Plantagenet Three Lions, Great Southern Cabernet/Merlot 2017
The Three Lions wines from Plantagenet are wines of power and provenance, much like the family from which they draw inspiration. The name Plantagenet was given to the shire in Western Australia by early English settlers and was adopted by the winery when it was established in 1974. The arms of the Gules family, who later became the Plantagenet dynasty, were three lions passant guardant, termed colloquially "the arms of England". They were first adopted by King Richard the Lionheart (1189– 1199), son of King Henry II of England (1154– 1189), son of Geoffrey Plantagenet, Count of Anjou (1113/17– 1151). Plantagenet the winery is self-sufficient, with 126 hectares of vineyard in Great Southern. All their wines are made from estate fruit. Their Three Lions label, with a link to the name Plantagenet, showcases the quality of grapes from across their various sites.
Plantagenet’s total 126 hectares of vineyard have been carved out of the region’s distinctive Marri soils, named after the massive native Marri, or Red Gum, trees that grow here. The soils are gravelly loams with good drainage over a base of clay, sand or ironstone rock, ensuring that the vines are not over-watered or over-fertilised, thus allowing for optimal fruit concentration.
Parcels of Cabernet and Merlot were destemmed and crushed into closed fermenters and inoculated immediately. Ferments were pumped over twice daily with most parcels being pressed off after ferment and a small fraction undergoing extended maceration. Maturation took place in predominantly French oak 15 months before blending. The blended wine was then lightly fined before bottling.
This wine opens with attractive aromas of dark berry fruit and hints of chocolate and mocha. The tight grain French oak and juicy acidity create an excellent structure which carries the flavours of black plum, brambly fruit with a slightly herbal edge. Medium palate weight and good clean acid on the finish make this a superbly balanced wine.