New Release Cabernet: July 2019

New Release Cabernet: July 2019

Barry Weinman: 10th July 2019

It is always an interesting exercise when two bottles of the same wine end up in a tasting, or in tastings that are close together, as it is a chance for panel members to measure the consistency of their notes and scores. The closer the scores, the happier the panel.

So it was that a bottle of the 2016 Howard Park Abercrombie was included in this tasting. I reviewed this two months ago and was pleased to see that I gave both wines identical points (18.7/20) and near identical tasting notes. The main difference was that a few extra months in the bottle have allowed the fruit to shine just that little bit brighter. Great wine.

The highlight of the current tasting was the wines from Flametree. The Embers Cabernet is brilliant drinking now, whilst the “regular” Cabernet is age-worthy and powerful. Both represent fine value.


Flametree – Cabernet Sauvignon – Embers – 2017 (18.3/20pts – $20). Fine and elegant, this supple wine is full of blueberry fruit, with near seamless palate transition. The quality of the fruit is a highlight and whilst being a great drink now, has enough depth and structure to benefit from a few years in the cellar. This is the first time that I can recall that this wine is not labelled Cabernet Merlot and is great value.

Flametree – Cabernet Sauvignon – 2016 (18.5/20pts – $45). There is density and a degree of power to the brambly fruit here that elevates it beyond the Embers. The palate is supple, silky and seductive, with silky, feather- light tannins on the mid palate that slowly build on the close adding texture and structure. This serious wine gets a little chewy to close and is worthy of extended time in the cellar. This is the first time this wine is made from 100% Cabernet Sauvignon.

Mr Barvel – Cabernet/Merlot – 2017 (17.5/20pts). This wine is quite delicious, with the ripe berry fruit complemented by savoury winemaking and fine tannins. Perhaps not that serious but well-made and eminently suitable for early consumption.

Fraser Gallop – Cabernet Sauvignon – Estate – 2016 (18/20pts – $33). Pristine ripe fruit in the cooler spectrum is supported by fine tannins to make a lovely, medium-bodied wine. The finish is long, supple and elegant, showing admirable balance. The winemaker (Clive Otto) has taken a different approach with this wine, using techniques learned in Bordeaux. The purity of fruit seems to be the key feature.