28th June 2009
The aim of this tasting was to compare wines from Bordeaux and Margaret River. It is my view that Margaret River region produces the best new world cabernets and in quality terms, the wines can match the best of Bordeaux. All wines were served blind and in pairs. The wines were matched for vintage, and with the odd exception (sorry guys), there was one from each region.
Style wise, the wines from Bordeaux wines were characterised by their firmer (but fine) tannins. The New World wines tended to have slightly riper fruit characters, but this was not uniform. The tasting highlighted the quality of wines from both regions, but also serves to highlight the much better value that the Australian wines offer. With the best Margaret River wines nudging $100, they represent better buying than the best bordeaux’s (the 2008 indents are charging $400 – $500 for 1st Growths).
Myles emphasized that our palates get used to certain styles of wines. This is very true, and people who only drink big Australian Reds would find some of these wines challenging. Preferences were spread across the group, with no real tendency towards one style or the other.
Thanks to Norbert and Kerry Fandry for hosting this tasting and dinner.
Vasse Felix – Cabernet – 1982. (17.5) Colour still bright with an orange rim. The nose is soft, fragrant and perfumed. There is a touch on mint and menthol, but the wine is balanced and smooth. The palate is fine, long and silky. The fruit is fading, and the tannins are soft but present.
Chateau Branaire Duluc-Ducru – Bordeaux – 1982 (18.5). Colour still bright with an orange rim. Leads with earthy characters. This is a complex wine. Opens up with air to reveal some lovely perfumed fruit. The complex palate still has bright fresh fruit characters. It is very long and fine, with some cedar/cigar box to close. Lovely
Penfolds – Bin 407 – Cabernet – 1994 (18). Mint and menthol to open, but rich fruit develops with air. The palate is long, bright and earthy. Serious complexity. The finish is round soft and succulent. Very good
Chateau Soutard – St Emillion – 2001 (18.5). Complex nose with typical cool fruit characters. The palate is complex, deep, long and fine. The tannins shut down the fruit still. Chocolate to close (5yrs)
Vasse Felix – Heytsbury – Cabernet – 1997 (18+). Wow, powerful fruit. Dense, ripe with a touch of menthol.The powerful palate is full of chocolate fruit that is long and layered. There is some licorice to close. There was a question over whether the tannins would outlast the fruit. Drink up and lets not find out.
Leeuwin Estate – Art Series – Cabernet – 2002 (18.7). Complex, earthy with a touch of classic Margaret River Mortem. This wine is all about the superb structure and texture on the palate. There is minty fruit, but this wine will need 10 years to show its best.
Voyager Estate – Cabernet Merlot – 2004 (18.3). Powerful. Ripe and succulent fruit with a touch of mint, tobacco and complex earthiness. Lots of ripe cassis on the palate with a silky textured finish. A bit of a fruit bomb, so will appeal to many.
Chateau du Pez – St Estephe – 2004 (18). A complex wine with a touch of herbal/menthol fruit. A touch of mocha and meaty characters too. The palate is complex and surprisingly ripe. The finish is fine and silky. An elegant wine that needs a few years to open up.
Stony Ridge – Waiheke Island – Cabernet – 1996 (17.9). Gorgeous nose. This displays ripe powerful fruit with a touch of herbal complexity. The palate is complex, and powerful with tobacco and menthol.
Les Forts de La Tour – Bordeaux – 1996 (18+). Leathery, complex and earthy. The palate is big, rich and ripe. Very long with leathery edges to the black fruit.