This cabernet franc originates exclusively from our Estate vineyard sites first planted on the Wallcliffe Vineyard side in 1970 and then on the Trinders side just a few hundred metres away from the original rows in 1988. Both blocks are planted in an east-west orientation. The vineyard is managed in a similar way to our cabernet sauvignon, with two short canes trained as perfect VSP. Manual shoot-thinning and leaf plucking is extensive, starting very early in the season to open up and prepare the clusters for summer conditions, as the vines are fully dry-grown.
In 2016, our cabernet franc block was exceptional. Winter provided average rainfall and spring delivered beautiful warm, dry conditions, perfectly setting up vintage 2016. A warm start to summer in January gave good fruit set and crop predictions. An unseasonal single rain event in late Januray delivered adequate soil moisture for full maturity in the red varieties.
Vineyard sorting and harvesting was carried out exclusively by hand, with fruit gathered into small crates holding 6.5kg early in the morning of the 11th of March. The fruit was fully destemmed and lightly crushed minutes later at the winery, less than 400m from these vines. A cold soak followed for 3 days held at 10°c. The maceration was extended post fermentation to reach a total of 35 days on skins. Skins were then basket pressed straight into 100% French oak barrels (40% new) for malolactic fermentation. The wine was left to age in in the same barrels for 18 months before being bottled, unfined and unfiltered in late December 2017.
14% alcohol, 6 g/l total acidity, 3.59pH
The Wine Front
It’s a more bold version of Cabernet Franc, and does not lack ripeness, that’s for sure. Blackcurrant, ripe raspberry, mint, violet and rose perfume, nutty nougat oak in support. Medium to full bodied, straight and very direct through the mouth – no nonsense here – some tobacco and dried herb, but well bedded into a core of juicy fruit. Tannin is ripe and firm, and the finish is excellent.