Medium to full bodied with juicy dark berry fruits, yet with plushness and sophisticated elements well above its pricetag.
Styled originally after the great wines of the left bank of Bordeaux on France's southwest coast, the regions of Australia's southwest have also had great success with Cabernet dominant blends such as this. This wine is a classic in that mould, with the typical Australian richness of blackcurrant fruit overlayed with an air of the sophisticated characters these varieties deliver when grown in suitable locations and matured in intelligently chosen oak. The winemaking was straightforward. Each parcel of fruit was fermented on skins for up to 35 days then pressed when the fruit and tannin were in balance. The individual parcels each underwent malolactic fermentation in tank before being matured for thirteen months in Bordeaux coopered French oak barrels - just over 25% of which were new. The final blend was assembled in June 2013, given a light egg-white fining and bottled.
Appearance: Dark cherry / garnet red. Purple hints.
Nose: Highly perfumed in its youth with lavender, and citrus peel elements and some nougat like sweetness from the oak . Behind that is classic cassis from the Cabernet and some earthy under-growth characters from the Merlot. A sort of ferrous character hangs in there also - one which we often associate with Cabernet from sites rich in ironstone gravels such as ours.
Palate: Medium to full bodied, with a sweet juicy and expansive front palate. Serious, ripe and nutty structural tannins fill out the middle and a hints of black coffee, then a twist of blood-orange acidity give a fresh, yet savoury finish.
The lion's share of the fruit came from the Blinman West Cabernet and Merlot blocks at the northern end of our Ferguson Valley estate. They were planted in 1998 on classic freedraining WA "Marri soil" (a deep layer of ironstone gravelly loam over reddish friable clay) with gentle north-westerly aspects at elevations of around 200-220m. The vines are spur-pruned and trained to a relatively lazy vertical canopy.
Rainfall over our winter and spring was slightly above average – ie a lot. As is normally the case, as most vine varieties really start growing again in late September, the rainfall tapered off very quickly. An exceptionally warm Leeuwin current saw that January 2012 was almost 3 degrees above average across the coastal southwest. Sitting on the Darling Range in the hills above the Ferguson Valley, we benefited greatly from our modest amount of elevation and distance from the coast and were only a degree or so above average. The rest of vintage was also slightly warmer than average, but didn’t have the same intensity of 2011. All varieties were harvested in prime condition a week or two later than that year. It was certainly bone dry over vintage – only 1mm of rain fell between February 4th and the 2nd of April, so only the latest block of Cabernet got rained on at all.