Australia’s oldest family owned winery, Yalumba, is set to launch a $350 Cabernet Shiraz blend. The Caley, a blend featuring both Coonawarra and Barossa fruit, honours Fred Caley Smith, the grandson of Yalumba’s founder Samuel Smith; and horticulturist who had a profound impact on the development of Yalumba’s orchards and vineyards.
“The Caley is the pinnacle of a long winemaking journey seeking excellence – a ‘super-claret’ that rightfully honours one of Yalumba’s most adventurous sons,” vigneron Robert Hill-Smith said.
“It is the result of an unwavering commitment by Yalumba to Australia’s own unique red wine style – Cabernet and Shiraz – from the Galway Clarets of the 1940s, through the Signature and FDR 1A that started in the 60s and 70s and The Reserve that was created in the 1990s.
“I see it as a symbol of Yalumba’s perseverance and patience – an acknowledgment of the importance of time in crafting great wine.”
In an unusual twist, the wine had already claimed a show trophy well ahead of being revealed to wine critics. The first release of The Caley, from the 2012 vintage, won The Great Australian Red trophy in 2015.
Sourced from Yalumba’s own Menzies Cabernet Sauvignon estates in Coonawarra and two old vine Shiraz vineyards in Barossa (Yalumba’s Horseshoe vineyard and the Burgemeister Linke Block), The Caley is structured for longevity.
“The Caley brings together the linear elegance, firm tannins and persistent acid structure of Coonawarra Cabernet with the voluptuous, textural richness of Barossa Shiraz,” Hill-Smith said.
“I felt that given our long history in the making of this quirky blend of Cabernet and Shiraz, a Coonawarra-Barossa creation may yet become our ultimate achievement.
“Our very Australian-ness is captured in the pragmatism of so many of Australia’s early wines – lyrical creations that were about the wine, not the rules – and The Caley is such a wine.
“It is a great example of our rich wine culture of experimentation and a willingness to give it a go.” Fred Caley Smith is best remembered for an 18-month ground-breaking research journey that he undertook in 1893 and 1894 to the USA, UK, Europe, the Middle East, Sri Lanka and India.
He sent home detailed letters to his father very few days on this journey, and these have been kept in the Yalumba archives – providing inspiration and encouragement for generations since.
“Australian wine is at an exciting time in its evolution,” Hill-Smith said. “It can use an authentic story of aspiration, struggle and persistence. The Caley is that story – of a long journey that is a long way from over.”
The Caley’s international release will take place on May 12 – the 124th anniversary of Fred Caley Smith’s arrival in San Francisco.