Murdoch Hill has been in the Downer family since 1939 but vines were first planted here only in 1998. The farm is on the eastern side of the Adelaide Hills in the Onkaparinga Valley, with 21 hectares of vineyard on shallow red loam soils packed with schist and limestone and up to 516 metres above sea level. Since taking over the winemaking reins in 2012, Michael Downer has taken the farm’s wines to similar heights.
The 2017 Red Blend comprises Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Shiraz. The first and last of those are from a predominantly east-facing slope that produces fruit of great finesse by avoiding the harsh afternoon sunshine. Soil is mainly sandy loam over clay, with varying levels of ironstone, quartz and schist.
Whole bunches were hand-harvested and de-stemmed into open fermenters. The wine was matured in older French barriques for 10 months before bottling unfined and unfiltered.
This is a really fresh, herbaceous red blend displaying typically lifted Cabernet aromas of mulberry, the Merlot brings bright plummy notes, overall it's a persistently red fruited wine with soft tannins and vibrant acidity.