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1998 Cape Mentelle Shiraz
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- Closure: Cork
Notes sourced from Cape Mentelle.
The grapes for this wine are sourced from the estate's Wailcliffe vineyard grown on gravel laterite soils derived from weathered granite over clay sub-soils. The vines are cane pruned with the canopy trained vertically, employing both Scott Henry and TK2 training methods to enhance sunlight penetration and control excess vigour. A small amount of Grenache is used in the blend which comes from the Emerald Park vineyard in Donnybrook, 80kms North East of Margaret River. This vineyard is sited on a ridge of quartz gravel loam which produces intensely flavoured rich fruit.Ideal spring weather ensured a good bud burst and crop set with mild weather, minimal wind and adequate rain continuing up until November. The next three months were dry with warm daytime temperatures, mild rights and cooling afternoon sea breezes -perfect ripening weather. Vintage started well, with most of the white varieties harvested before 100mm of rain fell. Mild but humid weather continued, followed by late summery conditions which allowed us to achieve excellent fruit ripeness.Harvest extended over a three-week period from March 24th to April 14th. Sugar ripeness ranged from 22.0 brix to 24.7 brix with acid levels around 6.5g/l and pH at 3.6. The dry weather preceding harvest helped intensity flavours and dry out the vineyard, allowing the fruit to be picked in perfect condition. Yields were quite low, averaging 5.2 tonnes per hectare.About 25 per cent of the fruit was hand-picked and conveyed to the fermenters as whole bunches with the balance machine-harvested and crushed on top of the bunches. The ferment was warmed to 32C achieve a first initial maceration. On the 7th day, the wine was drained off and the skins gently pressed with hard pressing kept separate. Malolactic fermentation followed quickly in large vats after which the wine underwent a series of rackings. Most of the wine was aged in a combination of French and American oak barrels, 30 per cent of which were new; the rest was aged in large oak vats. Oak plays a subservient role to fruit flavours. Blending and bottling took place in February 2000.Plums aniseed and spice are the hallmarks of this exotic wine. The supple palate is rich with jaffa-like, briary flavours balanced by fine powdery tannins and well-integrated spicy oak. A wine to he enjoyed over the next six years.