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Yarra Valley, part 6
The wines of Yering Station

38 Melba Hwy, Yarra Glen 3775, Victoria, Australia
Phone: +61 3 9730 0100 Fax: f +61 3 9739 0135
E-mail: info@yering.com Website: www.yering.com 

Yering Station from the Air

When I arrived at Yering Station, vintage was clearly in full flow. In the busy winery, half-ton bins of Pinot Noir were being processed. After a while, winemaker Tom Carson appeared, sweaty and donning a high visibility vest. There was a real vibe in the air.

Within a relatively short time this property has put its name firmly on the map as one of the leaders of the mini-Yarra revolution. It’s currently making some brilliant wines, and marketing them astutely. Part of this process has been a shift in thinking, embracing Shiraz, and in particular Shiraz–Viognier blends, as one of the Yarra’s trump cards.

Some history. The original winery was built here in the 1860s as Château Yering. Winemaking stopped here in the 1900s and the winery became a stable in the 1920s. Vineyards were replanted here in 1988, and the first wines of the new era were contract made in 1991. In 1996 the Rathbone purchased the property, and 1997 was the first vintage under the new regime.

Chief winemaker Tom Carson is only young, but it’s clear that he’s immensely respected in the Aussie trade. He’s not a flash type, but rather gives the impression of being quietly competent. The fact that he’s got a superb palate is attested to by his performance in the prestigious Len Evans Tutorial, where he was awarded the title of 'Dux', as the best of the 12 students.

80% of production here is Shiraz, Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. There’s also some Marsanne, Roussane and Viognier. Last year they pulled out 40 acres of Merlot and Cabernet. ‘Pinot is tough’, says Carson, ‘but Shiraz/Viognier is going really well.’

There are 300 acres altogether, and they buy from about the same area, giving a total crush of around 1500 tons. 25% of lots have wild ferment, and for the Chardonnay malolactic fermentation is avoided. Chardonnay is often picked at 11.5/12 Baumé so that the acid level is right. Carson tries not to add acidity to Chardonnay at all. This year he’ll be trying some whole-bunch ferments. Pressing stops after about 550 l/ton, when the must starts to taste phenolic.

Reds tend to sit in tank after pressing until sugar dry. For Pinot, some is done with whole bunches, and then it goes straight into oak after pressing at 1 Baumé. Whole bunches tend to give more perfume and better, finer tannins. One surprise: I asked Carson whether he still used the rotofermenters, which have been criticised in recent years even though they used to be all the rage. ‘Rotofermentors are not so bad’, he replied, ‘if you get oxygen in and you know what you are doing’.

Yering Station Yarrabank Cuvée 2000
Made in partnership with Champagne Devaux, a rosé specialist. It’s quite complex, with a brightly fruited nose and palate. Rich but with finesse. Very good+ 89/100

Yering Station Extra Dry Rosé 2005
Nice strawberryish fruit on the nose. The palate is quite fresh, but still smooth and supple. Very easy to drink. Very good+ 87/100

Yering Station MVR 2005
The initials stand for the three Rhône varieties Marsanne, Viognier and Roussanne. The nose is rich, fruity, melony and quite fresh. The plump palate has good texture and some melony fruit. Very good+ 88/100

Yering Station Chardonnay 2004
12% new oak; 25% wild ferment, 0% malolactic. Rich fruity nose with some melon and some citrus fruit. Intense with a peach-skin character and subtle herbiness. The palate is concentrated and fruity with a lovely freshness. Rich but fresh. Very good/excellent 91/100

Yering Station Pinot Noir 2003
Sweet red fruit and cherry character on the nose. The palate has attractive ripeness and richness with some spicy tannin. Quite sweet and rich. Very good+ 89/100

Yering Station Shiraz Viognier 2004
Dark coloured. Ripe, sweet nose with lovely perfumed dark fruits character. There’s some liqueur-like richness but it is still quite fresh. The palate is sweet and vivid, showing concentrated red fruits with lovely soft tannic structure. Very good/excellent 93/100

Yering Station Reserve Shiraz Viognier 2001
Deep, sweet blackcurrant fruits nose is quite soft and full, with some blackberry jam notes and a bit of spice. Lovely soft, intense palate with richness and a bit of a spicy, peppery edge to the soft fruit, along with some structure. Fantastic wine. Very good/excellent 94/100

Wines tasted 03/06
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