Cabernet sauvignon and merlot are 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 Estate vines are planted at 2200 vines/hectare and trained on 1.5m vertical trellises
for cane pruning. In the other vineyards, the vines are close-spaced at 5000 vines/ha and trained on 1.8m vertical trellises. Small amounts of cabernet and merlot have also been introduced from our Foxcliffe vineyard and Chapman Brook vineyard, located to the south.
A rather mild winter led to an early budburst, however spring was cool, wet and windy which slowed down shoot growth. By the end of spring the weather had warmed up and the rainfall that fell from September to early November was but a distant memory. Irrigation commenced in late December with the sting of early summer and we enjoyed some mild to very warm days until early March when it became very hot indeed. Vintage was in full swing by this stage, the early harvest caused by the lower than average yields and unseasonally hot conditions. The low yields were a direct result of a cold spring the previous vintage which affected bud fruitfulness. Rain fell mid-March giving the vines some relief but the cool and cloudy conditions lingered giving just a week of perfect weather in April to harvest the rest of the reds before another larger front passed over.
Merlot was picked between 6 March and 9 April mostly around the 25.0 brix point. Cabernet sauvignon ripened over an extended period with the first batch harvested from the Ironstone vineyard, on the 9th March, the remainder between 28th March and 10th April. Light crushing is followed by fermentation, regular pumping over for colour, flavour and tannin extraction occurs. Once dry, the wine undergoes malolactic fermentation in stainless steel tanks, after which the wine is racked to 50:50 French and American oak barrels (35% new) for 15 months. The final blend is 56% cabernet sauvignon
and 32% merlot with cabernet franc, malbec and petit verdot making up the remainder.