Caroline Mooney’s winemaking travels have taken her to the home of syrah, working for the great Jean-Louis Chave in Hermitage. And it would be easy to call this, from a stunningly cool vintage, a somewhat Rhône-like wine. And maybe it is to a degree, but it’s also a fine exemplar of modern Yarra syrah/shiraz done right. Mooney has been making thoughtful, elegant wines from her Yarra Valley home – she’s a native of the region – since 2008. This is a fragrant, spicy and complex wine, full of sour cherries and wild berries shot through with dry spices, a twiggy complexity and underpinned by a rugged minerality. Lithe, supple and lingering, this is benchmark cool climate syrah.
A nose of wild red and dark forest berries, brown spice, cracked pepper, star anise and crackling dried herb notes from judicious whole bunch fermentation. The palate crests on spice-dusted cherry and sour plum flavours, with supple, fine tannins guiding the elegant wine through a long finish.
Themes of this wine
Shiraz dominates the Australian wine industry, accounting for nearly a third of this country’s vines. The grape’s traditional home is in France’s Northern Rhône, with wines that combine elegance and power, while Australia is perhaps best known for the muscular styles from warmer areas. Today, drinkers of Australian shiraz are spoilt for choice with expressions ranging from the elegant and spicy to the monumental.
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.
Yep, the whole thing. If you ferment with whole bunches, you’ll get a different result. The stems add more tannin, and tannin with a slightly different feel in the mouth to grape skin or oak tannin. You’ll also get some of those berries fermenting more or less whole, which yields a brighter fruit profile alongside a raft of spices.