Cabernet and Cabernet Blends

Cabernet and Cabernet Blends

Paige Wieselmann

Cabernet Sauvignon is the most planted variety in the world. This is probably because of a few reasons. The Cab-Sauv vine performs so well in the vineyard, it tends to avoid a lot of disease and issues in the vineyard as it buds and ripens very late. It also has quite a thick skin and can grow quite vigorously. Cabernet Sauvignon: the wine, also has an immensely prestigious history. Some of the most expensive wines in the world: Bordeaux Grand Cru reds from the ‘Medoc’ (Margeaux, St Estephe, St Julien etc…) consist predominantly of Cabernet Sauvignon. This Bordeaux-esque wine style – using Cabernet Sauvignon is emulated from as far and wide as Lebanon, South Africa and Chile to USA, China… and Australia. Cabernet Sauvignon is a great wine variety to be blended with other robust red varieties. It’s not hard to find Cabernet and Merlot in the same bottle, often with a splash of Cabernet Franc, Malbec and Petit Verdot. This is often referred to as a ‘Bordeaux Blend’. Cabernet has also been paired with Sangiovese in Italy, Tempranillo in Spain and even with Shiraz in Australia - described as the ‘Bull & the Bear’ by Two Hands winery in the Barossa Valley. Various regions will lay claim as the home to this regal variety in Australia. Coonawarra and Margaret River probably have a valid argument for being Australia’s homes of Cab Sauv - as the quality of Cabernet Sauvignon in these areas seems to be right up there. McLaren Vale and the Barossa Valley produce some interesting juicier interpretations and there are also some Cabernet Gems to be found in the Clare Valley and even the Pyrenees region and Yarra Valley in Vic. High quality Cabernet tends to have a lot of ‘structure’: firm tannins, acid, fruit weight and length and concoction of black fruit flavours – often framed by oaky notes and some earth and mint. They are often great wines to lay down for 5-10 years or more and the notes become more savoury and leathery. Cabernet is also a great meaty food match with everything from Game to Lamb, Beef and strong cheeses. Some of these premium Cabernets will surely impress at the next BBQ. Below are a couple of cracking examples of Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Blends:

 

 

 

Whistle Post Cabernet Sauvignon 2013

Aged for 12 months in old French oak hogsheads. This Cabernet has good depth of colour with lively purple hues. The nose is attractive with notes of blackcurrant, red fruits and hints of regional mint. A small amount of oak maturation gives a subtle sweet spice to the fruit aromas. Palate: A soft full palate expressing sweet dark berry fruit and light oak ­flavours.
Vintage Conditions: The 2013 Coonawarra Vintage was excellent, characterised by a warm, dry summer followed by a cool autumn nights. A warm, fast ­flowering period saw an even fruit set with high berry numbers per bunch. This combined with a late break and ideal summer temperatures extending well into April allowed good conditions for ripening and harvest. Drink now + 5 years or more.

 

 Higher Plane Cabernet Sauvignon 2012

 

Purple red in colour, this wine is bursting with Cabernet fruit characters of spicy plum, blackcurrant/cassis, mulberry, choc-mint and cedar/vanilla oak. The richly fruited palate is plush and shows terrific concentration from low crops. Resolved, supportive tannins from the long, even ripening, ensure extended cellaring potential. The 2012 vintage was superb in Margaret River, with plenty of gentle sunshine for perfect ripening of Cabernet Sauvignon with regards to both flavour and tannin. There was no bird pressure due to the natural nectar source from the Marri blossom being abundant, so that allowed for long hang-time of the grapes on the vines to achieve complete ripeness. Drink now + 10 years 

 

Higher Plane 'The Messenger' 2012

 

This is a truly special wine. A true Bordeaux style blend with 50% Cabernet Sauvignon and the balance made up of carefully selected parcels of Malbec, Petit Verdot and Merlot. The nose is a brooding and exotic mix of bright blueberry, cassis, raspberry, cinnamon and violet notes that intermingle with hints of charry oak, chorizo and tapenade. The palate entry is plush offering great generosity of fruit flavour and concentration. This wine builds with intensity throughout the palate and reveals a lovely, fine grained and resolved tannin profile. A very complex wine, with a long and profound finish. The 2012 vintage was a near perfect one for the Bordeaux red varieties with a relatively mild autumn after a warm, but not hot summer allowing for a long hang time on the vine which develops fine balanced tannins in the grapes. Drink now + 15 years

 

Browse our full range of Cabernet Sauvignons here

 

 

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The Rise & Rise of Aussie and New-World Pinot Noir

The Rise & Rise of Aussie and New-World Pinot Noir

Paige Wieselmann

Once upon a time when it came to red wine in Australia it was all about shiraz, shiraz, shiraz. About 10 years ago this all changed. Australian palates were changing and beginning to lean towards lighter less full bodied and high alcohol reds. Enter Pinot.

There is almost no other grape so celebrated or held with such high regard and its rise to prominence was always bound to happen in Australia. It’s the holy grail of wines for both winemakers and wine lovers alike, with serious pinot lovers describing themselves as “Pinot-philes”. Although we have only started to consume Pinot Noir in large volumes in the last decade the first pinot grapes were brought out to Australia by James Busby in the 1830’s. Starting with the heritage clone labelled as ‘Mother Vine 6’ (MV6) it wasn’t until the 1990’s that new Dijon clones were planted in Australia (114,115 etc).

