable to their craft, not shareholders.
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A short drive from Melbourne, Yarra Valley is the oldest and most successful of Victoria's wine growing regions. The cool climate of the area makes it suitable for the popular varieties of Pinot Noir & Chardonnay. Shiraz also thrives, and produces elegant and restrained versions of the varietal.
Producers in Yarra Valley have hit their stride when it comes to Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. Instead of striving to make wine like Burgundy or California, winemakers are crafting a Yarra Valley style, letting the grapes and the soil do the talking. Getting better each year, Yarra Valley is a region to watch.
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.
My notes (collective summary of 6 wine tasters' notes at a dinner party. Food paring: cheese and cold cuts appetizer, pig-in-a-blanket, primavera pasta, clam Rockefeller, Korean style BBQ bone-in beef, and Thai style fried rice): Color: very light red Bouquet: light flowery aroma that does not last long, quickly dissipates. If you can smell the flowery aroma on the 3rd try, then you really have a sensitive nose. Taste: unimpressive; cannot detect its taste when paired with food. Alone, one can taste a bit of the fruit, earth, and licorice.
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 & Crisp
Light to medium bodied wines that are high in acid and light to medium fruit. Typically no oak.
Fruity & Smooth
Light to medium bodied wines with lots of juicy fruit, typically medium acid and medium oak.
Rich & Creamy
Full bodied wines that have typically undergone malo-lactic fermentation and/or spent time in oak.