The Lance family famously made the Diamond Valley brand into one of the Yarra’s best. They sold that brand off and kept the family vineyard in St Andrews. In 2005 James and Claire leased the family vineyard and started building the ‘Punch’ label. These are wines of supreme quality and reinforcing the Lance family’s reputation. In 2009 bush fires meant they lost all of their fruit so ‘Friends Of Punch’ was launched with grapes and wine donated from around Australia and New Zealand. This has stayed and given them an outlet to explore and experiment possibilities beyond the Yarra.
This Rurale is a great example of the Petillant Naturel or ‘Pet Nat’ style. Which means the wine finishes primary fermentation in the bottle (The Champagne method involves a second fermentation in the bottle). This is Chardonnay and Savagnin fruit from the Rising Vineyard, Nillumbik. It is lighter in fizz than a traditional Sparkling but that makes it all the more enjoyable (says the guy who lets good fizz go flat before drinking anyway). There is a lot going on here. Floral, stone fruits, citrus, fresh and dried herbs. The fizz is delicate and the acid crunchy. This is a very gluggable drink to be sure.
A region that is just too big to generalise about. The difference between Upper and Lower Yarra can be the ability to ripen some grapes or not. Great wines are made in the Yarra but it is best to know the producers.
The grape that you can plant anywhere, in any climate and do anything to and it will still taste like an OK wine. When people hit the sweet spot of site, climate, cropping and winemaking, Chardonnay becomes a magical wine that will age gracefully but charm you at any age. Chardonnays can range from cool climate lean and citrusy to warmer climate tropical and overt. Oak and lees can add flavouring as can malolactic fermentation.
Famous for making the flor yeast styled wines of the Jura called Vin Jaune. Big flavours, savoury, bone dry and long lived. The grape naturally makes high acid and fairly neutral wines and not often seen except in Australia where it was planted under the assumption it was in fact the Spanish Albarino.