Our Wine Range
Every Rob Dolan wine is a perfect reflection of both the region and the man himself. Generous, approachable and eminently likeable.
Our White Label range exemplifies the distinctive Rob Dolan style of wine. This flagship range incorporates premium Yarra Valley fruit and is produced in limited quantities from select vineyard sites. These wines have texture and complexity and display regional and varietal characters. Suitable for cellaring and provides ample food-pairing opportunities.
Our unique Black Label range is where we showcase our deep enthusiasm and passion for wine-making. Made exclusively for our cellar door and on-premises customers, this more experimental range features ‘one off’ parcels which aim to emphasise alternative varieties and winemaking styles. Distinctive in its approach, the range will vary from vintage to vintage depending on fruit quality, availability and seasonal influences.
The Rob Dolan Signature Series range is a culmination of 35 years in the wine industry. Made only in the most outstanding vintages, these small batch wines are the ultimate expression of Rob and his team. Each bottle offers a window into the most exceptional vineyards of the Yarra Valley by utilising carefully selected vineyard sites and soils across the region.
“Be bold, be brave, show your true colours”.
Here, one of Rob’s favourite sayings has been translated into liquid. Fruit driven and instantly likeable, our True Colours range is the perfect introduction to Rob Dolan Wines. An honest and perfect reflection of the man and the land, these quaffable wines are made to be enjoyed today—either on their own, or with a great meal.
“The Yarra Valley is known as a Cool climate region with dominant rainfall in winter and spring and a relatively cool, dry summer. cool climate regions are typically known for producing wines with intense varietal characteristics due to the long, slow ripening periods. Generally speaking each vintage in the Yarra Valley is a good one, however they each have their own challenges. There are key elements at play to produce quality wines each year which include sourcing fruit from well managed vineyards, which regardless of weather conditions consistently produce fruit of a high quality”. – Rob Dolan
Challenging on all fronts
Fires to the north and east | Smoke from the west | Then along came COVID – 19
The Yarra Valley has been lucky and although the best-laid plans were “turned on their heads” we had a great vintage (8.5/10) but we have all been challenged from an economic viewpoint.
Much to our surprise vintage was two weeks late and we experienced incredibly cool ripening conditions punctuated by rainfall events that slowed picking on many vineyard sites.
It was an eight-week vintage with crop levels across all varieties down 30-40% and acidity much higher than the previous seven years in the Yarra. This made picking at optimum times difficult and resulted in our grape-growers being significantly down on their budgeted yields.
We received fruit from 20 vineyards for Rob Dolan Wines branded wines and made wines for 19 separate clients. The standout wines will be Chardonnay and Pinot Gris closely followed by Pinot Noir from the cooler sites around Gladysdale and Yarra Junction.
Dodged a bullet | Dry + Surprising | Round the Clock
Vintage 2019 was approached with concern and trepidation owing to dry and hot conditions in other regions in the lead up to harvesting. Climatic changes across Australia presented challenges for grape-growers and Winemakers as vintage periods are reduced from 12-14 weeks in the 90’s down to 6-8 weeks in recent years. Compressed vintages present issues in the winery as grape varieties ripen early and often at the same time increasing fermentation space pressure in the Winery. We planned for a shorter vintage by taking on a lease at a second winemaking facility to increase storage capacity, then moved to a “round the clock operation” and additional staff in the cellar. Vintage 2019 was a record year in terms of tonnage with grapes being sourced from x30 vineyards across the Yarra and an increase of 18% above average. Quality was excellent across all varieties with Cabernet Sauvignon (for the 5th year in a row) and Shiraz being the standout varieties and Pinot Noir will be the surprise packet.
