A pleasant surprise when a group of us landed at Mac’s Graceburn Wine Room. They no longer make this wine because the vineyard is no longer available, what a shame! This wine looks like it is just coming out of its shell. Dark berries, prunes, cloves, pepper, a whiff of charred oak. The palate was bold and lively, it offers fruit sweetness up front and savoury and earthy notes as it travels along. It grew in the glass and my last sip was the best. Hence having to get more and share it with you. This wine is still a pup and in a good cellar will reward another 7-15 years. I’d pair this with our homemade roo sausage rolls.
Mac Forbes grew up in the Yarra Valley but set off to see the wine making world. Working in France, Italy, Australia, Portugal and Mount Mary in the Yarra. In 2004 when he returned home he was convinced that Australia was capable of making sub-regional and site specific wines and that, with a bit of hard work, the humble Yarra Valley could be making some amazing terroir driven wines. We don’t have the benefit of bored Cistercian monks, but we do have Mac.
In the search for perfect site expression Mac is not scared to push boundaries and experiment. Mostly he uses Pinot Noir to do a tour of Upper and Lower Yarra sub regions. What comes through is the diversity of styles within a concentrated area, also that Mac is a pretty darn good winemaker who is refining his craft and improving all the time.
Shiraz/Syrah – A bit of a chameleon, Shiraz can change how it looks depending on terroir and/or wine maker influence. The Syrah based wines of Northern Rhone are dry and austere while the Shiraz of Barossa is rich and fleshy. A variety that lends itself to long aging but can be drunk at any time of its evolution.
Yarra Valley – 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.