2017 Sandalford Estate Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon
This is classic Margaret River Cabernet. It’s an elegant wine, with sweet berries up front mixed with savoury spice flavours of cinnamon, mocha and cedar. There’s also hints of juniper. The tannins are silky soft and lush, they combine with the acid to give this wine a wonderful structure and length. This wine is complex and will reward your patience over the next ten + years with proper cellaring, if you can wait for that long.
The grapes for this wine are exclusively from our 40+ year old Wilyabrup Estate Vineyard in Margaret River. After crushing and de-stemming the grapes underwent fermentation in small 5-10 tonne fermenters. The traditional method of pumping over was used during this time to optimise colour, flavour and tannin extraction. Near the end of fermentation, the wine was pressed, with the free run and pressings kept as one, and inoculated for Malolactic Fermentation (MLF) with selected bacteria. At the completion of MLF, the wine was racked and transferred to French oak barrels (25% new) for 14 months, before being blended together and then bottled.
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.
Dark cherry red.
Sweet blue and black berries up front open up to savoury spices and a hint of violet floral notes.
This is classic Margaret River Cabernet. It's an elegant wine, with sweet berries up front mixed with savoury spice flavours of cinnamon, mocha and cedar. There's also hints of juniper. The tannins are silky soft and lush, they combine with the acid to give this wine a wonderful structure and length. This wine is complex and will reward your patience over the next ten + years with proper cellaring, if you can wait for that long.
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 growing season, from Spring through to Autumn was much cooler than average. There were no heat extremes. This delayed 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 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 harvested in early May. The wines produced this season are elegant, showing more flavour complexity and concentration.
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