Serrat is the sort of winery that ticks the right boxes. High density plantings of 8,800 vines per hectare on a north facing site on low fertility soil situated 3 kilometres north of Yarra Glen in the Yarra Valley. And it is also the family business of the highly regarded Tom Carson (former winemaker at Yering Station, now winemaker for Yabby Lake and Heathcote Estate).
The 2008 vintage in the Yarra Valley is described thus in Langton’s vintage guide:
“Adequate winter rainfall and warm dry spring conditions lead to an ideal start to the growing season with optimum flowering and fruit set. Most of the frosted vineyards recovered well. Timely rainfall in December topped up soil moistures [sic] and freshened up vineyards. However dam levels remained low. Intermittent hot weather in January and February accelerated growth and ripening. Some vineyards experienced vine stress and sunburn. In spite of the heat wave of early March, the fruit quality was generally very good; a testament to contemporary vineyard management practices.”
It therefore somewhat pains me to say that I didn’t particularly like this wine. Bright in clarity, it is lemon-green in colour. On the nose, there is a slightly reductive fragrance that is youthful with stone fruits, seemingly some oak, with short of medium intensity aromatics. On the palate, the wine is dry with more than medium acidity, stone fruit flavours, medium length, and alcohol heat. The alcohol seemed out of balance with this wine, and perhaps given the tendency of viognier towards excessive alcohol levels, it was perhaps no coincidence to see heat issues noted in the 2008 vintage report for the Yarra Valley. It was also interesting to note the slightly higher acidity than expected given the apparent ripeness of the fruit. Drink up. 80 points.