2015 was one of the more challenging Cabernet vintages in Margaret River of the last decade. Late phenolic ripeness coincided with an early break in the season and some wines lacked true ripeness and concentration. The best sites made very charming, medium-bodied wines as long as there was great attention in the vineyard and recognition by the winemaker that it was not a blockbuster year. This is a 100 % single-site wine from the Sheoak Vineyard in the Yallingup subregion of Margaret River. This beautifully mature, cane-pruned Cabernet vineyard is somewhat unusually planted in an east/west orientation on a south-facing slope, thus moderating a ripening period that might otherwise be too warm. The vineyard is also very close to the Indian Ocean (3km away), which has huge moderating effects on the temperature extremes. The soil is deep gravel over clay with some scattered granite.
The fruit was picked relatively early on 13th March with lovely vibrancy and red fruit flavours. The bunches were destemmed and the grapes fermented in 4.5-tonne static fermenters. After 15 days on skins and a peak ferment temperature of around 26 degrees Celsius, the wine was pressed to tank, settled briefly and transferred to a combination of new (25%) and two-year-old barrels to undergo malolactic fermentation. The wine was racked only once during that time and was then, after 16 months in oak, emptied from barrel, settled , clarified and bottled unfiltered.
It’s a pretty wine and one of the highlights of a challenging vintage. The Sheoak Vineyard makes expressive, medium-bodied Cabernets that bear some resemblance to a modern version of a luncheon claret. We are the very happy new owners and this vineyard will be the beating heart of the Nocturne project. Baumé: 14.4; Alcohol: 13.5%; pH: 3.56; Total acidity: 6g/L - Julian Langworthy