Oakridge Wines

Anybody have any recent experience with this winery out of Australia? The CR notes seem to be my style. K&L sent out offer today and they seem to be priced well.

Oakridge has quickly become one of our favorite producers from anywhere on the globe. These are stunning wines and a fraction of the cost of what comparable wines from Burgundy or Rhone would run you. Imported directly by K&L, these end up being available at a big discount, due to our cutting out a couple layers of the typical distribution and marketing folks who would otherwise get a cut. Typically, we like to narrow the focus of these emails so as not to overwhelm you with too many different individual items. However in this case we think the Oakridge lineup is so compelling that we decided to roll them all out at once…

2012 Oakridge Local Vineyard Series “Guerin Vineyard” Chardonnay Yarra Valley (Elsewhere $35) ($22.99)

96 points James Halliday: “Made using the tried and true approach of hand picking, whole bunch pressing direct to French oak puncheon for fermentation and 10 months maturation. Has that extra edge and precision of Upper Yarra Valley fruit, with a minerally spine to the grapefruit and white peach flavours.”

92 points Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate: “The 2012 Guerin Vineyard Chardonnay is scented of yuzu zest, orange blossom and fresh lime juice with touches of toast, struck match and clotted cream. Light-bodied plus clean and very crisp through a long, mineral-laced finish, this tight-knit beauty should develop nicely over the next 4-6 years. (92+, LPB)”

K&L Notes: A little more flesh from the warmer 2012 vintage after the exceptionally cool 2011s. Interestingly this site seems to find the middle ground between the Barkala Ridge and Denton bottlings. Showing white peach, orchard blossom, citrus and raw almonds. Quite structured and serious with good density on the mid-palate. Perfectly integrated oak. 93+ points from the Wine Front: “The Guerin Vineyard is at Gladysdale in the Yarra Valley. When it comes to chardonnay, Oakridge’s Local Vineyard Series is pretty much reliably sensational. This Guerin Vineyard chardonnay is spot on. Lithe, elegant, textural and tasty. Has a savouriness at its heart. Has lemon and lemon curd and lime flavours, with oatmeal and toasty oak and a quick strike of matchstick. Beautiful.” Only 700cs total production.

Olivia Ragni | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: July 03, 2014
Easily one of the best Australian Chards I’ve had in a while. Done in more of an old world style, the Guerin develops a slightly flinty, almondy nose with hints of fresh lemon peel. The palate explodes with high acidity, a bit of a petrol quality and citrus fruits such as lemon, clementine, and orange peel. This certainly exceeds expectations.

Ryan Woodhouse | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: February 02, 2014
Beautifully focused Chardonnay with minerality in spades. Winemaker David Bicknell has a very distinctive style of crisp, linear Burgundian type Chardonnay. This wine is all about tension and focus with citrus notes, spices, hints of buttered toast and flint. The wine is a must try for fans of Chablis and less obviously oaky, buttery chardonnay. One of the brightest most zippy Chards we have.

2012 Oakridge Single Vineyard Series “d’Aloisio Vineyard” Chardonnay Yarra Valley (Elsewhere $35) ($22.99)

95 points James Halliday: “Hand-picked, whole bunch-pressed direct to French oak puncheons for fermentation and 10 months maturation. Here the slightly richer and layered nature of Lower Yarra Valley fruit is the point of difference, although this and the '12 Guerin Vineyard both have the hallmark Yarra Valley length of flavour; white peach and grapefruit make equal contributions to the overall flavour.”

92 points Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate: “The 2012 J&J D’Aloisio Vineyard Chardonnay opens with aromas of apple tart, apricots and brioche with touches of cashews and mandarin peel. Medium-bodied and accented by a tart acid line, it has great flavor intensity and a long refreshing finish. Approachable now, it should drink best 2014 to 2018+. (LPB)” (08/2013)

K&L Notes: Hand picked fruit from the d’Aloisio vineyard in the lower Yarra Valley. Whole bunch pressing and wild fermentation in 500-600L French oak Puncheons. As with almost of all of David Bicknell’s Chardonnays it does not go through Malo. He strives to attain a more focused, pure, linear style of Chardonnay. This wine shows crunchy orchard fruit, some firm peach or nectarine, hints of spicy oak and lees character and that subtle signature match wood Oakridge character. Underneath the fruit there is a complex layer of mineral and stone flavors all stretched out on the palate by the wines phenomenal linear drive and length.

