Regions > Victoria >Western Victorian zone >Pyrenees region

: Blue Pyrenees


Blue Pyrenees Estate

Vinoca Rd, Avoca, 3467

Cellar Door: Mon -Fri (10-4.30), weekends and pub. hol. (10-5)

Ph: (03) 5465 1111

wine label

Blue Pyrenees was established in 1963 as Chateau Remy by French Cognac company, Remy Martin initially to make brandy and sparkling wine. The initial grapes were Ugni Blanc for champagne and Doradillo for brandy.

However, it was later recognised that the area had better potential for premium table wine production due to its deep gravely soils and cool climate conditions. The Doradillo proved to have too low a sugar level for distillation into brandy so the vines were ripped out and replaced with table wine varieties.

Research conducted by local viticulturists and the CSIRO demonstrated that Blue Pyrenees Estate consistently reaches maturity ten days after Coonawarra, a key reference for cool climate viticulture in this country.

The vineyards have been planted along the foothills facing north, at an altitude of 400 metres. Rainfall averages around 630mm, the pattern in most seasons being mainly in winter and early spring rain. There is considerable geological diversity as the vineyards are spread over three types of very deep sub-soils.

Following considerable development and experimentation the initial release of the reds under the Blue Pyrenees label was the 1982 Blue Pyrenees Estate Reserve Red. Cabernet Sauvignon, Shiraz and Merlot were planted, specifically in order to produce a house style, blended red wine.

Several clones of Chardonnay are planted in selected sites to produce a flavoursome white wine and in other sites, for sparkling wine production. Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier were also planted to make sparklng wine. In fact, the Estate now has the largest plantings of Pinot Meunier in Australia.

Sauvignon Blanc, Petit Verdot, Viognier and Semillon are also grown on the property. Remy Cointreau sold Blue Pyrenees Estate to a small group led John Ellis (not John Ellis of Hanging Rock) at the end of 2002.

Former Rosemount winemaker, Andrew Koerner, leads the wine-making team.

Blue Pyrenees winery complex is a few km outside of Avoca (photo:genxywines)
View of the original Chateau Remy vineyard established in the early 1960s (photo:genxywines)
Tasting Notes

There are three types of Tasting notes:

(W) Notes from the winery (blurbs from bottle)

(GXY) Notes from a GenXY wine reviewer

(G) Notes from GenXY's Tasting events (collective opinions)

Blue Pyrenees Estate Red 2013

Purchased: Not ($42)

Drink: 2025

(GXY) Tasting: Nov 2016, Gold at National Cool Climate Wine Show 2015, blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Malbec and Shiraz, medium bodied, spicy and glossy cassis, plum and mulberry with violet florals and a dusting of pepper, some earthy mushroom notes with chalky drying tannins, cedary oak and a choc-mint finish (****)

Blue Pyrenees Estate Richardson Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon 2012

Purchased: Not ($120)

Drink: 2027+

(GXY) Tasting: Nov 2016, includes 13% Merlot, firm cassis and black cherry with mint leaf and green olive notes, long and medium bodied with graphite minerality and firm sheets of dusty tannins (****)

Blue Pyrenees Estate Cabernet Sauvignon 2013

Purchased: Not ($20)

Drink: 2025

(GXY) Tasting: Nov 2016, with small Merlot and Cabernet Franc inputs, fragrant and glossy cassis and plums with bright violet florals and a touch of eucalypt, supple and dusty medium bodied palate and savoury cedar oak (***1/2)

Blue Pyrenees Midnight Cuvee 2011

Purchased: Not: ($29)

Drink: 2016

(GXY) Tasting: May 2015,† made entirely from Chardonnay, names comes from the decision to harvest at night to maximise freshness, fairly rich white peach, lime and subtle yeast and lemon meringue notes, cleansing grapefruit acidity, persistent bead (****)

Blue Pyrenees Estate Cellar Door Series Botrytis Riesling 2010

Purchased: Stall at Federation Square Showcase ($16)

Drink: 2016

(GXY) Tasting: Aug 2013, Champion Wine at the 2013 International Sweet Wine Challenge 2013, bright and spicy cumquat, lime marmalade and apricot nectar with a spine of racy lemon rind acidity, intense heavily botrytised style but not as viscous as Riverina stickies like the Noble One, well balanced with good persistence, bargain at this price (*****)

Blue Pyrenees Estate Merlot 2011

Purchased: Not ($23)

