Cabernet and Blends – New Release

Reviewed: 12 December 2012

A large bracket of cabernet based wines makes for a tiring tasting. The firm tannins and relatively reserved fruit present a challenge. This was typified by the wines from Moss Wood and Cape Mentelle. Both are obviously high quality, though they really need several (many) years in the cellar to show their best.

By comparison, the Devil’s Lair was much more approachable. This is a superb wine that whilst very age-worthy, is a lovely drink today.

Finally, the Long Row is another bargain from Angove.


Devil’s Lair – Cabernet Sauvignon – 2010 (18 – 18.5). Inky fruit here! Expect mint, spice and red fruits with a touch of eucalypt to reflect its cooler region origins. There is blackcurrant fruit on the palate and the wine has been superbly made. The oak, whilst shutting the fruit down on the finish somewhat, is supple and sympathetic to the mid-weight fruit. The tannins are refined and precise on the finish, making this an excellent drink now or in ten years +.

Moss Wood – Cabernet Sauvignon/Merlot – Ribbon Vale – 2010 (17.9). A closed nose only hinting at potential, with violets and blueberry aromas developing in the glass. It is on the palate that this really shows its class with fine fruit and refined winemaking. Elegant and reserved, this is a wine that needs plenty of air or 10 years in the cellar to show its best. The finish is quite tight courtesy of the very fine oak and tannins. A leaner style that will evolve. (This took 5 days on the tasting bench to really open up).

Cape Mentelle – Cabernet Sauvignon/Merlot – Trinders 2011 (17.7+). There are hints of succulent fruit here, however this is quite reserved and tight on first presentation. There are firm tannins, dense fruit and a touch of spice too. The depth on the palate with brambly blackcurrant fruit, structural oak and excellent length, is a highlight. Whilst this is on the third rung of the Cape Mentelle quality ladder, this is a serious, high quality wine that deserves time in the cellar. Excellent buying at under $25, but give it plenty of air if you are going to drink it soon.

West Cape Howe – Cabernet Sauvignon/Merlot – Hannah’s Hill – 2011 (17.6). Dense fruit on a nose that is ripe and alluring, yet still quite tight. The fruit is quite bright, showing cassis and minty notes. The palate is quite firm and austere, suggesting that this wine needs a few years to reach its drinking window. We had this as the first wine of the tasting, which is always difficult when the wines are tannic.

Marri Wood Park – Cabernet Sauvignon – Reserve – 2009 (17.5). Appealing aromas of red and blueberry fruit, with a touch of eucalypt and new oak (cedar and coconut). There is dense, ripe fruit, with supple tannins that coat the mouth. There is excellent length and mouth-feel to close. I assume the “Reserve” title is due to the amount of time this wine spent in new oak. Time will tell whether the medium-weight fruit will fully integrate with the oak, but this is an appealing wine all the same.

Galafrey – Cabernet Sauvignon – 2009 (17.4). I like the balance here. The good quality fruit has been matched well to fine-grained oak. The tannins are ripe and fine while the fruit expresses itself on the finish. The palate is long and succulent, with chewy tannins to close. Perhaps a touch rustic, but an enjoyable wine.

Angove – Cabernet Sauvignon – Long Row – 2010 (16.9). Ripe fruit that is forward and succulent. The palate is quite simple, but balanced and supple. A good, early drinking style, with very fine tannins and a hint of oak. Not overly concentrated, but this is varietally correct. At under $10, this is another screaming bargain from the team at Angove. (This received a gold medal from one taster).

West Cape Howe – Cabernet Sauvignon/Merlot -2011 (16.5). Ripe fruits with a touch of menthol and sweet oak on the nose. This is a relatively straightforward wine that is very easy to drink. The tannins are supple and add texture to the finish.