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The RAFI Drop: Bellwether Winery
Meet The Maker: Bellwether Wines
Discover the passion and craftsmanship behind this months RAFI Drop: 2016 Bellwether Cabernet Sauvignon Coonawarra, SA
At RAFI this June, we invite you to embark on a sensory journey as we delve into the world of premium wines and introduce you to the remarkable winemaker behind this month’s RAFI Drop. Sue Bell is a deep-thinking and talented winemaker whose wines are a true reflection of her passion, expertise, and commitment to crafting exceptional wines.
Keep scrolling to discover more about Sue Bell, her experience and expertise in the industry and gain insights into the winemaking process to produce such a beautiful wine.
Join us at RAFI from Monday 29th May – Saturday 1st July between 4pm – 6pm, to experience this wine at a reduced price as part of The RAFI Drop! This wine is also on our wine menu to order when dining with us.
About The Winemaker
Sue Bell, a renowned winemaker and approaches her craft with a philosophy rooted in selecting climate-appropriate varietals that showcase the unique characteristics of each region. Sue loves the classics but dabbles on the fringe with emerging Mediterranean varieties. Fragrance, texture, mouthfeel and lower alcohol are features of all her wines. Bellwether is a special place, that celebrates wine, nature, food, art, history and fun in equal measures, based in an 1868 stone shearing shed, it is a true reflection of the ‘things that matter’ to Sue.
Acknowledging and celebrating the ancient Aboriginal heritage of Australia and how that knowledge is sought to improve the culture of the Australian wine community and the long term connection and care for country is strong passion of Sue’s.
With a degree in Oenology from Adelaide Uni and some postgraduate studies in Viticulture, she has worked for some of the smallest and biggest wine companies in the world. Over 25 years experience in most South Australian regions, Tasmania, Victoria, New South Wales and vintages in California and Bordeaux.
About The Winery
Bellwether Wines is a small operation based in Coonawarra, run and owned by Sue Bell since 2009. The existing winery is an old sheep shearing shed that ironically came up for Auction on the same day Sue was made redundant from Hardy’s, “a wonderful twist of fate” as she puts it as it gave her the inspiration to start her own journey with Bellwether. The winery isn’t simply a site of production. Sue has made it a ‘slice of home’ for all visitors by offering monthly “Table of 10’s”.
Her wines are sourced from different regions around Australia where she has longstanding relationships with growers. Her love for the Limestone Coast and Tamar Valley was born during her time working for Southcorp and is now the focus of her wines. Coonawarra and Wrattonbully for its incredible Terra Rossa soils and high diurnal temperature range and the Tamar Valley for its incredible landscapes and natural cool climate.
Sue is a winemaker with a true connection to the place she calls home and a refreshing positive outlook on the world. Her great energy fills a room with a ray of sunshine and makes you feel at ease straight away.
About The RAFI Drop
2016 Bellwether Cabernet Sauvignon, Coonawarra SA
The fruit for the Cabernet Sauvignon comes from Mike and Brent Weatherall’s vineyard in Coonawarra. The vines were planted in the early 90’s and are now over 30 year old vines. The elevation in the vineyard provides an incredible difference in ripeness of different plots and rows. Sue is the earliest to pick in the vineyard as she wants to create wines that have liveliness, savouriness and elegance.
All vines on this vineyard are handpicked and hand-sorted. The juice undergoes a cold soak for 10-12 days in open top fermenters. 10% of the wine is kept on skins for 4-6 weeks and is blended after. After ferment, the wines are placed in Bordeaux Barriques of which 1/3 is new and the rest are 1 to 2 year old barrels for 18 months. After 18 months the wines are bottled and kept in the winery for another 3 to 4 years before release. A dark and deep Cabernet Sauvignon with depth and layers, lovely fine grained tannins and length with freshness. The wine on the nose has dark chocolate, black currant, cassis and a hint of cedar.
A little dried mint note, sage and rosemary and a deep earthy savouriness comes through on the mid palate. The wine is very layered with some secondary notes developing, mocha and tobacco leaf, well integrated into fine long grained tannins.