Shaun Crinion has made his mark with finely tuned and classically refined Yarra chardonnay, pinot noir and shiraz, but experiments have always been part of the picture. This homage to the flor-raised wines of the Jura ripples with savoury notes, from toasted grain and celery salt to characteristic nuttiness, while chardonnay has its say on the palate, with dried peach and apple.
Inspired by the oxidative wines of France’s Jura region, this chardonnay was left on ullage (not topped up in barrel when the wine naturally evaporates, as is more commonly the case) and allowed to develop a layer of flor yeast (such as with Fino Sherry). The result is a wine that has the weight and intensity of the chardonnay fruit, while the flor contributes this umami-laden character, with toasted bran, celery salt, malt, linseed oil, cheese rind and a distinct nuttiness. The fruit is there, too, with golden apples and dried peach poking through, which are carried more noticeably on the palate that has a supple richness that is wrapped into a savoury skin, a tangy dry pucker closing out the finish.
Themes of this wine
Flor yeast/Sous voile
Literally translated as ‘under a veil’, sous voile is a method of maturing wine where the barrels are not topped, with a film of flor yeast developing on top of the wine. This ‘veil’ protects the wine from oxidation, while converting the acids to aldehydes, which give dry Sherry its characteristic nutty and briny notes. The same process is employed in France’s Jura region to make the famous Vin Jaune (literally, yellow wine).
The Yarra Valley, about 50 km north-east of Melbourne, is one of Australia’s premier wine regions, and one of the country’s coldest viticultural zones. The regional champions are chardonnay and pinot noir, with cabernet and shiraz in more than able support. Aside from the vinous pedigree, the Yarra is also one of the best serviced wine regions for visitors, with a wealth of cellar doors and restaurants, and ample accommodation across the price spectrum.
With an explosion of interest over the last few decades, chardonnay is now the world’s most planted white grape. With its ability to grow in varied conditions and make everything from sparkling wine, to lean and mineral whites, to full-bodied textural expressions, it is perhaps no surprise to see Burgundy’s key white grape become so dominant.