"The Balnaves family, Coonawarra and Cabernet Sauvignon are concentric circles, indivisible from one another,” declares James Halliday. So true: they’re Coonawarra to the core. Doug Balnaves and children Kirsty and Pete were all born in Penola and the winery sits at the heart of the famous Terra Rossa strip, where Doug started planting vines in 1976. Former Qantas Winemaker of the Year Pete Bissell is the other essential piece of the puzzle, helping this producer to the title of James Halliday Winery of the Year in 2008.
The Tally, representing the top rung of Balnaves cabernet-based reds, is given the full dose of fine French timber, and the fruit carries it off with regal style. This has cedary black fruit aromas,plums, vanillin, fresh, dark leaves and freshly tilled earthy notes. Fruit flavour bubbles up through the palate amid tannins that are supple, elongated and sturdy in character, the balance is right on and the finish leaves you salivating. Cellar with confidence; this is impeccable. Rating: 97 Points; Nick Stock; The Good Wine Guide
The generous 2010 season instils an immediate appeal in The Tally, yet still upholding the cage of rigid, finely structured tannins that provide Tally its long-enduring potential. Succulent, deep and enticing blackberries and black plums are lifted by fragrant violet perfume, undiminished by long skin maceration and 19 months in new French oak barrels. A strong future is guaranteed, albeit in a generously fruited and immediately enticing guise. Alcohol: 14.5%; Price: $90.00; Rated: 96 Points; Tyson Stelzer
The dense colour and vivid purple meniscus suggest a 5-year old of great staying power. The aroma and palate confirm the wine's youth and could accurately be described as essence of cabernet. Ripe cassis-like varietal flavour saturates a powerful palate, deeply layered with fruit and tannin, part of it oak derived. Despite the wine's power, it retains Coonawarra's elegant structure. Price: $90.00; Rated: 96 Points; Chris Shanahan; Good Food
Outstanding examples of the potency of the Balnaves-Bissell combination. Fruit power, strength of tannin, fineness and finesse. It’s all here. Layers of blackcurrant and bay leaves, peppermint and rich dark plum. There’s a chocolatey/pencilly note here too but really, this presents as a seamless whole. The quality is outstanding. The length, the poise, the structural foundation. Tip-top Coonawarra cabernet. Alcohol: 14.5%; Price: $90.00; Closure: ProCork; Drink: 2018 - 2028+; Rated: 95 Points; Campbell Mattinson; The Wine Front
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