As soon as the lifted purple floral perfume notes from the Petit Verdot and dense, ripe red and dark berry notes from the Merlto and Malbec hit your nose, you know that you are in for a treat.
On the palate the wine is incredibly soft, with great richness and complexity, but the nice acidity from the Petit Verdot grapes stops the wine becoming too heavy and dense. For such a rich and complex wine, the finish is clean and elegant, again due to the fantastic acid line. No tannins and unashamedly upfront fruit make this the true definition of a vinous guilty pleasure.
The 2019/20 growing season was characterised as being quite a warm one in respect to our typical mild Mediterranean seasons. Spring brought with it the typical mix of stunning days interspersed by a couple of significant storm events which lead reduced fertilisation of the many varieties across the district and consequent reduction in yields.
Following on from a marginally warmer than usual spring, Summer arrived rapidly and we had several runs of significantly warmer than average temperatures which lead to an overall seasonal pattern of higher than average day time and night time temperatures – December in particular averaged 3 degrees warmer than average for day time maximum temperatures!
Another key factor in our growing season weather was very low to no rainfall throughout the summer.
What does all this mean for the grapes? The warmer temperatures resulted in the most of our red fruit ripening around 2 weeks earlier than average. The warmer than average days and lack of rainfall had the beneficial result of an extremely low disease pressure throughout the growing season meaning that the health of the grapes upon harvest one some of the best I have ever witnessed. The make up of this blend, our careful winemaking and attention to detail in the cellar, and the time we allow for the wine to develop in cask before bottling all lead to another great instalment of one of our most popular wines.
The Merlot portion of the blend is from a very special vineyard. One of the oldest and most historic in the entire Margaret River district, this Wilyabrup site displays all of the most sought after vineyard characteristics. Of particular note is that the vines are old – around 46 years old and un-irrigated, which leads to production of a Merlot wine with amazing depth and complexity.
The Petit Verdot and Malbec portions for the blend come from 26 year old vines growing on a gentle north sloping vineyard also in the Wilyabrup subregion of Margaret River. The soil is very gravelly and the vines work hard, focusing their energies on ripening healthy, vibrant fruit, not excesses of vegetative growth or high quantities.
All of the grapes for this wine were handpicked into small 8kg crates and immediately transported back to the winery where they were gently de-stemmed and not crushed, directly into their small fermentation vessels, a procedure which allowed the ferment to start with what were almost totally unburst, undamaged individual berries. The wines were fermented on skins utilising the indigenous yeasts, which arrived on the grape skins when the fruit arrived at the winery.
The must underwent a slow, steady ferment with hand plunging twice each day. After around 14 – 20 days (batch dependant) the fruit was basket pressed into 3 year old French oak barriques and was left to complete malolactic fermentation in barrel utilising the activity of indigenous bacteria. The wine was left to mature for 21 months in barrel during which time it was racked via gravity one time and topped regularly.
1 day before bottling the wine was racked out of barrel to tank using gravity (no pumps at all) and was then bottled unfined and unfiltered.
This wine drinks incredibly easily, with no rough edges, but it will develop and reward cellaring for the medium term (5-10 yrs easily)