2018 marked the 31st year in the ground for Block 3, and the fifth straight year making a single-block wine from the site. Block 3 is a savoury and structured site, and shows robust tannin in warm years - which 2018 was. In many ways 2018 was the perfect year for Cabernet to ripen in the Yarra: the heat came early (before veraison) and the dry, mild conditions stretched well in May. Crops were lower in Cabernet than the other varieties. Crop set was even, and there were no berries dragging the chain at the end of the ripening season.
No surprises in the making of the wine, which has remained largely unchanged for the five straight vintages of single-block release. We did a long cold soak (four days) followed by a cool ferment (22-26 degrees). Time on skins post ferment was a bit longer than usual due to the ripe tannins: four days. The wine was pressed to tank, then racked to barrel at dryness. There was a slight change up here; although we still used all barriques (25% new), we added a few new Nadalie barrels to the Taransauds we usually use. Nadalie has a more pronounced, meaty tannin as well as a more significant char element.
The wine was racked at the end of winter ’18, then again in January ’19. Then it was finally racked to bottling in July ’19.
As always, there’s small amounts of Petit Verdot and Merlot added at the death to round out the wine. No finings, minimal filtration. - Tim Shand