Weekend Wine: Australian Winery Yalumba Stays the Course
Making varietally correct, exemplary wine for 166 years at a fair price
By Wes Marshall,
7:16AM, Sat. Apr. 20, 2019
Australian winemaker Yalumba created their first wine in 1853 and has since become one of Australia’s biggest and most successful wineries. Their attention to detail is amazing given their cost, with most wines ranging from $12 to $25.
They also pay attention to the carriage trade with a few wines that cost upwards of $350 a bottle.
The company made a bold decision in the 90s and Oughts. During that time, a certain influential American wine critic seemed fascinated with Australia’s ability to produce massive, jammy, oaked-up, high-alcohol wines. Suddenly, it was hard to find a reasonable Australian wine. Yalumba stayed the course by making wines that were more varietally correct while maintaining the ability to match well with food you might reliably find on the dinner table. They also decided to take as much control of the process as possible. They even have a large barrel-making operation so they can be sure they are getting the consistency they want.
I hadn’t had many Yalumba wines since I last visited the place a decade ago, so I was thrilled to get a taste of their new Barossa Bush Vine Grenache ($20). The Barossa Valley is one of the best areas in the world for Grenache and Yalumba’s version is a standout. They have found the perfect balance between raspberry fruitiness, satisfying acidity, and a reasonable alcohol level. This is not the fruit-bomb style of some other Barossa wineries. Instead, it is an exemplary accompaniment to a grilled steak or a juicy burger. You can also take it on a picnic, but if the temperature is over 75 degrees outside, be sure to keep it a little chilled. A 60 degree bottle would be ideal.