Category Archives: Uncategorized

Bordeaux – 2005 Overview

Bordeaux – 2005 Overview

Barry Weinman: 14th September 2015

Jeff Burch, proprietor of Burch Family Wines (Howard Park, Madfish etc), recently hosted a tasting of a cross-section of 2005 Red Bordeaux, in conjunction with Sommeliers Australia. The nine wines came from a number of the major communes, in an effort to demonstrate the stylistic differences that can be expressed across the region.

The 2005 vintage is considered to be one of the great vintages of the last 20 years, with both the left bank and right bank wines excelling. The inclusion of the 2005 Abercrombie from Howard Park provided a new world comparator, to provide perspective.capsule-pichon

In a line-up of superb wines, there were a few that shone just that bit brighter. Tasting the Pichon Baron was akin to a religious experience. A profoundly beautiful wine. This was closely followed by the Ducru and Rauzan Segla.

Jeff generously donated the wines for this tasting, for which I am very grateful.img_1385


Chateau Quinault – L Enclos – St Emilion – Grand Cru – 2005 (18pts). Pretty floral and blueberry fruit over savoury, earthy notes. The palate is fine and very long. The blueberry fruit gives way to dusty/earthy notes and drying tannins. Near seamless and very enjoyable.

Chateau Gazin – Pomerol – 2005 (18.5+). Lovely richness and intensity, with dark fruit characters tending to blackcurrant. The palate is complex and earthy, yet remains fine, elegant and silky, with supple tannins and a seamless palate transition. Very long.

Howard Park – Abercrombie – 2005 (18.4). Whilst the style of this wine is somewhat different, there is no denying the quality. More primary fruit, with pretty floral aromas giving way to red berries, mint and cedar. Very long and tight, this needs years to hit its best. (75% Mt Barker/25% Margaret River).

Chateau Montrose – St Estephe – 2nd Growth – 2005 (NR). Perhaps not the best bottle. The nose is quite earthy and rustic, yet there was great fruit hinted at. The palate is silky, fine and delicate, more akin to Burgundy than Bordeaux.

img_1389 Chateau Ducru Beaucaillou – St Julien – 2nd Growth – 2005 (18.8). A lovely wine. Elegant, refined and enchanting. Violets and floral berry fruit, with depth and complexity. The palate is outstanding! Pretty fruit, elegance, balance and length, the souring acidity adding drive.

Chateau Les Charmes Haut Brion – Pessac Leognan – 2005 (18.7). What a wine! More overt power and darker fruit than the Ducru. The palate is textured, taut and almost gravelly, yet the tannins are refined and polished. Remarkable palate transition and presence.

Split from Haut Brion in the 16th century, this is a small estate (Production est. 2000 cases) is principally planted with Merlot and Cabernet Franc.

Chateau Pape Clement – Pessac Leognan – 2005. (NR). Whilst this wine scored 99 from Parker, today was not its day (Not the best bottle perhaps).

Chateau Pichon Longueville Baron – Pauillac – 2nd Growth – 2005 (19.3). Lovely perfume, with blueberries and blackberries set against serious fruit weight and power. The palate is nothing short of spectacular. Such depth and power, yet balanced and refined, with the tannins, acid and oak all melding into the fruit to provide a textural treat. Lingers for what seems like minutes. Drinking this wine was a near religious experience.

Chateau Rauzan Segla – Margaux – 2nd Growth – 2005 (19). Earthier, with liquorice, spice and cloves over dark berry fruit. The spice notes follow on the palate, with tarry notes. This is the most elegant of monsters, the fruit building and evolving in the glass for some time. May live longer than me!

September New Release – Part One

September New Release – Part One

Barry Weinman: 3rd September 2016

A couple of wines really impressed in our recent tastings.

The 2015 Petaluma Chardonnay is a delicious wine that is a little more generous than some of the wines presently coming out of Victoria and is all the better for it.petaluma_pv_chardonnay_1_1_1

In the Cabernets, Fraser Gallop remains in top form whilst the wines from Woodlands and Cumulus offer value. The Cumulus Cabernet in particular is a stand-out, given that it is currently available for $17.50 online from the cellar door.


