In 1999, Pinot Noir devotee Charles Smedley purchased 10 acres of land in Yarra Junction. This area was much colder than other areas of Yarra Valley and experienced higher than average rainfall. He set about planting Burgundian clone Pinot Noir, with an eye towards crafting elegant, signature Pinots displaying the terroir and character of the region. A decade later, the winery now has another larger vineyard where there is Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon, Shiraz, Merlot, Pinot Noir and Sauvignon Blanc under vine, all with that house style of elegance and sensibility. Mandala’s vineyards are hand-pruned and hand-harvested, with minimal intervention for the low-yielding vines. The long, cool ripening season allows full phenolic ripeness that ensures depth of flavour without high alcohol levels. These are characterful wines that have a level of complexity that truly tells the tale of the Yarra Valley.
The Yarra Valley is a well-respected Australian wine region which occupies the eastern half of the Port Phillip viticultural zone in the diminutive state of Victoria. One of Australia’s oldest and most celebrated wine regions, the earliest Yarra Valley vineyards were planted in 1838. The climate here is amongst the coolest of any Australian wine region, partly due to elevation—which reaches 500 masl—but mostly due to the hilly topography, which creates shadows, shelter and heat sink.
Dixon Creek is the homestead for Mandala. This 104-acre vineyard averages elevations of 125-160 masl. Comprised of clay loam soil, the vines, averaging 25 years, are hand-pruned, hand-harvested and cultivated at low yield.
Named “Syrah” in Europe, South America and New Zealand but “Shiraz” in Australia, this is Australia’s well-known and most widely planted variety. Hailing from the South-eastern region of France, it is grown in practically every wine region in Australia – testament to its adaptable nature. In the Yarra Valley, Shiraz is classed as cool climate and boasts a distinctive warm spice and peppery flavour, revered by Shiraz enthusiasts.
Fruit was chilled upon arriving at the winery, then destemmed and crushed before fermenting in open top vats for 15 days. Gently pressed into French oak barrels (30% new wood) where the wine aged for 18 months.
A wonderful balance between New World rich fruit and Old World savoury complexity and structure. Black plum, tart boysenberry and red licorice aromas alongside subtle white pepper, tobacco and toasty oak. The palate is full, silky and layered adding caramelized figs, mocha and kitchen spice. Tannins are soft but present. Fresh acidity keeps things bright and focused.