Balnaves Coonawarra Cabernet Sauvignon 2012  £29.95

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The Balnaves' family vineyard is situated at the southern end of the famous Coonawarra 'Terra Rossa' strip. Planted in 1975, the vineyard is 48 hectares in size and has been in the family for three generations. The predominant variety planted is Cabernet Sauvignon. Winemaker Pete Bissell was the Qantas Winemaker of the Year 2005 and Balnaves was James Halliday's Winery of the Year in 2008.

The 2012 vintage began with mild and warm weather, which promoted early budburst and vegetative growth. Lack of frost and frequent rains maintained this early growing season. Strong winds during flowering resulted in poorer fruit set than in previous vintages and high temperatures during early berry development resulted in small berries. This meant yields were significantly reduced but the quality and aromatic potential of fruit was not impaired. 2012 has been hailed by winegrowers and critics as a vintage to collect.

After fermentation the wine spent 20 months in tight-grain French oak barrels from Seguin Moreau, Taransaud, Sylvain and Berger cooperages, before bottling in December 2013.

A classically elegant Coonawarra Cabernet Sauvignon, this wine is deep ruby in colour with rich aromas of blackcurrant fruit, liquorice and mineral characters which are enhanced by cedary French oak. Beautifully balanced with a long, textured finish.

James Halliday: 95/100

Estate-grown, coming from the Dead Morris, Walker and Quarry Vineyards; it spent 20 months in French oak from top coopers. Full crimson-purple, it is a luscious, full-bodied cabernet, crammed with cassis fruit, quality oak and substantial tannins. Time is on its side, and it really needs 3-5 years before it is first approached. 87 Points

Deep garnet in color, the 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon is slowly evolving into a lovely crème de cassis, blackberry preserves and menthol-laced palate with suggestions of sandalwood, dried mint and mocha. Medium-bodied, it is drinking nicely now with expressive baked cassis and incense-perfumed flavors, plus a pleasant grip of tannins, finishing just a little short and drying.

Lisa Perotti-Brown



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