The close-planted Applejack Vineyard is in the upper Yarra Valley, where the higher altitude results in a cool, extended growing season, ideally suited to Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. Harvest here is 3-4 weeks later than in the central Yarra Valley. The basalt-based underlying volcanic soil and rock produce a characteristically fine yet extended, spicy and firm palate.
The grapes for this wine are hand-picked, a little early for freshness in the final wine, and then whole-bunch pressed to 500 litre French oak puncheons for natural yeast fermentation. The wine spends another nine months on lees, in oak (20% new) with lees-stirring in the first month only. The wine undergoes a light filtration prior to bottling.
"Flinty, lean, racy style. Good puckering feel and tight, squeaky race across the palate. Citrus, wet stone, frangipani floral things to sniff on. Stone and flint licks to taste, a squeeze of grapefruit, green apple, pickled ginger, sparkling almost in its transparent whip-crack across the palate. Electric and lacy, mouth-watering and ultra fresh. Bright and brisk style really nicely done."
94 points, The Wine Front (May 2019)
Apples and honeydew melon with pie crust and poached pears in a fresh, attractive mode. The palate has a smooth, evenly paced and sleek feel. Polished texture and good depth of fresh white peaches and pears.
95 points, jamessuckling.com (June 2019)
Hand-picked, whole-bunch pressed, no additions, wild-fermented in French puncheons (20% new), matured for 8 months with stirring for the first month. A spotless bouquet and an elegant palate of great length. Stone fruits and melon are threaded through a faint gauze of acidity, oak barely seen. This is an exercise in balance, and the certainty of future greatness.
96 points, Wine Companion (July 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.