The best Yarra Valley wineries – discovering historic techniques to create a future

Yarra Valley, one of Australia’s coolest wine regions, in both senses of the word, is recognised as one of Australia’s leading wine-producing regions and is without doubt Victoria’s most popular wine destination.

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Its cool climate and elevation endow it with the perfect conditions for elegant and precise cool-climate wines, with many of the best Yarra Valley wineries winning awards both in, VictoriaAustralia and internationally. Its cool, young and progressive winemakers are crafting vibrant, cutting-edge style wines with great purity and the best wineries in Yarra Valley are taking the art of winemaking in the region to a whole new level.

Pinot playground

Pinot Noir has overtaken Chardonnay in popularity in the region and the best wineries in the Yarra Valley are taking advantage of the region’s diversity of soil, climate and aspects to showcase the variety, renowned for its ability to reflect vineyard and growing conditions more adeptly than most other grape varieties. Yarra Pinot ranges from fruity and aromatic to more savoury, earthy and structured.

Anything but Chardonnay? Not in the Yarra Valley

There was a time when Chardonnay, especially the overly oaked, buttery Aussie Chardonnay, was the target of the ‘ABC’ – anything but Chardonnay – brigade, but Yarra Valley, like Australia’s other cool-climate regions, is now crafting lean, tight, acidity-driven Chardonnays, which are more in line with Burgundian styles than the old ABC image. The Yarra Valley best wineries are producing fruit-driven Chardonnay picked at lower levels of sugar ripeness and higher acidity.

The motto of the top 10 Yarra Valley wineries could be ‘Keep it simple’ – they are keeping the amount of intervention in the winery to a minimum and ensuring higher quality of fruit by more work in the vineyard itself.

Elegant, structured Shiraz and Cabernet Sauvignon

You might think the Yarra Valley an unlikely breeding ground for classy Shiraz and Cabernet Sauvignon, but these varieties are well-suited to the warmer sites at the northern end of the region and are produced by many of the best wineries. Yarra Valley Cabernet has great character, elegance and ageworthiness. Shiraz, tipped as the region’s new star, is often labelled as Syrah thanks to its old-world elegance.

Hotbed of creativity

The top wineries Yarra Valley is home to are challenging the region’s status quo and are creating exciting new expressions of the region’s wines with extended skin contact, low or no sulphur additions and whole bunch fermentation. The motto of the top 10 Yarra Valley wineries could be ‘Keep it simple’ – they are keeping the amount of intervention in the winery to a minimum and ensuring higher quality of fruit by more work in the vineyard itself. Yarra Valley wines are becoming the new darling of sommeliers and wine geeks. Quirky Pinot or Chardonnay? It’s likely come from the best Yarra Valley winery, if there is such a thing.

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Experimenting with new varieties

Yarra Valley is not only about Pinot and Chardonnay; the best Yarra Valley wineries to visit also have an eclectic range of varieties under vine. You’ll also be able to sample various styles of mainstays Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Grigio and its weightier incarnation, Pinot Gris, as well as Rhône grapes Marsanne, Roussanne and Viognier, often blended with Shiraz to add aromatic delicacy. Arneis, Chenin Blanc, Gewürztraminer and Riesling have also put down roots here. One of the world’s currently trendiest white grapes, Grüner Veltliner is also making headway in the valley. A varied assortment of Italian and Spanish red varieties is also grown, including Nebbiolo, Sangiovese, Brachetto and Tempranillo.

A mix of boutique wineries and well-known names

The region now boasts around 100 wineries for you to explore, so you many need some help putting together a list of the top 10 wineries Yarra Valley has on offer. Help is at hand with Wine Paths’ local experts who can arrange exclusive visits to some of the most exciting and best wineries in the Yarra Valley.

 

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