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Review and Wine notes on our selection of wines at Yarra Park Vineyard

Quaff 2009 – Best Wines in Australia under $15 – Peter Forrestal
Page 185 – “Great Wines over $15”

2005 Yarra Park Sauvignon Blanc
A newish vineyard in the Yarra. Close to Mount Mary, owned by Stephen and Rosalind Atkinson with this wine made by Phil Kerney at Willow Creek – although Mac Forbes has since taken over the viniculture reins. This is very much in the style of sauvignon developed by the Yarra winemakers which looks to complexity and mouthfeel rather than chasing varietal character. It may take some getting used to but I love it. The wine may need a vigorous swirl to clean up the nose but there’s yeasty, leesy complexity, almost a hint of durian, impressive viscosity and a beguiling mouthfeel which goes on and on. It’s a wine for contemplation rather than gulping.

James Halliday – Australian Wine Companion – 2009 Edition
Page 727

Stephen and Rosalind Atkinson established 1 ha each of chardonnay and cabernet sauvignon, and 0.5 ha of sauvignon blanc, between 1996 and 97. The vineyard is run on organic principles, with heavy mulching and what is technically termed Integrated Pest Management. Yields are deliberately kept low. Until 2006 the wines were made by Phil Kerney at Willow Creek on the Mornington Peninsula, but since '07 have been made by Mac Forbes. The vineyard is situated in what the Atkinsons call 'the golden mile', 1 km to the north of Mount Mary. One particular claim to fame was the sale of a barrel of 2003 Cabernet Sauvignon (the first) for $11 000.

5 Star – Sauvignon Blanc 2005 Still very pale; remarkably fresh and delicate, with fine-spun mouthfeel and gentle tropical fruit; perfect balance; wild yeast, 15% barrel ferment. Screwcap. 13° alc. Rating 94 To 2009 $27.50

4.5 Star – Chardonnay 2006 A well-crafted wine, with a seamless integration of fruit and oak; has good thrust and length in a medium-bodied frame. Screwcap. 13° alc. Rating 93 To 2012 $30

4.5 Star – Cabernet Sauvignon 2005 Quite developed; attractive spicy, cedary, blackberry and mulberry fruit; soft tannins. Cork. 14° alc. Rating 90 To 2015 $35

Douglas Neal 10th March 2008
Yarra Park Wines, one of the most interesting new producers in the Yarra Valley. Situated at Yering the vineyard produces rich cabernet and taut chardonnay. If the trend in warmer vintages continues then this producer is nicely positioned with a large holding of cabernet. As out of fashion as cabernet may be, the ability of this grape to handle the heat and produce wines with depth of flavour whilst holding on to both tannin and acid will undoubtedly see it regain its crown. For those who shun this wonderful variety, they may well find themselves facing an endless stream of hot, alcoholic shirazes that pale in comparison with the modern cabernets that are better equipped to cope with changing climatic conditions.

Yarra Park Chardonnay 2005
White nectatine, nutty oak almost cashew like and spicy orange peel show through on the nose.
The wine is full and rich with meal and melon fruit coming to the fore. Textured and framed by integrated acid, the wine finishes clean and long with the spicy oak notes adding a touch of seasoning.

Yarra Park 2003 Cabernet
Quintessential ripe cabernet that has been able to retain its varietal character without falling into the abyss of over ripeness and high alcohol. Mulberries, chocolate, cedar and vanilla oak backed by a touch of cabernet leaf character. The palate is laden with mulberry fruit bound together by fine tannins, and gentle acidity that does not assert itself and dominate the plush fruit. A rich, textural wine that will reward medium term cellaring.

Yarra Park 2004 Cabernet
Taut, more so than the 2003 with a compote of complex aromas and flavours that have developed in the cooler ripening conditions. Black fruits, vanilla, cedar, violets and as it opens up, black currants. The bouquet has a yeasty, vegemite like extract that is quite appealing. More gripping tannins in this offering with the tangy acidity giving the wine great length. What you smell is what you taste with a dry, savoury finish bringing the fruit in to sharper focus. Lingering flavours of violets and cassis.

