"Smells like hope, tastes like dreams" - Nocturne
The words muttered by Julian Langworthy as we stared out at a perfect Margerat River Sunset in a pre-covid Australia in Feb this year. He was refering to Cabernet, Cabernet Sauvignon to be precise, and 18 hours later, we were the converted!
Nocturne is the project of Alana and Julian Langworthy, the Jimmy Watson winning, Deep Woods winemaker who is making a profound impact on Australian wine far beyond his West Australian base, but thats a story for another time. The story for today is the release of the sub-regional wines under his Nocturne label, and whilst the aromatically hopeful and dream like taste of his Cabernet Sauvignon is the flagship, the Sangiovese dominant rose and inspiring Chardonnay round out a wonderful trio of wines that we think is worthy of your drinking attention. It would be folly to offer our own tasting notes when Julian and Alana's are this good. Read on to hear about the wines in their own words.
2020 Nocturne Sub-Regional Sangiovese Nebbiolo Rosé Carbunup
2020: f*ck me, what a year. This wine is, however, a beacon of deliciousness.Sangiovese is again the dominant player in this blend, with more than 80% this year.We then have around 17% Nebbiolo, and for some reason we stuck in around 3%Brown Muscat, too. Don’t tell anyone; it didn’t make it to the label, but it made it to theamazing aroma. This wine is fine, ethereally light and delicious - so much so that youneed to remind yourself it’s not just exceptionally tasty spring water.
The fruit comes from the sub-region of Carbunup in Margaret River, with the sitesbeing relatively flat and warm with fertile, red sandy soils. The Sangiovese washarvested on 18th February and the Nebbiolo just behind it on 24th - almost six weeksearlier than the previous year. The Sangiovese fruit was simply destemmed, chilled andpressed using only the free-run fraction of the juice. It was then fermented atmoderate temperatures using, as always, indigenous yeasts only. It was then maturedon gross lees for three months post-fermentation to add additional texture.
The Nebbiolo was hand-picked and, after chilling, the fruit was whole bunch-presseddirectly to old oak for fermentation. Fermentation took close to eight weeks and thewine received a further 10 weeks’ maturation in barrel. At this stage the final blendbetween Sangiovese and Nebbiolo was decided, and the wine was emptied fromtank/barrel, settled, filtered, sulphured and bottled on 16th July.
This wine is, in keeping with the theme of SR2, pretty damn cool. The texture and acidstructure are impeccable but it’s the extreme drinkability that has me - and in a yearwhen you might need it! As always, best drunk from magnum, on a boat, wearingwhite.... It’s a pale salmon dream. – Alana & Julian Langworthy
2019 Nocturne Sub-Regional Chardonnay Treeton
Treeton: It’s a weird little area full of hillbillies, dairy cows and, interestingly, somegreat Chardonnay vineyards. Cold at night, warm in the day with deep silver-greysands that we think produce special Chardonnay. This wine is a combination of twoawesome Treeton vineyards: the original and favourite Tassell Park; and a new vineyard called Grace & White.
I know you’re all sick of hearing it, but it was again a very good vintage. Quite long and largely cool, therewas some disease pressure but not too much and, as such, it all worked out pretty damn fine. The seasonwas Goldilocksesque in terms of picking dates. As always these vineyards were some of the last picked on5th and 9th April, a couple of weeks later than in 2018.
The grapes were harvested by hand and whole bunch-pressed directly to new, one- and two-year-old puncheons, with a smattering of barriques for good measure. We did no settling or fining. This juice was then very carefully neglected and allowed to undergo spontaneous fermentation, which kicked off on day five after pressing. After a six-week ferment the wine remained on gross lees unsulphured until August ofthat year. In November it was emptied from barrel, settled, filtered and bottled.
This wine is, unsurprisingly, super cool. It’s pale green, redolent of white stone fruits and the suggestion of flint and funk. So pure, and finer than the 2018 - but the texture and length of flavour are to die for. Chardonnay is what Jesus made when he turned water into wine, it’s also why we winemakers have a God complex. – Alana & Julian Langworthy
2019 Nocturne Sub-Regional Cabernet Sauvignon, Yallingup
Yallingup is our stomping ground and where the world’s greatest Cabernet and Cabernet blends are being grown! It’s deliciously warm but never hot, with the amazing dual influence of the Indian Ocean and Geographe Bay. For this year’s Cabernets we have used our own beloved Sheoak Cabernet and added some of our neighbour’s Merlot from the Simpson property, with which we’re lucky enough to share the amazing valley. The new and final player is a slinky little parcel of Malbec from Deep Woods just over the hill, to really make this wine pop.
The 2019 vintage in Margaret River and for Cabernet fit perfectly with this year’s theme: It was, like all the wines, cool. But in God’s own country of the Yallingup Hills, that presented no problem as we had a lovely April just getting the right amount ofconcentration into the fruit while retaining elegance and natural charm.We started picking on 13th April and from the moment the fruit hit the fermenter the elegance and understated charm of these wines was evident. Instantly perfumed and richly coloured,the wine spent 12 days on skins with a peak fermentation temperature of around 26 ̊C. The wine was pressed to tank and settled briefly, before being transferred to a combination of new (25%) and two- and three-year-old barrels to undergo malolactic fermentation. It was racked only once in this time and, after 14 months in oak, was emptied from barrel. At this juncture we decided on the final make-up: 53% Cabernet Sauvignon; 35 % Merlot; and 12% Malbec.
These wines were then settled together, clarified and bottled. Cabernet is king and long will it reign in our eyes. If this modern blend doesn’t resonate hugely with you, then we have little faith in your imagination. It’s expressive, medium-bodied and approachable. A cassis-laced dream, if you will. – Alana & Julian Langworthy