De Bortoli goes large on Yarra Cabernet.
Or at least that’s my expectation when the wide-shouldered bottle of 2019 De Bortoli Melba Amphora lands on the doorstep.
But the Clos Apalta/90s Tintara glass is the only thing thick about this lithe new Yarra Valley red.
Released to celebrate the 160th anniversary of Dame Nellie Melba, and sourced from the Melba vineyard, it is reserve wine for the 2020s.
That means at least 120 days on skins in amphora, then a further 150 days in old barrels after pressing.
Sometimes with long maceration times like that you lose vivacity, as tannins become the only flavour. But this is exuberant, bright, curranty and yes, gloriously tannic. The tannins are instead more like a constant presence. A wash of fine sandpaper that just doesn’t go away. Waves licking at your sides on a kayak, or an ankle brace to keep your foot nicely balanced,
That’s a perfect analogy, as this is a wonderfully balanced drink. I wanted to drink it, but it was late on a Sunday night. This felt vibrant, understated and yet welcoming in a Yarra claret mode.
What a delight.
Only medium-bodied, and almost Pinot like in its texture, but with Cab tannins and blackberry fruit.
Great. Great release and maximum pleasure. Yes!
Best drinking: good now or for years and years to come. Just drink it now. 18.7/20, 95/100. 13%, $80. De Bortoli website. Would I buy it? Well worth a bottle.