A Look at De Bortoli Winery - Yarra Valley

  • Sharebar

Melbourne’s Yarra Valley forms part of the dress circle of wineries that surround the capital. One to capture many opinions is De Bortoli through the efforts of the winemaking chief of De Bortoli at Dixons Creek-Steve Webber.
Steve’s theories play out through the palates of many De Bortoli wines - sauvignon, rose, chardonnay, pinot, syrah (Francophile wording which seems unnecessary from Australia) and Italian varietal blends. In fact for novel wine styles, varietal blends and wines showing more “naturalness” than the current small tirade of “natural” wine producers, Steve makes an input to the style, and De Bortoli just sell it.
Steve recognised the need to knock “Marlborough” character out of Sauvignon Blanc, moving away from simple tastes to wines of texture and layers with the razor acidity moving along to savouriness: made by wild yeast engaged with cloudy lees in old barrels.
A fine result.

image from shutterstockThen came his re-invigoration of the Australian rose style, long held to be the domain of the hot area growers, Melton, Teusner and co with rich, violet-blue, alcohol-sweet wines. Webber put the cool region makers in a better place, used pinot, made it naturally in old barrels, was not perturbed if it came out orange and not traditional Oz cherry-pink. The wines look cool, and Steve adds a little more funk by blending Pinot Gris pressings for extra subtle texture.

Modern Australian Chardonnay alcohols have dropped remarkably in the past five years. De Bortoli Reserve and standard Yarra Valley wines were among the first to hit the marvellous 12.0 per cent mark. Webber’s Chardonnays deliberately avoided the melon or peach “fruit bomb” genres of Chardonnay, moving on to drinks with a more sophisticated shape and impression, savoury, not sweet, small, not big, engaging the palate, not swamping it.

And so more Australians are learning the art of drinking wines with modest flavours yet more detail and textural capture, and not too much of everything, if so, usually over-ripe.The Steve Webber impact with his wines has also re-written the scope for paired flavours while dining.


Image courtesy of Shutterstock