Drink: 2014

(GXY) Tasting: Aug 2013, juicy, glossy and light-medium bodied black cherry and plum with menthol, white pepper and violet notes, underpinned with powdery tannins, fruit finishes a bit hollow and is filled out with lots of chocolate/cedar oak (***)

Blue Pyrenees Cabernet Sauvignon 2011

Purchased: Not ($20)

Drink: 2014

(GXY) Tasting: Oct 2012, a little lighter and leaner as expected from this cold vintage, plum and mulberry with eucalypt and green capsicum notes, glycerolly light-medium mid-palate with some hollowness, fine powdery tannins with spicy cedar oak (***)

Blue Pyrenees Cabernet Sauvignon 2010

Purchased: Not ($20)

Drink: 2015

(GXY) Tasting: Oct 2011, attractive juicy blueberry entry although the forward palate has some simultaneous jammy over-ripe and under-ripe rhubarb elements, some white pepper, violet and eucalypt notes, graphite minerality with cedar/choc/coffee oak and dusty tannins (***1/2)

Blue Pyrenees Shiraz 2009

Purchased: Not ($20)

Drink: 2017

(GXY) Tasting: Oct 2011, fairly brightly flavoured blackberry and blueberry with pepper and fruitcake notes, medium bodied with loose knit grainy tannins, becomes more savoury on back half, generous malt/clove/cedar from US and French oak (***1/2)

Blue Pyrenees Chardonnay 2010

Purchased: Not ($19)

Drink: 2012

(GXY) Tasting: Oct 2011, soft and creamy yellow peach, melon and tropical fruit with some yeasty lees and barrel ferment complexity, fairly forward with some toasty clove/ginger/vanilla oak aspects, crisp lemon acids (***)

Blue Pyrenees Estate Red 2006

Purchased: Not ($35)

Drink: 2015

(GXY) Tasting: Mar 2011, Gold at Royal Hobart Wine Show 2010, Cabernet dominated blend, fragrant redcurrant, cassis and dark plum with eucalypt, violet and white pepper notes, firm and earthy medium bodied palate with a backbone of persistent fine tannins and a dab of cedary dark chocolate on the finish, good line and length although a little raw in places (****)

Blue Pyrenees Viognier 2010

Purchased: Not ($18)

Drink: 2012

(GXY) Tasting: Mar 2011, bright yellow-green colour, creamy and broad apricot and pear skin with gentle ginger and musk spice, the minerally orange rind acidity gives some drive, there is a lick of vanilla, char and spice from some oak contact (***1/2)

Blue Pyrenees Estate Cabernet Sauvignon 2009

Purchased: Not ($20)

Drink: 2014

(GXY) Tasting: Mar 2011, Gold Medals at Adelaide and Victorian Wine Shows and 41/2 stars in Winestate, as with the 2008 (see my review below) I continue to be bemused by the gap between the ratings on the wine circuit and what is in my glass, it is a pleasant and varietal enough as a medium bodied Cabernet showing mulberry and cassis with eucalypt and violet notes, reasonably good line, lightly charred oak and some fine dusty tannins, the slightly baked fruit, however, lacks genuine vibrancy or depth along the palate and shows too much sweet oak related aspects, there are a lot of better structured Cabernets from Western Victoria that for some reason donít rate on the judging circuit (***1/2)

Blue Pyrenees Estate Shiraz 2008

Purchased: Not ($20)

Drink: 2013

(GXY) Tasting: Mar 2011, oaky and modestly savoury blueberry, mulberry and dark plum with clove/ brown spice oak and menthol notes, medium bodied palate aspects with fine open knit tannins, ample cedar/vanilla/cedar oak aspects, fruit lacks enough vibrancy for higher score (***1/2)

Blue Pyrenees Midnight Cuvee 2004

Purchased: Not ($29)

Drink: 2011

(GXY) Tasting: Mar 2011, Chadonnay dominated aperitif sparkling style, fresh and lively straw, green apple and stonefruit with ample dough bread lees and fine chalkinesss, lively bead with fresh citric acids and good length(***1/2)

Blue Pyrenees Estate Merlot 2009

Purchased: Not ($18)

Drink: 2013

(GXY) Tasting: Mar 2011, Gold Medal at Rutherglen Wine Show, plump and generous dark plum, black cherry and prune with violet, mint and warm oak spice notes, the medium bodied palate is a touch over-ripe, finishes with open knit powdery tannins with some dark chocolate and cedar oak aspects (***)

