In a wine market largely obsessed with single-varietal wines, Yalumba has remained steadfast in its commitment to that most Australian of wine styles, the Cabernet Sauvignon and Shiraz blend.
Some of Australia’s most legendary wines have been made in this style, and at the forefront has been Yalumba, who set the benchmark with The Signature series of wines made continuously since 1962.
Blending Cabernet Sauvignon with Shiraz certainly isn’t an adaptation of Old World winemaking practices. In fact, staunchly traditional French winemakers scoff at the idea of blending a traditional Bordeaux varietal (Cabernet Sauvignon) with a grape variety from the Rhône (Shiraz).
But the Australian way of pairing the elegance and complexity of Cabernet Sauvignon with the richness and ripeness of Shiraz works tremendously well, resulting in a harmonious combination. The Shiraz offers a velvety richness to the middle palate, just where Cabernet Sauvignon is said to ‘drop out’ (known as the ‘doughnut’ effect), producing a wine that is powerful and voluptuous.
The Cabernet Sauvignon and Shiraz blend is taken so seriously by Yalumba that Brian Walsh, then Director of Winemaking, persuaded the committee of the Adelaide Wine Show to introduce a separate judging class for the style.
“It’s a wine style that is unique to Australia,” he says, “and plays such an important part in Australia’s winemaking history.”
Scattered throughout the Yalumba portfolio of wines, the Cabernet Sauvignon and Shiraz blend dominates, beginning with Yalumba’s The Scribbler – a stylish and generous wine with smooth ripe tannins.
The Signature epitomizes just what Barossa can do with old vine Cabernet Sauvignon and Shiraz. As wine writer Huon Hooke states, Yalumba The Signature “has carried the torch for traditional Cabernet Shiraz blends”.
At the helm of Yalumba’s Cabernet Sauvignon and Shiraz story is The Reserve. Made only in exceptional vintages, this is an extraordinarily intense wine. The 1992 vintage won the Frescobaldi Trophy at the International Wine and Spirit Competition in London for The Best Red Wine (5 years or older) two years in a row.