Balnaves The Tally Cabernet Sauvignon 2008


22nd February, 2013

Sarah Ahmed

…Bowled me over with its charge of tannins and sheer concentration and purity of cassis – classic mint and chocolate notes too. Big it may be but with everything perfectly in balance.


The nose is lifted with perfumed red berries, violets and wild blackberry fruit coming from the Petit Verdot. The palate is medium bodied and restrained in style with tight dense fruit and a modulated structure showing balance and depth of fruit, flowing onto a long finish of chewy tannins. This is a compact but deeply flavoured Tally.


Among his many pursuits, Doug Balnaves was a shearer of Merino sheep. A shearer in Australia is paid by the number of sheep he shears. Counted every two hour period, the Tally is recorded in the Tally book. The higher the Tally, the greater the recognition among his peers for skill and hard work. As an expression of this tradition, the Balnaves family see the wine ‘The Tally‘ as the ultimate achievement for their company. Balnaves` 35 hectares of Cabernet Sauvignon vineyards are split up into sub blocks (some just 1 hectare each), on the basis of soil, clone variation, trellis type etc. This enables Balnaves to program different treatments for these smaller areas. Supplementary water can be supplied using a central computer system, but at least one third of the vineyard has not been watered for five years. The vines are trained on a single wire. The fruit for this wine is sourced from their Dead Morris Vineyard (79%) and Quarry Block vineyard (21%).

A very dry winter again without normal winter rains, however we did get 200mm of late winter rain preceding budburst. Spring brought several frosts, which caused damage in a small area, but the frosts were restricted to low lying areas and were limited to a short period unlike last years 5 weeks of widespread frost. Those vines affected this year had time to recover and produced a crop. Overall, as they settle down the 2008 vintage wines look to be very good, lovely ripe perfumed wines with medium body, lovely balance and soft tannins, similar in style perhaps to 2006.

56% of the blend received a long maceration on skins. Maturation was for 16 months in new fine-grained barrels from Seguin Moreau, Saury and Sylvain cooperages, before light egg fining and bottling in December 2009 under Procork.


96% Cabernet Sauvignon
4% Petit Verdot

14.5% abv

Balnaves  The Tally Cabernet Sauvignon 2008
Product Images (click to enlarge)
  • Balnaves  The Tally Cabernet Sauvignon 2008