Petaluma – Chardonnay – 2015 (18.3pts – $53). Quite rich and generous, with creamy oak characters, courtesy of barrel fermentation . There is fresh pineapple fruit combined with lemon and lime flavours. Great length, supple mouth-feel and balancing acidity. Delicious.

Lenton Brae – Chardonnay – Wilyabrup – 2014 (18pts – $60). Tropical fruits and lemon brulee. Supple and balanced, though the fruit is somewhat subdued at present. It is the mouth-feel and texture that really sets this apart. Long and fine, with an excellent palate transition. The oak adds depth.

Cabernet Sauvignon

Fraser Gallop – Cabernet Sauvignon – Parterre – 2013 (18.5pts – $50). Cooler climate Cabernet of some note. Supple blackcurrant fruit and menthol notes paired to fine tannins and linear acidity. Slightly chewy, though with near seamless palate transition, this needs 10 years to really hit its straps.Lenton Brae Cabernet

Lenton Brae – Cabernet Sauvignon – Wilyabrup – 2012 (18.3pts – $70). A fine wine here, with cherry and spice notes. Blackcurrant, plum, coffee/earthy complexity and cedary oak lead to a texture that is a little chewy. Long, this evolves in the glass. Needs 10 years to open up.Climbing_Cabernet-Sauvignon_NEW

Cumulus – Cabernet Sauvignon – Climbing – 2014 (18pts $24). Pretty red fruits on both the nose and palate. Vibrant, lively and elegant, with succulent, ripe fruit and savoury hints. Delicious and a bargain. ($17.50 from the winery).

Woodlands – Cabernet Franc/Merlot – 2014 (18pts $26). Complex nose with cedar, blackcurrant, cassis and spice. The palate is quite dusty and earthy, with the quality fruit sitting within a framework of supple tannins and oak. Approachable, but sure to improve with a few years in the cellar. Great value.

Cumulus – Merlot – Climbing – 2014 (17.7pts – $24). Lighter colour, and a lighter style. A pretty, medium bodied wine of some charm. The red fruits are the defining character, with strawberry and plum notes. The finish is soft and supple, making for an excellent drink now. ($17.50 from the winery).

Lenton Brae – Cabernet Sauvignon – Lady Douglas – 2015 (17.5pts). Vibrant berry fruit leaps from the glass. The palate is forward and approachable, with a seam of graphite-like tannins running the length of the palate adding texture and depth. A touch astringent, so will marry well with food anytime over the next 5 years.

Lenton Brae – Cabernet Sauvignon/Merlot – 2015 (17.5pts – $26). A fairly straightforward wine with cherry and dark berry fruit over mint and eucalypt typical of Margaret River. The palate is long and flavourful with fine dusty tannins building on the finish. Really approachable now, but short term cellaring is also an option.


Howard Park – Scotsdale & Leston – 2014


Howard Park – New Release Reds

Barry Weinman: 28th August 2016

Howard Park is in the enviable position of having access to excellent vineyards across both Margaret River and the Great Southern. I have written previously about the fact that, despite the fame of Margaret River, the wineries’ top wine (Abercrombie) is primarily made from fruit sourced from the Abercrombie vineyard in Mt Barker (situated in the Great Southern).

It is the next level down in the range where the two regions are showcased. The Leston wines are from Margaret River and the Scotsdale from the Great Southern (Mt Barker). Available as both a Shiraz and a Cabernet, the wines are uniformly of very high quality.

Over the years, I have rated the Scotsdale slightly ahead of the Leston and, with the soon to be released 2014 vintage, this perception has been reinforced. Made by the talented Janice McDonald both ranges have produced lovely wines, but both the Cabernet and the Shiraz from Scottsdale have a slight edge.

ReviewedHoward-Park_2014_Scotsdale-Cabernet_low res

Howard Park – Cabernet Sauvignon – Scotsdale – 2014 (18.5pts – RRP $46). Serious fruit and winemaking here. Blackcurrant, spice and a touch of cedar to open. The palate is structured and firm with fine tannins. Excellent line and length, though this needs a few years for the fruit to open. Great potential. With air, this wine blossomed showing delicious fruit and wonderful balance. My pick of the range.

