2017 Sandalford Winemakers Cabernet Merlot
The Winemakers Range is all about delivering quite simply the best Western Australian wine at the best price. Quite simply, 'Bang for your buck!' These wines are a blend of both the Margaret River and Swan Valley regions. In other words we have the riper, richer notes from the Swan with the cooler climate, more elegant and sophisticated characters from Margaret River. There are no lashings of oak and winemaking artefact here, just great fruit-driven wines from vines up to fifty years of age. These wines are all about balance, harmony and drinkability without burning a hole in your purse or wallet! So go on, have a crack and let us know the outcome! As always, enjoy in moderation.
Usual stuff here ... Ben (with some help) picked it, then Mark and Greg crushed it into the fermenter. Mark rehydrated the yeast and then it was fermented. It was on skins for about a week before being pressed to separate the wine and the skins. The wine was then left for a small time to mature before 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.
93% Cabernet Sauvignon, 7% Merlot
Dark cherry red.
Rich plum and wild berries up front, with hints of violets, cinnamon and vanilla spices.
Cabernet and Merlot. It's just one of those matches that work, like Cabernet and Lamb ... but back to the point. There's black and blue berries from the Cabernet, with dusty plums from the Merlot and lots of savoury spices. This wine is all about the fruit. Don't wait, drink it now - I can already taste the lamb with it!
Here I was last year saying 2016 was a challenging vintage ... 2017 certainly topped it. A lot of rain fell in January and February. The Swan River was as full as I've ever seen it, yep it flooded - definitely not the norm to see a hay bale floating down the river! The growing season was much cooler than normal - the grapes were picked 3-4 weeks later than normal. This longer ripening time means the vines had more time to build excellent flavour concentration within the grapes.