Blog 69: The making of the new DJ Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon



Way back in February 2009, Don & I were out doing our morning vineyard walk, and were really taken by the developing flavours in our ‘Old Block’ Cabernet Sauvignon. We decided right then, that 2009 could be a year to watch for Cabernet, and decided to see how the flavours progressed as the ripening continued. Daily visits to the ‘Old Block’ for berry tasting consolidated our idea- and thus we decided to make a premium Cabernet from the ‘Old Block’ in 2009.

The 'Old' Cabernet Block

Picked on the 17th of March 2009, this glorious ‘Old Block’ really came into its own. It was planted in 1973 (what a great year- I was born then as well!) by my grandfather HJ. It is a very old Cabernet clone that is known as ‘Reynella’ amongst those in the know. It was crushed, fermented in stainless steel open fermenters via a natural yeast, and popped into some of my best French oak hogshead barrels.

While the wine sat peacefully in barrel over the years, we had to rack our brains as to what to call it. Would we make a special release, would we do a once off, or would we develop a new wine for our range- a brother for the HJ Reserve Shiraz?? The latter idea ended up being the winner. And so…. the DJ Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon was born. We had just received a brilliant charcoal drawing of Don, thanks to the ever talented local artist Jen Wright (yes- we are related- Jen is my mother-in law). This drawing was perfect for the label & so the design was also sorted.

Fast forward to today, and after sitting nicely in barrel and developing beautifully, we are getting it out of barrel and preparing for bottling next week. Some lucky customers happened to be in cellar door when I burst in with excitement about how the DJ is coming together, so they got to be the first tasters outside the family. They made comments like ‘floral, cassis, vibrant’- I hope they were as impressed as I was!!

This is the most exciting time in the winery apart from harvest time- finally getting to see a wine safely into bottle, seeing the whole package come together & seeing how the wine develops in bottle.

All this excitement- but the DJ won’t be for sale for a little while. We are thinking just before Christmas 2011. Keep it in mind for then……

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