The fruit for this wine is sourced from our original block of bush vines, planted in 1974 at the western edge of the Wallcliffe Vineyard, together with a small parcel planted by our founders close by. Trellising is a hybrid bush vine with training wires and all operations are conducted manually throughout the season as this fussy variety requires enormous care, although it remains one of the team’s favourite ‘unruly children’.
The preceding winter gave healthy rains, replenishing soil moisture levels which led into a milder spring with higher than average rainfall amounts. Flowering in all varieties was delayed by 10 days compared to the 2016 season, with wonderful sunshine giving excellent set (fruitful flowers into berries) and thus great crop potential across all varieties. With a mild summer, punctuated by only a few hot days (over 30°C), veraison (colouring and softening of berries) in early February came three weeks later than 2016 (mid January) giving one of the latest yet highest quality vintages on record.
After destemming and a very light crush, the must was allowed to soak at cool temperatures for several days prior to fermentation to naturally rehydrate the raisins - so typical for this variety. The wine steadily fermented to dryness prior to basket pressing directly to oak barriques for malolactic fermentation and maturation. We used around 50% new oak with a combination of origins (French [50%], American [25%] and Hungarian [25%]) and blended in a touch of Grenache and Shiraz to accentuate spice and complexity, with a total of 18 months aging.
14.8% alcohol, 6.2 g/l total acidity, 3.6 pH.
The Real Review
A bright, youthful wine in the glass. The nose is complex - an array of spices meld happily with quality toasty oak, muberries and plums. There's nothing shy about it, concentrated and ripe, yet balanced and demanding the next sip. Red raisins, cinnamon and those dark plums also return. It's a delicious young wine that will live for many years.