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Travis Schultz
06 April 2020

Nocturne, Cabernet 2018

When the eponymous James Halliday awards his winemaker of the year, the industry sits up and takes notice. So, when Western Australian winemaker, Julian Langworthy, was awarded winemaker of the year when Halliday announced his 2019 winners, it was yet another feather in the cap for the chief winemaker for the Fogarty Wine Group. Having won the coveted Jimmy Watson in 2016, Julian and his wife, Alana, are now tasting success with their Nocturne label – a little side project they embarked upon using fruit from Margaret River vineyards.
If you ask Alana, the Nocturne story started with a special vineyard called “Tassell Park” – a south facing vineyard in Treeton, east of Cowaramup, where its cooler and two different clones work in tandem to work their magic in creating mineralic and acid intense wines. But since those early days, the Nocturne market darlings have been the rosé (largely made on a nebbiolo grape) and their cabernets. And it seems that their secret sauce is the sourcing of the right grape from the right vineyard to allow the fruit to allow each varietal to put its best foot forward.
The nebbiolo fruit used in the Nocturne rosé comes from a few different vineyards. In the past, it has come from the Letedal vineyard which you’ll find not far off the Busselton Highway as you drive towards the Margaret River, but moving forwards the plan is to use a blend of nebbiolo from the Watson Vineyard in Wilyabrup and tempranillo from their vineyard at Yallingup – a district on the coast immediately to the north of Wilyabrup. It may not be made in a Provencal style, but it is apparently inspired by the pink wines from Bandol which can develop with time in the cellar. The current release is perhaps more pale salmon than pink and is very fruit forward. Just what the doctor ordered for a lazy lunch on these warm summer afternoons!
As much as I enjoy the Margaret River chardonnay and rosé, to my palate, the star of the side is their cabernet. It’s a varietal that just seems to do well in the temperate climate of the Geographe Bay region. Combine the influence of the Indian Ocean with only moderate rainfall and long dry ripening season and it’s a sure-fire recipe for success
The 2018 Nocturne Cabernet is currently on the shelves and is drinking beautifully despite its youth. There’s a delightful purple hue in the glass and a recognisable Margaret River perfume on the nose. This vintage is made from fruit off the Sheoak Vineyard but has a lashing (13%) of merlot from their neighbour’s property to add softness across the middle. You have to admire the fleshiness of the fruit in a wine of only medium weight. And it’s well priced at around $30 a bottle and every bit the equal of some of the higher priced reds from the region. Two parts quality fruit and one part winemaking talent; the 2018 edition of the Nocturne Cabernet is certainly one to look out for!
Price: $30
Wine Category: Cabernet Sav
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Travis Schultz is a wine reviewer for the Sunshine Coast Daily and The Grape Hunter extend their thanks to the Sunshine Coast Daily for allowing re-publication of his reviews