As if drought and fire were not bad enough, problems in labour availability certainly haven’t helped Victoria’s 2020 vintage. Some regions were devastated by smoke taint, others affected to a lesser degree. Quantity will be down across the state but the quality in southern Victoria at least looks promising.
Scott Ireland, winemaker at Provenance just west of Geelong on the Barwon, reports “a long cool ripening season, later than usual but with good flavour concentration in chardonnay and pinot noir”. As always, the proof will be in the drinking.
On another matter, now that they have lost their cellar-door and tourist trade, many smaller winemakers are cranking up their mail-order and online purchasing options. Some are also offering genuine bargain buying, so check out your favourite labels and those recommended by friends who usually share your tastes.
Yellowtail Big Bold Red ($9)
A wine that lives up to its name, with plenty of sweet berry fruit flavour and anything but shy. Some more tannin would have added a dry, balancing dimension. The fact that this is a non-vintage wine is no reflection on its quality. It simply means that two, maybe even three, vintages can be blended to achieve a year-in-year-out consistency.
Hardy’s Stamp Chardonnay 2019 ($9, 1 litre)
Surely a contender for the best under $10 chardonnay and competitive further up the price ladder, Stamp is a very neat and tasty wine worth having on hand for casual meals.
De Bortoli La Boheme Act Two Rosé 2018 ($22)
The La Boheme range is a welcome addition to the already large De Bortoli portfolio and includes some very interesting varietals and blends. This rosé seems to have more thought and work put into it than most. An enjoyable expression of Yarra Valley pinot noir.