Each year our Cabernet Sauvignon is named after a family member or family friend. Our 2008 Cabernet Sauvignon is named “Shelley Anne”, after our Cellar Door Sales Manager (and Winemaker Stuart Watson’s partner).
Any visitor to our Cellar Door is sure to have met Shelley over the last few years. Shelley is also the mother of Chloe Watson, the namesake of the Woodlands Reserve Chardonnay; and Emilie May, the namesake of our 2002 Cabernet Sauvignon.
Our Cabernet Sauvignon is produced from the original plantings on our south-facing slope. These four small plots receive the greatest number of sunlight hours at Woodlands, but the east-west orientation of the vines ensures a slow maturation. These plots are almost always picked last.
2008 was a hot and dry vintage in Margaret River. Severe winds at flowering drastically reduced the crop levels to the lowest yet recorded; under 1 tonne per acre. From January through April conditions were dry and hot, excellent for fruit ripeness and tannin development. As a result of the low crops and dry conditions, our 2008 reds have a more masculine, tannic structure than usual.
The winemaking approach to this wine has gone another step further down the path that began on the 2007 Cabernet Sauvignon. The fruit was handpicked before being sorted, destemmed and crushed into small fermenters. Following fermentation the open ferments were pressed into barrel for malolactic fermentation, while the must in the closed fermenters remained on skins for 45 days.
This is the first Woodlands wine in which most of the wine received extended time on skins, also called extended maceration. We have found that this process is particularly useful for Cabernet Sauvignon, as it adds weight and texture while reducing ‘leafy’ characteristics. This process is common in Bordeaux, with the time spent on skins related directly to the quality of the fruit. We believe this process is also the key to increased power and intensity at lower alcohol levels.
This wine is a blend of 96% Cabernet Sauvignon, 3% Malbec and 1% Cabernet Franc that has matured in new French oak for 21 months.
The 2008 Cabernet Sauvignon has a very deep, intense crimson colour. The nose shows layers of brooding cassis, mulberry, mint, violet and toasty French oak. The palate is rich and powerful, with the primary fruit characters of the nose combining with blackcurrant and white spice on the palate. The wine finishes with firm muscular tannins, certainly built for extended ageing.
This wine has been named “Wine of the Year” in Ray Jordan’s Guide to WA Wines in 2011.
The recommended drinking time for this wine is between 2019 and 2036.