The preceding winter gave healthy rains, replenishing soil moisture levels which led into a milder spring with the lowest average degree days ever recorded (least heat seen for a growing season). Flowering in all varieties was delayed by 10 days compared to 2016, 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, veraison (colouring and softening of berries) came three weeks later than 2016 giving one of the latest yet highest quality vintages on record, delivering refined and complete tannin structures with complex fruit characters.
The aromatics are deep and rich with ripe cherries, plum skin, and cranberry overlaying hints of raspberry and wild strawberry. A core of orange marmalade is complemented by a Christmas spice element of cinnamon, cardamom and preserved ginger with enticing notes of smoky cedar and black tea.
The palate is rich and juicy displaying satsuma plum and red forest berry fruits of raspberry and strawberry overlaying spiced notes of cinnamon and powdered cocoa nib. Vibrant yet lush and rich, the candied cherry gives way to a touch of toasted coconut with a silky yet substantially wide mid palate that delivers velvety ripples of tannin through to a long finish.
Deep dark garnet with magenta edges.
The savoury complexity of this wine matches with a vegetable laden linguine of smoked eggplant, chilli feta, grilled zucchini and red capsicum. The richness of this wine will complement a spicy Spanish paella of fresh seafood and chorizo, or simply pair with a dark chocolate flourless tart to bring out the smoke and dark depths of this rarity.
The vineyard for this bottling is located in southern Margaret River, near the head waters of the Chapman Brook, close to the hamlet of Witchcliffe. It has very gravelly rocky soils, with sandy clay loams; has a north facing aspect with extensive sunshine hours and is trained in a vertical shoot positioned (VSP) format. It is currently being converted across to biodynamic farming with a focus on the vineyard as an entire ecosystem and yields very low amounts of concentrated and varietal grapes.