We shine the spotlight on one of the Yarra Valley’s most important subregions and our wines that come from this special area.
It’s higher, cooler and has some of the valley’s most loved vineyards. Don’t be confused by it’s name though, as the Upper Yarra is actually in the south. This subregion adds a lot of diversity to the Yarra Valley, but as we’ve found through our exploration of pinot noir and chardonnay over the years, the same site doesn’t necessarily mean the same results.
We’ve found that our Upper Yarra wines have a certain yin and yang character, which really shows in our ‘Dans les Bois’ and ‘Terre’ ranges of pinot noir and chardonnay. To our winemaker, Kaspar Hermann, they’re affectionately known as the ‘siblings’, and though both of these wines are grown in the same area, the results couldn’t be more different.
To get even more specific, the ‘siblings’ hail from the Gembrook area of the Upper Yarra, which is known for its volcanic derived red soils on a granite outcrop. These quartz-rich soils are perfect for growing chardonnay and pinot noir. Gembrook has some of the southernmost vineyards in the valley and as such, the cooler temperatures mean that we can retain the freshness and natural acidity and allow for more complex layers of flavour through longer ripening periods.
The Dans les Bois (in the woods) Pinot Noir and Chardonnay are named for the stunning location of the vineyard, which is surrounded by trees. We’ve found that this whimsical name tends to suit the characteristics of the wines;the pinot noir is prettier, more fruit expressive, and has a softer tannin structure, while the chardonnay is often referred to as the fruit salad of the vineyard as you get a variety of flavours including ripe peach, lime curd, and baked lemon tart.
The Terre Pinot Noir and Chardonnay are vastly different wines. The appropriately named ‘Terre’, or ‘earth’, range comes from the granite ridge that runs through Gembrook and these wines are more earthy and mineral. They’re tighter in their early years, but truly reward those with a little patience.
The pinot noir is earthy, spicy and has a stronger tannic presence. Recently rated 98 points by Halliday, it’s described as, ‘A supremely elegant and expressive wine that flows joyously along the palate and into the long aftertaste.’ The chardonnay, on the other hand, has a touch of smoky reduction on first look, and more fresh citrus characters dominate the palate with a long mineral finish. As you go deeper into your glass, there are creamy cashews and richer, lemon curd.
If you want to see our Gembrook ‘siblings’ in action, we love opening up these wines side by side. Head to our website to see the range of Single Vineyard wines and try them for yourself.