I find the story of wine in nineteenth century Victoria unceasingly interesting, so please forgive my minor detour here. St Huberts in Victoria’s Yarra Valley was first founded in 1864 by Hubert de Castella (a prominent nineteenth century wine identity and author of two books on Victorian wine in the period, which I have managed to track down and read). By 1876, St Huberts had over 200 acres under vine, expanding to 250 acres in the 1880s: a serious size. Yet in a story familiar to Victorian viticulture, depression, war and lack of demand for cool climate table wines led to the vineyard’s cessation in the 1920s.
Interestingly, phylloxera, which laid waste to much of the rest of Victoria’s vines and wine industry in the nineteenth century was not to blame for the Yarra Valley’s decline as a wine region. It did not reach the Yarra Valley until the twenty-first century, having been positively identified in December 2006 in the Foster’s owned Beavis vineyard on St Hubert’s Road – see further the case study of Phylloxera in the Yarra Valley prepared by the Phylloxera and Grape Industry Board of SA dated April 2010. The St Huberts vineyard was replanted in 1966, and it now falls within Treasury Wine Estate’s stable of brands.
Which, you may be relieved to learn, brings me to the wine in question. Tasted blind, it had the aroma of a Bordeaux, yet not the colour. Too deep. I noted that it was initially a bit dumb, with blackcurrants, anise, hay, gravelly earth and cloves emerging with time. Medium bodied on the palate, with a touch of pepper, a hint of capsicum and an elegant, restrained expression of blackcurrant. I guessed it to be a Mount Mary wine, which considering it is about $50 cheaper, is not a bad endorsement of it. 89 points (very good)
Vendors: try Dan Murphy’s
Tasted: May 2012