A Benchmark Vintage from Long Odds
Benchmark Vintage | Early Weather Concerns | Bountiful Crops
2018 turned out to be a true benchmark vintage in the Yarra Valley producing wines that will cellar well for many years. A punter would have got long odds for such a vintage in December with summer rains and high humidity making viticulturists nervous. The odds shortened quickly as weeks of mild temperatures, blue skies and perfectly timed showers ensued allowing for even ripening and bountiful crops. Careful consideration had to be given to picking times to ensure ideal ripeness, fruit flavour, acid, balance and structure. All in all 2018 was a vintage of
quality across all varieties, with Upper Yarra Pinot Noir and Chardonnay excelling and Cabernet Sauvignon knocking our socks off.
Traditional Conditions | Blue Skies | Cool Nights
In contrast to the warm and compact growing season of 2016, Vintage 2017 saw a return to more traditional conditions. A cool and wet spring delayed budburst and flowering and consequently we had a late start to harvest in early March. Some truly ideal weather followed with about three to four weeks of blue skies and temperatures in the high 20’s with no heat spikes. The even temperatures, cool nights and long ripening period provided us with some excellent fruit across all varieties.
Short and Sweet
Compact | Warm | Ripe, Generous Wines
Vintage 2016 will be long remembered as the most compact growing season in living memory. A warm spring was followed by a warmer than average summer but luckily, we were spared from suffering through too many extreme over 40-degree spikes during the ripening period. The effect of this weather forced an acceleration of ripening but also a retention of fresh acidity due to the cool nights. It’s not surprising to see ripe, generous characters on the 2016 wines.
A Real Humdinger
Benchmark Year | Mild Spring | 22 Vineyards
Vintage 2015 in the Yarra Valley proved to be one of the strongest in the past 25 years. We significantly increased our fruit intake to twenty-two different vineyards across all sub-regions of the Valley. Spring was mild, allowing excellent fruit set and the vintage was cool and dry with perfect ripening and crop levels 10-20% above the average. The Remarkable varietal flavours with balanced natural acidity were evident across all vineyard sites and varieties. The 2015 vintage will be remembered as a benchmark year in the Yarra Valley.
Good Things, Small Packages
Warm | Dry | Low Yields | Exceptional Quality
Much like 2013, 2014 was also a warm, dry vintage in the Yarra Valley. Significantly reduced yields due to poor fruit set in spring resulted in lighter bunch weights. Crop levels in some situations were down by 80% compared to the average for varieties such as Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, all other varieties also had reduced yields of varying percentages. Overall 2014 yields were down 60% against original budgeted expectations. In saying that, the quality of the fruit was exceptional across all varieties.
Excellent Fruit Flavours, Structure + Length
Warm | Dry | Full Bodied Flavours | Excellent Structure
2013 was a warm, dry vintage in the Yarra Valley. Thankfully healthy winter rains meant the vineyards were prepared for any hot spells throughout the growing season. The main challenge was finding space in the winery because several varieties ripened at the same time. Fruit flavours were excellent and slightly more full-bodied than the 2012’s. Chardonnay and Pinot Noir are beautiful wines with balanced acidity and plenty of flavour. Dry reds look fantastic with excellent structure and length.
A Benchmark Yarra Valley Vintage
Outstanding Conditions | Solid Yields | New Winery
2012 was a benchmark vintage in the Yarra Valley although yields were approximately 40% down throughout the region. A wet spring made for challenging growing conditions in the early part of the season as Growers worked hard to stay on top of disease pressures. Overall conditions were warm but the region managed to avoid the extreme heat experienced in 2009. Harvest started 2-3 weeks earlier than normal with all varieties showing good flavour development and solid yields. 2012 was Rob’s first year making wine at his South Warrandyte winery.
Good Flavour Development + Solid Yields
Warmer than Average | Early Harvest | First Rob Dolan Vintage
2010 was a warmer than average vintage in the Yarra Valley. The season started with good fruit set but unlike the previous years of drought there were occasional rain events that kept soil moisture relatively high throughout the season. The remainder of the growing season was outstanding with periodic rain events and ideal growing conditions. Fruit ripened beautifully with good flavour and acid balance. Classic Indian summer conditions saw a warm spell toward the end of April that allowed the later ripening varieties to ripen perfectly.