Barry Weinman: 3nd April 2016
Margaret River is synonymous with high quality Cabernet based wines, so it should come as no surprise that several of the wines reviewed for this tasting scored very well. What did surprise though, was just how good the two wines from Vasse Felix were.
I am not talking about the Heytesbury. Rather, it was the cheaper Filius and “Gold Capsule” Cabernets from 2014 that really shone, upstaging some very expensive wines.
One panellist was heard to ask why Vasse Felix had used such premium fruit in their entry-level wine. (The Filius can be had for as little as $20). Whatever the reason, we are the winners, because this is a serious, age-worthy wine at a bargain price. This is the first straight Cabernet in this range, and will, over time, replace the Cabernet Merlot.
The Premier Cabernet (with the gold capsule) costs a bit more ($35 at Dan Murphy), but is nothing short of outstanding.
The other “bargain” was the Wolf Blass – Grey Label Cabernet/Shiraz. This has a degree of immediacy that makes for superb drinking over the next year or two, but will also age well for years to come. Delicious.
This tasting also brought my first look at the new Vanya from Cullen. An impressive wine that is stylistically different from the Diana Madelaine. This has the honour of being the most expensive wine ever released from Margaret River and rivals Bin 707 as Australia’s most expensive Cabernet.
Cullen – Cabernet Sauvignon – Vanya – 2012 (18.8). There is a real density of fruit on the nose. There are berry fruit notes, but the depth is arresting. The palate is firm, yet balanced, with fine tannins fanning out on the finish. Remarkable balance, poise and length. Great now, but will be at its best in 10 – 20 years. The finish has a sprinkling of graphite adding texture. Give it air if drinking young. Striking bottle. (RRP $350).
Vasse Felix – Cabernet Sauvignon – “Gold Capsule” – 2013 (18.6 – $40). Beautiful purity of fruit on the nose: Ripe, focussed blackcurrant aromas with a complex, savoury, herbal edge. The palate, in contrast, is taut, textured and unyielding. The souring acidity is the main focus on the finish, with remarkably fine tannins and oak adding texture and depth. The fruit shows hints of mint and eucalypt. Will drink beautifully any time over the next 20 years.
Wolf Blass – Cabernet Sauvignon/Shiraz – Grey Label – 2013. (18.5 – $40). Quite approachable, yet with a degree of depth on both the nose and palate. The tannins, whilst initially fine, take on a chewy component at the close. Excellent length, this lingers for a very long time. A bit like the proverbial iron fist in a velvet glove, the elegant, supple red berries give way to serious fruit power.
Vasse Felix – Cabernet Sauvignon – Filius – 2014 (18.3 – $25). Closed, yet complex wine, with a herbal, earthy edge. The palate is closed and taut, with chewy tannins. There is obvious potential here, but the superb fruit needs a bit of time to open up. A bargain!