Yarra and a little bit of France

G’day.  Tuesday/Wednesday

Looking north up the Yarra Valley

After a great early morning cup of coffee and a freshly baked pastry from Healesville, I got a good perspective of the qualities and differences between the sub-regions of the Yarra Valley courtesy of a young winemaker we’ve worked with in the past Mac Forbes. Probably the most influential Oz wine writer, James Halliday, rates Mac as one of the rising stars in Australian wine. Mac’s not taking the easy route though of producing a (what would be a very good) catch-all Yarra Valley Pinot – he actually produces at least 6 different Pinots per vintage, each from a selected single vineyard in a different region of the Yarra, his aim being to show the differences in style and flavour that the sub-regions produce. A name to watch out for.

Dominique Portet (right) and son Ben

Further south in the valley, our good friend Dominique Portet has his winery and vineyards. Dominique comes from a great winemaking lineage, his father ran a top Bordeaux chateau and his son Ben who heads up the winemaking at this small estate is now the 10th generation of winemakers in the Portet family history. They were busy finishing off the 2010 reds and preparing for the 2011 vintage which should be harvested in the next month or so. The Dominique Portet wines are very much made with a nod to a good degree of European (read French) influence and contrast really nicely with some of the fuller styles of Aussie wine, they show elegance and restraint yet have a lovely purity of fruit and long lasting flavours. The Fontaine Rosé was tasting as good as ever and was the perfect lunch wine.

The new French oak barrels arriving at the Portet winery

 From the Yarra it was just an hour’s drive into Melbourne where I had a meeting with my mate Andrew from Jindalee to catch up and share news before hopping on a flight to Adelaide, where I’m lucky enough to have a dinner date with one of the true characters of Aussie wine, Chester Osborn of d’Arenberg wines – I’m sure there’s more to follow – this is a guy who once addressed a 200 person serious wine debate dressed only in a pair of undies made from his wine labels!!


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