Winery to Watch 2013

Australia: Luke Lambert

If you’re looking for brisk, peppery syrah without a lot of weight, Victoria’s Yarra Valley offers some of the coolest new releases coming into the market. One winemaker to watch there is Luke Lambert. I recently ordered the Luke Lambert Crudo for a friend who only drinks Champagne and Barolo. She hissed at me as if shiraz were a new form of torture, but her face changed completely when she tasted it. It is, in fact, even lighter than Lambert’s 2010 Yarra Valley Syrah, the fragrant, delicate beauty that had the same effect on our panel this past February. Both are selections from a rocky vineyard high into the Yarra hills, farmed without any chemical additions, made without any yeast additions, bottled without fining or filtration. Crudo is from richer soils and higher yields; the Yarra Syrah is from the rockier bits, yielding complex length, breadth and weightlessness. Lambert is a leader in the next generation from Yarra, looking to fuss as little as possible with finely grown, cool-climate syrah.