2013 Yalumba, The Caley, Coonawarra Cabernet & Barossa Shiraz, South Australia – UK Launch

2013 Yalumba, The Caley, Coonawarra Cabernet / Barossa Shiraz, South Australia – UK Launch

Yalumba winemaker Kevin Glastonbury was in town today to launch the follow-up vintage to the inaugural and epic 2012 The Caley – Yalumba’s flagship red wine.  2013 is a very different vintage to 2012 with more brawn and grip and so the UK launch for this wine was put back from May this year until today to allow the wine a little more time to soften.  2012 was a generous, enveloping style of wine, which followed the vintage conditions exactly.  2013 is a powerhouse, with density, structure and presence, but it is not a heavy wine!  Instead, this is a cerebral, through-provoking number with layer upon layer of savoury, noble fruit.  The differences between the yin and yang of these two vintages is also evident in the blend.  2012 was made of 79% Cabernet (of which 27% was Barossan and the lion’s share was from Coonawarra) and 21% Barossa Shiraz.  In 2013 KG marries 55% Coonawarra Cabernet with 45% Barossa Shiraz.  This is a more ‘historical-Aussie-claret-shaped’ wine and the extra splash of Barossa Shiraz helps to bring flesh to the upright, masterful Cabernet.  The richness here is amazing and I sense that KG actually prefers this wine to the thrilling 2012!  They are clearly both stunning and what I love about this 2013 is that it is fresh and crunchy in spite of its impressive dimensions.   The oak is expertly judged (41% new French barriques made at the Yalumba cooperage) and the tannins are firm but in no way astringent.  I found myself swallowing half a mouthful at the end of the tasting and the sensation was not that of a brutally young wine but of a mellow and serious creature.  I think that KG is rather pleased that the 2012 and 2013 vintages are so different because it shows how much effort and understanding goes into making and blending this stellar creation.  Like the counterpoint between the lush 1998 and the initially  ‘quiet’ 1999 vintages in Barossa, these two releases will maintain their individual but independent characters forever.  KG points out that everyone fell for the ’98s and then rewrote their ’99 notes a few years down the track when it started to emerge and show its true class.  I think he is onto something, but I feel that 2012 will just keep a short nose ahead of this 2013 release for many years to come.  Only a very long game will prove which is ultimately the finest vintage between these crackers but, suffice to say, if you would like to launch an icon wine then you might as well chose the right time to do so and Yalumba has nailed this trick with characteristic aplomb.   19.5+/20 (Drink 2021 – 2050)  Approx. £250, merchants to be announced soon.