2017 Sandalford Estate Reserve Shiraz
Savoury spices, star anise and pepper berry, open up to sweet dark berries. The palate is elegant and structured. The finish is rich and lingering. A wine that will age gracefully.
Picked in late April to early May, these Shiraz grapes were crushed before being inoculated with selected yeast strains and fermented in open fermenters. The must was mixed by pumping over, twice daily 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 ferment, the wine was inoculated for Malolactic Fermentation (MLF), before being transferred to 100% French oak barrels. The wine then spent 14 months maturing in barrel 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.
Dark cherry red.
Savoury spices, star anise and pepper berry, open up to sweet dark berries.
The palate is elegant and structured. The dark berry flavours of blackberry, mulberry and into blueberries mingle with the savoury spices. There's a meatiness to this wine, which combined with the spice notes reminds me of my favourite salami. The tannins are silky soft and supple. The finish is rich and lingering. A wine that will age gracefully for at least another 10 years from the vintage date, if stored in ideal conditions.
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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