We generally harvest Merlot first as this variety ripens earlier than Cabernet, however, both varieties are harvested during a range of ripeness levels that captures a diversity of flavours. Fermentation occurs in static fermenters with the extraction of colour and tannin being achieved through a range of techniques. The Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot wines are matured separately in French oak barriques and hogsheads for 22 months before final selection and blending.
Medium red in colour with a crimson hue. This is a perfumed, rich and decadent red wine, with aromas of chocolate, dark black fruits and spices. This classic blend incorporates and marries the best of both varieties. The wine is generous and spicy with flavours of chocolate, cassis and cedar, combining with a savoury finish. The tannins are sublime; this is a delicious, bold wine with great length. Drinking well now, and will be lovely cellared to 2022. This wine is an excellent accompaniment to a rich tomato based beef tortellini with aged parmesan or ratatouille with baked polenta.
Sitting as part of the Hill-Smith wine empire, Smith & Hooper was established in 1994 in the Wrattonbully region of South Australia. The Smith and the Hooper families originally owned the vineyards, so it is a good thing that they are still family-owned. The nice thing about this label is that the wines are made from the 82-hectares of estate-grown fruit, which means it has a sense of regionality. Winemaker Natalie Cleghorn and vigneron James Freckleton fashion stunning Merlot, along with a Cabernet Merlot and a Pinot Grigio too, from this oft over-looked region. The styles are elegant and balanced without being overworked with oak.