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Saturday 18 July 2020

An Australian wine hits the high notes

Turn the sound system on loud, but not too loud. Depending on your taste put on a Saint-SaĆ«ns piano concerto, or perhaps the Righteous Brothers doing a Phil Spector wall of sound classic. 

Pour yourself a glass of the Yalumba 2015 The Caley - a wine that builds and reaches a perfect layering - and you have a magical musical/vinous combination. 

Yalumba, Australia’s oldest family-owned winery, has just launched the 2015 vintage of its icon wine; and it is an instant classic. 

The Caley is a tribute to Australia’s own unique red blend: a dark, precise and refined melange of cabernet sauvignon and shiraz. It is the fourth vintage release since the inaugural 2012.

For more than a century, cabernet/shiraz blends have been a focus at Yalumba and The Caley is billed as a "super claret". 

Winemaker Kevin Glastonbury has hit all the right notes with a wine of texture and harmony - that given more vintages will challenge Henschke Hill of Grace and Penfolds Grange as the outstanding Australian red. 

Fifth-generation proprietor Robert Hill-Smith said: “Over 171 years, Yalumba’s journey has been all about vision, fortitude, survival and innovation: about looking onward and upwards.

"In this modern wine world, we need to stand up and be counted. We should no longer hide our light under the canopy.”

This release of The Caley is a blend of 74% Coonawarra cabernet and 26% Barossa shiraz and while it is crafted to spend many years in the cellar but is already shining - and offering rewarding drinking in its youth. 

"It was a terrific vintage that gave us ripeness, generosity and richness,” said Glastonbury. 

“When you taste The Caley 2015, it’s almost as though the three previous releases are rolled into one. It has the fruit purity and tannin profile of the 2012, the structure of the 2013 and the generosity, and approachability, of the 2014.

“The 2015, however, stands alone. It’s a star in its own right and a seriously good cabernet sauvignon/shiraz.” 

The wine is named in honour of Fred Caley Smith, grandson of Yalumba’s founder Samuel Smith. He was  a horticulturist who had a profound impact on the development of Yalumba’s orchards and vineyards. 

He is best remembered for a ground-breaking research journey he undertook in 1893 and 1894 to the USA, UK, Europe, the Middle East, Sri Lanka and India. 

Fred’s detailed and poignant letters to his father, sent home every few days, were collected and kept in the Yalumba archive.

Yalumba The Caley 2015 is available at and at fine wine retailers for $365. It is beautifully presented in a display box. 

Established in 1849, Yalumba is Australia’s oldest family-owned winery. 

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