Yarra Valley winery that's one of Australia's icons 

Website: www.yarrayering.com

One of Australia’s vinous treasures, Yarra Yering was set up by the eccentric genius Dr Bailey Carrodus, who died in 2008. Back in 1973 Carrodus produced the first commercial vintage from the Yarra since 1922.

At one of the dinners during the 2009 Landmark Australia Tutorial, James Halliday shared some thoughts about these remarkable wines. ‘The vines are totally dry grown blocks, and look pretty dreadful by the time the grapes are picked,’ he revealed, ‘but the wines are wonderful most years.’ He mentioned that up till 1980 there were some problems with volatile acidity, which James thinks was because Bailey was imitating Max Schubert who used to leave bungs out of casks to cut back overly rich fruit with some VA. ‘Some of Bailey’s early vintages were pretty like vinegar.’

Carrodus’ winemaking was quite simple, and a little quirky at times. He processed half a ton of grapes at a time, into a lined tea chest. He did everything himself. The distinctive labels were hand drawn by Bailey’s partner, who predeceased him.

‘Tasting the wines out of cask they are opulent and magnificent,’ says James, ‘but sometimes they didn’t make that to bottle. I have a feeling they could have been greater than they are.’ Total production was around 8000 cases each year of a number of wines, with the range expanding over time.  

Carrodus' style is one favouring lighter wines with good acidity. The vines are unirrigated and low-yielding. And the wines that come from them have demonstrated a remarkable capacity for ageing. There's some variation: not all wines have been great. But the good ones are brilliant, and I have been fortunate enough to try quite a few.

In addition to the Claret-style No 1 and the Rhône-style No 2, there's also a Shiraz, Underhill, from a distinctive block, and a Pinot Noir. Small quantities of Viognier are also made. The vineyard has grown to 70 acres, but it is still dry grown.

While the wines can be a little inconsistent, when they perform they are brilliant. At a recent tasting, the 1980 No 2 and 1989 No 1 were on superb form, showing beautiful purity and elegance. The winery was bought by Kaesler wines in the Barossa in 2009; they intend to keep Yarra Yering the way it was, in the spirit of Carrodus. New winemaker Paul Bridgeman was mentored by Bailey Carrodus, and has carried on making wines in the Yarra Yering style.

The wines below were tasted on several different occasions, and date of tasting is marked in brackets (month/year).


Yarra Yering Pinot Noir 2011 Yarra Valley, Australia
Pale-ish colour. Sweet cherry and berry fruits nose is floral and herby with some undergrowth notes. Sweet, ripe, silky palate is warm and spicy with a bit of grip and nice spicy notes. Distinctive and quite fine. 93/100 (10/13)

Yarra Yering Dry Red No 2 2007 Yarra Valley, Australia
A Shiraz/Viognier blend. Sweet, pure nose: fine and expressive with sweet cherry and plum fruit. Real elegance here. The palate is sweet and smooth with nice finesse. Warm with silky structure and subtle meaty notes. Lovely finesse. 94/100 (10/13)

Yarra Yering Underhill Shiraz 2007 Yarra Valley, Australia
Tarry, slightly reductive nose, which shows herbs, cherries, spice and fine fruitiness. An elegant style. The palate is warm and rich but quite fine with nice texture and some density. Lovely rich-styled wine. 94/100 (10/13)

Yarra Yering Dry Red No 1 2005 Yarra Valley, Australia
A Bordeaux-style blend. Sweet, warm, spicy and aromatic with lovely expressive cherry and plum fruit, as well as a hint of gravel. The palate is warm and textured with just a touch of greenness and some herbs and undergrowth in the background. Good structure allied to real finesse. 95/100 (10/13)

1989 Yarra Yering Dry Red Number 1 Cabernet Sauvignon, Yarra Valley
A blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Malbec and Petit Verdot. Lovely evolved, earthy, sweet red berry fruits here. Quite rounded with lovely balance. Smooth, elegant and pure, and evolving beautifully with blackcurrant, cherry and blackberry jam notes. Just beautiful. 94/100 (06/09)

1997 Yarra Yering Dry Red Number 1 Cabernet Sauvignon, Yarra Valley
Firm, spicy, earthy nose with nice savouriness. The palate is fresh and spicy with lovely structure to the pure blackcurrant fruit. Very fresh with lovely brightness and good acidity. Deliciously vivid. 93/100 (06/09)

1980 Yarra Yering Dry Red Number 2 Shiraz, Yarra Valley
Shiraz, Viognier and Marsanne. Warm, spicy, earthy, lifted nose with a chocolatey richness. The palate is really rich and dense with sweet, spicy, earthy fruit. Really bold and intense. 94/100 (06/09)

1994 Yarra Yering Dry Red Number 2 Shiraz, Yarra Valley
Quite green on the nose with fresh, sappy, spicy notes. The palate is savoury with a greenness to the earthy black fruits. Perhaps a bit too green? 87/100 (06/09)

2004 Yarra Yering Dry Red No 2, Yarra Valley
Lovely sweet open nose with bright red fruits. Aromatic. The palate is supple with nice sweet red fruit and a bit of meatiness, as well as some spicy warmth. Forward but with depth and elegance. 92/100 (10/07)

2004 Yarra Yering Dry Red No 1, Yarra Valley
Very earthy, spicy, gravelly edge to the nose which shows bright blackcurrant fruit. The palate is spicy with richness to the red and black fruit countered by some earthy structure. Lovely wine with distinctive sweet fruitiness on the finsh. 92/100 (10/07)

Yarra Yering Underhill Shiraz 2004, Yarra Valley
Really aromatic mélange of sweet red fruits and savoury herbiness. Complex. The palate is soft, sweetly fruited and elegant with a lovely intensity and some meaty, spicy notes. Lovely. 93/100 (10/07)

UK agent: Carte Blanche

See also:

Landmark Australia Tutorial
Yarra Valley series

Wines tasted as indicated  
Find these wines with


Back to top