Luke Lambert is something of a cult figure of winemaking, creating a new breed of wine in the Yarra Valley. His Syrah fruit is grown in the south-eastern corner of the Yarra, in a cool micro-climate. This isn’t all that makes his Tibooburra vineyard unique—its soils are, uncharacteristically of the terroir, composed of yellow clay studded with granite rock, then topped with rich black volcanic topsoil.
This Syrah is a classical style with unmistakeable character. Handpicked, single vineyard (like all of Lambert’s wines), it’s wild fermented with its fair share of whole bunch to fully express that Yarra terroir. It’s aged in old, neutral oak. Lighter in body, peppery, herbaceous and fruits that go from juicy red to sweet black. It’s balanced with crisp acid and light tannins.
This is the real deal, and ridiculous value at that.
Luke tells us handling was pretty similar to the previous vintage(s)-same mix of clones, wild ferment, same oak handling [an 8 year old, 4000 litre, large-format oak]. That said, Lambert worked with a larger percentage (70%) whole bunches in 2016 to tauten the wines structure from this sunny and warm season. As always, the wine was left unsulfured until just prior to bottling without fining or filtration.
"I'm no expert on Shiraz, in particular, but I reckon this is one of the best, and most interesting in the country. Blackberry, raspberry, boysenberry, spice and perfume, slight whiff of mescal. Medium bodied, distinct 'mineral' feel to both acidity and tannin, layers of spice laced through a spectrum of berries, grilled meat, long bright finish, potpourri fragrance as it goes down the hatch. Vivid and articulate. It doesn't grunt, it sings." 95 points, Gary Walsh, The winefront
Yarra ValleyThe Yarra Valley was first planted by the Ryrie brothers who explored a way through the Snowy Mountains to the Yarra Valley, planting grapes in 1838 just three years after the foundation of Melbourne. A wine industry (developed by Swiss Settlers particularly Hubert de Castella and Baron Guillaume de Pury in the 1850s) thrived during the gold rush era and heyday of the 19th century. However, the end of the gold rush brought the wine industry into decline and it was not until the 1970’s that the modern wine industry started up again. The region is probably Australia’s best-known cool-climate area, yet it is really a patchwork of meso-climates. This varied topography creates an incredible set of variables. Vineyards are planted on elevations of 50 to 400m on varying aspects and management programmes. The more exposed sites are subject to severe spring frosts and winds. Overall, the area experiences a relatively high rainfall pattern and is known for its temperature extremes during ripening. Site selection is crucial, with the best vineyards often located where the original vines were once planted, generally on sandy clay loams and gravels. The Yarra Valley is well known for high quality Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Cabernet Blends with Shiraz increasingly garnering attention. Sparkling wine production is also extremely important, with many of Australia’s finest examples produced in the region.
"Luke is not just making wines that are delicious, interesting and thought-provoking, he is making wines that are distinctive, wines that are unique and speak of place. But they are also instantly recognisable as Luke Lambert wines, wines that couldn’t be made by anyone else. And for someone as fiercely independent and as passionate as Luke, that could well be the greatest compliment of all." Wine Australia