Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Bob Curtis, Cabernet King

In honour of #CabernetDay 2012, I thought it only fitting to introduce you to a local Cabernet hero, Bob Curtis of Victoria's Yarra Valley wine region.

~ Bob with his wife Diane, image courtesy of Leader newspapers

Bob Curtis is a vineyard owner who a recent media campaign refers to Bob as ‘the Cabernet King’, such is his pride, passion and level of involvement at Yileena Park winery, located at the foot of the Christmas Hills in Yarra Glen. The 40-acre property features the obligatory rows of vines, a handful of sheep guarded closely by a stern alpaca, a dozen head of cattle and at dusk on any given day, a troop of kangaroos hopping down the hill to graze amongst the vines.

Behind the bar is where you will find Bob, or indeed his wife Dianne, pouring their range of wines that span a delightfully refreshing Pinot Grigio right through to a deeply seductive Cabernet Sauvignon.

Bob is a born story teller. Once he picks up a bottle of his beloved wine and starts to pour he simultaneously opens his heart. You will be captivated by his wine, his knowledge and his enthusiasm. Bob’s story telling repertoire includes history of the local area, wine making fads, food and wine pairings, and of course, all that is grand about Yileena Park.

In my many shopping sojourns to the Yarra Valley I found Yileena Park to have the oldest barrel and bottle aged Cabernet in the region. Bob is well aware of consumer’s buying habits (the majority of Australians purchase their wines merely hours before drinking) and as such he likes to keep his wines from release until they are showing beautifully. The reds are kept under cork and Bob allows release only with his personal tasting approval.

If cellar door experience is Bob’s way of differentiating his wines from the hundreds of others in the Yarra Valley then I shall mark Yileena Park 11 out of 10. A quick-stop to pick up your favourites is nigh on impossible if Bob Curtis has his way. You will likely suddenly find yourself with a glass in one hand; cheese in the other and on the receiving end of one of Bob’s amazing stories of winemakers old and new.