WINE: MÉTHODE EUCALYPT
VARIETY: CABERNET SAUVIGNON
CELEBRATING AUSTRALIAN TERROIR CHARACTER
This winemaking experiment explores the impact of Red Gum (Eucalyptus Camaldulensis) tree proximity to vineyards and their influence on Cabernet Sauvignon aroma and flavour.
If you liked last year’s Méthode Eucalypt, you’ll like this year’s even more. It’s more balanced than last year and lower alcohol. FLAVOUR PROFILE: Rich and earthy, with a hint of spice. Eucalyptus, sage and blackberry flavours.
Méthode Eucalypt celebrates our beautiful Heritage-listed red gums, and brings a spirit of curiosity and creativity to our winemaking process.
"Balanced eucalyptus aromas and flavours add to the Cabernet Sauvignon’s complexity, creating a uniquely Australian wine. It is a wine that expresses terroir in the true sense of the word." (Boutique Wine Show)
RESPONSE TO ED.01
Winemaker Luke Tocaciu describes the response to Méthode Eucalypt:
“When we launched Méthode Eucalypt last year, I really had no idea what people would think. I knew it would create a bit of interest and ruffle some feathers in the industry. I didn't know how it would be received from a taste perspective.
But everyone who tried it really loved it. Everyone loved the story and the romance of picking the fruit around the gum trees, and how that influenced the wine and brought in a subtle Australian flavour.
Winemakers who have tried it were also impressed - I even received emails from the scientists who I based this experiment off, and they absolutely loved it. They were happy that someone was embracing this Australian terroir character, and saying "Hey, this is part of our story"."
CREATING METHODE EUCALYPT
Luke Tocaciu says;
"Méthode Eucalypt v.2021 was an interesting experiment, because we picked more grapes than in the first year, due to how popular the wine was and how quickly it sold out. So with the proximity around the gum trees, it was hard to predict how much eucalypt flavour was going to be in the final wine.
This is something that I don't want to get wrong, balance is everything when it comes to wine. We did two tonnes of this one this year (which is double what we did last year), and the result turned out amazing.
It's a rich style, and the eucalypt character this year behaved differently compared to the year before.
Vintage 2020 was a cool season for Cabernet, creating wines that were more elegant and light. We picked quite late to achieve desired ripeness, this resulted in more elegant tannins (which Coonawarra is known for) and softer fruit flavours.
2021 on the other hand was a big, rich, fruit-driven year for Cabernet. We picked earlier as the ripeness was already there, and this really shines through in the wine."
FLAVOUR PROFILE - WINEMAKER'S NOTES
Luke Tocaciu describes the flavour differences between the first and second edition of Méthode Eucalypt:
"The eucalypt flavour this year is quite pronounced when you first smell it, but then quickly develops into a luscious cherry raspberry character. You pick up the hint of eucalypt, then the fruit flavours come through after that.
Méthode Eucalypt has more acidity this year than it did in 2020. I think it is overall better balanced, with the fruit, acidity and alcohol in quite a good balance with the eucalyptus a little more in the background. It is slightly lower alcohol, and feels softer and perhaps a bit more savoury to me.
It reminds me a lot of a Grenache with that spicy drinking red fruit character. I’m really excited about it."
This trial was testing the hypothesis that vineyards amongst gum trees take on some aroma and flavour of Eucalyptus. Grapes were mechanically harvested in close proximity to Red Gums into 1T bins. The resultant wine showed significantly increased Eucalyptus aroma and flavour. This matured into a distinctly Australian Cabernet Sauvignon that expresses the environment and place in which it was grown.
It has been well documented that Eucalyptus trees in close proximity to vineyards have an influence on the resultant wine flavour.
The molecule on the label is 1, 8 Cineole (figure 1). This is the compound produced by Eucalyptus trees and is responsible for the resultant aroma in the wine.
One scientific article found that concentrations of 1, 8 Cineole increased with the proximity to Eucalyptus trees and that levels were found to be highest in the vine leaves, followed by grape stems, then the grapes themselves. For this reason, the choice was made to mechanically harvest, allowing more leaves, stalks and matter other than grapes (MOG), to be present in the ferment.
The article also found that the highest contributor to levels of 1, 8 Cineole in the final wine was the presence of gum leaves in the MOG and resultant fermentation.