Petaluma Yellow Label Coonawarra Cabernet Merlot 2012


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Petaluma purchased both the Evans Vineyard in Coonawarra and the Hanlin Hill Vineyard in Clare Valley in 1981. The Evans vineyard was planted in 1968. The is a blend of 76% Cabernet Sauvignon, 20% Merlot and 4% Shiraz. Hardy mentioned that the Merlot has now been pushed back in favour of a larger Shiraz component (from original 1968 vines). The winemaker pointed out that the Shiraz was difficult to get ripe in the past and, now it can, he favours a Cabernet/Shiraz blend. There was no release in 2011, so the 2012 is out earlier. The Evans Vineyard received 1658 degrees Celsius days of heat versus the long term average of 1414 days in 2012, so it was slightly warmer than usual. Which perhaps explains why the Shiraz was picked first on the 13th of March, followed by Merlot on the 20th, and finally Cabernet Sauvignon on the 28th of March. Following a 4 day cold soak the must was inoculated and fermented in Potter fermenters with a heading-down-board arrangement (to keep the cap wet). It was fermented for 12 days with daily rack and returns with five days post-fermentation skin contact, then pressed and aged in new French oak for 22 months (mainly Dargaud et Jaegle). Petaluma 2012 Coonawarra Red reveals dried herbs, black berry and vivid, perfumed red cherry to the nose, which follows through in the mouth together with sour plum and bitter chocolate/cocoa. With juicy persistence and a raft of powder-fine tannins this medium-bodied red has lovely structure and length. It has all the components to age well.

75cl bottle.

Critic Reviews:

James Halliday: 92/100

The Wine Front: 93/100