Reviewed: 22th February 2015
There were a number of highlights with this tasting.
The Cape Mentelle Cabernet is nothing short of spectacular, but it comes with a caveat. This is not a wine for the average drinker. It is very shy and tight, requiring coaxing to see its potential. For the patient few, with appropriate cellars, this wine will be spectacular in two decades’ time.
For me however, it was the great value and everyday reds that made the biggest impact. The Devil’s Lair Hidden Cave is a cracker, and no Cabernet out of McLaren Vale has a right to be as delicious as the Davey Estate from Shingleback!
At the bargain end of the spectrum, the Jameson’s Run, Red Knot (Shingleback) and Deep Woods offer great drinking for the price. These are fruit-forward styles made for early consumption, yet still possess decent length and mouth-feel.
Cape Mentelle – Cabernet Sauvignon – 2012 (18.8+). This wine is all potential. Black fruits, chewy tannins and cedary oak. Superb texture, but the fruit is really closed and tight. There is great length and, with air, the fruit builds. This is a densely structured wine that needs years in the cellar to show its best. (RRP $105 but Kemenys have it for under$80).
Shingleback – Cabernet Sauvignon – Davey Estate – Reserve – 2012 (17.8 – 18.3). A big, rich wine, yet this retains poise and balance. The palate is a highlight, as the silky fruit builds in the mouth, with plum and mocha notes to close. The fruit lingers and the focussed, persistent finish retains freshness. Will benefit from time in the bottle or an hour in the decanter, but is an excellent drink. From McLaren Vale. (RRP $23).
Devil’s Lair – Cabernet Sauvignon/Shiraz – The Hidden Cave – 2012 (18). Initially this is quite closed, tight and restrained, with the supple, fine-grained oak and tannins blanketing the fruit.. With air, this opens up and builds showing black fruits and cassis, earthy notes and coconut (from the oak). This is balanced and elegant, using quality fruit. An hour in a decanter recommended. (RRP $23).
Howard Park – Cabernet Sauvignon – Miamup – 2013 (17.8). This is a lovely wine. Precise fruit has been handled very well in the winery. The tannins are polished, the oak adds texture without being overt and the acidity keeps things fresh. There are dusty tannins to close. Mainstream and all the better for it. (RRP $28).
Deep Woods – Cabernet Sauvignon/Shiraz – Ebony – 2012 (17.7). Blueberries, redcurrant and licorice fruit. Excellent mouth-feel, but the finish is just a touch awkward now. Made in a style that allows the fruit to be the primary focus. Good Value. (RRP $15).
Jamesons Run – Cabernet Sauvignon/Shiraz/Merlot – 2012 (17.5). Mulberry and red currant over souring plum fruit notes. This is a savoury, cooler region wine that has hints of cassis and spice from the oak. Personally, I would like more fruit weight in the middle palate, but this is a great value, uncomplicated, mid-week red. From the Limestone Coast. (RRP $15)
Shingleback – Cabernet Sauvignon – Red Knot – 2013 (17.7). Good every day drinking, with soft approachable fruit and decent structure. Not complicated or serious, but there is generous, juicy fruit and decent length. Chewy tannins add to the structure. An easy drinking red that deserves to be popular. (Exclusive to Dan Murphy). (RRP $15).