Thousand Candles was launched in the Yarra Valley with a lot of hype, an on trend ethos of site expression, a stellar price ($100) and some gushing reviews. I think some of those reviewers might be a bit embarrassed now. 2011 was the first vintage of Thousand Candles and it’s an unorthodox blend of 92% syrah, 6% pinot noir and 2% sauvignon blanc. 2011 is a poor red vintage in the Yarra Valley, so this must be factored in. In the glass, the wine has quite an unusual aroma that reminds of mushroom (not things like mushrooms, actual mushrooms), earth, red berries, leather, damp rosemary, grass and tinned peas. The contribution of the sauvignon blanc and the whole bunch fermentation is undeniable, though ultimately, I found these characters more grating than enjoyable, as the tinned pea and the damp whole bunch aromas simply overwhelmed. The palate is better. It’s delicate, with medium length and a nice silky balance to it, but seems to lack intensity of fruit expression and is unexpectedly light and simple, a victim of the vintage. It certainly appears to have reached its drinking window. Indeed, I wouldn’t keep this wine much longer. Overall, this is a disappointing wine, that promises much and delivers more smoke than fire. Rating: Acceptable to Good. Abv: not recorded. Price: $100+. Website: www.thousandcandles.com.au.