Howard Park – Cabernet Sauvignon – Leston – 2014 (18 – 18.5pts – $46). Very pretty fruit that is varietally correct. Lifted and perfumed, the elegant red fruit gives way to savoury/spicy notes, and are framed by silky tannins and oak. The palate is fine and supple, with superb balance and excellent length. Will cellar well for at least 10 years.

Howard Park – Shiraz – Scotsdale – 2014 (18pts – $46). Structured, firm and closed. The fruit is medium bodied, with hints of red plum and spice. The palate is firm, structured and very long, yet everything is in balance. Will reward time in the cellar.

Howard Park – Shiraz – Leston – 2014 (18pts – $46). Redcurrant, cherry and spicy aniseed aromas. The palate is balanced and silky, with more liquorice and spice notes. The oak and tannins sit well with the medium weight fruit. A very smart wine that needs a few years to open up.

Penfolds Tawny

Australian Fortfied Wines Part 4

Penfolds Tawny (Port).

Barry Weinman: 7th August 2016

The red wines of Penfolds need no introduction. Many people will be less familiar with their fortified wines, which is a pity.

From Club Tawny through to Grandfather, the wines represent fantastic value.

Club Reserve can be found for $15 and provides genuine pleasure. The Father Tawny balances complexity with drinkability brilliantly. The Grandfather is a luxury that, coming in a 750ml bottle, is more accessible than many of life’s finer things.


Penfolds – Tawny – Club (17pts – $15). Fresh and light, with obvious sweetness and moderate viscosity. Slightly chewy texture and decent length, carried by fresh acidity. Obviously younger material, but this is a very enjoyable wine and a bargain. 750mls

Penfolds – Tawny – Club Reserve – Classic (17.5pts – $20). Darker colour than the standard, tending to orange. More complexity and depth too. Whilst still sweet, there is greater balance and structure. Excellent length to close. Great value and worth the extra five dollars! 750mls

Penfolds – Tawny – Father – Grand Tawny (18.5pts – $38). Colour not dissimilar to the Club Reserve, but there is more Rancio characters on the nose. The palate is where this really expresses, with density and power to the fruit. The sweetness builds, but is offset by lovely acidity. The balance between old and new material is noteworthy. A lovely wine, with great length, this is actually easier to drink than the Grandfather. Great value in 750ml bottle.

Penfolds – Tawny – Grandfather – Rare (18.8pts – $85). Darker colour. The intensity on the nose is a stand-out, with obvious Rancio characters to the fore. The palate is intense and powerful, the flavours washing over the tongue in waves. Very old base material has been brilliantly handled. Immense length with drying Madera characters on the finish. One sip is almost enough! 750mls.

Australian Fortified Part 3: Other Styles

Australian Fortified Part 3: Other Styles

Barry Weinman: 7th August 2016

The Talijancich Pedro is nothing short of spectacular. Expensive, but beautifully packaged. One sip is almost enough.

In a very different style is the De Bortoli Black Nobel. An amazing wine made from botrytis Semillon.


Talijancich – Pedro – Rare – Julian James – Blend No 3 (19pts – $70). Almost opaque: burnt orange, tending to olive. Very intense, powerful nose, the complex aged material balanced by rancio and spirit notes. The palate is intense, dense, long and unctuous, but not cloying. An amazing wine that has an ethereal nature, the spirit and fruit in perfect harmony. Stunning. 350 mls

De BortoliBlack Nobel – 10 y/o (18.6pts – $38). Another opaque, very dark wine – staining the glass amber. Here the Rancio and resin notes are more apparent, with raisins and fruit-cake aromas that are really quite fragrant. Sweetness is obvious, with musk and spice notes. The acid adds life and keeps the whole package together. Impressive and impactful, a unique use of Botrytis Semillon. 500mls.

