Since 1996 Yarrabank cuvées have been produced by an ongoing joint venture between Champagne Veuve A. Devaux and Yering Station. First created in 1993, the venture reflects the committed vision of Champagne Devaux president Laurent Gillet, to produce a benchmark Australian sparkling wine. Combining centuries old tradition from Champagne with a contemporary approach to winemaking, Yarrabank is renowned for pushing the boundaries of Australian sparkling wine production. Having consistently received accolades since its first vintage, Yarrabank has firmly established itself as one of Australia’s finest sparkling wines.
“Wine quality has consistently been outstanding, frequently with an unmatched finesse and delicacy.”
– James Halliday
There is true dedication and exchange between the wineries when producing the Yarrabank wines, with winemakers each year traveling from Devaux to Australia to assist in the production process. Yering Station winemakers travel to Champagne annually to experience first-hand the structure of grapes needed to make great sparkling wine.
Since 1846 Champagne Devaux has only used Chardonnay and Pinot Noir grapes to create their distinctive style. They have brought their expertise to Yarrabank to produce wines with a perfect balance of ripeness and acidity to create their own unique Yarrabank style. Chardonnay fruit gives lightness, elegance and finesse whilst the Pinot Noir enhances palate length and mouthfeel. Pinot noir is a black-skinned grape that produces white juice. It gives aromas of red fruit and brings structure and power to a blend.
In the Champagne region, Devaux is located on the Côte des Bar which is situated in the south of the appellation (between Bar-sur-Seine and Bar-sur-Aube).This renowned vineyard area represents a quarter of the total Champagne production. The stunning rolling landscape has soils and unique exposures ideal for Pinot noir. The Yarra Valley just like the Cote des Bar is one of the most reknown regions in Australia to produce outstanding Pinot Noir.On the other hand, Chardonnay is a white grape variety and it is the other most common grape variety in Champagne. It provides finesse, as well as delicate floral and citrus aromas.
Yarrabank’s cool climate vineyards in the Upper Yarra Valley offer differing soils and exposure to optimise the diverse characters of both the Chardonnay and Pinot Noir grape varieties. This gives the winemakers a fantastic range of base wines to produce complex and balanced sparkling wine.
Extended ageing in the bottle following second fermentation or the “prise de mousse”, is one of the key features from Champagne Devaux. The Collection D from Devaux spends a minimum 5 years on lees. Similarly for Yarrabank, ageing is an important element to preserve the quality and style of freshness for the wine and the Cuvee is aged for 4 years. In Champagne, the legal minimum for ageing on lees is 12 months to have the Champagne “appellation”. The longer the wine stays on lees the more roundness and finesse to the wine, this method can also eliminate the use of added sugar. This particular technique is implemented by Yarrabank and contributes to its distinct style.