In Australia and New Zealand, Pinot it is suited to the ‘cooler climates’ and thrives in regions such as; Tasmania, Adelaide Hills, Yarra Valley and Marlborough and Central Otago in New Zealand. It’s notoriously fickle and only shows its best in these cooler temperate locations. The best examples are light-bodied yet intensely aromatic with multi-layered characters and incredible length.
Tasmania, the region that has all pinot lovers excited, is the southern-most wine region in Australia. Its cool climate and soils are perfectly suited to crafting stunning examples of Pinot Noir. The Tamar Valley’s; Moores Hill Pinot Noir 2016 is a fantastic example. It’s a generous wine showing lovely varietal sweet plum, red cherry and savoury notes on the nose. The palate delivers with delicious cherry flavours framed by a spicy oak touch.
The region all the cool kids are talking about at the moment is South Australia’s Adelaide Hills. Arguably the countries home of alternative winemaking it sees examples of lovely aromatic whites and gentle medium bodied reds being produced in a wide array of techniques. Nova Vita’s 2014 Firebird Pinot Noir is a single vineyard estate grown wine made using traditional techniques with a hint of flare. A fair bit of whole bunch and whole berry during fermentation as well as native yeasts sees a wine that soft and rounded. A mixture of spice and aniseed with cherries and forest floor, it’s a super glugable wine through and through.
Victoria’s Yarra Valley is one of the more classic and original regions for Pinot Noir. Considered by many as the Premier Pinot producing region in Australia. Seville Hill Estate has been producing sensational wines since the mid 90’s. John the winemaker is old-school in his approach to winemaking, with all his red wines released with bottle age and under cork. His estate grown fruit produces big wines that have serious cellaring potential. The 2014 Pinot Noir is no exception. Dark cherry in colour with aromas of strawberries and mint transcending to the palate, strawberry and blackberry flavours with touches of spearmint and warm spices follow.
Not to forget our Kiwi’s cousins, New Zealand’s most famous wine region, Marlborough produces many world-famous wines. Widely known for its Savvy B, we shouldn’t forget the quality of Pinot produced in Marlborough. Eradus from the sub-region of the Awatere Valley, make a superb single-vineyard Pinot Noir that very much pays homage to the ‘old-world’ style. Elegant, with cherry notes and liquorice, it’s extremely smooth, deep and fruit driven.

Have Fun, Drink Pinot.

 

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Australian Chardonnay

Australian Chardonnay

Paige Wieselmann

Regarded as one of the ‘Noblist’ of the Noble Grapes Chardonnay is on the way back people! The Sauv-a- lanch is on the wane and while the Pinot G’s and Rieslings deserve a mention, the real crowd pleaser and wine of a thousand wonderful personalities is Chardonnay. Chardonnay is the White wine for Red wine drinkers. It can be big, oaky, vibrant, & weighty and rewards a good few years in bottle. In fairness it can also be tight, nervy, chalky and austere.

Chardonnay is the most widely planted Vitis Vinifera Grape variety in Australia.
It’s a vigorous, heavy cropping variety that; like many varieties, responds well to crop thinning and being ‘kept on a short leash’ in the vineyard.

Chardonnay originated in Burgundy, France, where it’s the only grape used in the various styles of the region including the famous names: Chablis, Montrachet and Meursault.

In Australia, Chardonnay has a great history of consumption and enjoyment.
In the 1980’s and 90’s Australia’s ‘Sunshine in a Glass’ has now evolved to be quite the sophisticated drink. The spectrum of Chardonnay styles includes equal parts ‘Quaffers’ and premium interpretations influenced by both ‘place’ and winemaking.

Adelaide Hills, Margaret River, Yarra Valley, Mornington Peninsula, Beechworth, Macedon, Tumbarumba and Tasmania all vie for the accolade of best Chardonnay region in Australia and all of these regions of origin deserve to be in the mix.

Here are 3 quite diverse Chardonnays that are sure to impress at the next dinner party.


Nova Vita ‘Firebird’ Chardonnay 2015
Hand-picked, cold, whole bunch press, indigenous yeasts, aged in French oak barriques (30% new), 12 months on lees, 10% MLF. Lemon, stone fruits, apples and pears, vanilla oak, brioche, match stick aromas, almonds, apples and cream. What a wine! Quite complex! medium plus body, length for miles. Drink me now or wait for up to 5 years…

 

Higher Plane ‘Reserve’ Chardonnay 2015
Hand picked from a cool, single site about 20 clicks South of Margaret River town. The grapes were picked in 3 batches over 8 days to capture the varying levels of ripeness and add to this complex Chardonnay interpretation. Clean natural acidity is met with 10 months ageing in French oak barrels (38% new) In fact, this wine is fermented in Barrel (rather than just aged in barrel) which leads to a more seamless integration of oak flavour in the wine. There is some lees stirring and malolactic fermentation and the end result is a wine of absolute grace and precision. Citrus Fruits, Almonds and an overall sense of balance and length. Outstanding Chardonnay that will easily lay down for 10 or more years if you’re patient.

 

 

Seville Hill Chardonnay 2015
Yarra Valley Chardonnay often has a more detectable line of acid versus fruit and the fruit profile often hinges more on Pears and Melons rather than a cricket bat of Oak. Seville Hill Chardonnay offers a delicate balance of Oak and almond nuttiness with some typical Yarra Chardonnay fruit notes, figs and a line of Citrus acid that keeps the flavours going (length). This wine is all about elegance and balance and epitomises Australian Cool climate viticulture and winemaking.

 

Browse our full range of Chardonnays here

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