Lamont’s – R.S.W. Liqueur (18.5pts ). A blend of Pedro and Muscat (Navara). Khaki meniscus. Lovely old material, with rancio and spirit balanced by intense fruit. The palate is thick and lush, yet retains balance via the acidity. The spirit notes add vibrancy. Middle of the road style and delicious. A blend that started in the early 1980’s from a single barrel. Fortunately, there are now several barrels released each year. 375mls

Lamont’sPedro (18pts). Whilst there is no mention on the front label, this is from the 2005 vintage. A lighter amber colour. More Rancio, more sweetness, more obvious. Viscous and thick, there is so much of everything, yet avoids being cloying. Perfect poured over ice-cream! 375mls

Cabernet Sauvignon – New Release


Cabernet Sauvignon – New Release

Barry Weinman: 21st July 2016

A decade ago, the wines from Woodside Valley Estate started to make a real impact. I reviewed the 2004 Baudin (Cabernet Sauvignon) very well and have several bottles in my cellar. They also supplied fruit to other wineries in the region.

The illness and untimely death of Ron Wood (one of the founders) led to the demise of the label. Whilst the venture continues to supply fruit, the wine side has been revived under the Brash label, with wines made by Bruce Duke. The 2013 and 2014 are reviewed here and are worth seeking out. (The 2014 is yet to be released).

The Leston by Howard Park is a brilliant wine. So approachable, yet age worthy. The panel really enjoyed the Flametree Embers; a wine that represents excellent value drinking. Penfolds Max’s also showed very well, albeit in a richer style.

Finally, I know nothing about Polguern Estate, but their Cabernet came up well in this tasting and represents decent value.


Howard Park – Cabernet Sauvignon – Leston – 2013 (18.5+pts – $45). A superb wine that is textbook Margaret River Cabernet. Subtle, balanced and very long, Janice McDonald has worked magic with the high quality fruit. This is so approachable that many will have trouble keeping this in the cellar. That would be a shame, as this will only get better over the next decade or more.Penfolds Max's

Penfolds – Cabernet Sauvignon – Max’s – 2014 (18.5pts – $34). This is a big, richly textured wine, with chewy, intense fruit. The balance is noteworthy, as is the depth to the palate. Mint, herbal notes and cherry/red berry fruit all come to mind, with dark chocolate notes. A different style to the wines from Western Australia, but no less age-worthy.Brash-2014-cabernet-sauvignon

Brash – Cabernet Sauvignon – Single Vineyard – 2014 (18.5pts – $35). There is something a little special about this wine, with real depth and power to the fruit. The palate is initially defined by the acidity, but the fruit and tannins build for what seems like minutes in the mouth. Very dense, yet with balance and poise.Singlefile Cabernet Merlot

Singlefile – Cabernet Sauvignon – Frankland River – 2014 (18pts – $37). Real depth to the fruit, yet the balance and poise are remarkable. Redolent of red fruits, the tannins and oak sit well behind the supple fruit, though the tannins build on the finish. Great drinking any time over the next 10 years.

Brash – Cabernet Sauvignon – 2013. (17.9pts – $38). Wow, the vibrant, perfumed fruit here is very attractive. The palate is silky, ripe, balanced, fresh and vibrant. The tannins and oak sit comfortably behind the fruit. Supple and savoury. Great anytime in the next 10 years.

Rosa Brook – Cabernet Sauvignon – Single Vineyard – Estate – 2013 (18). Darker fruit characters on the nose. The palate is firm and structured, with taut acidity and fine tannins holding the fruit in check. Undeniable quality, though this needs 10 years to really start to open up. A serious wine.

Flametree – Cabernet Sauvignon – Embers – 2014 (17.8pts). Fragrant, perfumed and pretty. The palate is fresh and approachable, yet there is depth to the fruit with hints of coffee and chocolate. A lovely wine that will also improve in the bottle for a few years. Delicious and a great value.

Polguern Estate – Cabernet Sauvignon – Pharaoh’s Tribute – 2013 (17.5pts – $21). Fragrant mulberry-like fruit, with vanillin oak hints and souring cherry acidity that adds freshness. Long, supple and balanced. Excellent medium-bodied style with finesse. From Roleystone.

Wynns – Cabernet Sauvignon – 2016 Release


Wynns – Cabernet Sauvignon

Barry Weinman: 20 July 2016

Wynns Black Label Cabernet is one of the most important wines in Australia’s wine history. A wine that has formed the backbone of many Australian cellars for over 50 years. According to James Halliday, the first Wynns Cabernet was released in 1954!

I have been fortunate enough to drink Wynns Cabernet back as far as the 1960 vintage (with a white label at the time) and can attest to their ability to age superbly.