Ralph Sands | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: September 16, 2014
One of the most exciting Chardonnays I have tasted in many years. If you love big, buttery and rich Chardonnays this wine is NOT for you. But… if you love great Chablis and Puligny Montrachet you will love this wine as it comes off as a combination of both of those famous wine regions in the glass. Both of those regions have gone crazy price-wise, which makes this wine even more unbelievable for $22.99! Loaded with intense green apple fruit, great freshness a touch of flintyness and lazer beam focus. Just incredible and always in my vacation box of wine!. Enjoy! -Ralph

Ryan Woodhouse | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: August 10, 2014
Classic Oakridge. Focus, drive, precision and ethereal texture. From the d’Aloisio vineyard, this wine shows a little more breath and generosity than some of the other SVS wines. The acid line is touch less firm and the fruit profile riper and slightly rounder. All of this is relative of course as winemaker David Bicknell crafts all of the Oakridge wines with linear persistence and restraint as his guiding mantra. Tastes like great white Burgundy…and will cellar like one too! The low pricing is reflective of our direct import deal cutting out all middle men. This is very serious Chardonnay.

2012 Oakridge Single Vineyard Series “Guerin Vineyard” Pinot Noir Yarra Valley (Elsewhere $35) ($22.99)

95 points James Halliday: “Made in the usual fashion for Local Vineyard Series pinots, with 10 days fermentation of whole berries in open fermenters, this wine with plum and cherry fruit, and some delicate, savoury nuances on the finish.”

Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate: “Very pale ruby colored with a hint of purple, the 2012 Guerin Vineyard Pinot Noir shows a very slight hint of reduction to begin before giving way to a core of red cherry and red currant aromas highlighted by suggestions of tar, tree bark and anise. Light-bodied and delicately flavored in the mouth, it shows a good balance of low level silky tannins and lively acid before finishing with decent length. Drink it now to 2017+. (LPB)” (08/2013)

K&L Notes: Winemaker’s Notes: “The fruit for this wine was sourced from the east facing Guerin Vineyard, sited in a pocket of grey volcanic soil in Gladysdale. A wonderful growing season with abundant rainfall, moderate crops and warm ripening conditions has resulted in wines that are deeply flavoured and intensely varietal. The wine was made using whole berry fermentation in open vessels for two weeks, followed by a 10 month maturation in French oak barrels. The wine is dark red with brick red hues. Bright fresh black cherry and pomegranate lift sitting over cinnamon spice, redcurrants and leaf litter. Air coaxes curry leaf, raspberry and cranberry with a texture of slate and minerals, more pomegranate and plum as it builds across the palate. There is fullness of flavour, firmness of structure and juicy refreshment all at the same time.” Only 500cs total production.

David Driscoll | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: September 16, 2014
I love deliciously delicate red Burgundy. LOVE it. However, I cannot get deliciously delicate red Burgundy that really showcases incredible fruit these days for $23. I’ll likely have to pay between $50-$100 for that experience. That’s why K&L’s new Australian import, Oakridge, is one of the most exciting new finds from our Southern Hemisphere buyers. The Guerin Vineyard Pinot Noir, with its colder climate and lighter body, is exactly what I want from Burgundy. It’s soft, haunting, intricate, and nuanced. It just so happens that it comes from Australia instead of France. Magical wine that really forces you to re-examine your perception concerning the wines from Down Under. This is NOT your typical big-fruited, 90 point Shiraz-type fruit bomb. This is real deal stuff.

Jim Chanteloup | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: September 15, 2014
I served this for a friend the other night, and her response was “Oh my…what a pretty wine.” Across the board, the wines from Oakridge have shown great varietal character with superb balance, detail and drive. The Guerin Pinot Noir is bright and lifted, with a bouquet of dried rose petals, tar, raspberry, tart cherry, rhubarb, clove, earth and dried orange peel. On the palate, the wine is silky and supple with superb balance and a long, persistent finish.

Angie An | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: September 15, 2014
The Oakridge Pinot Noir is really amazing. The Guerin Vineyard displays very nice intensity with a great mixture of fresh, just-ripe fruit aromas with lots of earthy secondary components. For a girl who loves her mineral-driven, earthier style Pinot Noir, this is right up my alley. The wine finishes with soft baking spices and great complexity.

