Yarra Valley is the oldest wine region in Victoria, the diverse wine state in the south east corner of Australia, with vineyards first planted in 1860. However, the Yarra Valley is a cool-climate wine region, and when Australian and European tastes were turning toward the fortified style in the war/ post-war period, the Yarra Valley couldn’t compete with the warmer regions of South Australia and Northern Victoria.
When Dr Peter McMahon planted the first vines at Seville Estate in 1972, it marked the rebirth of the Yarra Valley as a premium wine region. By the end of the that decade Dr McMahon and his wife Margaret, along with producers such as Mount Mary, Yeringberg, Yarra Yering and the like were fashioning wines from suitable varieties that served to re-establish the lofty reputation the Yarra had enjoyed in the 19th century. From its first vintage, Seville Estate quickly established itself as one of the Yarra Valleys finest producers, and Peter’s grandson Dylan carries this legacy today.
Seville Estate is a slice of the old world perched on the top of a leafy hill and sloping into a rolling gully in the higher point of the Upper Yarra. With access to original 1972 (and 1996) plantings, Dylan lends a minimal, old world style touch to cool climate Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Shiraz. There is a unique spice quality that is consistent through the reds, and a hall mark of the Pinot’s are the earthy, savoury, dried leaf quality that are exentuated by cool natural ferments, old wood and whole bunch ferments. It’s a pleasing quality to see in mature, old-vine, new-world Pinot Noir, that is too often masked with sweet fruits and jam-like flavours.
Whilst the reds are all class and full of old world charm, it is Dylan’s world beating Chardonnay’s that continue to impress the US and Australian restaurant scene and wine show circuit; most recently the US wine media has taken notice as well, earning 95 points in Wine & Spirits and a place in its top 100 wines of the year. A good effort for Seville’s first year in the US market. Dylan’s Chardonnays are whole bunch pressed into French barriques, small percentage new, for natural barrel ferments. They spend 12 months on gross lees, before being sulphured and bottled. There is Puligny-like richness and minerality, a slight reductive quality, amazing lees complexity and length for days.