04 March 2016
YALUMBA: THREE CHEAP BLONDES
Must have been about 1982 that in the lead-up to their adoption of this Y brand, the Hill Smiths gave a memorable trade lunch in their Yalumba barrel hall to try the new vintage "Y" Lur-Saluces, the dry white made by the mighty Château d'Yquem Sauternes house in Bordeaux.
d'Yquem is famously the only maker to be awarded the Premier Cru Supérieur appellation in its region and famously its mighty sweet white starts at around $700 per bottle. It may have seemed a tad de trop had they called their new brand d'Yquem, but given their uncertainty about Sauvignon blanc at the time, the Hill Smiths eventually settled at Y.
The d'Yquem "Y", a dry blend of Sauvignon blanc and Semillon, is always cheaper than their magnificant sticky, so The Yalumba Y Series? Well, why not?
To explain all this, Yalumba The Y Series South Australia Sauvignon Blanc 2015 ($12.99; 12% alcohol; screw cap) leads you in with a back label that glibly begins "At Yalumba we believe that one good wine leads to another. The Y Series was created with that belief in mind."
The wine smells a bit like lemon custard slice. Maybe sabayon, with a little drying blue juniper. It's not so overwhelmingly battery acid or cat-piss on the lawn cuttings as your entry-level Kiwi Savvys-B, with this insinuation of dairy and egg offering some comforting fatty acid cushion, regardless of how subliminal that effect may be. Not that there's any dairy or egg in the wine: whatever 'vegan-friendly' actually means, the wine claims this extra appellation.
(Just between you and me, like personally, 'vegan-friendly' remains something I cannot quite bring myself to profess. Sanctimony makes this wretch retch.)
In the drinking business, like in your mouth, this Y is a pleasant dryish wine, those citrus hints fleeting but balancing before the whole event comes to a close befitting its modest price.
Which has changed somewhere along the line: between the printing of the brochure and the posting of the bottle, it plunged from $14.99 to $12.99, even before Hungry Dan's got their discounting fingers on it.
Good for you! Best not frozen, with chook or squid. Or the vegan equivalent.
Yalumba The Y Series South Australia Viognier 2015 ($12.99; 13.5% alcohol; screw cap) has more fat in its fragrance: When extracting the aroma, say, of rose petals, a proper parfumier will press them between two layers of glass spread with the finest rendered goose fat. This dissolves and captures even the most fleeting of the rosy fragrances and is then distilled to make one of the bases of the eventual blended prefume.
So, that petal flesh and gentle pith aside - more magnolia, arum and lime than rose, just by the way - this simple cuteness also shows a dash of citrus essence and is overall a bonnie quaff for those dissolute afternoons poking around the cheese platter with your mates on the veranda.
Once again, don't freeze it. Just a few minutes in the ice bucket will best prepare it for a whole day and night inside you.
Yalumba The Y Series Barossa Riesling 2015 ($12.99; 12% alcohol; screw cap) is the first of this trio to come from somewhere other than the irrigated Mallee. This fortunate provenance immediately hikes it to a level of greater value, the elevation in quality being obvious. It has those pleasant Rubens fat-and-petal flesh tones, but more along the lines of lemon, lime and maybe even jasmine petals this time.
Unlike Yalumba's more spendy Pewsey Vale Rizzas or Mesh, which are often distinguished by a leaf and petiol greenness unusual for Riesling, this one's like a fresh-born bubby just washed in lime juice and brook water. I wanted to say it's like the feeling I got watching Susan Sarandon wash the oyster bar smells off her breasts with fresh-squeezed lemon juice in Atlantic City, but that's probly a bit too suggestive given this price range.
That's more of a d'Yquem "Y" provenance, that evocation.
And food? Oysters'll do. Just make sure Burt Lancaster's not pervin' through the window.