For 155 years the de Pury family has lived and farmed at Yeringberg, and for all but 50 of those years, the family has grown grapes and made wine. Frederick-Guillaume de Pury bought the land in 1863. He’d been working in the Yarra Valley since his arrival from Switzerland in 1850. He developed a large vineyard (about 25ha) and made excellent wines, first in a simple bark-roofed winery and then in a new weatherboard building. The winery and underground cellars are still used today.
George took over the winemaking and farm when his father died in 1890. He made wonderful wines with a world-wide reputation. But in 1921, faced with several unsold vintages partly due to the decline of the British market after WWI, he pulled out the vines and continued grazing cattle and sheep.
His son Guill replanted the vines from 1969 – very early in the revival of the Yarra Valley. Those vines, with more recent plantings of Shiraz and Viognier in the 1990s, provide the fruit for these wines grown and composed by fourth-generation siblings Sandra and David de Pury.
And they’ve triumphed once more in the pretty warm growing season of 2016. The whites are relatively full and generous, hinting at matters tropical while staying trim and driven. The reds are supremely fragrant and fresh, with all the elegance and detail we’ve come to expect. “Full-bodied with lots of layers of stone fruit and refreshing acidity to match, culminating in a round yet crunchy finish,” wrote Nick Stock of the Viognier, and it’s no surprise that its Rhône counterparts of Marsanne and Roussanne were also happy to bask in a little warmth. “It’s a mighty wine for its depth and precision,” was Jane Faulkner’s impression. Staying with the Rhône, “Drink this young and enjoy!” is Stock’s advice with the Shiraz of “light to medium body, fine tannins and a fresh finish”.
It’s another vintage to show how adept the best sites and growers are at pulling off what, in Europe, would seem like the impossible feat of matching those results with the Burgundy varieties coming off the same hill. But here again is Nick Stock on the Pinot: “The palate is very suave with layers of riper forest fruits, which are matched by an edgy sheen of tannins and bright acidity.” And Wine Advocate’s Joe Czerwinski was equally taken with the Chardonnay: “It’s silky textured and medium-bodied, with lemon, pineapple and white nectarine notes that easily weave in and out, linking together around a resilient spine of acidity.”
And then – as is fitting since it’s the wine known simply as Yeringberg – there comes the Bordeaux blend that perfectly sums up the class of 2016, in its delightful balance of ripe fruit and vitality. “The palate shows resounding freshness and purity. Although this isn’t the biggest of wines, it certainly does well to make up for it with pristinely crafted tannins, razor-sharp acidity and a juicy finish,” is the verdict.
2016 Yeringberg Viognier RRP $46
Viognier’s exotic opulence produces a wine of seductive and perfumed pleasure. Intense apricot, mango and orange blossom aromas are balanced by hints of clove, cinnamon and nutmeg, as well as nutty notes suggestive of fresh baklava. Balancing that exuberance with an equal display of focus and restraint, the palate opens with richness and spicy generosity, the apricot fruit sitting beautifully within a textured, gently structured framework. There’s an almost viscous texture that gives length, volume and finesse to the palate. Restrained yet mouthfilling, the wine is a natural complement to seafood and white meats and also pairs beautifully with a range of spicy flavours. Drink young. – Sandra de Pury
Luscious ripe fruit, not too much, leads with stone fruit, apricots and kernels, glâcé pineapple, all drizzled with ginger spiced cream. Soft, pleasing and holds its own. 93 points. Jane Faulkner, Halliday Wine Companion August 2018
An appley nose that also incorporates very attractive aromas of white peaches, pomelo, apricots and dried spices. Full-bodied with lots of layers of stone fruit and refreshing acidity to match, culminating in a round yet crunchy finish. Drink now. Screw cap.93 points. Nick Stock, jamessuckling.com June 2018
