2017 Clairault Estate Cabernet Sauvignon
89% Cabernet Sauvignon 11% Cabernet Franc
100% Clairault Vineyard, Wilyabrup
The fruit is hand harvested, de-stemmed and crushed, so that each berry is just split. This is to ensure minimal berry degradation during the fermentation process and to promote fresh, clean flavour production by our very specifically selected yeast strain. Our ferments are, by industry standards, cool and gentle, allowing slower, more controlled extraction of tannin and flavour. The wine is pumped over three times a day and then judiciously backed off as the wine develops. This wine was on skins in the fermenter for 14 days, before gentle pressing and barrelling down. The result is clean, pure fruit flavours, boasting supple yet powerful tannin. The wine was aged in 50% new French barriques for 18 months before the wine was removed from barrels, clarified and bottled.
The 2016 to 2017 vintage enjoyed accumulated warmth up until the new year. January temperatures were similar to historical data for the area, in contrast, February and March were a fraction cooler. Those who risked all by waiting for the Indian Summer were rewarded with tannin ripeness and the retention of the most beautiful fruit perfumes at relatively low sugar levels. The 2017 vintage highlighted the importance of best practice vineyard management, focusing on the basics of open and well solarised canopies, with balanced crop loads, so that the fruit could ripen at a reasonable pace.
Subtle tones of cedar, liquorice and red currants layered onto a foundation of graphite and glazed cherries.
Red fruits, hints of under growth, cocoa and mulberries introduce a medium bodied palate of utterly fine tannin and a driving core of red and black fruit power. Layers of fruit atop bitumen atop fruit atop a anise/clove medley of spices, all power on to a finish of quenching slate and fresh black cherries.
Enjoyed for its freshness now, or cellar up to 20 years for further complexity.
96 points - Wine Companion 2022