Yayoi Wines!

It’s hard to think of a person better suited to winemaking than someone raised in Central Otago, who was introduced to wine at a young age, then moved over the ditch and had a hand in just about every aspect of the industry – including gigs at blue-chip restaurants, alongside top-tier importers and vintages at big-league Geelong wineries. Someone, in other words, like Steffi Snook, the brains behind Yayoi Wines, the label she founded in 2021.
This is great gear in just about every respect: thirst-slaking, approachable and friendly on the hip pocket but clearly the byproduct of considerable thoughtfulness and care. She crushes hard on chenin blanc and her 2023 Vallée of the Kings is a thing of textural beauty – limey, gingery, nutty and just a touch salty. Loire by way of Victoria? Heck yes. Her pet nat, meanwhile, is that perfect sand-between-the-toes sorta wine, straight vermentino with a light fizz and green-apple-meets-tonic-water tang. Fritto misto optional, but strongly recommended. There’s also a yum-zone rosé in the mix, a crunchy cab franc from Coonawarra with cranberry bite and rose-hip tea perfume. She sources some merlot from Coonawarra, too, and flips the script with a short six-day ferment that ends up slurpy and slippery, the flavour carried by blue and purple berries, Mediterranean herbs and even some fine mineral detail if you go hunting for it. Nouveau-style excellence all around.
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