‘Yabby Lake’ was established in 1998 on the Morning Peninsula by Robert and Mem Kirby, owners of Village Roadshow, whom had been landowners on the Peninsula for many years. Robert and Mem Kirby engaged vineyard manager Keith Harris to help set up the vineyard on their property, where their children, Clark and Nina, used to catch yabbies as children. The vineyard is planted in a northerly direction on a slope, and as it’s close to the sea, it can make the most of the sunshine and ocean breezes. Varieties planted were 25ha of Pinot Noir, 14ha of Chardonnay, 8ha of Pinot Gris, and 3ha of Shiraz, Merlot and Sauvignon Blanc. The Chief Winemaker and General Manager is Tom Carson, a veteran of the wine judging circuit, who has also worked in the Clare Valley, Yarra Valley, Burgundy, and Champagne, including a dozen years at ‘Yering Station’. Since 2008, ‘Yabby Lake’ has employed a Single-Block Release Program, whereby fruit from different areas of the vineyard is processed separately, in order to identify batches that stand out in character and quality; this means there can be 50 different parcels of grapes at the end of a vintage. The Kirby family also owns ‘Heathcote Estate’, with the clear objective of making single-vineyard Shiraz ‘of exceptional character and longevity.’
Yabby Lake has a budget label (Red Claw), as well as their eponymous range. The ‘Red Claw Mornington Peninsula Chardonnay’, due to its cool-climate origins, has aromas of citrus and stone fruit and subtle hints of oak, as well as a focused palate with good acidity. The ‘Yabby Lake Single Vineyard Pinot Noir’ is a blend of three Pinot Noir clones from five estate blocks, resulting in a perfumed and floral aroma, with red berries on the palate, backed by silky tannins and a long length.
For more information on Yabby Lake and their wines, head to their website.