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1 October 2010

Oliver rates nine Yalumba wines in the 90s

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"The historic Yalumba winery is the centrepiece of a series of vineyard holdings throughout South Australia and other states. Within this sits the Yalumba label, whose wines largely focus on the Barossa (which incorporates the Eden Valley sub-region) and within which are found many of the real Hill Smith-owned flagship labels. Of these, the real story continues to be the dramatic improvement with its Coonwarra cabernet sauvignon, The Menzies. Another ongoing highlight is The Virgilius Viognier. Iím not in a habit of recommending viognier as a cellaring variety, but the stellar 2009 vintage should repay another four years with interest!

Yalumba Barossa Bush Vine Grenache 2008

90 points - Set against a restrained background of older vanilla oak, this fruit-driven grenache presents a spicy, meaty expression of raspberry, cherry, plum, cassis and blueberry-like flavour backed by nuances of licorice, cloves and cranberries. Just marginally stewy, its sweet presence of confiture-like fruit is juicy and generous, long and smooth with a chalky, fine-grained undercarriage of dusty tannins. It finishes savoury, with pleasing length and soft acidity.

Yalumba Eden Valley Viognier 2009

92 points - Stylish, dry and savoury, with a delicate floral aroma of peach, apricot and a hint of mineral backed by a suggestion of funkiness. With a fine, dusty backbone, itís long and smooth, revealing a controlled viscosity and juiciness, finishing with a briney, mineral note.

Yalumba Hand Picked Shiraz Viognier 2007

93 points - Pristine and finely crafted, with a finely interwoven viognier influence. Its meaty, spicy aromas of fresh blackberries, redcurrants and dark plums and polished cedar/vanilla oak are lifted by a fresh floral note. Smooth and spicy, its silky, succulent palate flaunts its vibrant, pastille-like flavours of dark fruits with smoky, ground coffee and dark chocolate-like oak. Moderately firm, with a fine, pliant undercarriage, it finishes with elegance and charm.

Yalumba The Menzies Cabernet Sauvignon 2007

94 points - Very smooth and polished, this smoky, slightly green-edged and herbal cabernet should age in a classically cigarboxy direction. Its vibrant, penetrative aromas of cassis, mulberries and dark cherries are backed by nuances of sage and fresh vanilla/cedar oak and have a faintly jujube-like aspect. Firm, fine-grained and polished, itís long and elegant, with deep, juicy fruit and chocolatey oak framed by pliant tannins. It finishes with a pleasing savoury quality.

Yalumba The Octavius Old Vine Barossa Shiraz 2006

94 points - While this spotlessly constructed, ripe and vibrant shiraz lacks the profound length and structure of the best vintages, itís elegant, silky and deliciously fruity. A deeply ripened, wild and heady bouquet of dark plums, blackberries, and fresh, tight-grained smoky oak reveals nuances of black pepper and spice, with undertones of currents and prunes. Smooth and supple, with a juicy presence of vibrant fruit, vanilla oak and crunchy but silky tannin, it finishes with nuances of briar and smoked meats.

Yalumba The Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon & Shiraz 2004

92 points - Smooth, polished and precisely measured, this cigarboxy red reveals an earthy floral bouquet with alluring sweet black and red fruits tightly knit with smoky, chocolate and cedary oak. Dripping with fruit, with juicy flavours of dark plums and blackberries that reveal a slightly cooked raisiny and pruney aspect, itís long and fine-grained. I much prefer the very stylish Signature of the same vintage.

Yalumba The Signature Cabernet Sauvignon & Shiraz 2006

93 points - A refined, velvet-like and evenly ripened red whose pristine presence of dark plums, blackberries, cassis and fresh dark chocolate/vanilla/cedar oak is underpinned by an appealing mix of clove-like spice and dried herbs. While itís undoubtedly well made, finely structured, juicy and smooth, it does lack a genuine length and emphasis for a higher rating.

Yalumba The Virgilius Viognier 2009

95 points - Finely crafted and elegant, with a spicy floral perfume of tangerine, melon and lime backed by notes of minerals, clove and cinnamon. Itís long, smooth, fine and silky, delivery gentle, fluffy presence of vibrant citrus and melon flavour that almost obscured its fine, dusty texture. It finishes with lingering flavours of apricot, cloves and musk, with a hint of funkiness.

Yalumba Single Site Tri-Centenary Vineyard Vine Vale Grenache 2005

91 points - A rich, smooth and jammy Barossa Grenache with typical Yalumba smoothness and silkiness. Itís scented with maraschino cherries, red plums, blackberries and floral aromas backed by rustic meaty notes, dried herbs, lanolin and suggestions of baked earth. Smooth, round and generous, itís sweet-fruited, polished and juicy, finishing with a long, unctuous core of fruit."

Jeremy Oliver, The Australian Wine Annual 2011

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