Innocent Bystander

Victoria, victoria Australia

This winery changed hands in May 2016, with one family company, Brown Brothers, taking it off the hands of another, its founder, Phil Sexton. So associated is Innocent Bystander with the Yarra Valley that the new owners decided to build a new cellar door in Healesville, just across the parking lot from Giant Steps, but the wines are now being made at the Brown Brothers winery in Milawa, just 200 kilometres north of the Yarra Valley. They quickly signed contracts with all of the grape growers that Phil used for Innocent Bystander, so that the style of the wines remains unchanged.

That style – wines that are regional and varietal, reflecting the soil, cool climate and topography of the Yarra Valley – has been the base upon which the reputation of Innocent Bystander has been built. Their subtle Chardonnay has the attractive depth thanks to barrel fermentation, yet is fresh and lifted, offering a lot for a wine at this price. The Syrah – peppery, spicy and nicely defined – is also a steal. The Pinot Noir, which marries bright red fruit aromas with earthy notes, also punches above its weight. The Pinot Gris attractively combines the zestiness that comes from half the blend being fermented in stainless steel with the texture that is derived from the rest being fermented in old oak.

Their Moscato, made from old vine Gordo (Muscat of Alexandria) and Black Muscat grapes, is a delicious blend of natural sweetness and fizz with crisp acidity.


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