The aspiration of Oakridge LVS -- or Local Vineyard Series -- wines is to be outstanding expressions of single vineyards within the Yarra Valley. Local Vineyard Series wines enable wine lovers to compare and contrast the power of terroir and geography in winemaking. In essence, different grape varieties thrive in different soils, and Yarra Valley terroirs and altitudes vary widely. Oakridge’s expertise and understanding of the region allows viticulturists and winemakers to match a particular variety with a particular site -- with marvellous results. Almost all LVS wines are cellarworthy.
The Willowlake Vineyard is just outside Gladysdale in Victoria’s Upper Yarra Valley. Planted in 1979 at an elevation 300 metres, the cool-grown Chardonnay here ranks with the region’s very best.
Add the skills of leading Chardonnay exponent David Bicknell and these hand-picked grapes become wines that express their variety and origin with consummate precision and flair.
I shouldn’t lead with this statement because it belittles the wine in a way, but this is remarkable value. This is top level Chardonnay, styled beautifully, at a relative snip of a price. We all should make hay while we can. It’s all flint and white peach, meal and mineral, the impression both neat and wild at once. Nut, grapefruit and spice notes are nominated throughout the wine and while it generally feels slender in the mouth, it’s not wanting, and it surges impressively through the finish. A beautiful wine. 95 points, The Wine Front.
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.