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Tuesday 1 June 2021

A sweet symphony of drinking pleasure

Penfolds has Grange. Henschke has Hill of Grace. Yalumba has the much more recent - but equally compelling The Caley - named in honour of a family pioneer. 

Australia’s oldest family-owned winery is today celebrating the global launch of the fifth release of The Caley - the 2016 vintage. 

This unique blend of Coonawarra cabernet and Barossa/Eden Valley shiraz is the Yalumba flagship that celebrates over a century of cabernet/shiraz blends. 

I was fortunate enough to have an advance tasting with winemaker Kevin Glastonbury (below) - and to finish the rest of the bottle that night. 

So what is it like? 

Harmonious is the first word that comes to mind. 

Think Smokey Robinson and the Miracles (stay with me people). Think of the cabernet as Smokey's pure and precise voice and the shiraz as the beautiful, sweet harmonies of the Miracles. Smooth. 

Everything in its place, with 25% new oak soaked up by the quality fruit..

You can drink it now, but cellaring is certainly recommended.

"It's a wine of style and substance that reflects the very best of two regions," says Glastonbury. "In each vintage we are aiming for greatness, but each release will also reflect the year." 

Fifth-generation proprietor Robert Hill-Smith said: “Since its inaugural release in 2017, The Caley has relied on our own provenance, integrity and enthusiasm which we have built over the past 172 years.

"Through consistent narrative and quality, we have recruited a loyal base of connoisseurs across the world, and we are buoyed by the exceptional feedback we receive. 

“Having followed the ferments and the development of the wine since 2016 and worked alongside KG on the final blend, I cannot help but be excited about this release. It was an even ripening season, with clean bunches and exceptional balanced flavours."

This release of The Caley is a blend of 71% Coonawarra cabernet and 29% Barossa shiraz, numbers Glastonbury says will vary from vintage to vintage depending on the season. 

He described 2016 as “a magnificent vintage. It gave us pristine fruit with richness and concentration”.

“The Caley 2016 comes into its own as a very sleek, refined and focused wine. It is a wine that sets us on a clear trajectory which we are very excited about. Aromatic, plush, rich, inviting, with the hallmark palate drive of The Caley.” 

The wine is named in honour of Fred Caley Smith, grandson of Yalumba’s founder Samuel Smith. Fred 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. 

His detailed and poignant letters to his father, sent home every few days, were collected and are kept in Yalumba’s archives.

Each release of The Caley celebrates a step in Fred’s journey, and for the 2016 vintage, the spotlight falls on January 1894 and his journey to visit his family in the United Kingdom. 

Yalumba The Caley 2016 is available at and in fine wine retailers from today with an RRP of $365. I'm as sure as I can be that this will be a collectors' item.

1 comment:

  1. Yalumba has always been a leader in Australias inique offering....Cabernet and Shira blends