It’s fair to say cabernet, the greatest of wines grown and made in the Yarra since the late 1880s, is enduring the longest of winters.
In recent times, there has been much misunderstanding and misrepresentation of the classic old Claret styles of the 60’s, 70’s and 80’s. The high octane, jammy, oak-monstered examples still exist and are bound to leave many wondering what all the fuss is about.
Cabernet today is generally overlooked for the sexier cousins of pinot noir or nebbiolo, but if you come across a classic older style of cabernet, you often find a wine of beauty that can cause you to pause and to find yourself lost in another time.
All this leads into my excitement at this particular release which features THREE Cabernets, alongside Chenin Blanc and Syrah. Rarely have we had a release where every wine offers so much now but even more looking well into the future.
2017 Wesburn Chenin Blanc
Our third and final release from this extraordinary vineyard evokes emotion every time we pull a cork. What more can I share about these vines and how they changed our understanding of farming in the Yarra Valley. At a time when everyone is talking about ‘natural wine’ and minimal cellar influence, Wesburn shone a light on just how critical farming is in allowing a sites personality be heard (or muffled).
This wine is compact with loads of structure and definition but needing time to stretch and open up. As with our previous Chenin Blancs, this wine shows subtle pith, crushed herbs and wax. Bracing is the acidity and sinuey chalky finish. Winemaking was pretty boring with some skin contact, old oak and a long time on gross lees. This has a long journey ahead of it.
2017 Healesville Syrah
As some of you may know, 2017 was a magical season. The summer avoided any heatwaves and the rain was regular enough to maintain happy healthy vines.
This single vineyard Syrah from the winery property is much finer and prettier than the 2016. It is a touch more spicy and slender with the recognisable dense fine chalky tannins providing a savoury crunchy finish where spice and red fruit hover. Lovely flow from this wine.
2016 Hugh Merlot (Gruyere)
After phylloxera was found in our Gruyere vineyard in 2014, all vines were pulled with the exception of 3 rows of Merlot that were planted on resistant rootstock. Now before you chuckle, consider some of the worlds best (and yes worst) wines have come from this grape.
2016 is the second release of ‘Hugh’ Merlot. We are overwhelmingly pleased that this wine shows so vividly the Gruyere site we got to know so well; The mudstone loam/clay/silt soils are expressed through the bright red/blue fruits with fine silty tannins and crunchy acidity. Who says Merlot can’t work? Very true to the older styles of Cabernet from the valley at 12.5% Alc.
2016 Hugh Cabernets (Yarra Glen)
While 2016 was a warmer season, our Yarra Glen vineyard is planted on one of the very few granite outcrops in the region offering a stunning wet stone tannin bed that provides the perfect sponge to absorb any bigger fruit characters. Fruit restraint and a grainy structure frames the fruit. Visible immediately are the classic red to dark fruits and gentle leafy cabernet profile. Fine slightly salivating tannins carry the fruit and drive the finish long.
2016 EB29 ‘Love Child’ Cabernets field blend (Wesburn)
Another scintillating wine from Wesburn. Walking hand in hand with the Chenin, this wine shows how established vines that are dry grown on unforgiving soils, can handle a hot season without breaking sweat. Loads of piercing perfume, red spicy crunchy fruits and a finish that never ends. Needs decades.
We hope you enjoy these wines, take time to indulge them both now and into the future. They certainly will grow in stature and pleasure.