- 55% Old Vine Merlot 45% Petit Verdot
- 14.3% Alc.
- Production: 900 bottles
The 2015 Rosso is a unique blend which I have created as a step up to my more structured Cabernet based wines. As with all of my wines I wanted to create something elegant and delicate yet still complex with a long and persistant palate. No rough edges, not too light yet not over-baring, a wine for drinking and enjoying yet cellaring if you feel like it – these thoughts were with me when I was conceptualising this wine. The two parcels of fruit used really spoke loudly for themselves and made the decision to blend them a no-brainer.
The Merlot portion of the blend is from a really special vineyard. One of the oldest and most historic in the entire Margaret River district, this Wilyabrup site displays all of the most sought after vineyard characteristics. Of particular note is that the vines are old – around 45 years old and un-irrigated, which leads to production of a Merlot wine with amazing depth and complexity.
The Petit Verdot for the blend comes from 22 year old vines growing on a gentle north sloping vineyard also in the Wilyabrup subregion of Margaret River. The soil is very gravelly and the vines work hard, focusing their energies on ripening healthy, vibrant fruit, not excesses of vegetative growth or high quantities.
The 2014/15 growing season experienced some tough conditions during flowering in the spring of 2014. Several large storms lashed the vineyards of the district during this early period of vine growth resulting in a far lower than normal fruit-set pretty much across the district. Due to this, yields of across almost all vineyards were between 25-50% lower.
After this rocky start, the Margaret River area experienced a very typical summer weather profile, avoiding any extended heat spikes, no rainfall at all
for 113 days, with constant sunshine in the days and cooling sea breezes each afternoon and evening. This allowed for the fruit to ripen and mature slowly, maintaining high natural acidity and modest sugar levels.
All of the grapes for this wine were handpicked into small 8kg crates and immediately transported back to the winery where they were gently de- stemmed and not crushed, directly into their small fermentation vessels, a procedure which allowed the ferment to start with what were almost totally unburst, undamaged individual berries. The wines were fermented on skins utilising the indigenous yeasts, which arrived on the grape skins when the fruit arrived at the winery.
The must underwent a slow, steady ferment with hand plunging twice each day. After around 14 days the fruit was basket pressed into 3 year old French oak barriques and was left to complete malolactic fermentation in barrel utilising the activity of indigenous bacteria. The wine was left to mature for 21 months in barrel during which time it was racked via gravity one time and topped regularly.
2 days before bottling the wine was racked out of barrel to tank using gravity (no pumps at all) and was then bottled unfined and infiltered.
This is a surprising wine to many people. Typical Petit Verdot aromas of purple flowers and berries as well as spice really lift out of the glass and the Old Vine Merlot adds a deep aromatic core of ripe red fruit and meaty hints. From the nose alone one could well expect the palate to be massive, dense and powerful. However, whilst being full bodied, having almost half of the blend being the high acid Petit Verdot variety, the increased acidity really lifts the palate and draws it out to great a length. The merlot gives you wonderful mid-palate richness and intensity. With neither of these two varieties being high in tannins, this wine is exceedingly soft and easy to drink. Surprisingly light on the palate for a wine of 14.3% alcohol (again assisted by the high acid Petit Verdot), the palate displays a high level of complexity and beautifully long length.