||Hilltops Cabernet Sauvignon (70%), Hilltops Merlot (13%), Hunter Cabernet Franc (13%), Hunter Shiraz (4%)
||Hilltops, Hunter Valley
This Forres Blend is driven by inky Cabernet Sauvignon, providing black fruit layered complexity. The Cab’s intensity is dominant, with natural tannins that show significant depth and grip; this blend shows flair with both Merlot and Cab Franc in equal contribution, giving significant influence to both aroma and flavour complexity. The Merlot shows early in the mix, with vibrant and fresh notes of mulberry and mint on the nose, and a gentle plummy softness on the palate, gifting velvet harmony and subtle black-cherry roundness. Cabernet Franc chimes in later, giving beautiful lavender-like herb fragrance to the aroma, and, in partnership with the slight Shiraz touch, contributes a bright structural red-cherry lift to the palate, harmonising this blend to completeness. Cellaring for 10 years.
Food Match: Roast lamb shoulder, ox tail ragout
Fruit from the Hilltops in 2016 rivalled the impressive crops we recieved in 2012 and 2013, with not only bold full-bodied flavour but impressive colour. The vintage began with a bumpy ride - record rainfalls in January had growers concerned - however dry conditions throughout the rest of summer brought early harvesting dates with excellent clean fruit, with super ripe Cabernet and bold black-fruit Merlot.
The Hunter Valley also had heavy rains in January, and had a similar escape; dry, stable weather in Feburary was just in time for the reds. We picked this fruit in Pokolbin late Feburary, and were very pleased with the Cabernet Franc signiature.
The Forres Blend has seen an exciting evolution, with a slightly different blend each time depending on the vintage. Each variety is harvested at the highest level of ripeness possible, and each batch is fermented, pressed and oak matured seperately until blending in June 2017.
A bold blend, with Cabernet and Merlot from the NSW Hilltops region and Cabernet Franc from the Hunter Valley.