Blend: 47% Cabernet Sauvignon, 32% Merlot, 21% Shiraz
Owned by Susan and Paul McNaughton, Graceland is a family run boutique winery, specialising in red wine. Susan, the driving force behind the winery, takes on the roles of marketer, winemaker and viticulturist whilst Paul attends to the farm’s administration and financial needs. During harvest, everyone lends a hand, even the children and dogs.
The Graceland wine making philosophy starts in the vineyard where no insecticides are used and minimal spraying. Special attention is paid to pruning, canopy cover and limiting production in line with producing top quality grapes. The most important decision each year is when to pick and this is done in small batches according to the microclimate which determines when each row becomes optimally ripe. As to winemaking, we are very natural in our approach. Only grapes and nitrogen. Our sulphur dioxide levels are considerably lower than average.
The grapes are de-stemmed into open fermenters. The skins are hand plunged 4 times per day. After 8 days the wine is pressed; pressed wine and free run are combined. It is then racked to oak barrels where malolactic fermentation takes place.
The above techniques are geared towards low intervention with the use of oxidative rackings as a key feature. The oxidation causes unstable colour, tannin and flavour to polymerize and “drop out of the wine”. It also eliminates off odours. The resulting wines only have stable constituents left which means the wines will age well, probably 7 – 10 years. In summary, these wines are big and flavoursome with good tannin structures.