There is something very reassuring about the style of Yalumba’s The Signature. Something unchanging. Stoic. Idiosyncratic, maybe, but also wholly assured. You know what it will taste like before you crack the cork (and it is still cork-sealed).
No change, really, with this Yalumba The Signature Cabernet Shiraz 2018.
Named in honour of Nick Waterman and proudly Barossan in every way. Indeed, there is quite a deal of old school, 90s-world toasty oak in this typically full-bodied red, but it’s French, Hungarian & American oak (whereas once upon a time, it was more American wood). Vanilla soaked plums and a bit of bourbon with that oak too. But it works – the barrel-derived richness is a part of this wine’s furniture. The fruit is instantly plush, warming, chunky, coffee, yet it’s savoury, and the tannins come through as a mouth coat to finish (they’re both oak and fruit tannins).
Having your own cooperage (which Yalumba has – what a luxury) means you get the pick of the oak world, and I often see this translating into a welcome oak-lifted savouriness in The Signature (and especially The Caley).
In Signature terms, this 2018 is a strong release. Maybe not an all-time classic (like the 2012), but a high-quality release.
Do I like it? Yes. It’s not a strictly fashionable wine – no whole bunches or amphorae in the mix here – nor it is smashable, or even particularly approachable, drinking. But that R.M Williams wearing, True Blue singing, Australiana essence is unmistakable. Couple it with the unwavering fruit and tannin intensity (and unquestioned cellarability), and you have a pretty smart bet for $65.
Best drinking: later. History says this is best opened from about eight years after vintage. Then it’s purely about the tree bark in the neck. 18.5/20, 94/100. 14.5%, $65. Yalumba website. Would I buy it? Worth a bottle for the cellar.
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