2016 Innocent Bystander Pinot Noir Yarra Valley Victoria (Elsewhere $19)

SKU #1311655 93 points James Halliday

 This vintage produced many full-flavoured pinots, this a very good example. Its colour is deep, the bouquet and palate focused around dark cherry fruit and attendant flecks of spice - spice that will grow with time. The length, balance and varietal fruit expression are an excellent base for the future (and for now). *Special Value Selection*  (7/2017)

90 points Wine Spectator

 Plush and elegant, with raspberry, cherry and fresh sage notes that are harmonious, juicy and intense on the finish. Drink now through 2027. (NM)  (7/2017)

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Staff Image By: Sharon Kelly | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: 10/2/2017 | Send Email
This truly is a fantastic Pinot Noir. If you tend to stick with the familiar and shop the domestic or French aisles for your Pinot fix, I encourage you to step out of your comfort zone and bring home a bottle of this Australian gem. Bright red cherry fruit, a touch of earth, soft texture and vibrant acidity are all wrapped up into one great price point that will not disappoint. Don't forget - the holiday season is quickly approaching. This will be a hit at your Thanksgiving table and all holiday celebrations.

Staff Image By: Kirk Walker | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: 9/28/2017 | Send Email
This has a ripe, soft nose with berries and a whiff of spice. It is easy breezy on the palate with bright acid and just a touch of tannin good fruit and hint of leafy earthiness. Reminds me of warm autumn days in college; bright, warm and uncomplicated in the best way.

Staff Image By: David Driscoll | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: 9/25/2017 | Send Email
Whereas $30 is the new $20 in California for Pinot Noir, your dollar seems to go farther than ever today in Australia where the country's best winemakers can stretch value to absolutely remarkable levels. The Innocent Bystander is not only one of the best deals from the Southern Hemisphere, it's made by the reigning Gourmet Traveler winemaker of the year Steve Flamsteed, one of my favorite people in the wine industry. Having shared a few bottles with Steve during one of my stints in the Yarra Valley, I can tell you that he's a no-frills, down-to-earth, genuine character who looks a bit like an Aussie Patrick Swayze from Dirty Dancing. He's one of the nicest and most straightforward guys I've met in my career at K&L and his wines reflect that honesty and simplistic splendor perfectly; the 2016 Innocent Bystander especially. It's well-made and brimming with classic Pinot character, full or bright cherries and brambly brush, and priced to be enjoyed on a weeknight. Any of Steve's wines, Salo and Giant Steps as well, are must-buys in my book. The 2016 Innocent Bystander just happens to be the best deal of the bunch.

Staff Image By: Ryan Woodhouse | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: 9/6/2017 | Send Email
Exceptional value in juicy, fruit forward Pinot Noir. This is brimming with accessible fruit, macerated berries, Asian spice, thyme and orange peel. Soft, supple texture on the palate with way more concentration and fruit weight than one might expect from a Pinot Noir of the price point. Then Yarra Valley's cool climate kicks in towards the finish with some lovely floral hints, bramble leaf, clove and refreshing, energetic acidity to draw it out long on the palate. This is the real deal for an everyday Pinot Noir...there isn't much out there that can rival this at this price!
Top Value!

Staff Image By: Stefanie Juelsgaard | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: 7/25/2017 | Send Email
A fantastic everyday Pinot Noir with juicy acidity and great length to back up the fruit. Not overly ripe or soft, this is a fun wine I think would work for any type of Pinot lover. It's a definite crowd-pleaser with approachable flavors and a medium-weight body. Easy to love and a great price for the value you get.

Additional Information:


Pinot Noir

- One of France's most legendary grapes and the grape that earned Burgundy its reputation. The parent of varietals like Pinot Gris/Grigio and Pinot Blanc, Pinot Noir is blue to violet to indigo in color with relatively thin skins, and it is said to have been cultivated in France for more than 2,000 years. At its best, Pinot Noir creates elegant wines that are filled with primary red fruit aromas and flavors while young, revealing with an array of secondary characteristics like earth, smoke, violet, truffle and game with age. The varietal is also known, perhaps better than any, for its ability to translate terroir, or a sense of place. While the best Pinot Noir still comes from Burgundy, it is being produced with increasing success in cooler climates around the world. In France, it is part of the trifecta of grapes that can go into Champagne, and it is also grown in Alsace, Irancy, Jura, Savoie, Lorraine and Sancerre. Outside of France it is produced under the names Pinot Nero and Blauburgunder in Italy's mountainous regions, as Spätburgunder in Germany and as Blauburgunder in Austria. In the US, Pinot Noir has found suitable growing conditions in the cooler parts of California, including Carneros, the Russian River Valley, the Anderson Valley, the Sonoma Coast, Monterey County, the Santa Lucia Highlands and Santa Barbara County, as well as in Oregon's Willamette Valley. In recent years, New Zealand has demonstrated its ability to interpret this hard-to-grow varietal, with successful bottlings coming from careful and attentive growers in Central Otago, Martinborough and Canterbury. Chile is also an up-and-coming region for Pinot Noir, creating fresh, fruit-forward, early-drinking and affordable Pinots from the coastal Casablanca Valley and the Limari Valley.


- While it is true that the greatest strides in Australian winemaking have come in the last 30 years or so, commercial viticulture began as early as the 1820s and has developed uninterrupted ever since. The majority of the great wine regions are in the southeastern area of the continent, including Barossa Valley, Clare Valley, McLaren Vale, and Coonawarra in South Australia; Yarra Yarra Valley and Pyrenees in Victoria; and the Upper and Lower Hunter Valleys in New South Wales. Many of the wines from Southeastern Australia are based on Shiraz or Cabernet Sauvignon and various blends including Grenache and Mourvedre. In Western Australia, along the Margaret River, great strides are being made with Pinot Noir as well as Bordeaux-styled reds. There are also many world-class releases of Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc from the land Down Under, where Riesling also enjoys international acclaim. While many equate Aussie wines with “value,” there are more than a few extremely rare and pricey options, which never fail to earn the highest ratings from wine publications and critics throughout the world.


Specific Appellation:

Yarra Valley