2017 Sandalford Margaret River Range Cabernet Merlot
Blue and black berries mix with bay leaves, rosemary and sweet olive flavours. A complex blend of sweet and savoury. The oak adds notes of cedar and spices - particularly fresh nutmeg and cinnamon. Silky smooth tannins give a luxurious texture on the palate. This is a rich blend that will continually open up and evolve in the glass.
With the cooler year, the grapes for this wine were machine harvested during the cool of night in mid-April, four weeks later than average. After crushing the must was inoculated with selected strains of yeast. The ferments were on skins for one - two weeks with pump overs used twice daily during this period to ensure optimum extraction of colour, flavour and tannins. Based on taste, the wine was then drained and pressed. After malolactic fermentation the wine was matured for 4 months on 20% new French oak, before 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.
95% Cabernet Sauvignon and 5% Merlot
Dark cherry red.
Up front dusty plums evolving into blackberries, cassis and mocha notes.
Blue and black berries mix with bay leaves, rosemary and sweet olive flavours. A complex blend of sweet and savoury. The oak adds notes of cedar and spices - particularly fresh nutmeg and cinnamon. Silky smooth tannins give a luxurious texture on the palate. This is a rich blend that will continually open up and evolve in the glass. Medium term cellaring will only add to the wine's complexity.
From the summer rainfall & river flooding in the Swan Valley, to the threat of not ripening any of the red grapes in Margaret River, the 2017 vintage will be remembered as one of the most nerve-racking and anxious seasons. It certainly beats all of the last 10 vintages I've seen at Sandalford. Overall, the whole growing season, from Spring through to Summer / Autumn was much cooler than average. There were no heat extremes this year. This delayed the ripening of all varieties by at least 3 -4 weeks compared to normal. At the start of April, all of the red grapes were still on the vine, several blocks still needing a good 4-5 weeks to fully ripen. With April normally the change in season, there were many hours spent watching the weather forecast, waiting for the rain to start. Unbelievably Mother Nature was on our side, April was one of the driest on record. Our latest season ever, with the last of the Cabernet being harvested in early May. The wines produced this season are elegant, showing more flavour complexity and concentration.