Western Australian Cabernet Sauvignon – 2010 Vintage

Reviewed: 4th June 2013

One of the local wine groups recently hosted a tasting of many of the best 2010 cabernets from Margaret River. This presented a wonderful opportunity to look through a very strong line up.

Margaret River has been blessed with many good or great vintages starting in 2007 and continuing to 2013. 2010 is considered by many to be one of the best!

There were a couple of real highlights. None more so than the Abercrombie from Howard Park. This is right up there with the best young Australian cabernets that I have tried. The others were the Penfolds Bin 707 (Iron fist in a velvet glove) and Xanadu (Outstanding value). I note that the 2009 Xanadu cabernet topped a recent tasting in Gourmet Traveller, so this outfit is obviously in great form!

The tasting served to highlight the consistent quality of the vintage, as well as the superb standard of Western Australian cabernets.

  • Tasted:                  21
  • Reviewed:            12


Howard Park – Cabernet Sauvignon – Abercrombie – 2010 (18.5 – 19). This is a beautiful wine! The nose has perfumed, fragrant fruit that is beautifully ripe and balanced. The palate is silky, supple and refined and the finish near seamless. The length is outstanding, as is the wine-making. The balance really is the key to this wine. The finish has powerful, yet silky tannins. I can only guess at how long this wine can be aged, but it may well outlive me.

Penfolds – Cabernet Sauvignon – 707 – 2010 (18.5 – 19). This is a superb wine as it combines fruit that is concentrated and powerful with elegance and sophistication. The superb fruit is redolent of blackcurrant, with hints of cassis. Supple, fine and round in the mouth, the tannins and oak add depth and texture without overwhelming the fruit. Superb balance here and a wine built for the long haul.

Cape Mentelle – Cabernet Sauvignon – 2010 (18.5+). Concentrated fruit on a nose that is classic cabernet. The palate is powerful and structured yet has plenty of red fruits. Long and savoury, this is a wine that is all about potential. Everything is in place, it just needs 10 years to start to evolve and build. Will be very long lived.

Xanadu – Cabernet Sauvignon – 2010 (18.5+). Now this is a great effort! Superb fruit quality has been matched to very fine oak and slick wine-making. This is elegant and refined, yet there is latent power palpable on the palate. The finish is very long and near seamless, the oak texture adding density to the fruit. This may well be the bargain of the year.

Cape Mentelle – Cabernet Sauvignon – Wilyabrup – 2010 (18.5). I could define this as an elegant monster. Refined, fine, tight and structured, this has superb wine-making, balance and composure. Underneath the refined exterior is a wine of tremendous power and concentration. The fruit is of the highest quality, yet the finish is quite subdued now. In 10 – 15 years, this may well be one the best wine here.

Fraser Gallop – Cabernet Sauvignon – Parterre – 2010 (18.5). Cooler fruit aromas that combine minty red fruits with a touch of eucalyptus and herbs. The palate is quite shut down by the acids and tannins, yet the fruit is supple and fragrant, complementing the structure very well. Not mainstream, yet a very compelling wine.

Howard Park – Cabernet Sauvignon – Scottsdale – 2010 (18.4). Opens with hints of menthol and jubes. This is a delicious wine that has ripe, yet cool climate fruit combined with slick wine-making. The very long palate has a slightly chewy finish. The density of fruit is deceptive and the tannins are very fine, though ample. A great each way bet, as this is good drinking now, but is also sure to age well.

Howard Park – Cabernet Sauvignon – Leston – 2010 (18.3). The fruit here is fine, fragrant, supple, bright, long and savoury. The bright acid carries the finish, where the tannins are soft, yet palpable. A lovely wine of elegance and class, though a few years would really be of benefit.

Hay Shed Hill – Cabernet Sauvignon – 2011 (18.2). Menthol and a touch of herbs on the nose suggest a cooler sub-region or vintage. The palate is bright and fine, yet taught and tightly wound. The cooler region characters are also present on the palate, yet this is beautifully ripe and supple. The palate is only medium weight, yet there is real presence and excellent length and persistence. Drinks well now, but sure to age for many years.

Houghton – Cabernet Sauvignon – Gladstones – 2010 (18++). I like this for the balance of dense fruit and elegant structure. This is somewhat of a sleeper, as the fruit density on the mid palate is a touch lean, yet all the elements are in place for this to blossom with time in the bottle. Blackcurrant, cedar, spice and very fine tannins all flow on a finish that, whilst not seamless now, is very seductive all the same.

Houghton – Cabernet Sauvignon – Wisdom – 2010 (18). Lovely fragrant red fruits that are a touch softer and more straight forward than some here. The bright fruit combines on the palate with complex savoury characters, supple oak and fine tannins. The length is outstanding and the structure really evolves and builds in the mouth. Did I mention that this was long? (Excellent value from Margaret River).

Woodlands – Cabernet Sauvignon – Margaret – 2010 (18). This is quite a subtle wine on the nose, though the palate has plenty of life courtesy of the bright acidity. This is quite lean initially, and Bordeaux lovers will appreciate the structure. Opens to show real potential. An elegant wine with real finesse.

Woodlands – Cabernet Sauvignon – Margaret – 2011. (17.8+). Youthful, closed and tight on both he nose and palate, this has eucalyptus and hints of menthol. Cedary oak is quite prominent on the finish, though the fruit is visible through the tannins and acid. This needs time to evolve as there is excellent fruit and wine-making. (Another ring in from 2011).