Barry Weinman: 15th April 2019
Margaret River has a reputation for producing some of the greatest Cabernets in Australia, if not the world. So it came as no surprise to the panel that the 2016 Cape Mentelle Cabernet is a truly outstanding wine.
But it was the quality of the entry-level wines from Cape Mentelle and Vasse Felix that delighted the panel. They both make for great drinking now, but are also worthy of time in the cellar to allow the wine to evolve.
Also included in this review is the Cape Mentelle Zinfandel, a wine of great finesse and elegance, which helps to redefine what this variety is capable of in Australia.
Cape Mentelle – Cabernet Sauvignon – 2016 (18.8/20pts – $98). Wow, wow, wow, this has it all. Bright, fresh floral fruit and savoury notes from the oak leads into a silky finish framed by fine tannins. A joy to drink now, but sure to age well for a decade or more. Gets serious on the close, with density of fruit, graphite and tar-like notes.
Cape Mentelle – Cabernet Sauvignon/Merlot – Trinders – 2016 (18.5/20pts – $31). Given that this wine is the entry level Cabernet from Cape Mentelle, the quality is nothing short of outstanding. The dense, ripe fruit is a highlight. This is a serious wine, with chewy, structured fruit and savoury, texturing oak and tannins. Remains supple and lithe despite the power, with blueberry fruit building with air. Great now, but also age-worthy.
Vasse Felix – Cabernet Sauvignon (Gold Capsule) – 2016. (18.5+/20pts – $47). Fragrant and pretty, with bright red fruits and gentle cedary oak, but the depth is a step up from the Filius. Very long, this builds real depth in the mouth. Near seamless, though the acidity does build on the finish. Brilliant now, but needs 10+ years to really hit its peak. This includes 11% Malbec and 3% Petit Verdot, aged in French oak (44% New).
Vasse Felix – Cabernet Sauvignon – Filius – 2016. (18.2/20pts – $28). Fresh and supple red berry fruit, with hints of mint on the nose. The palate is fine and savoury, with supple tannins and acid combining on a silky finish. Fresh and approachable, this is such an easy drink now, but has enough depth and Bordeaux-like structure to allow for short to medium-term cellaring. Excellent. Aged for 12 months in French oak, this includes 14% Malbec.
Cape Mentelle – Zinfandel – 2016 (18.5/20pts- $58). This is very impressive. Real depth and power to the fruit, with red berry, cherry, tobacco and spice. The palate is poised and balanced, with a delicious finish. The texturing tannins and medium toast oak adding grip, but also balance. Very impressive , this has a lot of similarities with a high-quality Cabernet.