Balnaves Coonawara Cabernet Sauvignon

Balnaves

2014
Coonawarra
Since the planting of the first five hectares of vines in 1975, the Balnaves vineyards have grown steadily, and Cabernet Sauvignon accounts for 70% of the planted area. The vineyard is divided into small blocks of between one and two hectares, based on depth of soil, trellis design, vine clone and row direction. The quality of wine produced from these small blocks is evaluated each year and recorded. For Balnaves, this practice proves the effect that microclimate and geological features have on the quality of the wine produced. The soils here are the famous rust-coloured, iron-rich Coonawarra ‘terra rossa’ soils. Parcels of low yielding Cabernet Sauvignon were selected from the Walker, Quarry and Dead Morris vineyards and combined with Petit Verdot from the Dunstan vineyard. A deep rich red in colour, the nose is perfumed with aromas of cassis, blackberry, violets and graphite combined with mocha notes from the time on oak. The palate is structured and elegant with ripe cassis flavours and fine tannins.
Producer
Variety
Cabernet Sauvignon
Alcohol-abv
14.5%
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£34

Australia

Australia is an extremely important wine producing country, both in terms of quality and the scale of its wine economy. Wine Australia's 2018 annual report describes it as the sixth largest wine producer in the world. The more well-known wine regions in Australia are located in the states of South Australia, New South Wales, Victoria, and Western Australia. The wine regions in each of these states produce different types and styles of wines that take advantage of the particular area’s terroir.

Its vast size and huge range of climatic and geographical conditions, makes it one of the most versatile wine-growing countries in the world. Overall, the climate is affected by its southerly latitude, but regional features such as altitude and proximity to the oceans also play a significant role.

This variety of growing conditions results in a broad portfolio of wine styles. By way of illustration, blockbuster Shiraz is produced in the Barossa Valley in South Australia. The neighboring Eden Valley, at higher altitudes, is the home of many of Australia's best Rieslings. The Clare Valley portfolio also ranges from gutsy reds to elegant Riesling and Chardonnay.

Coastal influenced areas using cooler climate grapes include Mornington Peninsula in Victoria. Further north, the moderating influence of the sea on the Fleurieu Peninsula produces a Mediterranean climate. The portfolio of grape varieties reflects this. 240 kilometers (150 miles) south of the mainland, Tasmania is best known for graceful Pinot Noir and sparkling wines.

Coonawarra

Coonawarra

Coonawarra is the most important wine region within the Limestone Coast zone of South Australia, credited with producing some of the best red wines in the entire country, and often described as Australia's most famous terroir. It is located in the far south-east of the state, adjoining the border with Victoria south of Wrattonbully.

Although vines were first planted here in the last decade of the 19th century by Scottish settler John Riddoch, it was not until the 1950s that the region received some serious attention when the famous Wynns winery was set up. Many other well-known wine producers followed suit, including Penfolds and Yalumba, but the region was not accorded its GI (Geographical Indication) status until 2003.

Coonawarra's proximity to the Southern Ocean (37 miles/60km away) gives it a mild maritime climate, with Mediterranean effects in the summer moderated by the cool breezes coming off the sea. This cooling of the vines is critical to the richness and complexity of the region's wines as it extends the ripening period, resulting in a wide range of flavor development. Cabernet Sauvignon is the shining star of the region, producing some of Australia's great wines. They display concentrated fruit flavors and although the winemaking principles revolve around extracting as much of the tannin as possible, they are well integrated and never overpowering.

The region's prime land, which has this reddish-brown topsoil over a thick layer of soft limestone, covers a narrow strip 12 kilometers (7.5 miles) long and around 1km (0.6 miles) wide. The reddish color of the soil is caused by iron-oxide (rust) formations in the clay. Vineyards on this soil benefit from good drainage and nutrient-holding capacity.