Wild red and blue fruits, high-toned fragrance and bag-loads of spice burst from the glass. These characters amplify on the palate. Energetic yet lightly framed in the mouth, there is bright flowing fruit, pepper and fragrant herbs that carry to an earthy finish, gently teased out by hints of spice.
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Aromas of spice, blueberry and raspberry rush out of the glass. On the next wave ride wildflowers and minerals, and then a third wave carries more savory notes of black olives and thyme. After time in glass it all knits together. And then comes the palate: textural, mineral, spicy, brambly fruited, smudged with tannins and crunching with acidity.
The vineyards he chooses are those possessing great interest, charm and depth, and that capture a sense of mystique. Ben’s base is the Yarra Valley where he has made wine at Yering Station and Mount Langi Ghiran. His own exploration goes far beyond. Having trained in viticulture, he pays close attention to what’s happening in each vineyard throughout the growing season. His wines are intensely textural with flavors continuing to develop sip after sip. Fruit is expressive, structure is present without being constraining.
From around Victoria, Ben has crafted single-vineyard expressions of Rhone varieties in small batches. He also has a series of wines called "B Minor", including blends that speak to him and his musical background, as well as an undisgorged Blanc de Blanc. Unfined and unfiltered wines that are intended to express, in his words, ‘the vineyard in a glass’.
As the most important area of wine production in Victoria today, the Yarra Valley is most popular for Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, which account for over half of vineyard acreage. A gentle, rolling and rural region alongside the Margaret River, the Yarra Valley has a cool maritime climate with a lengthy growing season, perfect for these cool-climate varieties.
Two styles of Pinot Noir are possible here. The warmer Lower Yarra Valley with sandy, loam soils, produces plush and fruity Pinot Noir while the cooler, higher-elevation Upper Yarra Valley with soils of young red basalt, produces more angular and mineral-driven Pinot Noir.
Yarra Valley Chardonnay is among the best in Australia. To preserve the floral aromatics and fresh citrus flavors for which this area’s Chardonnay is so appreciated, time in barrel is restrained (though barrel fermentation is common). The best Yarra Valley Chardonnays display brilliant acidity, leesy characteristics, citrus, stone fruit and flavors of ginger and spice.
Marked by an unmistakable deep purple hue and savory aromatics, Syrah makes an intense, powerful and often age-worthy red. Native to the Northern Rhône, Syrah achieves its maximum potential in the steep village of Hermitage and plays an important component in the Red Rhône Blends of the south, adding color and structure to Grenache and Mourvèdre. Syrah is the most widely planted grape of Australia and is important in California and Washington. Sommelier Secret—Such a synergy these three create together, the Grenache, Syrah, Mourvedre trio often takes on the shorthand term, “GSM.”