Tasting Yalumba Y Series Shiraz-Viognier 2006

Picked this one up as a 6th wine to round out my discounted half-case at Grapevine Market for about $10.50. I’m a huge fan of this varietal combination, so I was curious to see what a Yalumba would do with it.

yalumba shiraz viognierDeep purpley-red in the glass. Whopper of a nose with blackberry, roasted meats, a powdery floral note like perfumed dusting powder, slight tar and some menthol. Lots going on in the olfactory realm here; I love that top note that Viognier gives to Shiraz when they blend, and this had it, though not in spades. On the tongue there was some tart cherry or unripe blackberry, with some tarry or possibly graphite notes. The mid-palate was rather lacking here, but not a bad wine for the money at all.

Deb’s Key West Wine & Gardening blog reviewed the 2005 Yalumba Shiraz-Viognier, quite favorably, and What To Drink Tonight liked the 2004 as well, so you can see that this is a pretty reliable producer, year to year.

Yalumba bills itself as Australia’s oldest family owned winery, and I must say I’ve always been quite impressed with their price-quality ratio. Founded in 1849 by English brewer Samuel Smith in the Barossa Valley, the name of the winery means “all the land around” in the one of the aboriginal languages. Evidently Yalumba was the first to commercially plant Viognier in Australia, in 1980. I do like their Y Series Viognier, which is from the Eden Valley, and is a great value.

The practice of blending red Syrah and white Viognier to make one wine comes from the Cote Rotie, in the northern Rhone Valley in France. The Cote Rotie region is famous for some of the world’s finest Syrah bottlings, and wine laws there allow for up to 20% of the red wine to be Viognier. Check Wine Library TV’s review of 4 Cote Roties here.  In practice these days, most Cote Roties are 100% Syrah; but I must say I dearly love how Viognier can act as a Wonder-Bra for Syrah, lifting and separating, as it were, the Syrah’s floral components, while adding its own rich floral element. There’s something very yin-yang about these two grapes, and I’ll make jump into that tao every chance I get.

3 comments

  1. I’ve always wanted to try a Syrah-Viognier blend just because it sounds like such an interesting combination. Your post makes me want to try one not just out of interest, but also out of taste. I will have to seek out a Yalumba, sounds like a great wine for the price. Thanks for the report.

  2. From what I hear, the “hand-picked” Yalumba Shiraz-Viognier is much better, though it’s priced accordingly (about $30 a bottle). Could it be 3x better? probably not…

  3. Eddie, I’ve had better Shiraz-Viognier blends, but not at this low price. A definitive one for me is the Longview Shiraz/Viognier 2004, which should price out at around $20-25. Freaking phenomenal! But the Yalumba is a good wine for the money.

    Jill, yeah, I think I’d have to be treated to a taste of the 300% better hand-picked Yalumba offering wine before I bought a whole bottle! All of my experience with them is their Y-Series, which I find very reliable. I’m loathe to spend the cash on the higher-end wines of what I consider value producers, I admit.

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