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24/10/2014

Cab Sauv takes two steps forward

This week marked a big step forward for indigenous grape varieties White Cabernet Sauvignon (Shalistin) and Bronze Cabernet Sauvignon (Malian).

Mac Cleggett from Cleggett Wines in Langhorne Creek has signed an agreement with the Riverland Vine Improvement Committee (RVIC), giving them sole opportunity to propagate and sell planting material to Riverland grapegrowers.

“Working with RVIC is the perfect fit for our indigenous varieties” Mac said.

“RVIC supports a growing band of innovative grapegrowers who are at the leading edge of trialling a number of overseas grape varieties.

“Now there is an exciting opening to further develop two of our unique Australian grape varieties.”

The agreement will allow RVIC to produce propagated materials in the form of grafted vines and develop a source block at its Monash property for further planting material privileged to the Riverland wine region.

Cleggett Wines has taken these two varieties through an extensive process of scientific investigation to registration on international data bases, as well as development of wine styles suited to the grapes. 

In the past wines made from both varieties have won a string of awards with the 2003 White Cabernet Sauvignon winning a gold medal in 2014, as an 11-year-old drop. 

Following its success, Cleggett Wines sold some of the earlier vintages of the white wine into China with another larger order on the horizon. 

A small percentage of White Cabernet has been blended with Cabernet Sauvignon to produce the multi-gold and silver medal wine named Men of Kent.

Mac said the wines are so successful due to the many growing advantages of these indigenous grapes.

“Both the white and bronze grapes have delayed budburst and medium to loose bunches, standing up to disease and weather pressures as well, better than their parent Cabernet Sauvignon vines," he said.

The white wine in particular has proven to have excellent ageing potential and has been made into both still and sweet versions. 

The bronze Cabernet Sauvignon grapes are used for rosé and sparkling styles at present and may well be suited to fortified wine styles.

“I would love to see some of the Riverland growers make a sparkling white wine, grow it organically or biodynamically and nurture it to its full potential” Anne McLennan, a partner in Cleggett Wines said.

“These varieties have been like our children for the past 15 years as we have worked through the minefield of bureaucracy and nurtured the vines and wines to a point where they can now leave the nest."

Mac said he is happy to support the RVIC and the progressive growers “in what we hope will be a fruitful collaboration leading to success for the Riverland and for these two Australian varieties”.

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