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Charles Melton Nine Popes Barossa Valley 2018 £73.65
CHARLES MELTON NINE POPES
Charles Melton Wines has produced premium Barossa red wines since 1984. At that time, Charlie and a small band of Barossan winemakers turned their winemaking efforts to what was then considered a couple of unfashionable varieties: Shiraz and Grenache. These wines were initially styled on those from the Rhône but are now considered leading examples of the varieties in their own right.
The Grenache fruit in this blend comes principally from old, dry grown bush vines, the Barossa being one of the last areas to contain such a rich resource. The Shiraz and Mataro are a mix of trellis grown and bush vines of similar age. All grapes are dry grown and harvested from the winery's prime Barossa vineyards as well as from a select group of grape growers. Yields are extremely low and the vineyards are truly old, with many exceeding 80 years.
The perfect balance of a little rain in January and sunshine in February got the 2015 vintage off to a flying start. This was one of the earliest starts to a growing season ever, and mild conditions in March and April ensured the ripening period was problem-free. More than 60% of the crop was harvested in the first seven days with the total harvest lasting 50 days.
Charlie Melton uses a range of different techniques in the production of the Nine Popes. The fermentation was carried out with indigenous yeasts at relatively cool temperatures (18-23ºC) to retain elegant fruit flavours. With both traditional pump-overs and hand plunging. A portion of whole bunches was used in the Grenache ferments, some of which were co-fermented with the Shiraz. After the fermentation, the wine was left in contact with its lees and underwent periodic lees stirring. It was aged in predominantly French oak barriques and foudres for two years. Before bottling, the wine was racked but no fining agents were used.
Deep red with a hint of an amber edge. The nose is intense with ripe red fruit flavours intermingled with sweet spice and salted caramel. Beautifully balanced with a plump mouthfeel and soft tannins, it culminates in a long savoury finish.