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Innocent Bystander Yarra Valley Pinot Noir 2011

Pinot Noir from Yarra Valley, Australia
  • W&S91
12.9% ABV
  • JH93
  • W&S91
  • WS90
  • WS92
  • WW90
  • JH95
  • W&S91
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3.6 7 Ratings
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3.6 7 Ratings
12.9% ABV

Winemaker Notes

Aromas of briary chocolate, brambly red berries and just a hint of stemmy spice lead into earth, cocoa dusted espresso beans and a sprinkle of orange peel characters on the nose. On the palate, flavors of cherry compote are complemented by fresh bramble and a hint of tar and grilled meat that finish with a lingering twang of chalky tannin.

The perfect match for chargrilled quail and rosemary, Peking duck pancakes, Beaufort cheese or bruschetta with olive tapenade and feta cheese.

Critical Acclaim

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W&S 91
Wine & Spirits
Here's a steal: a light, crisp, cherry-scented pinot noir with delicate weight and refreshing length of flavor. A high-toned scent of juniper and rose adds to the wine's finesse. Compellingly drinkable. Best Buy.
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Innocent Bystander

Innocent Bystander

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Innocent Bystander, , Australia
Innocent Bystander
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.

St. Emilion

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Marked by its historic fortified village—perhaps the prettiest in all of Bordeaux, the St-Émilion appellation, along with its neighboring village of Pomerol, are leaders in quality on the Right Bank of Bordeaux. These Merlot-dominant red wines (complemented by various amounts of Cabernet Franc and/or Cabernet Sauvignon) remain some of the most admired and collected wines of the world.

St-Émilion has the longest history in wine production in Bordeaux—longer than the Left Bank—dating back to an 8th century monk named Saint Émilion who became a hermit in one of the many limestone caves scattered throughout the area.

Today St-Émilion is made up of hundreds of independent farmers dedicated to the same thing: growing Merlot and Cabernet Franc (and tiny amounts of Cabernet Sauvignon). While always roughly the same blend, the wines of St-Émilion vary considerably depending on the soil upon which they are grown—and the soils do vary considerably throughout the region.

The chateaux with the highest classification (Premier Grand Cru Classés) are on gravel-rich soils or steep, clay-limestone hillsides. There are only four given the highest rank, called Premier Grand Cru Classés A (Chateau Cheval Blanc, Figeac, Angélus, Pavie) and 14 are Premier Grand Cru Classés B. Much of the rest of the vienyards in the appellation are on flatter land where the soils are a mix of gravel, sand and alluvial matter.

Great wines from St-Émilion will be deep in color, and might have characteristics of blackberry liqueur, black raspberry, licorice, chocolate, grilled meat, earth or truffles. They will be bold, layered and lush.

Bordeaux Blends

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One of the world’s most classic and popular styles of red wine, Bordeaux-inspired blends have spread from their homeland in France to nearly every corner of the New World, especially in California, Washington, and Australia. Typically based on either Cabernet Sauvignon or Merlot and supported by Cabernet Franc, Malbec, and/or Petit Verdot, these are sometimes referred to in the US as “Meritage” blends. In Bordeaux itself, Cabernet Sauvignon dominates in wines from the Left Bank of the Gironde river, while the Right Bank focuses on Merlot. Often, blends from outside the region are classified as being inspired by one or the other.

In the Glass

Cabernet-based, Left-Bank-styled wines are typically more tannic and structured, while Merlot-based wines modeled after the Right Bank are softer and suppler. Cabernet Franc can add herbal notes, while Malbec and Petit Verdot contribute color and structure. Wines from Bordeaux can be bold and fruit-forward or restrained and earthy, while New World facsimiles tend to emulate the former style. In general, Bordeaux red blends can have aromas and flavors of black currant, cedar, plum, graphite, and violet, with more red fruit flavors when Merlot makes up a high proportion of the blend.

Perfect Pairings

Since Bordeaux red blends are often quite structured and tannic, they pair best with hearty, flavorful, and fatty meat dishes. Any type of steak makes for a classic pairing. Equally welcome with these wines would be beef brisket, pot roast, braised lamb, or smoked duck.

Sommelier Secret

While the region of Bordeaux is limited to a select few approved grape varieties, the New World is free to experiment. Bordeaux blends in California may include Syrah, Petite Sirah, Zinfandel, or virtually any other grape deemed worthy by the winemaker. In Australia, Shiraz is a common component.

SOU155530_2011 Item# 122107

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