Yealands tasting with Natalie Christensen, Senior Winemaker
Yealands wines tend to have a number of signature features
- they are always fresh and pure, well-made and good value for money.
Entry-level wines are very pleasant and they become more complex and
nuanced as you move up the scale.
Billed as “The Perfection of Pinot Noir”, this tasting focused on Yealands' Pinot Noirs, including 2017 examples showing developmental work with non-irrigation and yeast trials, followed by a first view of some 2017 Sauvignon Blancs.
Natalie started with an introduction to Yealands' terroir, the Awatere Valley: cooler and drier, the vines struggle here - which is a good thing for Pinot Noir. Diurnal temperature variation (hot days, cool nights) provides herbal aromatics, a layered and brooding character plus freshness and minerality.
2017 was a difficult vintage with high winds and a cool season leading to thicker skins and small berries; the resulting wines are high in perfume and colour. 2015 was an exceptional year with everything a winemaker could ask for.
The Regular Pinots
Yealands Estate Single Vineyard Pinot Noir 2016 (£16, Great Western Wines) aromatic with dark fruit and smokey-toastiness; concentrated, mineral and long. Fine tannins with a firm core, soft and supple. Good.
The Crossings Pinot Noir 2015 (£14.50, Fortnums and others) fresh, vibrant, mineral and long; floral and aromatic with lovely berry fruit and fine tannins. Good.
Yealands Estate Single Vineyard Pinot Noir 2015 (£16, Great Western Wines) soft, supple and long; harmonious with ripe berry fruit and freshness. Fine tannins. Very Good.
Yealands Estate Winemaker's Reserve Awatere Valley Pinot Noir 2015 (£20, Dulwich Vintners) fuller, more substantial and concentrated; very long, very harmonious. Very Good.
Yealands Estate Pinot Noir 2016 tank sample using Concerto Yeast floral and apricotty with red-berry fruit; plush, supple texture. Fresh, elegant and long. Good.
Yealands Estate Pinot Noir 2017 barrel sample, no irrigation trial at Seaview meaty, spicy and savoury with red fruits; fresh, mineral and long with fine tannins. Deft and delicate. Very Good.
Yealands Estate Single Vineyard Pinot Noir 201 barrel sample redcurrants, lifted apricots, dried herbs and a plush texture; long, fresh, mineral, harmonious and elegant. Good.
Yealands Estate Winemaker's Reserve Awatere Valley Pinot Noir 2017 barrel sample savoury, spicy toasty with dark berry fruits, firm grippy tannins; fresh and long, but not yet harmonious. Substantial and concentrated. Very Good.
Peter Yealands Sauvignon Blanc 2017 (£8, Sainsbury's, Co-op) fresh, aromatic, pure and mineral; delicate and elegant. Good Value.
Yealands Estate Single Vineyard Sauvignon Blanc 2017 (£11.95, Great Western Wine) more substantial core, longer. Good.
Yealands Estate Single Block L5 2017 (£14.75, Great Western Wine) fresh, precise and mineral with crushed oyster shells and sea-spray; citrus, herbal lift and flinty minerality. Very Good.
The Crossings Reserve Wild Saugnon Blanc 2016 (£15, independents) textured, barrel-fermented, almost Burgundian-meets-white-Bordeaux; toasty-smoky, richer, bigger and more substantial with leesy complexity and minerality. Very Good.
Peter Yealands Reserve Sauvignon Blanc 2017 (£11.95, Waitrose) unique-to-Waitrose blend with white peach flavours; aromatic, fresh and mineral with a firm core. Good.