Monday, May 31, 2010


- Yarra Valley, VIC
- $22-$35
- Cork
- 13.5%alc

All too often the Yarra Valley gets cast in the shadows of Coonawarra and the Margaret River when winos discuss Australia's premier cabernet region. A quick look at some of the names in the region (Mount Mary, Yarra Yering, Yarra Yarra, Yeringberg etc.) should quickly dispel any reservations about the Yarra's ability to produce Australia's best cabernet. Constellation's Yarra Burn tend towards a firm, dry and medium-bodied cabernet, with adequate bottle age at time of release.

Freshly scented with gorgeous minty/herbal nuances, berry fruits, plums and smoky chocolate/cedar oak, Yarra Burn's 2006 displays classic Yarra beauty throughout both aroma and palate. With deep layers of bright, silky flavour it enters the palate with a sensual elegance (which actually matches the packaging!), moving on to reveal vibrant berry and plum flavours wrapped up by fresh, toasty mocha oak and a rather approachable extract of grainy tannins, which leave the mouth feeling agreeably dry but not too dry. It's sumptuously textured, generously flavoured, beautifully balanced and much more approachable than the 2005 (89pts, drink 2015-17), but it just lacks the complexity and powerful structure required for an even higher score.

ü The large scale winemaking is noticeably evident in this very polished, perhaps predictably delicious red, but all the same, you don't see too many Yarra Valley cabernets of this quality at such a price (especially in Adelaide). Classy, wintry wine. Drink to 2016.
91 points


  1. I'm definitely one of those people who considers the Margaret River and Coonawarra the two premier Cabernet regions, but probably to your point I haven't had enough Yarra Cabernet to have a strong opinion one way or the other on where the Yarra sits in the Cabernet pecking order.
    I am however, going to be visiting the Yarra for the first time later in June, so it will be a good opportunity for me to get acquainted with Yarra Cabernet! :-)

  2. I'm pretty fond of the 2006 vintage when it comes to Cabernet in the Yarra. Actually, I'm pretty fond of Yarra Cab full stop.


  3. Red,

    Hard to say where any of those regions come in the way of a pecking order, like most things, it's just a matter of personal taste really. You could certainly say Coonawarra and the Margaret River have a higher profile, but at their very best, are the likes of Cullen Diana Madeline, Moss Wood or Wynns John Riddoch any better than Mount Mary Quintet or Yarra Yering Dry Red No.1. I don't really think so, it's a tough call!

    Cabernet is just another style which highlights the wonderfully diverse nature of Australia as a wine producing country.

    Personally I find that although Yarra cabernet might lack Coonawarra's sheer power or the Margaret River's superb definition of character/aroma, it makes up for it with sheer unadulterated elegance in more of a medium-bodied, savoury and perfectly harmonious fashion. A couple of years back I had a bottle of Yarra Yering's 2005 Dry Red No. 1, which was one of the greatest Australian cabernets I've ever had.

    My only gripe with Yarra cabernet is the availability of them (especially compared to the cabernet of the other 2 regions mentioned) - hardly anywhere in Adelaide sells the stuff, or at least as much as I'd like :-)

    I know one place you'll be finding plenty of Yarra cabernet though - the Yarra Valley! Lucky! I'm still trying to talk my partner into going for a weekend getaway soon...Drink up Red!

    Chris P

  4. Jeremy,

    As usual, I'm strongly with you on both points there JP. Looking forward to some good 08s too...

  5. Chris, I'm with you on Yarra Yering Dry Red No.1: I think it's the standout wine for the Yarra Valley at the moment. Also, I'd also add Wantirna Estate into that top tier, though availability is again an issue.


  6. Too true Sean! How could I forget gorgeous Amelia?