HASELGROVE Protector Cabernet Sauvignon, McLaren Vale
This wine comes from two distinct McLaren Vale sub-regions, Seaview for structure and dark fruit with a violet lift, and Aldinga for lifted varietal characters of cassis and menthol. The grapes are de-stemmed but not crushed into open fermenters for a three-day cold soak prior to fermentation on skins. Fermentation is completed in a combination of new and used French oak barrels in which the wine is then matured for 15 months. Vineyard batches are kept separate and the final wine is a barrel selection.
Haselgrove Protector Cabernet Sauvignon is typically intensely varietal with aromas of redcurrant, dried herbs and cloves. The generous palate is juicy and plush, with flavours of blackcurrant and red summer berries framed by prominent but fine tannins. The name Protector refers to the Celtic belief in the protective powers of hazel, sprigs of which were worn to ward off evil spirits and the dangers of the sea. Cabernet tannins might also be said to protect this wine as it ages.
Destemmed, open-fermented, 12 days on skins, pressed to new and used French oak for completion of fermentation and maturation, blended after 16 months. There's so much to enjoy here, except for a fox terrier nip on the finish ex tannins.
94 points, Wine Companion (February 2020)