Why ‘The Harvester’ by Pieter Brueghel – The Elder.
1525 – 1569 Famous Dutch-Flemish artist.

Pieter Brueghel’s village paintings are full of real life. Village dances; wedding dances; wedding feasts; Hunting in the snow: Harvesting, many times just showing people enjoying themselves.

Marjorie and I felt that this situation of enjoying some of the finer things of life fitted our Marjico Wines in the same way. “Fine food: Fine Wines: and Fine friends: with great enjoyment.

In this painting “The Harvesters” are cutting flax – hard work indeed – so lunch was an enjoyable break. We have used the Brueghel Village paintings before so some may remember the quality of the paintings as well as the quality of the wines.

So Why Cabernet Franc?

Many years ago (1984) I was Consulting Winemaker/Manager to Kies Winery at Lyndoch in the southern Barossa Valley.
Walking into the fermentation room one morning there was a lovely floral smell of violets coming from one particular tank, something not experienced before. It was Cabernet Franc from Kies own vineyards, in full ferment.So distinctly violet-like I never forgot the circumstance, little knowing that one day I would be looking for it.

Little Cabernet Franc was grown in Barossa, and for that matter elsewhere in Australia in the 50s and 60s, and that begs the question, Why? Especially when Cabernet Franc is such a vital part of French winemaking. Well, the answer in Barossa was simple – prices paid for Cabernet Franc were low, and it was a “scatty” vine to pick (in days before mechanical harvesting), and lastly, the winemakers were not keen on the variety at all.

When we first started planting Merlot in Eden Valley in 1983 the research reading of winemaking in Pomerol and St Emilion had so many mentions of the use of Cabernet Franc that my curiosity about it just grew and grew, and of course, it jogged back clearly that memory of the Kies winery.

If Cabernet Franc is such a “big deal” in its home country, why wasn’t it so here in Australia?
As always curiosity gets the better of you and there was only one way to find out – make some yourself and try out all those combinations that the research had shown.

Will it work here? Who knows? Let’s try it.So armed with the information from the many readings, the trials began on the bench.Then tiny bottlings of these trials and finally a range of wines using Cabernet Franc in various combinations with Merlot; with Cabernet Sauvignon; and on its own. This resulted in two very successful wines.

As a Super Premium: The Baroness a combination of Grand Merlot from our Springhill Vineyard and the two Cabernets from Barossa. A combination of Grand Merlot from our Springhill Vineyard and the two Cabernets from Barossa. competition, winning many awards. And also “Red Horse” as our medium bodied blend of Estate Merlot and Cabernet Franc. Such a lovely rewarding, easy drinking wine with loads of flavour above the medium weighted style.

Try it when you find it. See if I am right after the second taste – or two.

Marjico Cabernet Franc – Barossa Valley – 2014 and 2015 Vintages

  • A major component in many European super deluxe chateau wines
  • Cheval Blanc is noted globally for its excellence, difference and rarity with a majority of Cabernet Franc in the blend with Merlot
  • Marjico Cabernet Franc follows the philosophy of (2) but with major differences of style and character while retaining excellence and rarity with absolute super premium quality.  The Merlot portion will be much less than Cheval Blanc and vintage dependent.
  • Of the 2,500 wineries in Australia, only eighty or so market a Cabernet Franc, and few achieve the super premium level
  • Only 5,000 tonnes per year crushed in Australia out of 1.7 million tonne total crush, so very scarce indeed
  • Only 300 dozen Marjico Cabernet Franc made each year; 750ml bottles; screwcap; six bottle cartons
  • Having made and blended Cabernet Franc for over twenty years, and tasted many others, I am confident of the varietal expression of Marjico as well as the super deluxe quality.  The classical Cabernet Franc floral/violet like lift both bouquet and taste are clearly expressed
  • Cabernet Franc is being recognised as the next “big thing” in wine discovery around the world, both in Europe and the Americas North and South
  • Vintage 2014 and 2015 currently available:  2014 the fuller bodied style; 2015 classical style
  • The varietal distinction for Cabernet Franc is its floral tones of violets on both bouquet and palate.  This, together with firm but soft Cabernet tannins and a little pluminess from the Merlot, is most rewarding.  The taste is deep without weightedness, while full flavoured without heaviness to the palate.  Unlike Cabernet Sauvignon there is no leafy firmness, nor tightness of tannins.

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