Wine notes with Clive Hartley

May 31st, 2024Wine notes with Clive Hartley

The Good Food and Wine Show will be held at the Melbourne Convention & Exhibition Centre from today May 31 to June 2.

Yarra Valley

The Good Food and Wine Show will be held at the Melbourne Convention & Exhibition Centre from today May 31 to June 2.

Three days to overindulge yourself with hundreds of food and wine exhibitors. There are demonstrations and masterclasses including a Riedel wine glass experience and a beginners’ Champagne class.

I went last year and it can be a very daunting experience with an extensive choice of merchandise on display. My tip is to approach it strategically and only taste a couple of styles of wine. If you are not careful it can become a bit ‘blurry’!

I did this at a recent a fantastic tasting held by Food + Drink Victoria. No, not getting ‘blurry’ of course, but tasting specific styles.

Whilst all regions of Victoria were represented I focused on tasting Yarra Valley wines. The valley has some incredibly good wineries and here is the pick of the bunch out of the 30 wines I tasted.

Let’s start at the top.

Winemaker Sarah Crowe has built on the already impressive reputation of Yarra Yering and tasting her 2021 vintage wines was a stand-out moment. Dry Red No 1 2021 ($155 a bottle) was rich, full bodied with lashings of cedar oak and vanilla with touches of herbs and liquorice on the palate.

Tasting this “Bordeaux blend’ of cabernet sauvignon, merlot, malbec and petit verdot transports you to France and sits you on the left bank of the Gironde estuary. Undoubtedly a classic wine.

Not far behind it in quality, but more fruit focused, is the Dry Red No 2 2021 ($135). Predominately shiraz with a smidgeon of viognier, marsanne and mataro, it has a smooth black fruit richness, elegance and a touch of earth and grip on the long finish.

I tried plenty of chardonnays and what stood out was Giant Steps 2022 ($50). It was outstanding, with rich toasty oak with overlays of yeasty lees and stone fruits giving the wine texture. Simply delicious.

More tropical fruit driven, but enjoyable, was the St Hubert’s Chardonnay 2023 ($55), as well as the more elegant Tarrawarra Estate 2022 ($40) and Oakridge Hazeldene 2022 ($48)

Finally, there were plenty of pinot noirs on offer. No standouts but Oakridge Hazeldene 2022 ($48) and Toolangi 2023 ($36) were both good, fruit driven wines.

Clive Hartley is an award-winning wine writer, educator and consultant. His 305- page full colour book Australian Wine Guide (7th ed) is available for purchase from Paradise Books in Daylesford or via his website – www.australianwineguide.com.au

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