Cabernet sauvignon and merlot are primarily sourced from the Estate’s Trinders Vineyard and three long-term growers within the Margaret River region. The soils in the majority of these vineyards are comprised of laterite gravel loam over sandy clay sub-soil. The Trinders Vineyard vines are planted at 2200 vines/hectare and trained on 1.5m vertical trellises for cane pruning. Small amounts of cabernet and merlot have also been introduced from our Foxcliffe Vineyard and Chapman Brook Vineyard, located to the south.
2004 was a fantastic vintage with the reds being the most opulent since the revered 2001 vintage. A cold but calm winter was followed by a pleasantly mild spring free of the storms occasionally endured in the south west. The growing season was dry from mid-November through to mid-April with only 80mm of rain falling during this period. The lack of rain was the most significant characteristic of the vintage and when combined with the mild temperatures it augured well for the grapes' development. Irrigation was a saviour this year and its judicious use allowed the vines to maintain sufficient health to ripen the fruit. Ripening was slow with most varieties harvested up to seven days later than normal. The rains held off throughout March and April to allow a smooth, problem free harvest.
Merlot was picked in the short period between March 20 and April 3. Cabernet ripened over a more extended period with the first batch harvested from Trinders Vineyard on March 23, and the last on April 16. The ideal, even ripening conditions of the vintage saw the fruit delivered to the winery fully flavour and tannin ripe, whilst retaining good levels of natural acidity. Light crushing was followed by fermentation, during which regular pumping over for colour, flavour and tannin extraction occured. The wine was then gently basket pressed to stainless steel tanks where it underwent malolactic fermentation, before being racked to 50:50 French and American oak barrels (35% new) for 15 months. The final blend is 54% cabernet sauvignon and 36% merlot with cabernet franc, malbec and petit verdot making up the remainder.