The Yarra Valley wineries are treasures of Australia. They are a significant source of livelihood and a famous attraction to locals and tourists alike. After only a 45-minute drive from Melbourne, you’ll already witness the spectacular sight of this huge wine region.
The area boasts superb red, white, and even sparkling wines made from meticulously grown grape varieties. They are products of the people’s hard work and nature’s blessings. This region is fortunate to have the various soils and climates needed to create the most fabulous wines. Both the red volcanic soil in the Upper and Lower Yarra Valley and the sandy clay loams in the middle have been proven to be great soils for winemaking. The whole region is generally cool, with temperatures ranging in the middle of those of Bordeaux and Burgundy, two of France’s infamous wine districts.
Yarra Valley wineries can only label a bottle “Yarra Valley” if at least 85% of the grapes it contains were grown in the region. Chardonnays are the most widely planted white grape variety in the area and are made into styles ranging from the restrained to the complex. While they are a favorite as a varietal, they are also blended with pinot noir to make exceptional sparkling wines. Lobster in cream sauce and other similar seafood and poultry dishes in rich sauces mirror well the rich, buttery taste of chardonnay. But you can also have this wine with salads, grilled shrimps, and curry dishes.
Another famous white grape from the Yarra Valley wineries is sauvignon blanc. The wines it produces are full-flavored, crisp, and vibrant. It goes well with mild to strong cheeses, poultry and seafood dishes, and Asian dishes. Sauvignon blanc is also blended with Semillon, another important grape in the region, to produce an even fuller flavor. This blend is often served as an aperitif or with light dishes.
Going to their red varieties, pinot noir, even though it’s challenging to cultivate, is the most widely planted red grape in the region. Those who know good wine appreciate its delicate but extensive range of fruit flavors. As a varietal, it is often recommended with ham, duck, veal, pork, and lamb and dishes with creamy or spicy sauces. It is quite a versatile wine.
Of course, one shouldn’t leave the area without having a sip of their cabernet sauvignon and shiraz wines. The cabernet sauvignon of this region is characterized by an explosion of flavors including berries, cedar, chocolate, and even leather. Red meats, hearty pastas, strong cheeses, and dark chocolates are the best friends of cabs. Shiraz, which is an Australian icon, also goes well with dishes of strong flavors. It’s defined by its rich, seductive tastes of berries, plums, mocha, black pepper, and spices.
The Yarra Valley wineries produce many other superb grape varieties and wines, aside from the major reds and whites mentioned here. Anyone traveling to this region shouldn’t skip their merlot, riesling, cabernet franc, viognier, and other such varieties. And one should remember they also serve great dishes to perfectly match these wines. The only problem any visitor would have is how to sample all the great wine and food in one trip.