Like Manna From Heaven Itself
I mentioned in my previous Yalumba reviews that I experienced these wines as a bit of a happenstance, as Jane Ferrari of Yalumba happened to be in town, just happened to be at my favorite wine shop while that shop just happened to be hosting another exemplary winemaker (Mike Dunn of Dunn Howell Mountain) for a tasting.
Jane had a lot of wine with her, including the aforementioned Scribbler and Signature, but apparently, that wasn’t enough. One of my fellow tasters-slash-revelers mentioned to Jane that he’d had a Yalumba dessert wine he claimed had received “something like 99 or 100 points” (the best I could find was a RP 93 for this wine, still excellent), and while she wasn’t sure about the review (I’m betting people in the business of making wine would remember a mainstream review score that high) she did know the wine he was talking about, but didn’t have any on her.
However, Prima Vini, the shop in which we all stood at that very moment, did have it for sale. (They still do.) So what did Jane do? She bought the half-bottle and shared some with each of us. A remarkable move, but after tasting the wine, I knew immediately why she’d done it.
We were now, all of us, irrevocably hooked. This shit is good.
Before I get into the tasting notes, I want to quote this wine’s varietal makeup from the Yalumba website:
Original old vine Shiraz, Grenache, Dolcetto, Mourvèdre, Muscadelle, with a small percentage of Touriga, Tinta Cao and Tinta Molle contributing complexity to the blend.
Whew! Now, on to the wine itself.
The wine is a clean tawny tan in the glass. I wouldn’t use the word “brown” to describe it. It fades from a rich almost-golden tan, to basically clear at the edges.
On the nose is one of the most enticing bouquets I’ve come across: raisins, honey, and caramel. All sweet (this is, after all, a dessert wine) but not at all sticky, or saccharine/sickly “sweet.” Rather, the nose is rich and lustrous.
Take a sip and you won’t be disappointed. The wine is very full bodied, it covers the inside of your mouth like velvet. The honey from the nose is here, but with a rustic, robust heat that reminded me of drinking mead. The wine is sweet but not overly so, hot (at a good 20% ABV) but not off-putting, with hints of candies and sugar.
In short, it’s exactly what dessert wine should be.