No cute animal wine labels on these wines from Australia. I attended the Cool-Climate Wave at Cornucopia featuring the wines of Yering Station and Xanadu by the Rathbone Wine Group. Rathbone’s Douglas Elliott leads this guided tasting of select wines from the family-owned wineries. There were five Chardonnay, two Cabernet Sauvignon, one Shiraz, and one Pinot Noir for us to enjoy.
The Rathbone Wine Group consists of three wineries, Xanadu, Yering Station, and Mount Langi Ghiran, all located in cooler climate areas of Australia. Xanadu is located in Margaret River in Western Australia, Yering Station in the Yarra Valley in Victoria, and Mount Langi Ghiran in the Grampians. For this tasting, we were unable to try any Mount Langi Ghiran wines due to transportation logistics issues caused by COVID.
All the Chardonnay grapes for these wineries come from the Gingin clone, also known as the Wente clone from California and the wines have some amount of malolactic fermentation to give the wines a rounder, more buttery mouthfeel. An interesting aspect of this clone is that it has irregular-sized grapes, small-medium-large in each bunch. This results in small berries that have higher acidity and lower sugar while the bigger grapes would have lower acidity and higher sugar.
This was the first weekend of Cornucopia. There are three more weekends with events you can attend.
- Xanadu DJL Chardonnay 2018
- Xanadu Estate Chardonnay 2019
- Xanadu Estate Chardonnay 2015
- Xanadu Reserve Chardonnay 2011
- Xanadu DJL Cabernet Sauvignon 2018
- Xanadu Estate Cabernet Sauvignon 2019
- Yering Station Little Yering Chardonnay 2015
- Yering Station Village Pinot Noir 2014
- Yering Station Elms Shiraz 2014
What Makes Xanadu Unique?
According to our speaker, Douglas Elliott, Xanadu:
- has a maritime climate providing warm dry summers and cool nights that produce wines that are balanced with ripe fruit and also bright acidity.
- produced benchmark Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay.
- has one of the region’s oldest vineyards planted by Margaret River pioneer Dr. John Lagan in 1977. Margaret River celebrated 50 years as a wine region in 2017.
- Xanadu’s flagship Cabernet Sauvignon has won the “Cabernet Sauvignon Trophy” at the National Wine Show of Australia for 5 consecutive years from 2011-16. It is the region’s benchmark Cabernet Sauvignon.
- their winemaker, Glenn Goodall in 2014 was named Winemaker of the Year, Western Australian Wine Guide. His wines consistently win Gold in global wine competitions.
What Makes Yering Station Unique?
Again, according to our speaker, Douglas Elliott, Yering Station:
- has Victoria’s oldest vineyard, planted in 1838 and replanted in the 1980’s.
- has a cool climate with a mean January (Australian summer) temperature of 18.3 degree C.
- has a rich diversity of top vineyard sites suited for cool-climate grapes like Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, and Shiraz.
- has won many awards from Winemaker of the Year 2004 from IWSC, Australia “Hall of Fame” Best Winery Tourism award 2005, and received 150,000 visitors to the winery yearly.
My Wine Tasting Notes
- Xanadu DJL Chardonnay 2018 – A medium intensity bright lemon colour. Medium intensity nose with toast and lemon aromas, then floral and vanilla with air. Dry, lighter body, lean mouthfeel. Higher acidity. Light pineapple, toast and butterscotch flavour, then some salty minerality. Tart citrus and butterscotch finish with light sweet spices and pepper. An elegant wine. –
- Xanadu Estate Chardonnay 2019 – A light bright lemon colour. Very light nose featuring guava and pineapple aromas. Medium-minus body, lean with some roundness, and high acidity. Pears and pineapple flavours to start, then add butterscotch and a touch of sweet spices. Medium-plus length. Another elegant wine.
- Xanadu Estate Chardonnay 2015 – A deeper bright lemon colour in the glass. Medium intensity aromas of lemon, pineapple, butterscotch, and toast. Richer aromas with air. Dry, medium-plus body, round and smooth with a thicker mouthfeel. Pineapple, citrus, butterscotch, sweet spices, and toasted oak flavours. The wine does get tarter from the mid-palate to the finish.
- Xanadu Reserve Chardonnay 2011 – This wine is no longer available and was provided as a special treat for this tasting. This wine has a deep bright lemon colour. Light aromas; toast, butterscotch and pineapple. The aromas get stronger with air. Dry, medium body with a thicker, buttery texture and lighter acidity. Citrus and butterscotch plus a touch of sweet spices. Medium length with some tartness and butterscotch on the finish.
- Xanadu DJL Cabernet Sauvignon 2018 – 85% Cabernet Sauvignon with the remaining 15% a combination of Petit Verdot, Merlot, and Cabernet Franc. This wine has a deeper dull garnet colour. Medium intensity juicy berries, oak and cedar, capsicum and a touch of tarry aromas. Fuller body, with fine tannins and medium-plus acidity. Tart berry fruit, cassis, capsicum, tar and a combination of red cherries and candied cherries. A bit lean on the palate rather than round due to the acidity. Medium length finishing with tar, cassis, light pepperiness and sweet fruits.
- Xanadu Estate Cabernet Sauvignon 2019 – A deeper translucent garnet colour. Lighter, pretty aromas of capsicum, sweet spice, red fruits and cassis. Dry with a slightly round mouthfeel. Higher acidity. Tart cassis, red cherries, and touches of capsicum and black pepper, followed by vanilla and candied red cherries. Medium length with lightly drying tannins. –
- Yering Station Little Yering Chardonnay 2015 – Bright lemon. Quite a toasty nose, along with lemon, pear and tropical fruit aromas. Medium body, leaner but still some roundness. Toast and tropical fruit flavours. Lighter mouthfeel. Medium-minus acidity. Peppery and pineapple on the finish. Elegant.
- Yering Station Village Pinot Noir 2015 – A clear translucent garnet colour, about 40% opaque. Light red cherries and some sweet spices on the nose. Medium-minus body, dry with medium acidity and fine tannins. Tart red fruits followed by candied red fruit and red cherries and a touch of sweet spices and oak. With air, you can add some dill plus the tannins get stronger. Medium-length, with a tart fruit finish. –
- Yering Station Elms Shiraz 2014 – this wine has some Viognier co-fermented with it, which gives deeper colour and sometimes a floral component. This wine is a deep dull garnet colour. Cedar, tarriness, dark berries and vanilla aromas. Medium body, nice roundness and soft mouthfeel. Medium-minus acidity and light tannins. Sweet berries plus some candied and tart fruits mixed in, plus light oak. Sweet candied cherries on the finish. –
You can sign up for more Cornucopia events at this link.
Some of these wines are available through the BC government liquor stores, private stores, or on restaurant menus. If any of these wines sound tasty to you, please buy a bottle or two.
Thank you to Tourism Whistler for providing me with a complimentary ticket to this event.