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1997 Petaluma Coonawarra Red
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- Closure: Cork
1997 Petaluma Coonawarra Red - A freak of nature
Coonawarra had a very cool vintage in 1997. In a normal situation with a large crop say 6 tonnes per acre, that would have been a disaster due to the fact that the fruit would not fully ripen and the green bean, vegetal aromas and flavours would begin to rear their ugly qualities. To understand this vintage the heat summation has to be looked at - (heat summation is defined as how much heat a particular vineyard site receives over the growing period). The average heat summation for Coonawarra is 1414C days, whereas in 1997 it was only 1194C, that's 220C days short! On the surface the difference looks like a disaster and the sort of years that produce unripe Cabernet, however, in 1997 the Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot fully ripened due to the dry and sunny conditions. The vintage was 'saved' by the fact that this was Petaluma's smallest crop yielding 2.8 tonnes per hectare, (equivalent to 1.12 tonnes per acre) and that the fruit was harvested prior to the rain falling in mid April. This low yield actually contributed to the acceleration of the maturation process. The grapes were fermented using the traditional cap plunging method, as well as using roto fermenters, very similar to a concrete truck, and very good for maximum colour extraction. The wine then spent 18 months in new French oak barriques prior to being racked and lightly egg fined. In plain money terms this wine represents outstanding value for money and offers considerable investor up side. Croser is reluctant to push prices to the giddy heights of Penfolds Grange and Bin 707, although on a comparative basis they represent similar quality, like any good investor and dealer he has left considerable room for everyone to benefit from future up side, either from a drinking or an investment perspective. This is indeed an exceptional wine, although Croser regards it with the same awe as a circus freak, due to the totally uncharacteristic vintage conditions.
The 1997 Petaluma Coonawarra Red is a viticultural freak and a wine drinkers 'pièce de résistance'
An outstanding Coonawarra red. A blend of 40% Merlot and 60% Cabernet Sauvignon, the Merlot fruit ripened early and delivered superb mulberry, violets, cedar aromas over a blackcurrant background. The palate is equally impressive, wonderful concentrated fruit, mouthfilling, with the kind of length only capable of being delivered by a low yield. Blackcurrant, spice, cedar, truffle and liquorice flavours abound. Perfect balance and an exceptional aftertaste. A triumph for Croser. Cellar 10-12 years.