96 Points Gary Walsh
It’s fair to say Luke Lambert hasn’t looked back since ‘relocating’ his Syrah to the Tibooburra vineyard. This southwest sloping site lies in the south-eastern corner of the Valley, near Gembrook, and might be the coolest microclimate of the Yarra. The site is expertly managed by Greg Kerr, the grower who planted the vineyard in 2001. The soils here are considered very unusual for the Yarra, comprising a seam of black volcanic topsoil over yellow clay with a smattering of granite rock throughout. Furthermore, the quality of the clonal material in Tibooburra supplies Lambert with a deeper, darker and more structured Syrah than we typically see in the Yarra. This is what drew Lambert to the site and a good chunk of the reason that this Syrah has become a touchstone example of the cool-climate Australian red genre. Put this up against the most famous Aussie cool climate reds and it’s clear that something pretty special is going on chez Lambert. The handling was pretty similar to previous vintages, wild ferment, ageing in neutral oak (a ten year old, 4,000-litre). With the long, slow ripening leading to ‘ripe’ stalks, Lambert lifted the whole bunch level to 80% (the highest yet) and the wine was left unsulphured until just prior to bottling, without fining or filtration.
“Boysenberry, cracked pepper, a certain sweet grassy perfume, brown bread and vanilla. Medium bodied, deft and articulate, flavour and impact without heaviness, ripples of ultra-fine tannin, again that cracked wheat/brown bread thing, and a very fine and long finish. You want Australian ‘Syrah’? You got it.” – 96 Points Gary Walsh