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2018 Appellation Yarra Valle Pinot Noir

2018 “Appellation” Yarra Valley Pinot Noir


$30 is the new $20 in pinot noir land, you could argue. You’d be hard pressed to find a better quality pinot noir at this price level, with maybe one or two exceptions.

It’s taut, reductive, smoky and spicy. It has a lot going on but the fruit is ripe, the inflections autumnal and the texture has some velvet to it. The carry on the finish is impressive too. It’s light-ish in colour, it has that Upper Yarra look about it, and both acidity and tannin put in more than their two cents’ worth. I can’t fault it.  It should mature and evolve deliciously.

Campbell Mattinson, Winefront
93+ Points


2017 Single Vineyard “Champs de Cerises” Upper Yarra Pinot Noir


I think sold out, oh well, but for the legacy, designations says ‘Upper Yarra’ in my notes. Should be around a few canny retailers.

Spicy, red cherry, raspberry notes, floral elements, white flowers, apricot, and unusually, gingery spice. Flesh and texture is superb, light minerally notes of mixed powdered rock and more sparkling things, red cherry juice chimes in, cool acidity lifts, fine tannins corkscrew. So much detail here, well built in character, this is a ripper.

Mike Bennie, Winefront
95 Points

From a 20yo MV6 vineyard. Foot-stomped, wild-fermented with 30% whole bunches, matured in French oak (25% new) plus further time in tank on lees. Distinctly different from its ’17 sibling, with some plum and forest joining red fruits. A complex pinot well made. Screwcap. 13% alc. Rating 95 To 2030

James Halliday
95 Points


2017 “Appellation” Yarra Valley Pinot Noir


Upper Yarra Pinot Noir. Unfined and unfiltered. Pure. Exquisitely well packaged, as a bonus. Everything in alignment.

Tense is the word. Taut as well. Cool, nervy, spice-ridden, cranberried, autumnal pinot noir with just enough fruit and just enough strut to get you excited. I like/love the Upper Yarra style and so one sip and I was hooked; regardless this has quality stamped all over it. Undergrowth, strawberry, woodsmoke and all those gorgeous leaf-scattered spices. Fantastic drinking/buying. A steal at $29. Don’t mind if I do.

Campbell Mattinson, Winefront
93+ Points

From several Upper Yarra Valley vineyards, largely MV6 clone, some D5V12. Wild yeast-open fermented with 30% whole bunches, foot-plunged. Matured in French oak (15% new) for 10 months on lees. A fragrant red fruit cornucopia bouquet and finely honed palate. Fresh and Lively. Screwcap. 13% alc. Rating 94 To 2027

James Halliday
94 Points



2016 “Appellation” Yarra Valley Pinot Noir


Rabbit out of a hat territory. This is an excellent pinot noir from 2016. Textured and well-flavoured with ample length and, importantly, flesh. It’s light in colour, it has that “Upper Yarra” look and feel, but it has both presence and immediate drinkability. It will mature well too. Smoky overtones, sweet-sour fruit characters, fragrant herbs, even florals. Lovely wine.

Campbell Mattison, Winefront
93 points



2015 Single Vineyard "Swallowfield" - Upper Yarra Pinot Noir


Cherry and strawberry, crushed fennel seed, plenty of spice including a dash of white pepper, sappy perfume. Light to medium bodied, poached strawberry and spice, fine bones with gentle pumice stone tannin, cool but energetic acidity, and a sappy red fruited finish of great length and precision. Vintage, site and vinification coming together beautifully here.

Gary Walsh, Winefront
94+ points


Bright, clear colour, lifts the bar with its greater use of new French oak matched by deeper fruits; although the alcohol is the same as the Appellation Upper Yarra Valley Pinot, the power of this wine demands patience. In 10 years it will have shown a clean pair of heels to its sibling. Quite beautiful labels. 

James Halliday
95 points



2015 "Appellation" Upper Yarra Pinot Noir


This is a sinewy pinot noir with ample stalk influence and long, twisting chains of tannin. It’s a structuralist’s wine. There are dark chicory-and-cherry flavours and a note of unsweetened chocolate/cocoa. Spice and meat notes are almost a given. For $27 you get a whole lot of interest and a whole lot of goodness; you get a trick-free wine that feels genuine. If you’re buying/drinking now, give it a quick decant.

Campbell Mattinson, Winefront
92+ points

Deep pinot colour, an exotic and expressive bouquet has spice, dark berry and charcuterie aromas; the supple palate, with damson plum and black cherry is utterly delicious. If more is needed, the tannins are akin to a spider web at dawn in the vineyard with shiny droplets of water on its interstices. 

James Halliday
96 points