The 2016 Viognier manages to tap into the ripe, exotic side of Viognier’s florals and apricot-like fruit without tipping over into an oily, alcoholic morass. It’s medium- to full-bodied but stays calm and collected, with a soft, silky mouthfeel, authentic varietal flavors and a lingering finish. It’s a rare, successful balancing act with this finicky variety. 91+ points. Joe Czerwinski, Wine Advocate June 2018
2016 Yeringberg Marsanne/Roussanne RRP $66
Marsanne 59%, Roussanne 41%. Our white Rhône blend is a subtle wine that displays restraint and quiet power. It starts subdued, with hints of pear, honeysuckle, lanolin and quince. With air it expands, building depth and breadth, showing notes of honey, lemon and jasmine. On the palate, it’s both taut and well rounded, savoury and subtly pithy, but also spicy and gently viscous. It’s a fabulous food wine that manages to complement both delicate and more fully flavoured dishes and, unusually, satisfies both white and red wine drinkers. Full of promise, the 2016 is certainly enjoyable now, and will continue to evolve over a number of years. – Sandra de Pury
A 59/41% split, spends 10 months on lees in seasoned barrels and it’s a mighty wine for its depth and precision. Flavour wise, it’s perfectly proportioned with whispers of stone fruit, honeysuckle, creamed honey and fine acidity. 95 points. Jane Faulkner, Halliday Wine Companion August 2018
Yeringberg’s Marsanne Roussanne blend is always an interesting expression of these varieties. This is an exemplary example. Indeed the word wonderful springs to mind. Power, grace, length, you name it. Honeysuckle, stonefruit, oak spice and meal. It’s excellent now but it has a higher gear in it; just give it a few more years. 94 points. Campbell Mattinson, The Wine Front May 2019
An exotic nose showing spicy loquat, dried cloves, white peppers, sage, green apple ice cream and even some camembert. Full-bodied and very layered with pears and peach pith, which are really intensely flavored. Long and very spicy on the finish. Drink now. Screw cap. 94 points. Nick Stock, jamessuckling.com June 2018
2016 Yeringberg Chardonnay RRP $66
A slightly fuller and more open expression of our site, reflecting the relative generosity of the vintage, this year’s Chardonnay opens with aromas of ripe nectarine, vanilla and poached pear. Complex and controlled, there’s a sense of power that slowly emerges, showing hints of ripe melon, honeycomb and lemon curd. The palate displays richness and power, within a tight framework of great persistence and length. As always there’s purity and restraint, but this year the wine commands a little more centre-stage attention, showing great savoury drive and stunning length as it dances across the palate. A complex and beautiful wine, and a real standout this year. – Sandra de Pury
Hand-picked fruit, destemmed and crushed aged in French barrels (30% new) for 11 months with 30% mlf. Always a flavoursome, fuller-bodied Chardonnay with stone fruit, figs and leesy, creamy notes. Yet it keeps a well-formed frame with bright acidity helping. 95 points. Jane Faulkner, Halliday Wine Companion August 2018
Another very exotic white from Yeringberg, which remains focused and dialled-in. Dried pineapple is the main attraction on the nose, as well as apple pastries, red grapefruit, passion fruit and praline. An acutely smoky undertone, too. Round and opulent on the palate, but it is still very much in check. This is all thanks to a refreshing layer of acidity through the mid-palate, carrying this long through the finish. Drink now. Screw cap. 94 points. Nick Stock, jamessuckling.com June 2018
Hints of roasted cashew accent lemon-curd notes on the nose of the 2016 Chardonnay. Like the propriety red blend, Yeringberg’s Chardonnay isn’t about mass, weight or extraction but balance, elegance and finesse. It’s silky textured and medium-bodied, with lemon, pineapple and white nectarine notes that easily weave in and out, linking together around a resilient spine of acidity. 93 points. Joe Czerwinski, Wine Advocate June 2018
2016 Yeringberg Pinot Noir RRP $98
