Terre à Terre is proud to present its third release of Cabernet Franc coming from its very unique close-spaced vineyard in Wrattonbully, South Australia.
This vineyard has been baptised the Crayères Vineyard, after the chalk cellars that are found throughout Xavier’s region of birth in Champagne, France. Similar natural structures are found underneath this very special vineyard, and they are now the subject of a research project led by a team from the University of Adelaide as they are full of undisturbed ancient fossilised remains.
The Crayères vineyard is located next to Tapanappa’s Whalebone Vineyard, at the top of a north-south limestone ridge in Wrattonbully, one of Australia’s most exciting regions. The Terra Rossa top-soil is characteristic of the area. This part of the vineyard was planted on rootstocks in 2008, using cuttings from the neighbouring Whalebone Vineyard and French clones, and at a relatively high density for the area (4,444 vines per hectare, similar to the density of vineyards in Saint Emilion). The fruiting wire is only 50cm above ground, which is why the local vignerons call the vines the “low vines”.
The 2016 growing season was the warmest and driest on record – from the start until the end. Ideal flowering conditions led to early fruit set. Dry soils created the perfect conditions for the establishment of a very balanced and open canopy, with no need for trimming after very efficient manual shoot thinning in early December. Véraison occurred even earlier than 2015 and finished quickly for all varieties. Because of the perfect fruit set, and high potential yields, all red varieties were bunch thinned at véraison to make sure the yields were kept to 6 tonnes per hectare. The Crayères vineyard did not experience any severe heatwaves in 2015/16, apart from one day reaching 40 degrees in December. However, we believe the drought slowed down the ripening process after véraison and the fruit was picked at the same time as 2015 for all varieties. For the first time we collected data from the weather station in the Crayères vineyard. It shows 1,791 degree days from October 2015 to April 2016, which is significantly higher than average.
The Cabernet Franc came off the day before the Cabernet Sauvignon, on the 22nd of March 2016. The Cabernet Franc was all fermented in small 1-tonne open plastic fermenters, with plunging once a day, pressed off skins after 23 days of cold maceration, fermentation and post fermentation maceration. It was racked to 25% new French oak barrels and the rest in 2-year old French oak barrels and aged for 28 months in oak. The wine was bottled without fining or filtration early December 2018.
Cabernet Franc is one of the best red varieties in Bordeaux and the Loire Valley, and it is probably the best variety in Wrattonbully as well, ahead of Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon. This wine shows how well the variety responds to the Saint Emilion like climate, terroir and vineyard design. The palate is very bright blackcurrant and blackberries with very good tannins on the finish, the sign of a very good wine.
Only 180 6-packs were produced.
Winemaker: Xavier Bizot
Tasting note: PDF File