19/12/2006 - 22:00

Capel Vale cabernet rises to the challenge

19/12/2006 - 22:00

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It may be a challenging time to release a new cabernet, but a gold trophy win at the prestigious National Wine Show of Australia, held in Canberra recently, has provided Capel Vale chief executive Peter Pratten with confidence in his decision to release a

Capel Vale cabernet rises to the challenge

It may be a challenging time to release a new cabernet, but a gold trophy win at the prestigious National Wine Show of Australia, held in Canberra recently, has provided Capel Vale chief executive Peter Pratten with confidence in his decision to release a new red.

Capel Vale’s 2005 Margaret River Cabernet Sauvignon is the first produced from its Margaret River vineyard, which it bought nearly a decade ago. The wine was one of two to be awarded top gold in its class at the Canberra show.

“We specifically held back on releasing our Margaret River red until the winemaking team was confident that it had reached an exceptional standard,” Dr Pratten says.

“Last year we felt that the vines had matured enough and that the wine making matched the quality of the fruit produced, so the time was right to release a Margaret River Cabernet.”

Capel Vale is also poised to re-brand its wine stable and, while the Capel Vale name and the iconic duck will remain a feature, the focus will shift to the region that the fruit in the bottle came from.

“More and more people are looking at not just Western Australia but the specific region, and while Margaret River is very well known the other regions are starting to become recognised as well,” Dr Pratten says.

Capel Vale, which owns vineyards in Capel, Mt Barker and Pemberton as well as Margaret River, hopes to release its new labels and product names by Easter.

While the grape glut, particularly in cabernet varieties, has caused heartache across the industry, Dr Pratten is confident Capel Vale’s Margaret River variety will strike a chord with the consumers.

The fruit was harvested from Capel Vale’s 40-hectare Madrigals Vineyard, located opposite Howard Park’s Margaret River vineyard on Miamup Road, just down the road from Vasse Felix.

“It took us five years to find the right site when we started looking,” Dr Pratten says.

“We decided that the land was the best in the area for growing cabernet because it was on the northern node of Margaret River.

"We thought that areas south of Margaret River produce fantastic fruit in the good years, but in an average year they [wineries] have trouble ripening the fruit.”

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