The 16ha Wombat Creek Vineyard at Gladysdale is the highest in the Yarra Valley, at 420m. Planted in 1988 on north-east facing slopes, it was originally intended for sparkling wines, but has been transitioned to Pinot Noir (and Chardonnay) for table wine. The underlying iron-based red volcanic soil and rock contribute to wines with a distinctive soft yet long and firm palate.
MV6 clone Pinot Noir grapes are hand-picked with 20% destemmed to the base of the vat for a ‘pied de cuve’ ferment. The vats were then filled with whole bunches and closed to allow a semi-carbonic maceration to occur. Some foot-stomping takes place to release more juice and extend skin-contact time. After two weeks the wine is pressed to tight-grained, 228 litre, French barriques (about 18% new) for 10 months before blending and bottling without fining or filtration.The wine is noted for its soft texture and long, well-structured palate
"Whoa, hold onto your hat here, powerful whiffs of green herb, white pepper, faint mezcal, just ripe red cherry. Palate is light, glossy, silky but defined with talc-like tannins, sour-sweet flavours, green herbs, pepper again. Strong whole bunch kind of character, refreshing, fine, tat-work-lacy, sleek. Sheesh, this is a good and unique feel."
94 points, The Wine Front (May 2019)
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.