mrbarval

Cabernet Merlot

Regular price $40.00 Save $0.00
-276 in stock

71% Cabernet Sauvignon 19% Merlot 10% Petit Verdot
14.3% Alc.
Production: 4980 bottles

Select parcels of grapes from the famous Wilyabrup and Walcliffe sub-regions are brought together in this classic Bordeaux blend. Elegance and delicacy combined with great complexity and length result in a real wine of substance.

The Vineyards:
The Cabernet portion of this wine came from five select vineyard sites. Three of the these lie in the real ‘Dress Circle’ of Margaret River viticulture in the heart of the Wilyabrup sub-region. This area of Margaret River has shown year after year that it can deliver consistently incredible fruit quality and the finest of our fine wines are produced from fruit grown here. The other two Cabernet vineyard blocks are located in the Walcliffe sub-region of Margaret River, with a strong northerly exposure and around 4km from the Indian Ocean overlooking the coastal end of the Margaret River itself. Perched high on this hillside, the vines grow in gravelly, well drained soil and experience fantastic exposure to the warm summer sunshine and regular, cooling sea breezes.

The Merlot portion of the blend is from a very special old 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 45 years old and un-irrigated, which leads to production of a Merlot wine with amazing depth and complexity.

The Petit Verdot for the blend comes from 22 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.

The Season:
The 2016/17 growing season produced a mixed bag for the region. Near perfect Spring conditions allowed for balanced bud burst and a strong and healthy start to the growing cycle. A lack of our 'typical' Spring storms around the month of flowering in November led to fantastic fruit set and what promised to be the best cropping volumes Margaret River had seen for many years. This is not to say that the vines were over cropped at all, just that it is typical for us as a region to receive some damaging winds and/or rain and hail during the flowering period which can drastically reduce crops on one or more varieties. However, from this early stage of growth, all varieties showed very good fruit set across the district and we were all excited for some higher volumes of our fine wines. 

Then our typical warm, dry summer never really came. Whilst we do not as a rule experience a hot summer, the Summer months of the 2016/17 season were particularly cold, even by Margaret River's cooler standards.  It felt like we didn't see the sun in January! Rather than our typical warm days of 24-28C maximums and fresh nights around 16C, we saw regular daily maximums struggling to push over 20C and night time temperatures regularly dropping to single digits!

So what did this mean for the grapes? Cooler temperatures lead to slower growth and development in the vine and thus a later harvest, and 2017 was a particularly late vintage. In respect to the 2017 Cabernet Merlot, we were blessed to have good weather in March and April which allowed for these later ripening varieties to fully mature and by the time we harvested, there was a definite buzz about the quality of the fruit.

Winemaking:
All of the grapes for this wine were handpicked into small 8kg crates and immediately transported back to the winery where they were gengtly 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. The individual batches spent between 12-21 days on skins after which the fruit was basket pressed into French oak barriques, with a small portion (12%) being new, 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.

One day before bottling the wine was racked out of barrel to tank and was then bottled unfined and unfiltered.

The Wine:
This is a classic Margaret River Cabernet Merlot with a strong connection with the famed Bordeaux wines of France which were the original inspiration for our region. Full bodied but not heavy, rich and powerful but not overbearing, amazing complexity with a vast array of flavours but with wonderful balance and poise, it is a Cabernet for all palates. Whilst it is still in the midst of youthful exuberance the wine is still a wonderful drink. However, time in the cellar will only be of benefit.  This wine has the balance and stricture to allow for cellaring for 25+ years.

Salutè

Robert Gherardi