Snake & Herring Calypso Cabernet Franc
Cabernet Franc and Merlot are often maligned from Margaret River as not being quite as good, nor as consistent as Cabernet Sauvignon. Both stars in their home of Bordeaux neither seem to have travelled as well as the stunning Cabernet Sauvignon. Genetics, rootstocks, viruses, poor site selection; these have all played a part in the lesser performance, perceived and actual, of Cabernet Franc and Merlot. However there are sites where the stars do align and grapes of great intensity and complexity are grown. We were seduced by the possibilities of this blend.
We source the Merlot from 2 vineyards, both mature and on hungry laterite gravels with mixes of weathered granite sand, loam and underlying clay. The Cabernet Franc and Sauvignon come from a single vineyard with a superb northern aspect on top of a ridge of lateritic gravelly loam on granite and limestone outcrops. Both vineyards are mature (20+ years old) and yield less than 5t/ha.
De-stemmed into open top fermenters each variety is fermented separately (half “wild”) and hand-plunged until dryness. All ferments are then left on skins up to 4 weeks to build and soften the mouthfeel of the tannins. Maturation is in 34% new French oak 225L barriques and 66% one year old 500L puncheons. We love puncheons because they’re big and heavy and stuff.
The 2012 Calypso is a fine addition the extensive back catalogue of Snake and Herring wines. Plum, mulberry, rose petal, fresh turned earth and dried herbs lead this unusual blend into plush, layered succulence through the palate. Tannins are grainy, drying yet balancing and long with a finish of floral, ripe cherry and cedar notes. Oak is absolutely integrated and adds a near creamy note.