2018 Hugo George Sangiovese Merlot
The Story: I have always thought that grapes are an autumn fruit. I know that this is a controversial idea and one that will make some of my winemaking friends defensive. This theory has been fermenting in the back of my mind for the last 20 years and has only clarified since I have been making Southern Italian varieties from warm climates such as Heathcote.
Here is my contentious point; for classic varieties grown in their traditional homes, there is a strong correlation between their best vintages and an autumn harvest. This is because grapes picked in autumn have the best natural balance of sugar, acidity, tannin and flavour.
2018 vintage was characterized by warm days which are ideal for ripening Sangiovese. The weather stretched into autumn for a long ripening which aided flavour concentration in the fruit. Varieties were fermented separately and matured for 18 months in new French oak. The final blend is a picture-perfect marriage of flavour, texture, and richness.
The Wine: 50% Sangiovese, 31% Merlot, 19% Cabernet Franc. Hugo George is not often made but when it is, it’s an absolute delight. Savory notes of sour cherries, lavender, and plump, juicy Victoria Plumbs. The back palate has a woodfired, smokey finish with sweet spices and cured meat.