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6 November 2006

Yalumba 'The Octavius' – An OUTSTANDING wine

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Yalumba OctaviusYalumba 'The Octavius' Old Vine Shiraz 2002 [Barossa] announced winner of the 'Penfolds Trophy for Best Australian Red Wine' at the 2006 International Wine & Spirit Competition [IWSC].

"Last years' inclusion of 'The Octavius' in The Langton's Classification as 'Outstanding' was somewhat of a coming of age and reflected the confluence of better fruit selection, more tailored small scale fermentations, and a more sensitive oak regime. Recognition also, that the wine had graduated from being an eye-catcher to a serious attempt at carving out a wine of provenance" says Brian Walsh, Yalumba's Director of Winemaking.

Founded in 1969, The International Wine and Spirit Competition is the premier competition of its kind in the world, with an aim to promote the quality and excellence of the world's best wines, spirits and liqueurs. The tasting comments were more typically British in their restraint, but nonetheless aptly describe what a drinker might expect on putting 'The Octavius' to the lips. "Intense aromas... Satin smooth yet fair amount of tannins in orderly mode. Long lasting finish suggesting lots of potential development still to come."

Since 1990, Yalumba 'The Octavius' has been made from old vine Barossa Shiraz, matured in specially made octaves by the Yalumba coopers, a name they coined to describe a barrel an eighth of the size of a standard cask. "Having our own cooperage, seasoning our oak, crafting our own oak barrels and continuing to use 100 litre octaves (sic) – though no longer exclusively – are all integral to us establishing a thumbprint on the wine that targets inimitability", explains Brian.

The 2002 vintage of 'The Octavius' is the current release of this wine in line with Yalumba’s policy of at least four years maturation before release of their rare and fine reds. Parcels of fruit from the 2002 vintage were sourced from several distinguished old vineyards mainly in the Light Pass and Marananga sub-regions of the Barossa Valley, as well as some in the higher, cooler Eden Valley region of the Barossa.

The vintage was indeed exemplary. The weather remained mild and dry over the long ripening period – in fact the month of January experienced the lowest day temperatures on record. The end result is a wine with great colour, varietal flavour and intensity.

Soft, velvety and sumptuous, the palate is a voluptuous concoction of blackberries, cherries, dark chocolates and creamy vanilla oak. The length is remarkable and the balance exceptional.

These successes in the United Kingdom and Australia are paralleled in the USA, where last year Robert Parker Jr. scored 'The Octavius' 2002 at 96+ points, noting it as a wine of "supreme quality, with a singular personality as well as 20-25 years of aging potential".

Click here to view the Yalumba 'The Octavius' Barossa Old Vine Shiraz 2002 tasting note.

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