Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Yay for Yalumba!

While browsing the shelves for wines to write about in this article, I came across a bottle of Pinot Grigio that said “Australia’s Oldest Family Owned Winery” on the label. If that isn’t asking to be written about, I don’t know what is. So I grabbed it and took it over to show my sister who was down visiting from New Hampshire. “Oh yeah…Yalumba, “she said. “We really like their Shiraz.” I made a mental note of that so when I went back to buy more to complete the article, I would make sure to pick up the Shiraz. I ended up trying 3 varieties in all and they were all really good.. But, given the fact that the history is what made me buy these particular wines, I guess I should start out with that piece before I get to the good stuff.

Yalumba was founded in 1849 by a British migrant and English brewer named Samuel Smith. Smith had brought his family to Angaston, Australia to start a new life. He purchased a 30 acre parcel of land just past the southeast boundaries of the town and he and his son began planting their first vines by the light of the moon. Smith called the land “Yalumba” which is aboriginal for “all the land around.” Now, after 5 generations and more than 160 years, the winery has grown substantially and has become a wine success story that is envied by winemakers all over the world.

The three wines I bought were part of the winery’s Y series and that series is only one of MANY that the winery has. All three bottles cost $9.99 at my local Total Wine. Since I picked the Pinot Grigio up first, that was the first one I tried. It was a 2010 and the wine was the color of straw. The aromas were fresh with hints of citrus blossoms and honey. Upon tasting it, I detected hints of apple and pear. It was crisp with a nice acidity and the recommendation was to “enjoy with anything and everything.” I had it with grilled chicken and it paired very well.

The second one I tried was the Shiraz my sister had told me about. It was a 2009 vintage that was deep purple in hue. It had aromas of blueberries, cherries and tiny floral hint. It was a medium bodied wine that tasted of cherry and a bit of pepper. I drank it alone but recommended pairings were Mexican foods such as tacos, burritos and nachos. I may have to try one or all of those pairings since I LOVE Mexican food. As unusual as those pairings sound, I bet they go great together.

The last variety I tried was the 2010 Unwooded Chardonnay. I was excited to see this one since I prefer unwooded Chardonnays. The color was a bit paler than the Pinot Grigio. I detected aromas of peaches and citrus with a slight hint of cinnamon. It was medium bodied with a crisp acidity. Citrus was the primary flavor I noted but it was fresh, not bitter in any way. I drank this one alone too but am looking forward to pairing it with the recommended grilled eggplant, arugula and hummus. I think it will be delightful to have on hand for summer grilling.

I have to say that Yalumba is definitely doing something right. Any winery that has been around that long has to know what it’s doing and I look forward to sampling some of the other varieties from their vast collection.