2018 Oakridge “Over the Shoulder” Pinot Noir, Yarra Valley, Victoria Australia.
The Over the Shoulder line Pinot from Oakridge is a value bottling from this Yarra Valley family winery that was first established back in 1978 and this 2018 is very polished and drinks very nicely with layers of bright red fruits, light smoky wood and earthy elements along with touches of spice and mineral tones. Oakridge’s wines are made under the direction of one of Australia’s most notable winemakers, David Bicknell and while I was unaware of this myself, I had seen he praises being noted by famous Oz wine writer James Halliday, who I admire and follow, whenever I can. The Yarra, in Victoria is a top growing area with a range of distinct climates and soils, but is known as a cooler region where Pinot Noir thrives and the track record is very impressive for this fabled Burgundy grape. Oakridge’s vineyards are in the heart of the Yarra Valley, just an hour’s drive from Melbourne, Australia’s second city (after Sidney) and the Oakridge restaurant and cellar door enjoy many visitors and has received many prestigious awards. I am ever curious about wine and regions, and recently have a re-found love for Aussie wines so I’ve been buying a bunch of different bottles to explore the different regions of this huge country, but with a focus on the cooler zones, like Adelaide Hills, Mornington, here in the Yarra Valley and even Tasmania!

The 2018 Oakridge Over the Shoulder Pinot, which comes from a variety of sites from Coldstream to Woori Yallock with a range of soils that mainly are red volcanic based soils, though there is also a bit of grey alluvial loams as well, all which adds to the character and taste profile, which reminds me a little of some Dundee Hills wines. This vintage shows good ripe fruit development from a long dry summer and harvest with black cherry, wild strawberry, plum and bramble berry leading the way on the medium bodied palate, and while not intended to be overly serious, it delivers more than enough complexity and freshness to be compelling with touches of cinnamon, rose petal and subtle oak to engage the enthusiast. The dark crimson/ruby hued Over the Shoulder Pinot Noir crafted with handpicked grapes and was gently de-stemmed for whole berry fermentation, which lasted for about 3 weeks in open top fermenters prior to being gently pressing into French oak barrels for aging. I had the Timo Mayer whole cluster Yarra Valley Pinot not long ago, which absolutely blew my mind, so I knew this value priced wine might be a let down in comparison, but I actually really enjoyed this silky textured Oakridge Over the Shoulder Pinot, it performed beyond my expectations, especially for the price I paid, which was way below the list price, making it a steal.
($24 Est.) 90 Points, grapelive

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