After four vintages of red blends from Xavier Bizot’s Wrattonbully region vineyard in South Australia’s south-east – it falls within the Limestone Coast zone – he has come to the realisation that the classic cabernet-shiraz duet is the most significant way to reflect a genuine Australian red wine character from the site. But here is a unique take on that blend with cabernet franc being the major partner at a 63% share. Intriguingly it and the shiraz were picked just one day apart. Both matured in 21% new French oak for nine months, the cabernet franc then spending a further nine in an old 4000l foudre while the shiraz stayed in barrels.
The result is a fruit-forward, juicy style that accentuates the more floral and crushed berry aromatic spectrum of the cabernet family. That achieved successfully, how cabernet franc and shiraz partner is really interesting, suggesting blueberry and rhubarb flavours as well as blackberry and crunchy red plum. Texturally it’s about soft-chewy tannins that fill the mouth but never tend to heavy or blocky, so quite more-ish and offering a more daytime/afternoon/ barbecue/sunset friendly red wine style. You can’t get more Australian that that.
You certainly don’t see too many blends of Cabernet Franc and Shiraz. Terre à Terre’s Xavier Bizot and Lucy Croser call it “unique”. The result is one heck of a pretty wine.
It looks gorgeous in the glass, a brilliant magenta. Scents rising out of the glass are enticing: rose, violets, musk, sweet spiced plums, cinnamon and French oak fresh coffee grounds.
If Cabernet Franc (63%) is the aromatic superstar, Shiraz (37%) plays its role on the palate contributing a major dose of personality. Black and red berry fruits, earth, leather, dark bitter chocolate and coffee oak roll around the tongue. Chalky tannins contribute to the energy and length.
Interesting blend and a wine which is a pleasure to drink. Good concentration of flavours here. Lifted aromatics. The nose offers lovely dark berry notes and some dry herbs. There is a little oak evident but certainly not enough to mar the wine. A hint of sappy dry vegetation.
The palate moves more to red fruits than the darker berry notes on the nose. Cherries notably. Fine tannins and decent length. It is still quite youthful and really would enjoy another three to five years in the cellar. Quite bright. The length is carried by some underlying acidity. A wine with a good future. Good value.
Andrea Pritzker MW
Brooding bouquet of red currant, black plum, forest floor with accents of earth and peppery spice. Round and supple showing cedar, toast, vanilla, entwined with rich blackberry fruit underpinned by a subtle thread of eucalypt. Plentiful tannins drive the long finish. Slightly elemental at the moment, but it is well balanced and will further integrate with time in the bottle.
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