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Yalumba releases seventh vintage of The Caley and 50th vintage of The Signature

By J'aime Cardillo

22 May, 2024

Yalumba in the Eden Valley is celebrating its 175th year with two icon wines. On June 1, Yalumba will release its seventh vintage of The Caley, along with the 50th vintage of The Signature.

Yalumba is celebrating a milestone year. This year marks the 175th anniversary for Australia's oldest family owned winery. Yalumba has released its seventh vintage of the flagship The Caley Cabernet Shiraz. The first day of winter also marks the 50th vintage release of The Signature Cabernet Shiraz, which has been dedicated to Chris Gerhardy.

The Eden Valley winery has had a keen focus on cabernet and shiraz for over 100 years, and The Caley is a result of its unwavering commitment to those varieties. The cabernet sauvignon comes from Coonawarra, while the shiraz hails from the Barossa, making The Caley a multi-regional 'super claret'.

Yalumba winemaker Kevin 'KG' Glastonbury says the 2019 vintage was mild and dry, resulting in a wine of great expression.

Kevin 'KG' GlastonburyKevin 'KG' Glastonbury.

Robert Hill-Smith, who is a fifth generation Hill-Smith, says The Caley needs little introduction as the vintages that have come before it have been nothing short of memorable. “Having followed the development of this wine since 2019, I cannot help but be thrilled with this release and its strong definition of the cabernet and shiraz blend. It was an even ripening season, delivering fruit with fine tannins, natural acidity and strong varietal flavours. We had many options for our blend, but our Coonawarra cabernet D-block was exceptional again this year due largely to the fanatical attention to detail from our viticultural team,” says Robert.

“This has been beautifully balanced with the flavoursome old-vine shiraz grown by the Schrapel family in the foothills of the southern Barossa Valley.”

The Caley honours Fred Caley Smith – a horticulturist and the grandson of Yalumba’s founder Samuel Smith – and his impact on Yalumba’s vineyards and orchards.

Christopher Gerhardy and Robert Hill-SmithChristopher Gerhardy and Robert Hill-Smith.

Alongside The Caley is the 50th vintage of The Signature Cabernet Sauvignon Shiraz. The 2021 is dedicated to packaging and development manager Christopher Gerhardy. Each release of the icon wine honours the signature and story of a Yalumba team member who has made a significant contribution to the culture and traditions of the winery. Chris is a third-generation Yalumba employee, who started on the bottling line in 1972. He has given 51 years of service. “This man is remarkable, and his family have been remarkable contributors for over three generations, serving 145 years cumulatively here at Yalumba,” says Robert.

“To say I have seen it all is an understatement. From complete manual processing to full automation, corks to screw caps, glue to pressure-sensitive labels, two-litre wine boxes and the demise of port, there has been massive change, not for a moment forgetting the impact of the computer on label design and delivery. I have seen it all,” Christopher said.

“The 2021 vintage was near perfect, presenting an impressive wine of balance, style and defined fruit characteristics,” says Robert. “It is a very fitting wine for the 50th release.”

Dave Brookes' Yalumba tasting notes

2019 Yalumba The Caley Cabernet Shiraz Coonawarra Barossa Valley

2019 Yalumba The Caley Cabernet Shiraz, Coonawarra Barossa Valley

The Caley from Yalumba has quickly established itself as one of the benchmark wines in the 'Great Australian Blend' category. An elegant representation of how well Coonawarra cabernet sauvignon and Barossa shiraz (at 77/23 per cent split) can work together in the right hands. There is a black-fruited intensity to its form, fine spice and cedar tones suffusing slowly through the wine with tobacco, dried herbs, pressed flowers, pencil shavings, cinnamon and roast beef. Texturally, it's a stunning wine: super pure black fruits, a silken flow, fine, powdery tannin, lacy acidity and a graceful, extended retreat from the mouth with lingering black fruit flavours, cedar and spice. – Dave Brookes, Halliday Wine Companion, 98 points

RRP $370 | Drink to 2050

2021 Yalumba The Signature Cabernet Sauvignon Shiraz Barossa

2021 Yalumba The Signature Cabernet Sauvignon Shiraz, Barossa

This wine could easily be in the running for one of the best 2021 wines from the region. Deep in colour with stunning purity across the spectrum of blackberry, black cherry and dark plum fruits. Fragrant with citrus and almond blossom notes, aniseed, cedar, new leather, tobacco, panforte, bay leaf, wood spice and Christmas cake. Sporting a stunning fruit density and tension, it glides, thick with fine, billowing tannin, with a pitch-perfect cadence across the palate, lacy acidity playing its part in focusing the wine's intrinsic elements with aplomb. Pure, vital and beautifully composed. It's sure to be a classic. – Dave Brookes, Halliday Wine Companion, 97 points

RRP $70 | Drink to 2054

Yalumba's The Caley and The Signature are available from June 1, 2024. For more information, visit yalumba.com.

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