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Parcels of fruit were crushed and then fermented in a mix of open and static fermenters using plunging and pump overs for subtle extraction. All open pots were wild fermented as to obtain greater complexity in the final blend. Because it was a warm year I put some batches through the cooling and gave them a couple of week’s cold soak prior to fermentation. Ferment temperatures were also maintained on average two degrees cooler than last year, being a warm vintage I didn’t want the ferments to extract too much tannin. After skin contact and MLF the batches were pressed and transferred into new and used French oak barrels for maturation. Extended barrel maturation provides the wines with added complexity and structure. After 14 months in 40% new French oak the 2011 Cabernet Merlot was blended, lightly egg white fined and bottled in June. 

Deep red in colour with a bright purple rim. This wine captures the incredible quality of the 2011 vintage. A classic Cabernet nose of cassis and blackberry with notes of freshly dusted cocoa and subtle spice. The palate is beautifully concentrated, packed with dark fruits and bitter chocolate characters. The 2011 Cabernet Merlot has a juicy, almost sweet mouth feel, with fine tannins and a savoury finish. Aged in tight grained quality French oak barrels for fourteen months, the oak has pulled the fruit into line and provided the framework for a classic Margaret River Cabernet Merlot. 

This is a classic Margaret River Cabernet Merlot from a wonderful vintage that is sure to provide great drinking pleasure on release, or improve with patient cellaring for up to 10 years. 

Bright, full red-purple; a full-bodied blend, rich and textured after 14 months’ maturation in French oak; fruit, oak and tannins all make their mark in a wine with the requisite balance for a long life. Rating: 95 points, Top Cellaring Selections of 2013; James Halliday, Australian Wine Companion Magazine, June/July 2013

It takes quite some skill to preserve such purity of aromatics in a warm vintage, and Cliff Royle has captured a lovely perfume of violets and blackcurrants with notes of sweet red capsicums, reflective of a dose of outstanding merlot in the blend. The palate leads out with a firm, finely gravelly tannin structure, true to the gravel loam soils from whence it came, confidently underlining crunchy blackcurrant fruit of impressively even line and persistence. There’s a balanced generosity, reflective of the warmth of the season, and at the same time an enduring structure that will promise a confident future. Super-fine structure and great appeal. Rating: 94 Points; Tyson Stelzer; Wine Taste

Wild yeast fermented. Long cold soak. 14 months in French oak, 40 percent of it new. Includes 10 percent malbec and 5 percent petit verdot. Made by Cliff Royle... Flavours of pencil, earth, chocolate and blackcurrant. Dried, dusty herbs too. Lovely dry drying tannin. Doesn't show a lot of juiciness or flesh at this early stage but structurally it's fantastic. Rated: 92+ Points; Campbell Mattinson; The Wine Front


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