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Sunday 4 July 2021

Yalumba Shiraz Masterclass

A tasting of four Yalumba Shirazes with winemaker Kevin Glastonbury

Australia's Yalumba is based in the Barossa Valley, an area synonymous with Shiraz.

This deeper dive into Yalumba's Shirazes had a theme of lighter, fresher wines, made with a gentler hand. Where Australia was once "sunshine in a glass", these days it's more about drinkability, elegance, refinement and restraint.

These are all good things, in my view.

The vine and the winemaker

Shiraz is one of the original grapes of Barossa and it has been planted there since the 1840s; everyone in Barossa grows Shiraz and it is the "star and hero" of the region.

Kevin Glastonbury, known as KG, knows the Barossa like the back of his hand. With a winemaking career that started as soon as he finished school, KG had several years of hard work, experimentation and innovation behind him by the time he joined Yalumba in 1999.

A hands-on, get dirty approach has been his key to success as a winemaker. His knowledge of the Barossa helps him understand the environment and innovate as Senior Red Winemaker for Yalumba.

KG also looks after the sourcing and purchasing of oak for the crafting of barrels — a proud tradition at the on-site cooperage.

KG’s blend of passion and expertise has been recognised with numerous accolades, such as becoming a Len Evan tutorial scholar, respected wine judge, and Winestate ​‘Winemaker of the Year’.

Galway Vintage Shiraz 2018

Yalumba's entry-point Shiraz; lots of easy-drinking fruit with no oak; everything is reigned back here and the vintage character is more apparent - drink as a barbecue red, slightly chilled.

Crunchy red and black fruits fruits, spice and freshness;  mulberries, mocha / cocoa and some beetroot; rich, generous and full-flavoured.


Samuel's Collection Barossa Shiraz 2018

This wine has more robust fruit, more spice and is more savoury; it is from a more traditional vintage after a cool year; it is a more complex and generous wine. It includes some fruit from Eden Valley and sees some oak, around 10% new.

Fresh-yet-plus red and black fruits with spice and some eucalyptus; more complex and generous; full and supple with fine tannins.


Hand-Picked Shiraz + Viognier 2016

A classic Rhône blend, this has just 2% Viognier, down from 15% previously for a more subtle influence. All the fruit is from Eden Valley and there is around 20% new oak.

From an exceptional vintage, the wine is at a peak now.

Evolved nose of cherry fruit, sous bois, spice and eucalyptus; dried sour cherries and soft red fruits, with spice and herbal mintiness. Supple with very fine tannins.


The Octavius Old Vine Shiraz 2018

Still primary and youthful, this needs a few hours in the decanter to become fully harmonious.

Lifted, ripe dark berry and cassis aromas with violets, spice and eucalyptus; concentrated with a full mid-palate; very fine tannins. Generous and elegant.

Very Good.

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