Ryan Woodhouse | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: August 12, 2014
Wow! I can see why a block was chosen from this vineyard to be Oakridge’s prestigious 864 Single Block in 2012. A remarkably attractive Pinot with a super-pure, ripe berry fruit nose. Baking spices, dry leaves, subtle oak touches and dusty earth. Such a fragrant wine, a true Pinot bouquet. On the palate the wine matches up: Ripe berries in the dark red fruit spectrum, clove, subtle cinnamon stick, warm earth and new leather. A tight core of minerality adds another dimension on the finish that is fresh with lovely bright acidity. Beautiful, elegant Pinot, designed with food in mind, remarkable restraint and purity.

2012 Oakridge Single Vineyard Series “Oakridge/Whitsend Vineyard” Shiraz Yarra Valley (Elsewhere $35) ($22.99)

94 points James Halliday: “From the west-facing Whitsend Vineyard (66%) and the east-facing estate vineyard (34%); whole berry and whole bunch-fermented in open fermenters, then 12 months in French puncheons. Bright, clear crimson-purple; it has a particularly fragrant bouquet and a perfectly balanced medium-bodied palate, spice common to both; blackberry, plum, cedar and fine, but persistent, tannins in the mouth.”

Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate: “Pale to medium garnet-purple in color, the 2012 Whitsend & Oakridge Vineyards Shiraz notes of red currants, blackberries and mulberries with touches of black pepper, dried Mediterranean herbs and violets. Medium-bodied with a nice vibrancy of red and black fruit flavors complimented with herbal and pepper elements, it is well supported by lively acid and a low to medium level of chewy tannins before finishing with good length. Drink it now to 2018+. (LPB)” (08/2013)

K&L Notes: This wine is a blend from the west facing Whitsend (60%) and north facing Oakridge (40%) vineyards sited in the grey alluvial loams of Coldstream subregion in Yarra Valley. The 2012 growing season was one of warmth and timely rainfall resulting in intense fruit flavours and naturally high colour. A traditional winemaking approach was used to produce this wine, whole berry and bunch fermentation in open vessels followed by 12 month maturation in 500 litre French oak puncheons. A much more restrained style of Shiraz than many associate with Australia. Cool climate growing conditions mean this wine is elegant, has great structure, complex layers of flavor and excellent balance of fruit and acidity.

David Driscoll | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: September 16, 2014
If you like big, high-alcohol, fruit-bomb Shiraz, then DO NOT get this wine. This Shiraz from Oakridge is for Northern Rhone lovers, people who crave Cote Rotie, and love that hint of black pepper underneath a delicate layer of dark red fruit. If I had tasted this blind, I would have guessed Northern Rhone and been entirely confident in that wager. AUSTRALIA? Jeez, I’m going to have to re-examine my feelings about Australian wine. This is amazing stuff.

Jim Chanteloup | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: September 15, 2014
This wine shows the beautiful character of cooler climate Shiraz. The nose offers notes of white pepper, meats, camphor, and a mix of red and black fruits with plum and boysenberry in the mix. On the palate, there is good structure with ripe fine-grained tannins and very good length.

Angie An | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: September 15, 2014
Woo! What a spicy little guy. There’s fresh black pepper, green tobacco, dash of green olive notes right off the bat along with the classic raspberry. This is NOT your typical big tannin, high alcohol Australian Shiraz at all, but more reminiscent of a Northern Rhone style. Elegant and classy!

Mike Barber | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: September 04, 2014
This is not a big and rich Aussie Shiraz. This is cool weather, spicy, and complex Shiraz from perhaps the best producer in the Yarra Valley (one of the coldest appellations in Australia). This Shiraz is delicate and crisp, with brambly notes of cranberry and white pepper tightly wound in an elegant package. A fantastic red for $23!

Olivia Ragni | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: September 03, 2014
A Shiraz that will leave you wondering why they didn’t label it Syrah. A very classic expression of cold weather Syrah such as Northern Rhone. Full of baking spices, black pepper, blood orange and a slightly vegetal palate of carrots and tomatoes. An outstanding, complex Shiraz out of the Yarra Valley, very impressive!

