Skillogalee The Cabernets 2012 (Clare Valley, SA)
14%, Screwcap, $29.50
I’ve always thought of Skillogalee as a Riesling producer first with the odd old school red along the way. This Cabernet blend, however, manages to introduce plenty of new school polish to what is very solid base material.
How solid? Well this red comes from Skillogalee’s low yielding (1.25 tonnes/acre or 26hl/ha – equivalent to Grand-Cru Burgundy yields) hand-pruned, dry-grown vineyard, off vines that date back to the early 80s for the Cabernet (the vineyard itself was planted in circa 1970).
Said grapes were hand-picked, basket-pressed and fermented in open vats before spending 24 months in French oak hogsheads, eventually bottled unfined.
It’s a classic Clare Valley blend too, with 85% Cabernet Sauvignon, 9% Malbec and 6% Cabernet Franc. Wish more producers would use Malbec and Cabernet Franc instead of Merlot…
Anyways, the joy here is about the familiarity of good Clare Cabernet – there’s no shortage of Mint Slice on the nose – polished with a layer of vanilla bean oak and driven by a luscious, yet drying texture and a little warmth. I think the Malbec makes its presence felt here, giving the rich and very full mid-palate a sense of more dark berry blackness without the fat/skinny/menthol rollercoaster of Merlot.
A well made, rich and sumptuous Clare red that carries it’s choc minty regional stamp and backs it with thick fruit. It’s a bit spirity and the palate is thickly cut, but the tannins are fine and the length is superb. Tasted bloody excellent out of a thermos at the SCG last night too – helped get through the cold and dour second quarter before Buddy swung into gear…
Tasted: July 2014
Drink: 2015-2024+ (give it another year. It will look even better).
Score: 18/20, 93/100
Would I buy it? Yes. On the list, with ribs, it would look great.
Buy online: Skillogalee website
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