Yalumba Patchwork Shiraz 2008
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.
Historically and presently the most important wine-producing region of Australia, the Barossa Valley is set in South Australia, where more than half of the country’s wine is made. Because the climate is very hot and dry, vineyard managers must be careful so that grapes do not become overripe.
The intense heat is ideal for plush, bold reds, particularly Rhône blends featuring Shiraz, Grenache, and Mataro (Mourvèdre). White grapes can produce crisp, fresh wines from Riesling, Chardonnay, and Semillon if they are planted at higher altitudes.
Most of Australia’s largest wine producers are based here and Shiraz plantings date back as far as the 1850s or before. Many of them are dry-farmed and bush-trained, still offering less than one ton per acre of inky, intense, purple juice.
Marked by an unmistakable deep purple hue and savory aromatics, Syrah accounts for a good deal of some of the most intense, powerful and age-worthy reds in the world. Native to the Northern Rhône, Syrah still achieves some of its maximum potential here, especially from Hermitage and Côte-Rôtie.
Syrah also plays an important component in the canonical Southern Rhône blends based on Grenache, Syrah and Mourvèdre, adding color, depth, complexity and structure to the mix. Today these blends have become well-appreciated from key appellations of the New World, namely Australia, California and increasingly, with praise, from Washington.
In the Glass
Syrah typically shows aromas and flavors of purple fruits, fragrant violets, baking spice, white pepper and even bacon, smoke or black olive. In Australia, where it goes under the name Shiraz, it produces deep, dark, intense and often, jammy reds. While Northern Rhône examples are typically less fruity and more earthy, California appears increasingly capable of either style.
Flavorful Moroccan-spiced lamb, grilled meats, spareribs and hard, aged cheeses are perfect with Syrah. Blue cheeses are perfect with a dense and fruit-driven Australian Shiraz.
Due to the success of Australian “Shiraz,” winemakers throughout the world have adopted this synonym for Syrah when they have produced a plush and fruit forward wine made in the Australian style. As an aside, Australians are also fond of tempering their fruit-forward Shiraz by blending with Cabernet Sauvignon, which adds depth and structure.