2017 Sandalford 1840 Cabernet Merlot
This wine opens with berries and savoury spices, but keeps evolving in the glass. There’s plums, stewed rhubarb with a floral lift. For the savoury there’s smoky vanilla and fennel as well as mocha. The palate is complex and beautifully textured with silky smooth tannins.
The Cabernet was picked in late March, followed by the Merlot in early April 2017. After de-stemming and crushing, they were both inoculated with selected yeast strains and fermented in small 5 tonne open fermenters. During fermentation the must was mixed, twice daily by pumping over to keep the skins and juice in constant contact. Based on taste, the fermenting must was pressed once the perfect balance of colour, flavour and tannin extraction was reached. After the completion of primary fermentation, the wine was inoculated for Malolactic Fermentation (MLF), before being transferred into French oak barrels. With 10% new oak, the wine spent 16 months maturing in these barrels prior to blending and bottling.
Meet the maker
Growing up on a wheat and sheep farm is not your traditional start to a winemaking career. However, it was driving through the Swan Valley on the way to Perth that started my interest in grapes. They were always beautiful and green quite a contrast to the dry and dusty terrain from the farm. During my final year of studies at the University of Adelaide, I commenced working at Petaluma in the Adelaide Hills, and this seeded my love of Riesling. After 18 months, I decided to explore the world of wine and for the next several years was a flying winemaker, working alternate vintages in both the Northern and Southern Hemispheres. In the north, this took me to France (Languedoc, Cognac & a couple of days in Bordeaux) and many times to Oregon, USA. This is where my love of Pinot was born. Back in Australia, I also explored Margaret River, Geographe, Clare Valley, SA and Macedon Ranges, Vic. In January 2007, coming back to WA, I joined Sandalford as Winemaker and in December 2012, was offered the Senior Winemaker position. To talk about my winemaking philosophy, is to first understand the vineyards. My role is to let the grapes shine and ensure they reflect the vineyard site they\'re from. The fruit source for all of our wines, are paramount to their success, and I\'m incredibly lucky to have one of the oldest vineyards in Margaret River to work with.
Cabernet Sauvignon 60% & Merlot 40%
Black and blue berries with mocha and cedar spice notes.
This wine opens with berries and savoury spices, but keeps evolving in the glass. There's plums, stewed rhubarb with a floral lift. For the savoury there's smoky vanilla and fennel as well as mocha. The palate is complex and beautifully textured with silky smooth tannins. The acid is bright and leads this wine to have wonderful length on the finish.
The 2017 vintage is going to be a vintage that will be remembered for years to come. Overall, the conditions were cooler than average and saw ripening on most varieties delayed by up to 4 weeks on normal. In the Swan Valley, the season will be remembered for the high rainfall with 30mm falling in late January and another 70mm 10 days later in February. This saw the Swan River burst it's banks. Whilst Sandalford had no flood damage in the vineyard, the unseasonal weather created challenges in the vineyard. Due to the later ripening of all red varieties, this rainfall had little effect on them, with all grapes showing intense varietal characters.