Yarra Park 2005 Cabernet
Another step up in quality with plenty of attitude and muscle to make this a wine for the long haul. Black fruits, olives, extract and cedar oak all working together to bring an explosion of flavours. A very focused and structured wine with fine gripping tannins. The fruit is reserved but definitely ripe and powerful although masked at this early stage by the structural components of the wine. Best left for a few years, as I have little doubt that as the wine matures and starts to open, it will be an experience worth visiting on more than one occasion.

The upward progression in quality of the Yarra Park cabernets shows the commitment of the this producer to harnessing the best out of their young vineyard. Just what they will be able to produce as the vines mature will be fascinating to see. I have little doubt that Cabernet will once again hold sway in the Yarra Valley as neither pinot nor shiraz have the capacity to handle the warmer climatic conditions as well as cabernet. Unfashionable it may be now, but wines like Yarra Park cabernet will help to restore the image and magic of this grossly undervalued and underrated variety.

Dejan Derbogosian - 3rd October 2008
The Yarra Park Vineyard is located in the south of the Yarra Valley, and has a perfect north facing exposure with an ideal southern shelter providing a warm site in a cooler climate.

The 2006 cabernet sauvignon has an intense dark purple colour with a majestic violet tinge. There is a pronounced viscosity that miraculously holds onto the glass with countless alcohol streak or legs. The perfume is delicate, luscious, blackcurrant and cherry scented, with just a hint of sweet oak. It leaps to a seamless palate exhibiting perfectly mature cabernet fruit, deftly judged supporting oak and tannins, with both texture and length on the long finish which lasts for 30 seconds plus. This is most elegant, balanced and integrated Yarra Park Cabernet to date, and certainly the best. Think Chateau Margaux of the new world.

James Halliday 2009 Wine Companion
Yarra Park was awarded “Best of the Best” for the 04 Sauvignon Blanc and 4 ½ Stars for the Winey with our 3 wines judged 90, 93 & 94 points.


Divine Food & Wine | Andrew Wood
Another new label but one with a very interesting edge to the story.
Steve and Ros Atkinson planted their small vineyard at Yering to Cabernet and Sauvignon Blanc about ten years ago. From the outset the intention was to produce high quality, low cropped fruit that could be crafted by the right person into a wine that reflected the charm of the Yarra Valley. Whilst the Atkinsons look after the vineyard, the winemaking side has fallen to Phil Kerney at Willow Creek on the Mornington Peninsula.

His deft hand with his own Cabernets has shone through into the wines of Yarra Park. Working with a small batch of Cabernet cropped at 1.8 tonnes to the acre, the end result is more than pleasing first release (previously the fruit went to Yarra Yering).

Black ink in colour, the Yarra Park 2003 Cabernet Sauvignon $35.00 shows cedar, blackberry fruit with a distinct vegemite like extract. It is rich in flavour with fine rippling fruit and wood tannins effortlessly meandering through the wine. It finishes on a savoury note. There is sufficient extract and fruit to allow this wine to live for ten years, perhaps even longer.

The Yarra Park Sauvignon Blanc 2004 $27.50 is also of interest in that it is one of a new breed of SBs where oak has played a role and the emphasis is on texture not overt fruit aromas and flavours. Snow pea, lime, a touch of lees character – slight funky edge- combine to deliver a subtle an interesting aromatic character. Seasoned by the 10% oak the palate is clean, crisp and creamy; the finish is savoury. A wine of subtlety.

Mailing list only at this stage: tel. 03 9739 1960


Finalist (Top 20) in the 2005 Concours Des Vins
We were also a finalist (Top 20) in the 2005 Concours Des Vins (French Embassy) for the Cabernet, very favourably reviewed by Harry Heidelberg’s radio program and rated by Dan Murphy’s boutique wine sommelier as Best in Show at “Yarra Valley Comes To Melbourne” at the Grand Hyatt in May.

Gold Medal for the 2005 Chardonnay, 1 point off best in show in the 2006 Yarra Valley Wine Show and Silver Medal for the Cabernet.


2005 Yarra Park Chardonnay | Vintage Direct
2005 Yarra Park Chardonnay | Vintage Direct


2004 Cabernet Sauvignon | Vintage Direct
2004 Cabernet Sauvignon | Vintage Direct

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