Ryan Woodhouse | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: August 12, 2014
Such an exciting expression of really cool climate Aussie Shiraz. I think in a blind tasting this would have pretty much everyone thinking: Northern Rhone. Peppercorn-rubbed red meat, violets and clove come forth on the nose. The palate is savory and brooding. Freshly crushed black fruits, some red, almost raspberry nuances sneak in along with more cracked black pepper, garrigue, thyme and warm dark earth. The wine has that lovely meaty / gamey edge that I just can’t get enough of in Syrah / Shiraz.

2012 Oakridge 864 Single Block Series “Guerin Block 4” Pinot Noir Yarra Valley (Elsewhere $70) ($49.99)

97 points James Halliday: “Hand-picked and destemmed for 100% whole berry, wild yeast fermentation; after 20 days on skins pressed to French oak, remaining on lees for nine months. Has effortlessly achieved varietal purity; outstanding mouthfeel, texture, length and balance.” (11/2013)

90 points Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate: “Pale ruby with a touch of purple to the color, the 2012 Guerin Vineyard Block 4 Pinot Noir opens with notes of red cherry compote and raspberry coulis aside nuances of bay leaf, lavender, smoked meat and menthol. Light-bodied and very elegant in the mouth. Drink it now to 2017+. (90+, LPB)” (08/2013)

K&L Notes: Winemaker’s Notes: “Hand harvested and transferred directly to cool rooms to passively chill overnight. All fruit destemmed to fermenter for a 100% whole berry fermentation without plunging, pumping or refrigeration over an 20 day period. The wine was then transferred to a mixture of barriques, hogsheads and puncheons (of which 15% were new). Maturation took place on lees for 9 months prior to blending and bottling with a single filtration. The wine shows a full dark red color with brick hues. Strong black cherry and plum fruit complexed by spiced charcuterie meatiness, then, che rry-pip and scented red fruit. The palate is textural and rich loaded with cherry, pommegranite and plum over brown spice, toast and rhubarb crumble. A thread of mineral acid and fresh herbs runs through the middle adding to sense of freshness. Pure, clear and complex.” Only 270 Cases produced.

Ryan Woodhouse | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: August 12, 2014
Exceptional Pinot Noir. Perfect varietal correctness, wonderful elegance, purity and layers of complexity on the palate. Floral, spicy perfumed nose with savory earthy tones underpinning the freshness of the fruit. Silky, supple texture, ultra-fine tannins. Ripe, small forest berries, dusty spices, clove, pine bark, nutmeg. A medium bodied wine (as Pinot should be in my opinion) that is feminine and elegant on the palate with layers of nuance and depth and the potential to improve

I only know the 864 Chardonnay but would rank it amongst the top examples of that grape in Oz. Yesterday I tasted the 2011 Leeuwin Art Series - Oakridge is significantly better. It’s lean, focused, mineral and bursts with energy. Wines I’d rank similarly would include Ocean 8, Bindi, Giaconda and Yabby Lake.

Yes, the Oakridge 864 is good. Their chardonnays have improved significantly in the past decade. I haven’t tasted the 2012 yet. 2011 looked impressive when I had it at the Oakridge restaurant two years ago.

We are having a Chardonnay taste off in a couple of weeks which will compare the top Aussie chardonnays with a few Burgundies thrown in the mix. Hopefully, Oakridge, Bindi, and Giaconda will feature on that list.

BTW, if it is Chardonnays you are after, then the smart money is on Hoddles Creek.
Franco is a great winemaker and a friend. Few years ago Franco got the award for the best young gun winemakers from across whole of Australia.
Recently the Winery was rated at the top most best priced winery in Australia.

Their pinots had lagged behind their chardonnays in the past but no longer.

Where’s Hoddles Creek, Sanjay?


Hoddles creek is from the same region as Oakridge which is the Yarra Valley, just North east of Melbourne. 2012 was up there with the best vintages they have had in recent times, both in the Yarra Valley and much of south east Australia.
Those prices look very good too. We wouldn’t be able to buy them at that price in Melbourne.
Ignore any scores from Halliday. His notes are normally ok but the scores border on the ridiculous for most part.

Thanks for the feedback - picked up a mixed box of the chards and pinots. Will report back.