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De Bortoli celebrates its Melba range with three premium cabernets

By Halliday Promotion

7 May, 2023

The Yarra Valley's De Bortoli is celebrating its famed Melba vineyard with three premium cabernet sauvignon wines.

For De Bortoli Wines, the month of May is a celebration of its flagship Melba wines. The Melba collection includes three premium cabernet sauvignon wines – the 2018 De Bortoli Melba Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon, the 2021 De Bortoli Melba Amphora Cabernet Sauvignon, and the 2017 De Bortoli Melba Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon.

Chief winemaker Steve Webber says: "Our focus on Yarra Valley cabernet has never been stronger. New vineyards with better vine material, closer planting density and the introduction of wooden and clay fermenters to give more softness and texture are all contributing to an exciting range of Melba cabernets. Wines with clarity, texture and energy."

Steve Webber in front of amphoraChief winemaker Steve Webber

Situated in the cool-climate region of the Yarra Valley, the De Bortoli 'MELBA' range pays homage to Australian operatic soprano Dame Nellie Melba.

The vineyard was planted exclusively to cabernet sauvignon in 1971 – before additional plantings were added in 1987, 1988, and 1990 – making De Bortoli home to some of the oldest plantings in the region.

The Melba block forms the backbone of the winery's premium cabernet programs and range. The fruit is picked and sorted by hand, and then in the winery the focus is on the full concentrated flavour and firm tannins to showcase the site, region and skill.

2018 De Bortoli Melba Vineyard

2018 De Bortoli Melba Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon

Bright, deep red with purple edges. Dense, mineral scented, blackcurrants, cedar wood, tobacco. Good intensity and persistence, silky with beautifully balanced tannins. Ripe blackberry, smoke, cedarwood and cocoa. Red currants and fresh cassis, touches of cloves and juniper, fine powdery tannins and a soft gentle finish. Elegance defined. Small parcels and each bottle is individually numbered, and the wine will develop over several decades.

The grapes receive the best possible treatment and are harvested in the cool of the evening, before being sorted and gravity fed into custom fermenters. Following a carefully controlled fermentation they spend 18 months in oak before being bottled and rest for a further 12 months. The wine itself has all the hallmarks of Yarra Valley nobility. Bright, medium red with no overt extraction. 

The Melba Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon has a rare combination of beautiful fruit character and structure – it is only produced in the best vintages. The inaugural vintage was the 2012, followed by the 2015 and then the 2017. The 2018 De Bortoli Melba Vineyard is proving to be another outstanding year for De Bortoli's flagship wine.

RRP $159.95 | Drink to 2033

2021 De Bortoli Melba Amphora

2021 De Bortoli Melba Amphora Cabernet Sauvignon

Bright, medium red. Haunting, ethereal, scented autumnal aromas. Mouth-filling flavours, quite supple, fine tannin, gentle, earthen and complex. Lighter initially but a very stable colour and fine tannin and with a bright ageing future.

The fruit is hand-picked, meticulously sorted and destemmed to 1000 litre amphoras. The skins are hand-plunged during fermentation, the amphora is topped and the wine sat quietly for 120 days, soaking up colour from the skins and softening the tannin. The fruit and wine were removed from the amphora, before being pressed from the skins and then matured for a further 150 days in amphora and older French oak. The wine was then gravity racked, settled and bottled.

RRP $79.95 | Drink to 2033

Melba reserve bottle shot

2017 De Bortoli Melba Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon

Dense, full, really nice texture and feel to the wine. Dark red with purple hue. Deeply scented notes of blackberry, leaf and cedar wood. Sweet dark fruits, fine tannins, textural, long, smooth and polished. 

Traditional style, rich characteristics, nice grainy tannins. Fruit is de-stemmed followed by light crushing. Individual vineyard batches were fermented in a stainless steel fermenter, on skins for up to 30 days. At the desired balance of fruit and tannin extraction each batch was gently pressed. The individual parcels were racked to new and used French oak after pressing. Regular rankings over an 18-month period ensured the individual wines were at their best prior to blending.

It is a wine that lives a long time. Chief winemaker Steve Webber and the team make the Reserve in a slightly softer style by leaving it in the barrel for 18 months to soften. The wine then starts to mature over a 3–4 year old period.

RRP $59.95 | Drink to 2033

For more information and to shop the Melba range visit debortoli.com.au.