The Caley is Yalumba’s flagship wine, a Cabernet Sauvignon-Shiraz blend, reflecting the long and unwavering commitment of Australia’s oldest family-owned winemaker to this classic Australian blend. The Caley is named for Fred Caley Smith, grandson of Yalumba founder Samuel Smith.
Released five years from vintage, with three years of bottle-age, The Caley is designed to claim, in time, a place alongside the most famous Australian reds. While deceptively attractive in its youth, the wine is built for the long haul, bringing together seamlessly the linear elegance, firm tannins and persistence of Cabernet with the richness and texture of old-vine Shiraz.
The Caley is Yalumba’s Prestige Cuvee – a blend from their finest vineyards in Coonawarra and the Barossa Valley. And like many of the top wines from Yalumba, it is not a statement wine, bred to be bold and impress from Day 1. This is more a wine for contemplation, and that needs time, particularly from the 2015 vintage.
The wine only starts to show itself on day 2 – and that is after a five year hiatus in oak and bottle. It is not a massive wine but also shows serious fruit concentration with earth, cedar, mulberry and red currants already in balance with high quality oak. The palate screams structure – a wave of significant but fine tannins enveloping its cascading fruit. It’s long and superbly balanced too and feels like it has already found its balanced and focussed groove where it will comfortably sit it over the next 20 years. This wine really needs time and plenty of it to show its best, and how good great Australian Cabernet Shiraz can be.
96 points, Wine Pilot (June 2020)
It’s a lavish and decadent red but one with great shape and form, flow and poise. Deep, dark, brooding plum, boysenberry, fig and roast nut characters, salted liquorice and salt bush, faint clove and mocha. All of that wrapped up, bound and drawn exceptionally long, stains the palate gently, tannins hug the tongue. It feels righteous right now, but cellar fiends should be rewarded for a couple of decades too. So much going on. So much depth. A tour de force.
96 points, The Wine Front (July 2020)
This is an impressive wine and an expensive one, clear of purpose, clarity, power, intensity and detail. A benchmark cabernet and shiraz meld: a blend that many Australians perceive as the homegrown quintessence. The oak cladding is salubrious. Well applied. Apparent, but not too much in lieu of the pummelling fruit: currant, dark cherry, satsuma plum and blue fruit references, brushed with five-spice, cinnamon and a gentle swathe of verdant herb before a finish marked by graphite and iodine. This is polished, sure. The tannins nicely wrought. But fresh, eminently drinkable and firmly of place, with a confident swagger and undeniable impact.
96 points, Wine Companion (March 2020)
This wine is continuing to build, and is now showing a glorious perfume, the aromatics similar to the 2012, which set a very high standard that this vintage reaches and arguably surpasses. Spicy and ultra-complex, with shiraz and Barossa both evident in the wine. It's very intense, taut and concentrated, as well as finely-textured and incredibly long in the mouth. A great wine of wonderful purity and harmony. (74% Coonawarra cabernet, 26% Barossa shiraz)
98 points, The Real Review (May 2021)
A blend of 74% Coonawarra cabernet sauvignon and 26% Barossa shiraz. Tasted with the 2013 and 2014 vintages, this was marginally my favourite. Quite perfumed with cabernet-derived cassis, mint, cedar and olive characters together with a blackcurrant bud influence. A fine-grained and powerful wine, with an impressively lengthy finish. Steely tannins offer strong support, although the wine is surprisingly good to drink now. A terrific red.
98 points, The Real Review (August 2020)
This is a great vintage for this wine with a very fresh, attractive delivery in a full-bodied style. Ripe red plums, blackberries and cherries with a cedary, tobacco edge, purple olives and fruit-steeped roasting herbs. It has a very intense, crisply cut palate that has flavors of dark cherries, blackberries, chocolate and such attractive spice complexity. Runs long on the focused finish. Regal. A great Caley. A blend of 74% Coonawarra cabernet sauvignon and 26% Barossa shiraz. Try from 2023.
98 points, JamesSuckling.com (May 2020)
Samuel Smith established Yalumba in 1849 and 165 years later descendant Robert Hill Smith now presides over Australia's oldest family owned wine company. Yalumba owns vineyards and sources fruit primarily in the Barossa and Coonawarra. Robert Hill-Smith manages to combine conservatism and tradition with up-to-date winemaking technology and thinking. Yalumba produces a considerable number of different wines across the price-point spectrum from a multitude of varieties, all with a focus on quality, varietal and regional expression. The strong winemaking team is headed up by Louisa Rose, a brilliantly intuitive winemaker whose white wines are some of the best in the country.