2021 Rylstone Estate 'Aviatrix' Cabernet-Shiraz


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Brought to you by Rylstone Estate

“A whole berry co-ferment of 80/20% cabernet sauvignon/shiraz. Maturation for eight months in French oak (40% new). Elderberry, red plum, blackberry leaf and dried sage. Liquorice root, clove and cedar varnish. There is a sandy quality to the tannins and a crunch of acid. Concentrated black fruits shine in this medium-weighted, classic Australian red blend.” Shanteh Wale - 90 Points, 2024Halliday Wine Companion.


Inspired by the ‘Great Australian Wine Blend’ – Shiraz + Cabernet. When the first Australian winemakers visited France to expand their knowledge, they discovered that often small quantities of Shiraz or Syrah were used in Burgundy and Bordeaux when a vintage was underripe and lacking flavour. With this knowledge, they returned to Australia intentionally seeking to create wines with a blend of Shiraz and Burgundy or Bordeaux varieties. The most famous of these new world wine blends was Penfolds Grange – initially a Shiraz and Cabernet blend. Our intention was to follow these trailblazers and create a similar blend, but this time in a cool climate appellation. The outcome – an elegant yet highly aromatic wine. The logo is designed to pay homage to pioneering female aviators like Amelia Earhart, Baroness Raymonde de Laroche, Nancy-Bird Walton or Katharine Wright. All trailblazers and great role models for everyone – particularly our daughters.

By: Will de Beaurepaire & James Wilkinson


The vineyard is located above Rylstone in the Central Ranges GI of NSW (40km southeast of Mudgee, 70km northeast of Bathurst). It was planted in 1998, with a mixture of Bordeaux, Rhône, and Burgundy varieties with the intention of selling most of the grapes whilst organically growing wine production. The decision to plant the vineyard at this location over other established winegrowing regions (including family winemaking operations in the Yarra Valley) was due to the similarity of the terroir to Burgundy. The vineyard is in a mountain valley, 150 kilometres from the coast in the Great Dividing Range. It is planted on North facing slopes rising from the Cudgegong River to an altitude of 650m. Geologically, the vineyard is planted on an Ordovician-era (450 MY ago) coral reef with shallow sandy and sandy-loam soils on limestone. The limestone was mined nearby until recently by Kandos Cement. The altitude, distance from ocean and poor heat retention of the soil and limestone, creates an inland continental climate as cool as Central Otago in New Zealand and Tasmania in Australia during the growing season with extreme diurnal variation – late Sept/Oct Budburst, Jan/Feb Veraison and March/April Harvest.


Sourced from A Block Shiraz (Clone SA1654) and B Block Cabernet Sauvignon (Clone SA125) with an average vine age of 22 years at the time of harvest.

Vintage Conditions: Thanks to drought breaking rain over Winter in 2020, the soil moisture of the soil was high, and budburst was early on 28 September 2020. The summer was relatively cool, with rainfall ensuring very active canopy management. A year for great acidity. This wine was initial planned on being a ShirazCabernet, but a late storm the week before harvest caused the near entire loss of the Shiraz.

Harvest (yield): Individually selected parcels of Cabernet and Shiraz were picked on 27 March and 30 March respectively. The harvest of the Cabernet was intentionally earlier to access a lighter, lower alcohol, crisper style of Cabernet Sauvignon. Average yield was 6.5t/ha (~39hl/ha)


The Shiraz was cold soaked for 48 hours to ensure that the Cabernet and Shiraz could be co-fermented. Both varieties were very gently pressed for 24 hours. 15% whole berries in fermenter. Co-Fermentation in potter tanks for 13 days on skins. Pumped over (Remontage) to extract colour and tannin. Juices from the last pressing were not retained. Fined with Vegecoll. Vegan friendly.


8 months in 2 to 3-year-old French (Taransaud) barriques. The oak was medium grained and medium toasted and sourced from numerous French forests.

Analysis: pH3.5, TA 6.4g/l, RS 0.8g/l, VA 0.43 g/l


Cool climate interpretation of a classic Australian wine blend, with plum black cherry and blackcurrant palate. Hints of spice and black pepper with red fruit aromatics. Rich velvet colour with fine, light tannin structure.


Slow cooked beef cheek and smoked celeriac, BBQ beef short ribs or lamb shoulder with a curry mayo. Think broccoli rabe, grilled radicchio roasted Brussel sprouts and Mash. Baked Cauliflower. Spicy dished will be given an extra zing with this wine.


Cellaring potential: 15+ years (2036+)

VARIETAL MIX: 80% Cabernet Sauvignon, 20% Shiraz/Syrah

ALCOHOL: 13.0%

GI: Central Ranges (Rylstone), NSW, Australia.