Harvest Merlot in February? Unheard of! Well it was on the 29th day but still… Ridiculous! But with a very early budburst and flowering back in October 2015, the harvest of 2016 was an early one. Thankfully it was a cool February. Like the 2015 Amelia, the proportion of the main varieties is quite even – around 45% Cabernet Sauvignon, 45% Merlot/Cabernet Franc and about 10% Petit Verdot. The balance slightly changes every year given that we grow all our grapes here, so in a true single-vineyard style we can only use what this tiny plot of 10 acres grows. And like the 2015 we have continued to make the wine in a few small open fermenters, rather than one big one (not that we ever had really large ones!). The hand-plunging with the occasional pumpover gives us good fruit development; we had steady, even ferments and the small vats allow us to hold a batch or two back to give extended skin maceration.
Typically the wine sees about 25 to 30% new wood. For the Cabernet Merlot wines we particularly like the cooper Dargaud & Jaegle and their barrels that are made in a small town between Lyon and Mâcon. The oak comes from the forests in central France and we like the restrained influence it has. Oak we believe should just be a nice complexing flavour, a flavour that sits in the background of the wine, rather than being a main feature.
The 2016 Amelia follows on in style and quality of the 2015. And like many a Yarra Cabernet blend, it is delicious as a young wine yet develops beautifully in bottle. – Maryann Egan