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Sydney Times

CONNOISSEUR MAGAZINE ST Wine Club Wine Reviews

“Bordeaux lookalike”-Terre à Terre Crayères Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon 2016

Written by Aksel Ritenis

“Bordeaux lookalike”-Terre à Terre Crayères Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon 2016

I think I have tasted this wine on 3 or 4 occasions in different circumstances and always been impressed,….. the Terra a Terre Cabernet Sauvignon  was a wine I first tasted in salubrious company over a lunch of Roast Duck and TapaNapa Pinot Noir with none other than Brian Croser (Winemaker and Founder of Petaluma) and his son-in-law Xavier Bizot from the Bollinger family.. I then tasted it at the Hong Kong Vinexpo a few years later. I found this wine   unique and special so I really wanted to share it  with you. There is always something exciting about discovering a sublime or exquisite wine,.. and it literally allows your senses to escape from the mundane and mediocre for a fleeting moment., and rejuvenates your confidence and enthusiasm for the wine world and the amazing winemakers who dedicate their lives to the process of growing grapes and winemaking as an art form. It also restores ones faith in human creativity in general, and as an essential element of being part of civilized society! Of course, there is an ocean of wine out there,.. but many of them taste similar -they are of similar style and made according to the same template,..which can result in a jaded palate! In these difficult and unprecedented times,.. it is prudent to share a great vinous experience with a valued friend or cherished partner friend with sufficient intellect, charm, and sophistication,…to appreciate a sublime experience by trying one of these wines!

This wine is produced by  Xavier Bizot (son of the late Christian Bizot of Bollinger fame) and wife Lucy Croser (daughter of BrianCroser) and ‘Terre a Terre’ is a French expression meaning down to earth. The vineyard is on a limestone ridge, adjacent to Tapanappa’s Whalebone Vineyard with plantings of cabernet sauvignon, sauvignon blanc, cabernet franc and shiraz. Much of the wines is exported to the UK, Singapore,  and Hong Kong.

The Crayères vineyard is located next to Tapanappa’s Whalebone Vineyard, at the top of a north-south limestone ridge in Wrattonbully and named after the chalk cellars that are found throughout Bizot’s region of birth, Champagne, France. The Terra Rossa top-soil is characteristic of the area with natural fossilized limestone structures to be  found underneath, full of undisturbed ancient fossilized remains. It is a  close planted vineyard The red grape varieties were planted on rootstocks in 2008 using cuttings from the neighbouring Whalebone Vineyard and French clones at a relatively high density for the area (4,444 vines per hectare, similar to the density of vineyards in Saint Emilion).

This terroir produces wine that carries an aura of finesse. The wines tend to be subtle, delicate with red or black currant, cedar herb,..The fruit is picked by hand and transported back to the Tiers winery in Picadilly in the Adelaide Hills, for vinification and aging. After 24 days fermentation and maceration, the must was pressed off skins and racked to 225L French oak Barriques (30% new oak) where it aged for 18 months. After a very light egg fining in barrels, the wine was bottled without filtration.

The fine grained structure and tannins tend to be reminiscent of many of the great Bordeaux wines,..and less like their Australian counterparts. This structure gives the wines a certain ageability which bodes well for the future so they have a good cellaring potential.

Tasting Notes: 

 Bordeaux like style and characteristics..this wine is made from Aussie fruit by a Frenchman and actually tastes French,..so if the Bordeaux 2nd or 3r growths are sold out this could be the go!!A blend of 85% cabernet sauvignon and 15% cabernet franc and shiraz This medium bodied, wine has a core of ripe fleshy fruit.  The Bouquet shows soft Blackcurrant,  Plum and maybe hints of raspberry with and a faint waft of tobacco and mocca. The wine has an elegant structure and fine grained tannins similar to a Bordeaux. Rather peculiar but it has been observed this wine that it actually improves on the second day after opening,..as it develops other characteristics, .showing  capsicum notes .. I found the structure and tannins had become more assertive or focussed which is quite bizarre, but noted by others as well!

Terre à Terre websitewww.terreaterre.com.au

About the author

Aksel Ritenis

Publisher Sydney Times