TarraWarra of the Yarra Valley, were always in the back of my mind, always there around my vision, but never right in my sights. Sort of like the slightly awkward girl at high school that sat alone in class but when you finally spoke to her because you walked around a corner and physically bumped into her, you took the time to actually perceive and consider her…well suddenly you take a lot more notice and you want to hang around with her a lot more.
My “bump into” moment was when I was invited to a media tasting in late 2014 at “Black by Ezard” in Sydney’s Star Casino complex to meet winemaker Clare Halloran and taste through their range. Clare, tall and erudite, took a lot of time and care explaining vineyards and winemaking as we tasted. Having been at TarraWarra since 1996, you can understand the parental concern and pride Clare exhibits for her “babies”
With the release of 2013 Estate Pinot Noir and Estate Chardonnay, this is also a chance for a look at some of their other range. The packaging is refreshingly informative for the consumer with details around wine makers Clare and Adam McCallum; growers and harvest dates of the fruit. Not to mention the accompanying spec sheets a haven for the wine nerds.
TarraWarra Estate Chardonnay, 2013
Handpicked and sourced from different blocks of the estate. Stainless steel tank and French oak (wild yeast) fermentation without passing into Malolactic fermentation.
Ripe peach to soft rockmelon to cashew cream with a hint of flinty, struck match character. Full and ripe palate without being overbearing: There’s an authoritative shout of fruit, then a whisper of structure, then an embrace of the wine simply being. A wine that is exactly colour by numbers Yarra Chardonnay and I simply can’t fault how true it is to its intentions.
TarraWarra Estate Reserve Chardonnay, 2012
Made from 2 clones of Chardonnay: Mendoza and P58, hand picked from the original estate vineyard planted in 1983. Luminous gold in the glass whilst the French oak spice mixes intoxicatingly with white rocks, ripe melon and fleshy peach to almost overwhelm by subtlety.
Full palate without being anywhere near flabby: peachy stone fruit is pierced with those quartz rock mineral skewers, holding them tightly, firmly in line. The length of flavour runs to a to almost Riesling-esque lime, merely hinting at how long this wine will hold it’s statuesque head high. Definitively a wine that you want to have in your mouth now…and tomorrow…and next month, and next year.
TarraWarra Estate Pinot Noir Rosé, 2013
Harvested 25th Feb 2013. Almost 2 years from harvest…happy birthday Pinot Noir Rosé.
Pale pink without glowing, soft nose giving the archetypical “strawberries and cream” and a cherry jam sweet/savoury edge. The palate shows enough tannic grip to be food friendly, along with its buddy in crime, edgy acidity. Soft red fruit abounds, the faintest flavour memory of a Cherry Warhead after all the sourness has gone. Finishing dry, tis made for hot nights and spiced tandoori chicken.
TarraWarra Estate Pinot Noir 2013
2013 was a warm one in the Yarra. The nose for this evokes silky cherry skin, like the ones in the Cherry Ripe ad, just before the dripping chocolate coats them. A hint of meatyness and earth. Ridiculously enticing.
Silky, slinky on the palate: long cherry and raspberry with a balance of just amount of stalky grip. Ripe flavours prevail then structure delicately steps quietly and creates transitions from primary to secondary nuances. It’s Claudio Arrau playing Chopin’s Nocturne Op.9 No.1, where delicacy and depth counterpoint so harmoniously.
TarraWarra Estate “J-Block” Shiraz 2012
Crushed plums, nutty, peppery and Christmas cake spices. Smells a little glossy and satiny. The palate reflects same, but is elegant and understated with blue fruit, choc, a little bit of stalky pepper.
Subtle, almost too subtle for the moment, as it is simply for now, a “lovely drink.” But I do think a little time for this shy school girl to blossom is required…but just remember the first time you bumped into her.
All wines samples courtesy of TarraWarra Estate