Wine Portfolio Saints
2017 St Ignatius Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Malbec, Cabernet Franc
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The characters of Malbec, Cabernet Franc and Merlot support and complement the flavour and structure of Cabernet Sauvignon and the desire to bring these varieties together led to some of the earliest plantings of these varieties in the Clare Valley.
The March start to the Clare Valley’s 2017 vintage was reminiscent of bygone seasons, with some old hands recalling “how it used to be” before a changing climate pushed the first pick of harvest into early February. While ample rain in the winter and spring of 2016 laid a foundation for optimism, cooler temperatures in January and rain towards the end of the month slowed ripening in South Australia’s wine regions. A burst of hot weather in early February triggered some movement and crops began to ripen at a more normal pace in the kinder conditions.
The 2017 St Ignatius is a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon (52%), Merlot (25%), Malbec (14%) and Cabernet Franc (9%). All four varieties are crushed in to open slate fermenters where they stay on skins for 12-14 days, with gentle hand plunging three times a day.
Relative to past years, the 2017 St Ignatius justified a higher than usual percentage of Merlot. Merlot’s mid-palate sweetness comes through on this wine, superbly balancing the edginess of Cabernet in a cool year. The aroma is complex and ethereal with a host of flavours vying for dominance – violets, plum, blackberry, cedar, herb and sarsaparilla! The palate is silky. Sweet plum fruit on the middle finishing with dark blackberry and chocolate. Fine tannins wrap everything up and leave the palate fresh.