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Cabernet is a rarity in Australia's cool Yarra Valley, but this small-production wine is a freshly fruited treat. With a lifted herbal nose and tart cassis flavours, it offers all the hallmarks of cool-climate cabernet - cedar, forest floor and damson notes that all last beautifully on the finish.
Product Code: AU21831
View all products by Mac Forbes
Mac Forbes is one of Australia’s best young winemakers, and has been a dynamic leader of a new wave of winemaking in the country. His illustrious wine career began at the tender age of 18 when, whilst backpacking, he ended up working on vineyards in the southern French town of Gaillac. He then made his name as a winemaker at Mount Mary in Victoria’s Yarra Valley, before going to work back in Europe as a consultant in Austria and Portugal, including a stint with the legendary Dirk Niepoort. His consulting experience has given him an uncanny knack of discovering some of the most exciting vineyard parcels, which is why he is also responsible for the Society's exclusive and ever-evolving Blind Spot range of wines. In 2004 he decided to return to his native Yarra Valley and start making groundbreaking wines of his own, bringing back with him several old world traditions and a more European outlook that is very much evident in his wines. He specialises in the Burgundian pinot noir and chardonnay varieties, and is a pioneer of growing these in a more restrained, elegant style. His pinot noir comes from the cooler sites he owns, and is picked when ripe but still crunchy to taste. Unlike the deep, rich pinot noir of more established names, some of his are so pale they almost appear to be a rosé, but they have an incredible, ethereal quality that makes them stand out as serious fine wines. His old world influence is also hugely apparent in his passionate belief in sub-regional expression and smaller vineyard parcels. He produces wine on an incredibly small scale in comparison to other Australian producers, which means he has time to devote enormous care to the health of his vineyards. He believes that strong vines, soil and fruit result in more clarity and complexity in the finished wine: minimal input achieves maximum expression of the region and grape variety. Pinot noir in particular is seen through Mac’s eyes as merely an extension of the vineyard. Unsurprisingly, Mac’s wines are not aimed at classic Australian wine drinkers: widely regarded as more of a competitor with Burgundy, his pinots are packed full of delicate, radiant and deeply textured character.
Victoria is the southernmost state on the Australian mainland and contains within its borders a diverse collection of terroirs, perhaps the most varied within Australia. This diversity has helped the state to earn an enviable reputation for the quality of its wines, the areas that they hail from and its wineries.It has a long history since the first settlers in the region planted vines, but the catalyst for expansion was the gold rush of the mid-19th century which saw many a vineyard established. This promising start was stalled dramatically by the arrival of phylloxera in the 1870’s and to this day the Victoria produce less than half the amount produced in neighbouring South Australia despite having many more vineyards. Despite its small size (it is the smallest state other than Tasmania) it has an amazing diversity of terroirs, from the dry, torrid north-east where fortified wines are king, to the positively chilly by comparison Mornington Peninsula due south of Melbourne on the coast. It also embraces a fair chunk of the Murray Darling region where irrigation makes the vast expanses of vineyard a possibility and from where three quarters of the state’s grape yield derives.The Yarra Valley is a short car ride to the north of Melbourne, and has a wide selection of tourist diversions to prove it. It also has an array of excellent estates and vineyards at various elevations and in a variety of soils, from clay and sand to volcanic. Rediscovered in the 1960s and prized for its cool nights and warm, sunny days, it has become synonymous with excellent pinot noirs and elegant, intense chardonnays that are doing much to reclaim Australia’s reputation for the variety. Shiraz has also proved a success in a more restrained style.To the south of Melbourne, and benefiting fully from an unrelenting oceanic influence on its doorstep is the Mornington Peninsula. Surrounded by the Southern Ocean and Port Phillip Bay on three sides, and moderated by the breezes these expanses of water generate the summer climate on the peninsula is for the most part temperate. This is a region of small estates producing some of the most elegant and refined pinot noirs in the new world let alone Australia. The soils vary from volcanic deposits to sandy clay and after pinot noir there is fine chardonnay and an increasing volume of pinot gris. Close to Melbourne the area of Geelong enjoys a windy, maritime climate but is slightly warmer, making plump pinot and some delicious shiraz and chardonnay.In the north-east lies one of the great wine regions of Australia, though it is not shiraz, or chardonnay nor riesling for which it is famed, but rather the muscat grape, made into a fortified treasure that is unique to the area and which is one of Australia’s great vinous jewels. Rutherglen Liqueur Muscats, and Muscadelles, can hold their head up in the company of any great port, sherry or Madeira for their rich, complex, silky and concentrated character. The summers here are torrid, the landscape arid and the grapes full of sugar. And the red table wines made are dense, brooding examples that are improving all the time. But it is the joyous fortifieds that steal the show.
Overall 2016 was a positive vintage for Australia with good volumes, and generally high quality wines being produced. It was an early harvest in Victoria, following on from a very early bud break, with even most of the cabernet picked by mid-March. 2016 was warm but with relatively few heat spikes, allowing good fruit concentration to build.
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