Blue Pyrenees Chardonnay 2009

Purchased: Not ($18)

Drink: 2012

(GXY) Tasting: Mar 2011, fairly developed colour for age, 75% barrique ferment, fairly focussed creamy nectarine and melon with some butterscotch and yeast dough lees aspects, medium bodied and fairly dry, restrained spicy cashew-vanilla oak with subdued chalky citric acidity, really needs more freshness for the style to work (***)

Blue Pyrenees Cabernet Sauvignon 2008

Purchased: Safeways, St.Kilda ($18)

Drink: 2012

(GXY) Tasting: June 2010, took plenty of time to open up, sweet blueberry entry with some rather ripe plum and prune and sappy acids, a streak of minerality and powdery tannins, sawdusty-coffee oak with a dab of chocolate, a number of wine judges have rated this wine very highly but both bottles I bought finished short and hollow with some uneven ripeness (***)

Blue Pyrenees Richardson Cabernet Sauvignon 2002

Purchased: Not

Drink: 2011

(GXY) Tasting: Feb 2006, big nose shows ripe blackberry and mulberry character with cedar notes, earthy and full-bodied palate, ripe tannins, savoury finish balanced by smoky oak, a big rustic regional red (****)

Blue Pyrenees Reserve Chardonnay 2000

Purchased: Not

Drink: 2008

(GXY) Tasting: Feb 2006, pale gold in colour, nose shows rich peach, melon, stone-fruit and cashew character, ripe well defined fruit on the palate, firm vanilla oaking, acidic finish not quite rounded yet, good now but should be drinking better in about two years (****)

Blue Pyrenees Richardson Shiraz 2002

Purchased: Not

Drink: 2011

(GXY) Tasting: Feb 2006, quite dense nose showing cassis and other dark berries with some pepper and spice hints, medium bodied savoury fruit palate, smooth tannins leading to subtle sweet oak (***1/2)

Blue Pyrenees Estate Reserve Red 2002

Purchased: Not ($32)

Drink: 2010

(GXY) Tasting: Feb 2006, restrained dark berry nose with some pepper and spice hints, medium bodied savoury fruit palate, smooth tannins leading to a long finish (***1/2)

Blue Pyrenees Cabernet Sauvignon 2003

Purchased: Not

Drink: 2012

(GXY) Tasting: Feb 2006, nose shows blackcurrant, mulberry character with spice and mint notes, the palate is generous but the tannins are a touch green, suitable for a spicy meat dish that will mask the slight greenness (***)

Blue Pyrenees Merlot 2004

Purchased: Not ($18)

Drink: 2008

(GXY) Tasting: Feb 2006, nose shows varietal earthy dark berries and red fruit with some briar notes, medium bodied with firm tannic backbone but still some metallicness on the finish (***)

Blue Pyrenees Sauvignon Blanc 2005

Purchased: Not ($18)

Drink: 2007

(GXY) Tasting: Feb 2006, very grassy lifted nose showing gooseberry and passionfruit, palate is quite forward and crisp (***)

Blue Pyrenees Shiraz Viognier 2002

Purchased: Not

Drink: 2008

(GXY) Tasting: Feb 2006, spicy and savoury black fruit and apricot nose, light-medium bodied palate, soft tannins, but too much Viognier for my taste as at this concentration it seems to flatten out the mid-palate berries into the apricot mix rather than lifting them (***)

Blue Pyrenees Chardonnay 2004

Purchased: Cellarbrations, East Brunswick ($18)

Drink: 2006

(GXY) Tasting Dec 2005, flavours of peach and melon with hint of cashew, quite creamy and soft, well integrated vanilla oak, good value for its price (***1/2)

Blue Pyrenees Shiraz 2001

Purchased: Beaufort Hotel, Beaufort, Vic($19)

Drink: 2007

(GXY) Tasting: 2003, plum nose shows some varnished oak with the chocolate and mint, easy drinking medium bodied red that has a rugged structure and reasonable complexity, smooth tannins (***)

Blue Pyrenees Cabernet Sauvignon 2001

Purchased: Beaufort Hotel, Beaufort, Vic ($19)

Drink: 2007

(GXY) Tasting: 2003, sweet dark fruits with a hint of varnishy oak; on the palate the sweet fruit is currently dominated by the big tannins but there is enough deep fruit intensity there to come up, the complexity is OK but should improve with a couple of years ageing (***)