Regions > Victoria >Western Victorian zone >Pyrenees region

: Dalwhinnie



448 Taltarni Rd, Moonambel, 3478

Cellar Door: Daily (10-5)

Ph: (03) 5467 2388


Dalwhinnie was established in 1973 by architect Ewan Jones and continues to be run by the Jones family.

After more than 35 years the 40-acre vineyard is now fully mature and producing wines with great concentration of flavours.

Winemaker David Jones firmly believes that the best grapes come from a healthy well-pruned vine, which has the proper balance of fruit to foliage to ripen the bunches quickly and efficiently.

Dalwhinnie is the highest vineyard in the Pyrenees region, yet is frost free because of its height and location that puts it above the frost-line. The winery is situated in a natural amphitheatre in the foothills of the Pyrenees Ranges, 550 metres above sea level and seven kilometres from the village of Moonambel.

The region has minimum topsoil over shale and fractured sedimentary rock, including quartz and a very heavy sand ironstone, overlying deep orange coloured friable clay.

The best wines are the lush complex and spicy Shirazes which come at several premium price points (Eagle Series, South West Rocks and Moonambel in descending price order). The Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay can also be excellent. The region is not known for Pinot Noir but they had a go with advice from Giaconda's legendary winemaker, Rick Kinzbrunner.

Dalwhinnie's beautifully located winery (photo:genxywines)
Looking back from the Dalwhinnie carpark across the valley basin (photo:genxywines)
Dalwhinnie cellar door (photo:genxywines)
Inside the Dalwhinnie cellar door. Winemaker, David Jones is serving. (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)

Dalwhinnie The Eagle Shiraz 2012

Purchased: Not ($160)

Drink: 2034+

(GXY) Tasting: Aug 2014, PT23 clone, super-premium from the 1977 established Eagle vineyard only released in best vintages, highly aromatic and intense but lithe and supple blackberry, cassis and redcurrants with violet florals and herbal meat complexity, sumptuous, linear and velvety palate infused with toasty cinnamon, clove and cedar oak, alcohol has been kept to a modest 13%, exceptional length with some graphite minerality on the finish, dusty tannins, will live a very long time (*****)

Dalwhinnie Moonambel Shiraz 2012

Purchased: Not ($60)

Drink: 2030+

(GXY) Tasting: Aug 2014, the exceptional fruit from this very good vintage has made it to the fourth tier of the 2012 Shiraz releases, quite aromatic and concentrated blackberry, cassis and redcurrants with white pepper, rose petals, anise and dried sage notes, long and slinky full bodied palate (although the alcohol is only 13%), graphite minerality, long and slinky savoury tannins with balanced cedar/cinnamon/clove oak, not as lithe and focussed as The Eagle but an outstanding cool climate Shiraz (*****)

Dalwhinnie Pinnacle Shiraz 2010

Purchased: Not ($85)

Drink: 2025+

(GXY) Tasting: May 2013, from the historic Best’s (Grampians) BURV-12 clone, aromatic, powerful but silky core of  blueberry, plums and blackberry with violet, musky spices, floral and white pepper notes , medium-full bodied with glycerolly mid-palate with some savoury/meaty complexity and a streak of graphite minerality, very long slippery tannins, medium char oak, everything is beautifully integrated and oozes class, one of Dalwhinnie’s best ever releases (that I have tried), the drop in alcohol levels to 14.5% has improved the balance and age-ability of the wine (*****)

Dalwhinnie South West Rocks Shiraz 2010

Purchased: Not ($85)

Drink: 2022+

(GXY) Tasting: May 2013, also uses the Best’s clone but is from a higher vineyard, softer and more medium bodied than the Pinnacle, perfumed and spicy black cherries and blueberries with lavender, white pepper and rose petal florals, very long with the long, graceful tannins and well integrated oak, harmonious and balanced wine (*****)  

Dalwhinnie Moonambel Chardonnay 2011

Purchased: Not ($42)

Drink: 2016

(GXY) Tasting: May 2013, not surprisingly given the cold vintage that this is leaner than the drought vintage releases, apples, melon and white peach with gentle creaminess, some greater viscosity on the mid-palate, precise and unfolds with a good line, backbone of nervy lemon/grapefruit acidity, cashew-vanilla oak also brings some toasty cinnamon notes to the finish (****)

Dalwhinnie Hut Pinot Rose 2011

Purchased: Not ($20)

Drink: 2014

(GXY) Tasting: Mar 2013, bronze-orange colour, this is a barrel fermented style made entirely from Pinot Noir, lightly creamy strawberry and raspberry with rose petal florals but quite minerally,  a dry finish with fine phenolics and sappy edged acidity (***1/2)

Dalwhinnie The Pinnacle Shiraz 2008

Purchased: Not ($80)

Drink: 2020+

(GXY) Tasting: Nov 2012, from the historic Best’s (Grampians) BURV-12 clone, powerful blueberry and blackberry with violet, musky spice and pepper notes , silky glycerolly mid-palate with some savoury/meaty complexity, long slinky tannins lead to a chocolate liqueur finish, handles the 15% alcohol at the moment (****1/2)

Dalwhinnie Moonambel Shiraz 2010

Purchased: Not ($58)

Drink: 2025+

(GXY) Tasting: Oct 2012, perfumed, complex and silky black cherry and plum with herbs, anise and a touch of menthol, the medium bodied is sumptuously flavoured with gamy edges and underlying graphite minerality mocha-cedar oak, firm dusty tannins but well integrated and tightly structured, lively acidity and a persistent finish, has the balance to cellar for a couple of decades (****1/2)

