The Crayeres Vineyard Reserve (not to be confused with the regular $55 a bottle Terre a Terre Cabernet) is Terre a Terre's inaugural flagship offering from their famed Wrattonbully site. Set side by side with Tapanappa's famed Whalebone vineyard, it represents a blend of the finest components found across the winery's plantings.
Named after the chalky soils found in the underground cellars across Champagne, the Crayeres vineyard sits atop similar natural structures that invoke the incredible terroir of northern France. This first ever vintage sees a majority of Cabernet Sauvignon paired with Cabernet Franc, that's oak aged in large format foudre, and built entirely for the long haul.
The site is planted at a high density on Terra Rossa soils, using Reynella clones and was picked in the middle of April. The slow ripening period, coupled with low daily temperatures, sees the vineyard sharing more in common, viticultural speaking, with the likes of St. Emilion in Bordeaux, than it does Coonawarra, or the Barossa and McLaren Vale.
With the passage of time, this wine has started to unfurl its secrets. It's immensely powerful, throbbing with rich, decadent Cabernet tannins, a touch of herbal, leafy edge, with mulberries, cassis and fresh cut leather dazzling the taster. Sage, liquorice, mint and coffee creams also sit on the nose. The acidity and warming spices on the palate undulate with waves of flavour that lingers around for minutes after. This wine had some pretty incredible plaudits from some gilded wine-scribes when it was first released, but now, if they were to taste its likes again, I think the pencils would sharpened much more.
I read Andrew Graham, from ozwinereview.com, describe the Crayeres Reserve as 'inching towards a game changing wine' and one that would set the brand alight.
Well Andrew, here we are. This is it. A bookmark in time for those who need a taste of what makes classified Cru Bordeaux so special, but with an Australian accent in the mix. This is one of our best Cabernets, unquestionably so.
“The whole is always greater than the sum of the parts.”
A blend of the best of the Crayères vineyard, decided after one year in barrel. The Crayères Vineyard Reserve will always be more representative of the terroir (i.e. the interaction between the soil, the climate and the varieties as orchestrated by the vigneron) than of the varieties that make up the vineyard (Cabernet Sauvignon, Shiraz and Cabernet Franc.)
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 colour is deep and retains a good tinge of purple; the bouquet is sweetly ripe and cassis-like, with no greener elements; the palate is full-bodied and shows superior concentration and more ample, fleshier tannins than the regular cabernet. There's a trace more oak too but it's well balanced. This is a serious, structured cabernet for the long haul. The tannins are very firm: it could score higher in the future
Terre à Terre is a family-owned wine estate, growing and making still and sparkling wines in two cool climate regions in South Australia: the Piccadilly Valley in the Adelaide Hills, and Wrattonbully on the Limestone Coast.
Xavier Bizot and Lucy Croser both grew up surrounded by passionate winemaking families. In 2005 they launched their boutique wine import business, Terroir Selections. Together they unearthed small, terroir-led, family wine domaines from Europe for importation to Australia. Inspired by the wines they discovered, they purchased a special piece of land in Wrattonbully, South Australia and planted their first vineyard. From the beginning the vision for Terre à Terre has been to grow the very best quality grapes, from the same vineyard sites every year, and then vinify them using the best of French and Australian wine practices.
In addition to Terre à Terre, the couple also grown and make traditional method sparkling wine under the name DAOSA (Dedicated Artisans of South Australia), from their sparkling Chardonnay and Pinot Noir vineyards in the Piccadilly Valley, Adelaide Hills.
NED GOODWIN - HALLIDAY'S WINE COMPANION
The inaugural release of this cuvee hails from a close-planted vineyard at the top of a north-south limestone ridge in Wrattonbully, resplendent with prized terra-rosa soils. Matured in a combination of new and used French oak, the wine was then racked to a 4000l foudre. A dollop of cabernet franc was added just before bottling. Currants red and black, dried sage, bouquet garni, liquorice and the lift of mint are all there, before a thrust of finely wrought tannins and punchy acidity take over. A parry of fruit reverberates on the compact finish, still gristle and extract. Needs time. Plenty.
TONI PATERSON MW - THE REAL REVIEW
A wine of immense poise and refinement, made from cabernet sauvignon (95% ) and cabernet franc (5% ), though still in an elementary state. Fine and vibrant with red and blue fruits with pitch-perfect ripeness. The tannins are incredibly silky and composed. Delightfully medium-bodied. A wine of grace and style. One for the cellar - it will be worth the wait. Tiny quantities produced.
A barrel selection of the best barriques of cabernet from the Crayeres vineyard. The colour is deep and retains a good tinge of purple; the bouquet is sweetly ripe and cassis-like, with no greener elements; the palate is full-bodied and shows superior concentration and more ample, fleshier tannins than the regular cabernet. There's a trace more oak too but it's well balanced. This is a serious, structured cabernet for the long haul. The tannins are very firm: it could score higher in the future.
CAMPBELL MATTINSON - THE WINE FRONT
It’s an exemplary cabernet. Firm, well built, plenty of muscle and flesh, and just a bit of aristocratic swagger. A real red wine in a stately, sophisticated manner. It tastes of boysenberry and blackcurrant, mint jelly, pencils, gumnuts and dark chocolate. Both the firmness and the dryness of the tannin come to characterise the wine. There’s a whisper of creamy vanilla to the aftertaste; a parting gift. For all its grand quality it’s really nowhere near ready, let alone drinking at its peak; indeed a long, long future lies ahead. 93+
JANCIS ROBINSON MW
Cork stoppered. 95% Cabernet Sauvignon, 5% Cabernet Franc close planted in 2004. Aged in French oak (73% new) for a year and then in an old founder for six months. Bottled without filtration in early December 2015 and then in bottle for 18 months before release. Again, looks slightly cloudy. Really nicely matured and complex on the nose. Both round and refreshing although a little chewy on the end. Cool and fresh and tastes as though it would be very pleasing with food. Halfway between South Australia and France! Builds nicely towards the dry, rather admirably persistent finish. Score: 16.5+/20
An impressive ambassador for Wrattonbully region north of Coonawarra and south of Padthaway. This is a 95:5 proportioned blend of cabernets sauvignon and franc from a limestone and terra rossa vineyard that delivers pure cabernet aromas of crimson to black berries, with subtle senses of leaf – from bay to tobacco – an agreeable earthy texture supporting otherwise dark, crushed juices, and a complete feel of balance and drinkability.
ANDREW GRAHAM - OZWINEREVIEW.COM
The new reserve release from Terre à Terre. A blend of 95% Wrattonbully Cabernet Sauvignon and 5% Franc. Handpicked, fermented in open top fermenters. Matured for a year in 73% French oak for one year and then in 5 yr old foudre for 6 months. Bottled unfined and spends 18 months in bottle pre release. Lots of sweet coffee cream oak. The oak is the driving force for now. Has a dusty edge to the dry red mulberry fruit though, and the tannins are excellent. That palate has all sorts of delights waiting underneath really, and like all the Terre à Terre wines this is a wine in waiting. Great shape underneath – it just needs time to pull together. Would I buy it? I’d wait for more time in bottle.
JANCIS ROBINSON MW
Again, looks slightly cloudy. Really nicely matured and complex on the nose. Both round and refreshing although a little chewy on the end. Cool and fresh and tastes as though it would be very pleasing with food. Halfway between South Australia and France! Builds nicely towards the dry, rather admirably persistent finish.
Double Gold - Six Nations Wine Show
95 Points - Peter Chapman, Queensland Times