Yalumba Eden Valley Viognier 2011
Critical AcclaimAll Vintages
Established in 1849, Yalumba is Australia’s most historic family owned wine company. It remains fiercely independent and extremely progressive through the generational ownership by the Hill-Smith family. Yalumba’s longevity and success is a result of patience, collaboration and progressive thinking. There is foresight to embrace the natural terroir to craft wines with individual character and a sense of purpose, a spirit to reinvest in the land upon which it operates and knowledge to behave as a leader in the industry. It is committed to sharing stories of provenance gathered over more than 168 years of history of family winemaking. Barossa is arguably the single most famous wine region in Australia. Barossa includes both Barossa Valley and Eden Valley, making it one of the only areas in Australia to have neighbouring warm and cool climate growing conditions. Yalumba is privileged to have access to some of the oldest vineyards in the world in Barossa Valley, including 1889 bush vine Grenache and 1908 Shiraz. At the inner sanctum of Coonawarra, on the prized terra rossa soil, lies Yalumba’s Coonawarra estate, The Menzies Vineyard. Comprised predominantly of Cabernet Sauvignon vines, this single vineyard is committed to growing premium quality fruit reflecting distinctive varietal characters of the region. Wrattonbully’s cool climate, plentiful high quality artesian water and well drained terra rossa soils led wine companies to plant large areas of mainly red grape varieties.
At Yalumba we continually strive to reduce our impact on the environment, stay involved in our community, and make great wine with minimal intervention in the vineyard and in the winery. We are committed to sustainable practices, with the belief that the healthier and more biodiverse the vineyards are the better the wines will be. Yalumba has been developing its own sustainable viticulture program since the mid 1990s, promoting the economic production of quality grapes . For every hectare of vineyard we own, we have at least one hectare of native vegetation. Our winemaking philosophy and practice means that our wines are made with the least intervention possible but with as much knowledge, confidence and expertise as possible. We want our wines to show their provenance and natural appellation – whether it be a single site, a variety or blend, or a personal style. At Yalumba we have been making wine utilising ‘wild yeast’ for over 20 years. We believe that the success and consistency that we have with wild ferments is a direct result of healthy biodiverse vineyards. All Yalumba wines are 100% vegan since the 2012 vintage, elevating our wines to a safe and ethical choice. Becoming vegan came from the desire to make wines of conviction that taste of provenance and natural appellation; and that ultimately represent quality.
Higher in elevation and topographically more dramatic than the Barossa Valley floor, Eden Valley abuts it to its south and east. While it is a bit of an extension of Barossa, Eden Valley is topographically different than the pastoral Barossa Valley, and is composed of rocky hills and eucalyptus groves.
Recognizing Eden Valley’s potential with Riesling in the 1960s and 70s, producers started to move their Riesling production from Barossa to these better sites where schist soils on hilltops would produce more steely, tart and age-worthy examples. A most famous site, planted by Colin Gramp, called Steingarten, today produces one of the most outstanding Australian Rieslings. Youthful Eden Valley Rieslings express floral, grapefruit and mineral, while with time in the bottle, they become increasingly toasty and complex.
Riesling isn’t the only grape the region can grow; undeniably at lower altitudes Shiraz does very well. Mount Edelstone is a notable vineyard as well as the Hill of Grace, which boasts healthy Shiraz vines well over 100 years old. This is the only Australian region where Merlot has a made a name for itself and Chardonnay can be spectacular, particularly from the High Eden subregion in the southern valley.
Full-figured and charmingly floral, Viognier is one of the most important white grapes of the northern Rhône where it is used both to produce single varietal wines and as an important blending grape. Look for great New World examples from California, Oregon, Washington and cooler parts of Australia. Somm Secret—Viognier plays a surprisingly important role in the red wines of Côte Rôtie in the northern Rhône. About 5% Viognier is typically co-fermented with the Syrah in order to stabilize the color, and as an added benefit, add a subtle perfume.