The Yarrh vineyard is an attractive, gum-treed site wrapped around by bush and not far from Ken Helm's Murrumbateman cellar door. Sangiovese is a strict mistress in regions marginal for it, such as Canberra. Everything has to line up: soil, water, vine health, bud counts, shoot vigour, shoot length, fruit load, season. Bryan Martin, of Ravensworth fame (and a big part of Clonakilla) has shown how sangiovese can perform in Canberra, but this wine fleshes out that story.
Maybe a sign of the Canberra roots I've put down, I've been having a bottle or two of this most years for the past seven years. Like old jackets shift smells and change their fit over years, seeing and feeling the aging path of this wine has been a satisfying thing. Tight and red-fruited, with a hint of something dried-herb & tobacco as a younger wine, this has aged well (though my bottle before this one had largely fallen over). In it's old age, this has become more local and less varietal, without losing overall appeal. The wine now shows aged red fruit, a touch of leather & mint, and something elusive, nutty & sweet, like a toffeed hazelnut. A good showing, from what I think is my last bottle. Congratulations to the winemaker, Fiona Wholohan, and the site.
A satisfying, if surprising pairing for this: bucatini in a sauce of onion, zucchini dice, black pepper and gorgonzola dolce, thinned with pasta water. The aged, nutty, toffee character of the wine made an excellent fit with the sweet yet blue cheese of the sauce and the comparative bitter of zucchini skin.