In a sense, Yalumba’s The Signature, a cabernet sauvignon/shiraz blend first released in 1962, reads like a history of the winery. Each vintage is named in honour of an employee or person who has made a significant contribution to culture and traditions of the company.
The Signature itself holds a very special place not only in the history of Yalumba but in the winemaking history of Australia. As the winery notes, “In a market largely obsessed with single-varietal wines, Yalumba has remained steadfast in its commitment to that most Australian of wine styles, the Cabernet Sauvignon and Shiraz blend.”
Director of Winemaking Brian Walsh is in fact so enthusiastic about the style that a number of years ago he convinced the prestigious Royal Adelaide Wine Show to add cabernet/shiraz and shiraz/cabernet blends as a separate class. Together with The Great Australian Red – a wine competition exclusively limited to Australian examples of the blend, these shows are lifting the profile of this unique Australian wine style.
The Signature is a consistently high scoring wine. Robert Parker of The Wine Advocate scored the 2002 vintage 96+ points, and The Wine Spectator awarded the 2005 vintage 92 points. Here’s Harvey Steiman’s glowing review: “Smooth, velvety and beautifully focused to show the depth of ripe currant, blackberry, grilled meat and smoke notes that don’t quit on the long, deftly balanced finish. Cabernet Sauvignon and Shiraz. Drink now through 2015.” (Tasting Note, The Wine Spectator, 30 September 2009).
I have a friend who absolutely raves about the quality and value for money of The Signature. It typically sells for around 30 per cent less than its similarly regarded peers. I think the Wine Advocate’s Lisa Perrotti-Brown had a point when she remarked that “Yalumba’s top wines should not be overlooked amongst the limelight-hogging young-gun wines that have sprung-up around the Barossa in the last 20 years.” (Wine Advocate # 192 Dec 2010)
The Signature, a wine that draws its fruit from some of the finest vineyards in the Barossa, displays the best of what Yalumba offers – superlative winemaking skill and a never flinching emphasis on top quality.