Cabernet Sauvignon – New Release
Barry Weinman: 1st October 2015
I have noticed an interesting trend developing in my cellar of late. I love to buy Shiraz, but I tend to open Cabernet to drink.
There is no doubt that Shiraz produces some of Australia’s greatest, as well as best value wines. At all price-points, there is an abundance of excellent wines available. Finding the same value in Cabernet is more challenging, whilst it is nearly impossible with Pinot and the like.
When it is just my wife and I for dinner, four times out of five, I will end up opening a Cabernet, Pinot or similar, and I find that I am more likely to go back for a second glass. It is a different story when friends come around, as a glass of excellent Shiraz is easy for everyone to appreciate.
There were a number of diverse styles in this tasting. From the inexpensive and ridiculously good Houghton Red-Stripe, to the savoury restraint of the Cumulus, there is a wine for all palates. Importantly, they all offer value at their respective prices.
Cumulus – Merlot – Six Hundred Above – 2013 (18). Quite old-world in style, reminiscent of right bank Bordeaux. A neutral, savoury wine that emphasises structure, mouth-feel and elegance over overt fruit characters. Dense and compact now, there is neutral, refined oak, bright acidity and serious fruit quality. From Orange in NSW, this very cool climate wine demonstrates how good straight Merlot can be. (RRP $32)
Vasse Felix – Cabernet Sauvignon – Gold Capsule – 2012. (18+). Serious quality fruit here, in a refined, restrained package. The fruit on the palate shows mint and gentle herbal notes, silky, texturing oak and fine tannins. This is a smart wine that, whilst delicious now, needs 5 – 10 years to show its best. (RRP $40)
St Mary’s – Cabernet Sauvignon – House Block – 2013 (17.9). Menthol fruit on the nose, typical of Coonawarra. The fruit opens on the palate and gets quite succulent with air. There are herbal notes and mouth-watering acidity to close. Really long, but this needs several years for the fruit to unwind. Excellent fruit quality, made in a traditional style that needs time. ($30 from the winery).
Chateau Lariveau – Cabernet Blend – Canon-Fronsac – La Croix – 2010 (17.8). An excellent drink with gentle red fruits with hints of violets on the nose. The palate is fine, savoury and quite silky. There is real depth here, though the firm, powdery tannins keep the whole package subdued. Will easily take 5 yrs+ in the cellar. (Not yet available in Australia)
Cape Mentelle – Cabernet Sauvignon/Merlot – Trinders – 2013 (17.5). Sweet ripe berry fruit that is open and attractive. The palate is bright, with cherry, spice and tar notes. The finish is quite savoury, with gentle oak and tannins giving way to fresh acidity. Excellent drinking. ($24 from the winery).
Houghton – Cabernet Sauvignon/Shiraz/Merlot – Red Stripe – 2013 (17). Bright, fresh and succulent, with red fruits to the fore. The palate is flooded with light, fresh berry characters with just a touch of oak adding complexity. Outrageously good drinking for the price. (RRP $12).