One of three variations in Xavier Bizot’s articulation of the Australia-proud cabernet-shiraz blend, which he has come to believe is the most complete expression of the red varieties on his Wrattonbully region vineyard in south-east SA’s Limestone Coast zone. Here cabernet sauvignon is the lead player at 62% share with shiraz 37% and cabernet franc just 1%, and the wine has a wonderfully familiar aromatic greeting given that set of priorities: ripe black currant, clear and concise without tending to ribena.
The fruit notes on the palate are glorious: the whole package feels like it is wearing a black evening dress, which perhaps reflects a nine-month rest in 21% new oak for each of the varieties then a further nine months in old foudre casks. Classicism personified. The shiraz adds a little mid-palate plumpness without sweetening or dominating the flavour profile, while not surprisingly the wine is coated with classic cab-shiraz tannins, balanced neatly in the mouth to be long, even and delicious.
For what it’s worth, there is 1% Cabernet Franc in this classic Aussie blend of Cabernet Sauvignon (62%) and Shiraz (37%). Why?
The grape’s lifted aromatics is a mighty appealing add on, and this is a wine that celebrates fruit: those juicy, generous balls of black and red berries are in fine form.
Maybe the vintage did the leading here and the winemaker followed. The 2018 vintage was warmer than usual. Ripeness is clearly not a problem, with the wine boasting 14.5% alcohol. And it also seems to have inspired the maker to employ 21% new French oak. The fruit slurps it up and the result is a beautifully balanced wine.
Unrestrained, buoyant scent of black fruits, pomegranate and spice rise from the glass. The palate, well-meshed and almost voluptuous by Hills standards, brings life to the classic Aussie red blend now sadly in a continuing sales decline since the grand 70s and 80s.
Maybe this wine will help reinvigorate drinkers who gave up on the blend and alert new chums to the style’s generosity and utter drinkability. Let’s hope so.
More plushness to be found here. Darker fruits all round. Good concentration. Nicely balanced. Even though there is a little more new oak used here than in the Cab Franc/Shiraz, it is not apparent at all. Blackberries, cassis. This is a seamless wine, with very fine but mouthcoating tannins. Good length which carries the intensity. Another wine with a fine future ahead.
Andrea Pritzker MW
Aromas of ripe mulberry, black plum and eucalypt unfold to reveal a rich, full bodied palate with a generous core of blackberry and blackcurrant supported by a firm backbone of al dente tannins. A harmonious blend that whilst still tightly wound, will unfurl with time, offering rich rewards in the cellar.
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