Gembrook Hill is, as many know, one of the most bucolic estates anywhere in Australia. A unique pocket of the Yarra Valley, very much. Chardonnay is released as a table wine or a sparkling wine, and generally not with both appearing in the same year. Ipso, 2015 was a sparkling wine release, but 2016 found its way into bottle as a table wine. It’s a reaction to season as to customer needs as much as anything. I like this very much. This is in a stellar zone.
Just a stunning wine. Beautiful. Effortless. Pristine in its expression. Measure and balance and vibrancy. Scents of kaffir lime leaf, green herbs, lime juice, green melon, almond paste – enticing and fresh with a whiff of savouriness. A mineral water wash under citrus oil, mouthwatering green pear, a baby’s grip of oak flavour and chewiness in texture, but the feel overall is crisp as the bite of a young apple. It’s so even, cool, inwardly concentrated but doesn’t break a sweat as it does its glide across the palate. Glorious drinking.
95 points, Mike Bennie (April 2017)
Estate-grown and barrel-fermented. Shows the intensity and extreme length of Upper Yarra fruit, pink grapefruit and white peach sharing the limelight with its current of high wire acidity, oak simply a conveyance.
95 points, James Halliday (March 2017)
Hints of toasted cashews and almonds on the nose, together with lemony fruit that also pervades the palate. Very intense and focused, lean and long, A trace of quince. It's quite powerful and long, with lively acidity. Focused and taut. Excellent wine.
94 points, Huon Hooke (August 2017)
Slightly forward, medium light yellow colour, with a creamy toasted nut bouquet, peach and other stone fruits, lovely, and rich. Lemon. Grapefruit intensity, powerful and long, and a multitude of fruit flavours and aromas. A full-bodied chardonnay that satisfies.
93 points, Huon Hooke (October 2017)
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.