Welcome to our 2020 Winter Release. If we ever wanted time travel, it is in 2020. However, in this instance we are mostly travelling back in time to a chapter when Cabernet was sexy and desirable.
Most of you know how sentimental I get when reflecting on Yarra Cabernets. It remains a bloody travesty that while the language around Cabernet is increasing about restraint and elegance, the reality of what is in the glass doesn’t match. Oak, jammy fruit and alcohol still seem to dominate. Where are the gorgeous leafy, elegant, perfumed Cabernets that we know the Yarra can grow?
Both the Hugh Cabernets and Healesville Syrah are reflections of both the season, site and in many respects the past. Those of you that made it to our winter release dinners last year, got to try some amazing old Cabernets from Napa, Bordeaux and Italy dating back to the early 80’s. Tragically if comparing these older wines to their younger siblings, you would struggle to recognise any lineage. Due of so many changes, mostly from inside the cellar, not to mention alcohols jumping in the order of 2%.
Unsurprisingly, we continue to take a consistent approach to our vineyards and fruit. Emphasis is on ripe, bright balanced fruit. Elevage in older oak is essentially to allow space and time for the wines to settle and calm. And then the wines are bottled and on their own journey.
Perhaps surprisingly in this release are both the 2017 Nebbiolo and Hugh Merlot. These are the wines I’ve enjoyed most for the unexpected gravity of each wine. Both offering a reminder as to the importance of exploring valley floor and to some degree unchartered waters.
Enjoy the wines. They will be drinking well now, but no doubt will gloriously travel the scenic route showcasing important aspects of the Yarra, history and with time travel the future.
The New Release wines include:
2017 EB40 Flaming Nebbiolo
We recently tasted this blind in the company of some stunning Nebbiolos from around the globe. What really stood out was the fruit purity and depth of structure… Tannin that will carry this wine for decades. Perhaps even more important is that we see Nebbiolo building a serious reputation for itself in the Yarra. This EB is about the future and just how promising that future looks.
2019 EB49 Funky Bunch Cabernet Franc
We are always excited by Cabernet Franc, even more so when we have enough to allow for a single variety bottling. A beautiful season for grapes in the Cabernets family, this fruit came in with such personality that we had to ferment it separately. Some whole bunch action, and maturation in old small format oak has let these grapes show their true colours. Vibrant, leafy and a little funky, this Cab Franc is the perfect wine to pair with your Saturday afternoon BBQ.
2019 Healesville Syrah
A very dry season for the Yarra, 2019 was low yielding but high quality. A cool change early in the harvest helped to retain freshness, although the vintage is apparent in the darker aromatics. Only a baby, the 2019 Healesville Syrah is still a little closed, with restrained fruits and fine chalky tannin structure that will carry it through to maturity.
2018 Hugh Cabernets
A unique iteration of the Hugh, the 2018 Cabernets come from grey loam soils in Gruyere. The cool wet winter, followed by a hot growing season has yielded a plusher fruit profile that makes this wine quite approachable in its youth, but will also age elegantly. Reminiscent of classic old-world Cabernet, the 2018 Hugh sings with bright leafy aromatics, a silty tannin backbone and a savoury finish.