There’s no doubt that 2017 was a terrific season. Budburst was later than the new norm, the month of February was mild, and the fruit developed in a uniform way. In fact, it was a vintage of the past, bucking the trend of ripe grapes in February. Instead we didn’t start picking until late March, with the Petit Verdot component the last to come into the winery in April. The effect of our compost mulching of the Cabernet Sauvignon was particularly evident in the canopy, with the leaves hanging on far later into the season and allowing for a transfer of sugars to the grapes and the vines. We are ardent fans of the compost mulch; it has really made such a difference to our old vines. It’s fair to say that when you research the benefits of this sort of mulch, it seems too good to be true – increased vine vigour, better water retention, cooler soils, weed suppression, more friable soils and an introduction of soil organisms to reduce pathogens. But we have definitely seen huge improvement in all the areas we’ve treated.
The make-up of the Amelia this year is about 55:35:10 of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot / Cabernet Franc, and Petit Verdot. The 2017 is typically Wantirna. If you follow any of the wine writers the common words used for the Amelia are poise and elegance, balance and grace, Classic. As one Yarra winemaker likes to say “Cabernet is king” – a lovely tribute to the variety that put Yarra Valley on the map.
GARY WALSH - THE WINE FRONT
Cabernets and Merlot from the original 1963 plantings, with 5% Petit Verdot coming off the 1989 plantings. All dry grown. Yarra Valley Cabernet from 2017 strikes me as being a more dense, compact year, with fine bones and lithe structure, and I like that very much. Glorious Cabernet perfume of violet and pencil shavings, mint, blackcurrant and boysenberry, with the theme being intense small black fruit, I guess. It's medium-bodied, dense and tightly knit, juiciness of blueberry and blackcurrant, layered in with more savoury tobacco flavour, graphite tannin, cool acidity, and a long, almost chocolaty finish. What a delight. Superb.
JAMES HALLIDAY - HALLIDAY'S WINE COMPANION
Very good colour and depth. The vintage was exemplary in the Yarra Valley, bringing both these varieties to perfect ripeness.