Dalwhinnie Moonambel Cabernet 2010

Purchased: Not ($50)

Drink: 2020

(GXY) Tasting: Oct 2012, quite aromatic although the palate is light-medium bodied, cranberry and cassis with violet, graphite and mint leaf notes, toasty cedar/vanilla/cinnamon oak is balanced to fruit weight, firmish, dusty tannins, supple and savoury finish with good acid line (****)

Dalwhinnie Moonambel Chardonnay 2010

Purchased: Not ($42)

Drink: 2017

(GXY) Tasting: Oct 2012, less unctuous and broad than the 2008 but still in a big, buttery flavoursome style, lime sherbert, peach and melon with butterscotch and almond biscuit notes, creamy with overt but integrated almond/caramel/cinnamon French oak, lively grapefruit acidity provides the necessary counter-point (***1/2)

Dalwhinnie The Hut Shiraz 2010

Purchased: Not ($25)

Drink: 2018

(GXY) Tasting: July 2012, sourced from the Forest Hut vineyards which are 4 km from the estate and substantially cooler, fresh and medium bodied mulberry and dark plum with white pepper, savoury bay leaf, herbal meat and eucalypt notes, glycerolly and slippery palate until the splintery chewy tannins cut in, some malty-cinnamon-vanilla oak in there (***1/2)

Dalwhinnie Moonambel Shiraz 2008

Purchased: Not ($65)

Drink: 2018

(GXY) Tasting: Dec 2011, lively and deep set black cherry and plum with warm spices, anise and a touch of menthol, gamy and medium-full bodied with graphite minerality and mocha-cedar oak, firmish dusty tannins but well integrated, welcome return to form (****1/2)

Dalwhinnie Moonambel Chardonnay 2008

Purchased: Not ($42)

Drink: 2013

(GXY) Tasting: Dec 2011, perfumed and fairly unctuous old school style showing lime sherbert, tinned pineapple and melon with butterscotch and almond biscuit notes, waxy and fairly broad palate with generous almond/vanilla French oak, some racy grapefruit acidity does provide some cut and drive (***1/2)

Dalwhinnie Moonambel Cabernet 2008

Purchased: Not ($60)

Drink: 2015

(GXY) Tasting: Dec 2011, perfumed cranberry and red cherry with violet and mint leaf notes, dusty and medium bodied with a light touch of cedar/vanilla/cinnamon oak and fine tannins, supple and elegant but lacks the persistence to go the next level (***1/2)

Dalwhinnie South West Rocks Shiraz 2005

Purchased: Not ($60)

Drink: 2016

(GXY) Tasting: Nov 2008, single vineyard grown from a clone originating from Best’s original 1860s vineyard at Great Western in the Grampians, opulent fragrance of blueberry, cassis, mint and violet, meaty and medium-full bodied, brightly spiced with French oak (50% new) bringing creamy cedar-vanilla-clove aspects, the tannins are fine but finish a little green (****)

Dalwhinnie Moonambel Chardonnay 2005

Purchased: Not ($35)

Drink: 2010

(GXY) Tasting: Nov 2008, from mature 28 year old vines, intense and forward lime, lemon butter, quince, lanolin with almond lees, creamy and waxy palate with toasty honeysuckle, backbone of assertive minerality, savoury cedar-vanilla oak, rather heavily worked (***1/2)

Dalwhinnie Moonambel Cabernets 2006

Purchased: Not ($48)

Drink: 2016

(GXY) Tasting: Nov 2008, attractive and multi-layered blend of Cab Sav and Cab Franc, raspberry, red cherry and blackcurrant with violet, menthol and dried herb notes, earthy and medium bodied, balanced savoury and cedary oak, fine tannins but there is some acid grip that needs time to resolve (****)

Dalwhinnie Pinot Noir 2005

Purchased: Not ($28)

Drink: 2016

(GXY) Tasting: Nov 2008, red cherry and dark plum with thyme and black pepper notes, medium-full bodied with quality French oak, velvet tannins, the fruit is sturdy rather than ethereal but is a solid effort for this region (***1/2)

Dalwhinnie Pinot Noir 2004

Purchased: Not ($28)

Drink: 2008

(GXY) Tasting: Feb 2007, made in association with Rick Kinzbrunner of Giaconda, ripe and plummy style with cedary and tobacco box notes, showing surprisingly good structure, acid and length for a region which is meant to be too warm for a decent Pinot (***1/2)

Dalwhinnie Moonambel Chardonnay 2003

Purchased: Not ($34)

Drink: 2009

(GXY) Tasting: Mar 2006, intense peach and melon nose with honey and lemon notes, elegant but sweet palate is followed by firm citrus acids offset by sweet vanilla oak, long mineral finish (***1/2)

Dalwhinnie Moonambel Shiraz 2004

Purchased: Not ($48)

Drink: 2011

(GXY) Tasting: Feb 2006, very ripe showing plum and prune aromas with violet and spice notes, front of palate is generous and mouth-filling (albeit slightly jammy) as indicated by the nose but there is a slight hole before the tannins and subtle oaking cuts in, below the usual high standars (***)

Dalwhinnie Moonambel Shiraz 2001

Purchased: Beaufort Hotel, Beaufort, Vic ($40)

Drink: 2010

(GXY) Tasting: June 2004, rich bouquet showing red berry and cassis fruit with violet and pepper features, the acid is crisp and the fruit pure and deep, savoury cassis fruit also shows white pepper, spice, chocolate notes, fine grained tannins tannins, a high quality wine that will mature in 2009 and beyond (****1/2)