– By Peter Bourne
To say this pair are ‘chalk & cheese’ is perhaps an overstatement, for both are high quality and distinctly varietal examples of cabernet sauvignon, considered the most aristocratic of all red grape varieties. Two vintages and 800 kilometres separate the duo — the distinctions amplified by the winemaking approaches of Peter Dillon at Handpicked and Jo Irvine at Kyara.
Kyara Justice of the Peace Cabernet Sauvignon 2015
Eden Valley, South Australia
Early heat in January concerned the Eden Valley winegrowers, but timely rain (60+ millimetres) after the first week cooled things down with January 2015 the coolest recorded since 2004. The balance of the season was mild, with the fruit for this stellar cabernet sauvignon picked well into April. After careful winemaking, Irvine matured the wine in a mix of French and American oak (30% new) for 18 months. Savoury is the key word here with a bouquet of blueberries and blackcurrants and earth overtones of smoked small-goods. The palate is tightly woven with tannins to the fore though comfortably supported by pristine dark berry fruits. Enjoy with roast lamb now or wait 5 more years to partner with a salty, aged cheddar.
Handpicked Regional Selection Cabernet Sauvignon 2017
Yarra Valley, Victoria
2017 was a long, relatively mild season in the Yarra Valley, providing the perfect growing conditions for cabernet sauvignon which is one of the last varieties to ripen, harvested two weeks later than usual. Dillon’s gentle hand on the press and the 17 months in new and older French barrels sees this youthful cabernet deliciously drinkable now — though its future is bright with a drinking window until 2027. Medium weight and fine framed with classic cassis and cedarwood aromas, there’s good depth and concentration to sustain the lively finish.