In 1838, merchant and miller, Johann Georg Kalleske migrated from Prussia, establishing a new life in South Australia. Today, seven generations later, descendant and fellow merchant and miller, Kym John Kalleske, farms our diverse Kalleske property established at Greenock in the North-Western Barossa in 1853. Continuing the family tradition, Kym is a miller of hay and a merchant of chaff, lamb and grapes. This Merchant Cabernet Sauvignon is a single vineyard wine that’s been hand pruned and harvested by Kym. Traditional winemaking and maturation in new and seasoned French oak hogsheads has ensured a full-bodied varietal Cabernet Sauvignon displaying classic structure and richness typical of the Kalleske vineyard.
Vintage 2020 has delivered wines of amazing quality. However, quantity is very limited, with it being one of the lowest grape yields ever in the Barossa at around 50% of average. Yields were dire due to a combination of early mild frost conditions, then a notably windy period (45% windier) around flowering leading to poor set (not many berries) followed by some hot days in November and an overall dry growing season (34% down). Notably, quality is of the highest echelon with rich colours and intense robust flavours.
Merchant Cabernet Sauvignon is sourced from a single vineyard that was planted on the Kalleske property at the end of last century. The hand-pruned vines are low-yielding and are grown in shallow, sandy loam soil over superb deep red clay, providing ideal conditions for Cabernet Sauvignon.
The grapes were picked on March 24th. Following destemming into an open-top fermenter, the must was fermented for 10 days on skins with hand pump-overs twice a day. After pressing off skins the Cabernet was filled to a mix of one third new and the balance used French oak hogsheads, where the wine underwent natural malolactic fermentation. The Cabernet was matured in barrel for thirteen months prior to bottling.
2020 Merchant Cabernet is rich red-black in colour.
Enticing aromatics immediately convey a charming varietal Cabernet with lifted boysenberry, violet florals, sweet spice and a touch of dried herbs.
The palate is medium-full bodied. Juicy red fruits are forthright along with a background of cedary oak that continues with the fruit to the dry lingering finish. The wine is underpinned with very fine natural tannins giving a muscular structure. Merchant is a classic Barossa Cabernet that can be equally enjoyed now or in a decade.