With Earth Day approaching the focus on organic and biodynamic wines have been at the forefront. While we don’t need Earth Day to remind us to drink responsibly, it is a great opportunity to recognize the producers that have made it their mission to protect the Earth and produce wines that are representative of high quality vineyards, soils and fruit. The wines of Yangarra are certified biodynamic and organic. Yangarra is an award winning winery that does not use chemicals or pesticides in their farming. The result of these Earth friendly practices has lead to producing fruit that are of healthier quality, and thus delivering wines that are a purer expression of their varietals.
Yangarra Estate Vineyard
Yangarra is a certified biodynamic farm in McLaren Vale, South Australia. They are producing single vineyard estate wines with southern Rhone varietals. With the best Mediterranean climate on the earth, Yangarra is blessed with unique geology, moderate altitude, sunny days, and cool breezy nights.
Every glass they produce is a reflection of the deep respect and consideration they have for nature, the earth and the land. Original plantings were first made in 1946 when the property was called Lall Rookh, meaning “love nest”. In awe of the bush vines, Jess Jackson and his wife Barbara Bank(Jackson Family Wines) purchased the property in 2001 and renamed it Yangarra, which translates to mean “from the Earth”. They revived the vineyards and invested in state of the art winery. Slowly over the last decade Yangarra has gained respect and recognition for being a world class organic and biodynamic producer.
Winemaker – Peter Fraser
Peter Fraser is the winemaker and the driving force behind Yangarra. I had the opportunity to meet with him recently in New York City. Anyone that has met Peter immediately appreciates his humbleness, especially in light of his many awards and accolades. Peter is recognized as one of Australia’s finest winemakers. Peter was awarded the title; Australia’s Winemaker of the Year 2016. In past years he has also been recognized as one of the best Young Winemaker of Australia.
Peter is most celebrated for his Grenache and Shiraz. His philosophy is that winemaking is less about the technique and more about preserving the essential tastes of the vines, allowing for the grapes to do the talking and little interference in the cellar.
His renowned Grenache wines have propelled him to become a subject matter expert. Following our lunch, I attended a Grenache Masterclass for the trade, hosted by Peter Fraser and Drinks Business. An informative session on Grenache wines from across the globe. Grenache is Peter’s star grape and pet project as it grows beautifully in McLaren Vale. Born in McLaren Vale and having been winemaker on property from a young age, Peter is wildly passionate about the region and has a deep understanding of the land and soils, as it makes some of the finest expressions of Grenache.
In the past Peter felt Australian wines were heavy, fruity and full of oak, so his mission was to make wines that were biodynamic, balanced and elegant, wines that have bright expressions with an essence of place. This required an understanding of the soils, climate and terroir. His wines are fresh and lighter in style, with a mineral element that reflects the soils and geology of the land. There is also an iron and iodine character to his wines that are quite distinctive.
His adventurous side allows him to experiment with newly planted varietals. In addition to Grenache and Shiraz he has recently planted other Rhone varietals like Carignan, Cinsault, Mourvèdre, Counoise, Grenache Blanc, Piquepoul Blanc, and Clairette to name just a few.
Peter has taken Yangarra to new heights, a testament to his talent and skill as a winemaker. Peter is always learning and always looking to the future.
Biodynamic Wines of Yangarra
2016 PF Yangarra Shiraz -The perfect wine to toast Earth Day, this wine is made without chemical additives. Preservative Free(PF), and no additions of any kind: sulfur, acid, tannins or fining agents. The PF Shiraz is made from grapes grown on certified biodynamic single-estate vineyard, grown without herbicides, fungicides or synthetic chemicals. It’s medium bodied, fresh, fruit driven wine that is delicious enjoyed as a young wine.
2014 Yangarra Estate McLaren Vale Shiraz – This wine is all about texture. The meaty blueberry hint is sometimes like prosciutto or other dark charcuterie meats; the figgy base tones provide a solid base flavor, the cleansing natural acidity working with the tannins to draw the finish out to a delicious taper with a long aftertaste where those cherries evident in the bouquet.
2016 Yangarra Estate McLaren Vale Roussanne – This was a beautiful silky Roussanne with a wonderful bouquet on the nose of fruit, floral and spice. With just the right amount of acid, this wine left a long lingering finish on the palate. This was an exceptional Rousanne that stood out in its style and personality.