Back in 2009 the lads at Winefront nominated the 2007 Yalumba Scribbler Cabernet Shiraz as their #1 in the Top 100 under $20 in the 09/10 Big Red Wine Book. By the time that Gourmet Traveller Wine had decided to jump in and give the 07 Scribbler a pretty solid 94 points, I’d already bought a few bottles and put them away in the cool dark lonely spot.
Last week I finally cracked the cap of a couple of the last few bottles that I had, and the wine had aged perfectly. Deep dark purple in colour, dark fruits with tobacco and cedar, the tannins have settled down well and it’s become quite a smooth and polished wine, far from the chewy, tannic wine it was on release.
What’s really interesting here is that I had grabbed a few of these wines at $15, nearly $5 less than its RRP, proof that you don’t need to spend a lot of money on great wines, which will also develop well in the bottle.
One of the core reasons that the Scribbler has managed to short to midterm age, is that it’s a blend of quality shiraz and cabernet sauvignon fruit sourced from the Barossa. In fact the Scribbler is often referred to as the little brother to Yalumba’s The Signature, a $45 wine, as it shares the same fruit source, and even some of the old Signature barrels.
Yalumba do a great job with their red blends, especially with their quintessentially Australian blend of shiraz and cabernet sauvignon. One of the core reasons is that quality fruit, but it also comes down to what Yalumba likes to call ‘the controllables”, such as the Yalumba Vine Nursery and on-site cooperage (the place they make the barrels) – as well as other factors that cannot be emulated by any other winery – Yalumba’s history and tradition .
Founded in the Barossa Valley in 1849 by British migrant and English brewer, Samuel Smith, he and his son planted the estate’s first vines by moonlight after purchasing a 30 acre parcel of land just beyond the south eastern boundary of Angaston. Samuel named the patch Yalumba, an aboriginal word meaning all the land around.
Five generations and 165 years later, Yalumba, has grown in size and stature to become Australia’s oldest family owned winery. In 2015, Nick Waterman became the first non-family member to take on the role of Yalumba Managing Director, assuming the role vacated by Samuel Smiths great-great grandson Robert Hill-Smith, a position that Hill-Smith held since 1985. Robert takes on the role of Chairman of the Board, still with that passion for all things Australian wine, and an overriding passion for the Barossa, living the belief that if Barossa wines do well, then the Barossa as a whole will do well. To that end Yalumba have even been known to jump the fence and help out in the vineyards for Penfolds.
Unparalleled education programs for industry professionals and representatives, continued experimentation with alternate varieties and ‘rock star’ personnel in the wine making, sales and PR departments that money just can’t buy.
Their 2013 The Scribbler Cabernet Shiraz shows deep dark red fruits, think dark plum and blackberry, toasty oak with some stemmy/briary notes on the nose. On the tongue all those flavours come through with a nice firm tannin backbone, and tobacco/cedar notes playing around the edge. Great persistence in the finish.
Another Yalumba “Little Brother” –
Yalumba “The Cigar” Cabernet Sauvignon 2012 – this is the little brother to the Menzies. The current release is the 2013 but I haven’t been able to find it locally as yet. Black currants and dark chocolate on the nose, faint notes of liquorice and spice. On the tongue its quite an impressive wine, those fruits showing through with some addition of black cherries and cigar box. Firm tannins provide a very long finish with a spicy cedary aftertaste. RRP $26