Yalumba The Menzies Cabernet Sauvignon 2003
The Wine Advocate
Established in 1849, Yalumba is Australia’s most historic family owned wine company. It remains fiercely independent and extremely progressive through the generational ownership by the Hill-Smith family. Yalumba’s longevity and success is a result of patience, collaboration and progressive thinking. There is foresight to embrace the natural terroir to craft wines with individual character and a sense of purpose, a spirit to reinvest in the land upon which it operates and knowledge to behave as a leader in the industry. It is committed to sharing stories of provenance gathered over more than 168 years of history of family winemaking. Barossa is arguably the single most famous wine region in Australia. Barossa includes both Barossa Valley and Eden Valley, making it one of the only areas in Australia to have neighbouring warm and cool climate growing conditions. Yalumba is privileged to have access to some of the oldest vineyards in the world in Barossa Valley, including 1889 bush vine Grenache and 1908 Shiraz. At the inner sanctum of Coonawarra, on the prized terra rossa soil, lies Yalumba’s Coonawarra estate, The Menzies Vineyard. Comprised predominantly of Cabernet Sauvignon vines, this single vineyard is committed to growing premium quality fruit reflecting distinctive varietal characters of the region. Wrattonbully’s cool climate, plentiful high quality artesian water and well drained terra rossa soils led wine companies to plant large areas of mainly red grape varieties.
At Yalumba we continually strive to reduce our impact on the environment, stay involved in our community, and make great wine with minimal intervention in the vineyard and in the winery. We are committed to sustainable practices, with the belief that the healthier and more biodiverse the vineyards are the better the wines will be. Yalumba has been developing its own sustainable viticulture program since the mid 1990s, promoting the economic production of quality grapes . For every hectare of vineyard we own, we have at least one hectare of native vegetation. Our winemaking philosophy and practice means that our wines are made with the least intervention possible but with as much knowledge, confidence and expertise as possible. We want our wines to show their provenance and natural appellation – whether it be a single site, a variety or blend, or a personal style. At Yalumba we have been making wine utilising ‘wild yeast’ for over 20 years. We believe that the success and consistency that we have with wild ferments is a direct result of healthy biodiverse vineyards. All Yalumba wines are 100% vegan since the 2012 vintage, elevating our wines to a safe and ethical choice. Becoming vegan came from the desire to make wines of conviction that taste of provenance and natural appellation; and that ultimately represent quality.
Distinguished by a thin, subterranean band of crumbled, red clay loam, Coonawarra is a fairly flat, otherwise unobtrusive region with a cool Mediterranean climate, actually not dissimilar to Bordeaux.
In Coonawarra, this unique layer of red clay is called, "terra rossa" and gets its color from iron oxide. The terra rossa soil overlies soft, penetrable limestone, in a continuous area that is part of the Limestone Coast zone of South Australia. This uncommon layering of soils creates a substrate that is both well draining and at the same time, offers good water retention to support vine roots through dry summers.
Not surprisingly, Coonawara experiences great success with the Bordeaux varieties, namely Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot, but also Shiraz. However Cabernet reigns superior and accounts for half of the Coonawarra harvest each year. Coonawarra Cabernet Sauvignon develops powerful, yet polished tannins, ripe, red berry fruit and often sweet herb or dried mint qualities. The region has an increased focus on the individual expressions of single vineyards.
A noble variety bestowed with both power and concentration, Cabernet Sauvignon enjoys success all over the globe, its best examples showing potential to age beautifully for decades. Cabernet Sauvignon flourishes in Bordeaux's Medoc where it is often blended with Merlot and smaller amounts of some combination of Cabernet Franc, Malbecand Petit Verdot. In the Napa Valley, ‘Cab’ is responsible for some of the world’s most prestigious, age-worthy and sought-after “cult” wines. Somm Secret—DNA profiling in 1997 revealed that Cabernet Sauvignon was born from a spontaneous crossing of Cabernet Franc and Sauvignon Blanc in 17th century southwest France.