2013 Balnaves Cabernet Sauvignon


About Balnaves

“The Balnaves family, Coonawarra and Cabernet Sauvignon are concentric circles, indivisible from one another,” declares James Halliday. So true: they’re Coonawarra to the core. Doug Balnaves and children Kirsty and Pete were all born in Penola and the winery sits at the heart of the famous Terra Rossa strip, where Doug started planting vines in 1976. Former Qantas Winemaker of the Year Pete Bissell is the other essential piece of the puzzle, helping this producer to the title of James Halliday Winery of the Year in 2008. The Chardonnay is consistently among the region’s best, while The Blend – a wine with “a long and proud history of over-delivering” according to Halliday – sets the tone for reds that are everything that they should be and more. They culminate with The Tally, an opulent but beautifully balanced Cabernet richly deserving of its "outstanding" rating in Langton's classification of Australian wine.


Pete began winemaking as part of his honours thesis, looking at colour extraction in Pinot Noir wines in the new cool-climate region of Canterbury, New Zealand in 1981. He then spent a couple of years in France working as assistant oenologist for A. Moueix et Fils in Libourne, owner of Château Fonplegade in St Emilion and Château Moulinet in Pomerol, among others.
His next three years were spent at Roseworthy College, completing a graduate diploma in 1988. During this time Pete worked the 1987 vintage with Adam Wynn at Mountadam, then with Gerry Sissingh at Lindemans, John Vickery at Leo Buring and Andrew Pirie at Pipers Brook in 1988.
Pete was appointed winemaker at Wynns Coonawarra in 1989, where he worked with Peter Douglas until 1995. He also did vintages as a flying winemaker for Penfolds in Russia (1993), for the Laperouse project in the South of France (1994). He joined Balnaves in 1995 to design and oversee construction of the winery and take over winemaking. Ten years later Pete was named the Qantas/Gourmet Traveller Winemaker of the Year.