If you’re headed down to Day On The Green in the Yarra Valley, then you will be enjoying the fresh summer lawns of Rochford winery. With Jimmy Barnes lined-up in December and Angel & Cheap Trick in February, there is good music, a lively crowd, food and wine to indulge in. Arguably this is THE shining light of the Coldstream social calendar, so if you are planning to head down you’d be well-advised to book well ahead of time. Of course, responsible and mindful consumption is always emphasized on such occasions. However, if you prefer the quiet moments in life, then perhaps taking in the early dawn sunrise in a hot air balloon would be the alternative for enjoying a relaxing weekend at Rochford.
That said, at the end of the day, we’d all like to kick back and enjoy a nice glass of wine. So, how do the Rochford wines hold up? A reminder that the warmer 2012 vintage produced excellent wines with solid tannins, fresh biting acidity along with ripe round fruit flavours. With James Halliday upgrading Rochford to 5 stars in the latest Wine Companion 2015, I was very much looking forward to tasting through their lineup.
Rochford Macedon Ranges Blanc de Blanc 2010
$36 at cellar door. A bit of an oddity, starting with a sparkling not made from Yarra fruit given the relative abundance of Chardonnay fruit in the region. A Chardonnay sparkling wine made from fruit residing way up North of the valley. This was an easy-drinking representative sparkling offering notes of red berry fruit and lime citrus. It held a rough mousse texture, lacking in finesse similar to wines of Domaine Chandon or Dominique Portet, so it is hard to recommend with this pricetag. Drink now. 87.
Rochford Riesling 2010, Yarra Valley
$27 at cellar door. Don’t see too much Riesling from the Yarra Valley. A small batch wine with 50-100 dozen produced depending on the vintage. Currently still selling 2010, and the subsequent years are held back until this sells out. Soft aromas of lime citrus with a hint of white ginger. A medium-bodied wine, med- acidity. Clean lime citrus flavours, but overall experience lacks vibrancy and precision. Needed a touch more acidity and flavour complexity. Drink now. 87.
Rochford Chardonnay 2012, Yarra Valley
$30 at cellar door. Matured in 20% new French oak, with the remainder split between 2nd and 3rd use. Despite that conservative proportion, the use of medium-toasted French oak barrels really stood out in this wine. Almost a distraction from the youthful cloud of green peach, lemon curd and chalky musk aromas. Medium+ bodied wine despite a greater expectation on the initial hit due to the rush of acidity. That is really a necessity to balance out the flavours of lemon citrus, grapefruit and redcurrants. However, the overall mouthfeel felt rather lean, not as abundant as the aroma profile led on. The finish does linger initially, then simply dissipates. Drink now – 2019. 88.
Rochford Pinot Rose 2014, Yarra Valley
$25 at cellar door. A nice pale rose crimson colour. This wine offers notes of strawberry, nashi pear and crush baby mint leaves. Quite a flavoursome drink with good level of acidity balanced with fruit intensity on the palate. Good choice for this summer. Drink now. 88-89.
Rochford Pinot Noir 2013, Yarra Valley
$36 at cellar door. This spent 12 months in oak. Clear, medium+ ruby colour. Youthful aromas of rose scented talc, red cherry and slices of dried mandarin peel. A medium-bodied wine with high acidity and young raw tannins. Leaner on the palate than on the aromatic profile. Red berries, spice. Persistent finish but intensity falls over after awhile. Drink now – 2019. 90.
Rochford Cabernet Franc 2012, Yarra Valley
$30 at cellar door. Attractive aromatic profile, red cherry, red berries and violets. Nice, full-bodied wine (I suppose ripeness was easily achieved in the 2012 vintage), with good acidity matched by an even slate of grainy tannins. Nice intensity on the palate, red berry fruit, dark chocolate touch. Good finish. Drink now. 89.
Rochford ‘la Driote’ Red blend 2012, Yarra Valley
$30 at cellar door. A 65/20/15 blend of Merlot, Cabernet Franc and Cabernet Sauvignon. A nice Merlot-dominant blend offering wafts of blackcurrant, black tea and dried herbs. Well-rounded body, high acidity and a good load of dry, sappy tannins. Fresh dark berry flavours and a comfortable finish. Drink now. 90.
Rochford ‘la Gauche’ Red blend 2012, Yarra Valley
$30 at cellar door. An 85/13/2 blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Cabernet Franc. In comparison, this has more gusto than the la Driote. The edginess does come from the greater proportion of Cabernet Sauvignon fruit. It is more meaty, earthy, blackberry fruit. Smooth texture, high acidity and fine tannins. Does feel slightly rough on the edges but remains an enjorable drink. Drink now. 89.
Rochford Syrah 2013, Yarra Valley
$30 at cellar door. Aromas of black cherry and blueberry, med+ to high acidity, broad powdery tannins, decent fruit weight, but a softer, cooler-climate wine. Drink now. 88.
Rochford Muscat NV, Rutherglen
Rochford also produced a sticky with grapes from Rutherglen, the Victorian region renown for its Tokays, Muscats and ports (as well as Durif). I did not take a detailed tasting note, but recall this to be well-representative of this sweet wine.