The flavours of Victoria: introducing Starward Pinot Noir Cask
If there’s one thing we love just as much as making whisky, it’s wine barrels. Why? Because they offer infinite flavour possibilities. Their involvement in the maturation process is what sets us apart – we like to think of them as the secret ingredient to our award-winning whisky. This process is part of our DNA and a key driver in going further for flavour. They’re not just any barrels though, we choose carefully, we choose locally and we choose the best: that’s where Yering Station, an acclaimed winery in the Yarra Valley, comes in. Here’s how our new single malt whisky finished in Yering Station Pinot Noir barrels came to be, and what it means for whisky (and wine) lovers like you.
Where wine and whisky just work
Our Port Melbourne distillery doesn’t only benefit from Melbourne’s chaotic weather (that’s a good thing, by the way) but it’s also only mere hours away from some of the best local producers our state of Victoria has to offer. We can’t get enough of crafting good-quality ingredients and getting our hands on the best rich, velvety barrels from some of the best wineries in the country.
Not long ago, our distillers took a trip to Yering Station, which happens to be Victoria’s first-ever vineyard – and somewhat of an institution in the region. Similar to Starward, they harness the Yarra Valley’s cool climate in fostering thriving vineyards from which their award-winning wine is produced. During the visit, the distillers noticed the impeccable quality of Yering Station’s Pinot Noir puncheon barrels. Puncheon barrels are bigger than the average wine barrel – roughly anywhere between 105 and 132 gallons, whereas normal wine barrels are around the 50 or 60-gallon mark. If you’re producing some of the best Pinot Noir the region has to offer then why not go large? The other thing about puncheon barrels is they’re pretty rare, so getting our hands on some and being able to harness a new depth of flavour with them was a no-brainer.
A peek at the process
We took parcels of our red wine barrel matured single malt whisky and filled a combination of fresh and charred French Oak puncheon barrels that once held Pinot Noir. Finishing our whisky in these barrels for just short of two years allowed the liquid to deeply develop notes of forest berries, black cherry, vanilla and subtle hints of oak. In other words, some incredibly interesting and complex flavours are bursting out of this latest release.
What to expect flavour-wise
Auburn in colour and featuring delicious notes of juicy blackberries, fresh cherries and vanilla spice, Starward Pinot Noir Cask is as flavoursome as it gets. On the nose, you’ll enjoy vibrant red fruits, blackberry, cedar, and a hint of musk stick. The palate is delicate and velvety – and those cherry notes we mentioned are thanks to the Pinot cask influence. The finish offers elongated notes of clove and anise balanced by the sweetness of ripe orchard fruits and oak spice.
About the collaboration
Working with a winery as esteemed as Yering Station meant whisky lovers, wine lovers and Victorian travellers could embrace this release with open arms. Our very own Production Director, Sam Slaney says it best: “With Yering Station famously known as ‘the cool climate specialists of the pinot variety’, we knew we had something pretty special on our hands when we came across these barrels.” For Yering Station, the feelings are mutual according to Chief Winemaker at Yering Station, Brendan Hawker. “What a fantastic opportunity this has been for Yering Station to collaborate with such a progressive and iconic Melbourne producer as Starward. It’s a thrill for the entire team to see the beautiful dark cherry and the black forest influence from our Pinot Noir contribute to this delicious drink."
How to get your hands on a bottle of Starward Pinot Noir Cask
Like all our limited Starward Project releases, Starward Pinot Noir Cask will be snapped up. After all, everyone wants a glass of something unique – especially when a winery like Yering Station is involved. Those looking to get their hands on Starward Pinot Noir Cask can do so exclusively through Melbourne Airport Lotte Duty-Free Store this festive season from 6 November 2023. If you’re not planning on travelling through Melbourne Airport, Starward Pinot Noir Cask can also be purchased directly from www.yering.com.