Innocent Bystander's reputation has been built upon the style of their regional and varietal wines, which reflect the soil, climate and topography of the cool Yarra Valley. Owned by one of Australia's leading family-owned wine companies, Brown Brothers, the Yarra Valley fruit is harvested and immediately transported to their winery in Milawa, Northern Victoria. Here the winemaking team process the grapes in their 'Kindergarten Winery', specially designed for small batches and different winemaking techniques for minimal intervention.
Fruit was selected from vineyards in the Central Yarra. Vineyard management is intensive, with tasks such as shoot thinning, crop thinning and harvesting all carefully carried out by hand. The Yarra Valley climate is cool - slightly cooler than Bordeaux and slightly warmer than Burgundy - and, although alpine, gets some maritime influence due to being on the southern (seaward) side of the Great Dividing Range. This results in slow and steady ripening.
Whole bunches were used in batches at varying percentages based on fruit structure and source. The overall blend incorporates 30% whole bunches. A 10 day cold soak was followed by fermentation in stainless steel open top fermenters with mainly indigenous yeast strains. Variations of hand plunging, pigeage and 'drain and return' were applied to the ferments, the frequency varying from parcel to parcel. Fermentation peaked at 32°C. The wine was then matured for nine months in French oak barriques and puncheons during which time malolactic fermentation was allowed to take place.
This wine has intense aromas of black pepper, cherries, tar and dried rose. On the palate, soft tannins run through flavours of cherry compote and mocha. Dry to finish with a touch of spice.