Sevenhill St Ignatius 2019
The St Ignatius blend has always been a prestige wine for this operation but it has surprisingly remained a little under the radar. It deserves better, always a star. The name comes from the soldier, ‘Ignatius of Loyola’, who had his military career cut short when an errant cannonball ricocheted, shattering his right leg. During convalescence, he embraced both education and spirituality, the hallmarks of the Jesuit Order he founded. Anyone who was so fortunate as to meet the much lamented Brother John May would be in no doubt that the Clare’s first winery has maintained this vision, supporting both.
This release is a blend of 52% Cabernet Sauvignon, 28% Merlot, 14% Malbec and 6% Cabernet Franc, which is largely typical. Each variety was fermented separately, in either open slate fermenters or stainless steel tanks. The wine was blended before returning to French oak puncheons, 35% of which were new, for a further 10 months barrel maturation. An opaque maroon in colour, this wine offers a gorgeously appealing nose, already more complete and balanced than say the Cabernet, as good as it is. The melding seems more advanced, even at this early stage. There are notes of herbs, blackberries, cigar boxes, chocolate and spices with very well integrated oak. This is finely balanced, complex and with cashmere tannins. A wine looking at a decade of improvement if you wish, and a long plateau thereafter. Exceptional and great value.