Bright and energetic, this year’s Pinot has an overarching sense of elegance and finesse. Pretty and pure, the nose offers up notes of rose petal, raspberry and musk, and with time in the glass, the underlying power emerges, as do more complex sappy notes and aromas of blood plum, black tea, charcuterie and liquorice. On the palate there’s elegance and lithe power, with initial notes of raspberry and spice followed by an emerging array of complex, savoury, bitter cherry elements that hint at serious underlying structure. The balance between elegance and richness continues to unfold to a supple mid palate that leads onto a generously lifted and expansive finish. A wine of structure and pleasing freshness, promising a fascinating future over another 5–6 years. – Sandra de Pury
A fragrant nose of rose perfume, freshly picked strawberries and wild cherries, citrus and orange rind. The palate is very suave with layers of riper forest fruits, which are matched by an edgy sheen of tannins and bright acidity. A firm yet juicy finish. Drink now or hold. Screw cap. 93 points. Nick Stock, jamessuckling.com June 2018
2016 Yeringberg Shiraz RRP $90
Shiraz 97%, Viognier 3%. This year’s Shiraz starts out quietly and really takes its time to offer up its charms. Cool blue fruits, cherry, clove and mint aromas emerge from this beautifully restrained and well-mannered wine. The nose unfurls over time, taking on complex notes of sandalwood, treacle and black pepper. It’s all very svelte and sophisticated, with just a hint of exotic luxury and opulence. The palate has a lovely sense of elegance, freshness and control, with wonderful frolicking between the spiciness of the fruit, the briary, peppery mid-palate and the fine structure and inky richness of the back palate. It feels effortless — nothing looks forced or out of proportion — and the flavours persist, fading gently before inviting another look. Drink for 8-10 years, or more. – Sandra de Pury
97% Shiraz, 3% Viognier. Mostly destemmed. 30% new oak. You’d be hard-pressed to find a Yeringberg wine that wasn’t impeccably turned out. It’s a tiny old operation, nothing fancy or frilled, and yet everything is fussed over at the micro level. This is a perfectly balanced shiraz, juicy and perfumed, whispered with savouriness and indeed with garden herbs but essentially driven by cherry-plum. Firm-but-fine tannin takes the fruit by the hand and leads it out through the finish, acidity tuning the strings. Creamy, cedary oak is present but not dangerous. 93 points. Campbell Mattinson, The Wine Front May 2019
2016 Yeringberg Cabernet RRP $98
Cabernet Sauvignon 59%, Cabernet Franc 15%, Merlot 10%, Petit Verdot 9%, Malbec 7%. A wine that’s always more than the sum of its parts, and one that continues as a flag bearer for the merits of blending. Perhaps it’s the vintage, but all of this year’s reds seem to unfurl slowly, before emerging to show the generosity and structure that is an inherent character of the year. Deeply fruited, with aromas of blackcurrant, blood plum, violet and clove, the nose also has notes of tapenade, cacao, graphite and cigar box. There’s nothing showy here and not an eyelash out of place — it’s grown up, sophisticated, a perfectly pressed suit. The palate has an effortless quality to it — a tightrope walk of weightlessness, energy and palate staining intensity that somehow manages to avoid being a contradiction. A really lovely wine that can, as usual, be drunk with pleasure now or tucked away for 10–15 years. – Sandra de Pury
A pretty wine of a tightly belted, svelte nature. It’s floral, offering plum and red fuits, some cocoa in with cedar and tobacco savouries, Medium-weight, fine powdery tannin is assertive, but not dominant, brisk acidity though its core, and a redcurrant and tobacco finish of excellent length. 94+ points. Gary Walsh, The Wine Front May 2019
A very floral blend that has Bordeaux written all over it. It shows red plums, redcurrants, blackcurrants, cedar, tobacco, fresh herbs and roses. The palate shows resounding freshness and purity. Although this isn’t the biggest of wines, it certainly does well to make up for it with pristinely crafted tannins, razor-sharp acidity and a juicy finish. Drink in 2024. A blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Merlot, Petit Verdot and Malbec. Screw cap. 94 points. Nick Stock, jamessuckling.com June 2018