A good friend from Australia told me a story. After the Hospice de Beaune Auction in Burgundy he had driven down to the Rhone Valley. While there, he managed to cajole the reluctant Rhone winemakers to take a quick drive with him to Piemonte as it was “only a few hours drive over the mountains”. At first, the idea shocked the Rhone winemakers. Italy?! For my Australian friend, it was nothing, not even the distance from one Australian capital city to the next. They did it; and to this day, the winemakers from Rhone, Piemonte and Australia laugh about it and are all still friends.
Like many young Australians living abroad, the winemaker Mac Forbes has effortlessly worked in many countries and cultures: in his case, Burgundy, Gallic, Narbonne, Duoro and Sicily. Recently back in the Yarra Valley from consulting in Austria, he has successfully imported Gruner Veltliner and Blaufrankisch to the cool Yarra Valley (after 3 years in quarantine). In Mac’s own words:
“It is important to keep the mind open especially with such challenging environments in Australia. We certainly can’t take any one approach but rather I like to think we find our own way with our fruit to find wines that retain purity and expression.”
The 2006 Mac Forbes Woori Yallock Pinot Noir from Australia’s Yarra Valley, as someone said of the Concorde, is a new shape in the air. Full of effortless grace and flavour rather than fatness with raspberry and strawberry characters, it shows a rare elegance even in Burgundy, not to mention Australia. There are identifiable Beaune characters with a strong mineral spine and yet, shows a quiet depth with a dimension often seen in Sicilian wines: sapidity and texture.
Like good examples of Pinot Noir from Burgundy (in a good year), it tastes unmanipulated and dare I say, ethereal: the sensation of flying above the clouds on the way to a new land.
I won’t say it deserves a national parade, fireworks and flyover just yet. But Mac Forbes Woori Yallock deserves to be warmly welcomed as a new shape in Australian wine: and, right now, it is supersonic.
Link: Mac Forbes