Planted in 1990 by Yarra Yering founder Dr Bailey Carrodus, the shiraz and touriga for this aren’t quite as new as the name suggests, but the name does show what a forward-thinker he was. Refined by the sublime talents of Sarah Crowe, the ‘New Territories’ is an exercise in spice and leathery savouriness, buoyed by plump red fruits, which are clutched firmly by assertive grapey tannins through the finish.
Such a lifted and intense nose of dark plums, black cherry, graphite, dried woodsy herbs, leather, tar and some floral hints. There’s a violet-like whisper, star anise, cassia bark, some red-berried fruit peeking up, which is no doubt the shiraz component. This is mid-ish weight, bright fruited, but with lovely savoury complexity, carrying the gentle spice, leather and tar through the palate, with the softening flesh of the shiraz being disciplined by chewy touriga tannins into an engagingly grippy and satisfyingly flavoursome conclusion.
While it is almost always blended, touriga nacional is Portugal’s most significant grape, forming the backbone of most Port and table wines from the Dão and Douro. The grape has also been in Australia since the 19th century, with old vines present in areas noted for fortified production, like Victoria’s Rutherglen. The gape is robust with intense flavours of dark fruits and plenty of tannin, making it ideal to blend. It also often has lifted blue floral notes.
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.