John Riddoch was first released in 1982, and has gradually evolved in style over the subsequent decades. The current release is a very fine wine, with an alcohol level of only 13.5%.

The single vineyard wines are a relatively new phenomenon, with the Harold being first released in 2001. Other vineyards highlighted in previous years include Messenger, Johnson Block and Alex 88.

James Halliday gives more information on the history of Wynns, and the winery’s website provides a wealth of information.

Wines will be available on Wynnsday – 3rd August 2016


Wynns – Cabernet Sauvignon – “Black Label” – 2014 (18.5pts – $45). Chocolate/mint notes over ripe blackcurrant/raspberry fruit and hints of savoury oak. This is a powerful wine, with rich, textured fruit matched to fine, yet firm tannins. That said, the balance is noteworthy and the length commendable. Very approachable, yet guaranteed to live for years. An excellent black label, deserving of its reputation.

Wynns – Cabernet Sauvignon – Harold – 2013 – (18.5pts – $80). Quite a contrast to the black label. A lighter, fresher style that puts balance and poise ahead of opulence. Menthol, blackcurrant and savoury notes are balanced by fine acidity. The oak is only there for texture, allowing the fruit to shine. A feminine mid-weight wine that will cellar well for a decade or more. (13.0% alc).

Wynns – Cabernet Sauvignon – John Riddoch – 2013 (18.7pts – $130). In a similar style to the Black Label, however there is more restraint and elegance to the concentrated, high-quality fruit. Opens with raspberry and cassis notes on the nose. The palate is balanced, refined and elegant, with the tannins and oak providing depth rather than overt flavour. Souring plum-like acidity adds life and interest. A lovely red that is irresistible now, yet will age well for at least 10 years.

Winery in Focus – Houghton – Part Two

Winery in Focus – Houghton

Part Two

Barry Weinman: 7th May 2016

Following on from my review of Houghton Cabernets, here is a quick review of some of the other highlights in the range.

The Thomas Yule Shiraz was formally known as the Gladstones Shiraz.

Whilst Brookland Valley is a separate brand in the Accolade stable, wine-making is handled at Houghton, with Courtney Treacher leading the program.


Houghton – Pinot Grigio – Small Batch – 2015 (17.5pts – $22). Almost clear in colour. Vibrant, floral and pretty fruit, in the Alsatian (Gris) style and all the better for it. The fruit is soft and supple and the balance excellent. From Frankland River.

Houghton – Chardonnay – Crofters – 2013 (17.5pts – $18). Quite a refined wine, with peach and nectarine fruit over supple French oak. Silky mouth-feel and excellent length. Value for money.

Houghton – Shiraz – Crofters – 2014 (17.5pts – $19). Wow, there is an explosion of ripe fruit on the nose. The palate is forward and approachable, with the cherry/plum fruit the focus. Supple winemaking inputs add interest. Value Shiraz.

Houghton – Shiraz – Thomas Yule – 2012 (18+pts – $80)   Dense, dark fruit on the nose. The fruit is almost thick on the palate, with hints of licorice and aniseed. The palate transition is near seamless, with the tannins at the close getting slightly grippy. Excellent length and a textural treat. Stylistically very different to the Cabernet, this represents brilliant mid-term drinking.

Houghton – Shiraz – Thomas Yule – 2011 (18.5pts – $80). Quite a contrast to the 2012, with more structure and less ripe fruit characters. Both the 11 and 12 are excellent examples of Shiraz, though this shows more cooler climate characters. Pepper and savoury cherry fruit a feature, with the cedar-like oak adding to the package. Will reward time in the cellar.

Brookland Valley – Chardonnay – Reserve – 2013 (18 – 18.5pts – $70). Whilst there is obvious power to the fruit on the nose, the balance and perfume are noteworthy. Hints of expensive oak add complexity, reminiscent of Burgundy. The palate has rich fruit and superb mouth-feel, though the finish is quite tight and closed at present. May well score higher in the years to come.

Brookland Valley – Cabernet Sauvignon/Merlot – 2013 (18pts – $45). The depth of the fruit on the nose is a highlight. The perfumed berry fruit builds and carries through onto the palate. Textured and spicy, with excellent length, the fine tannins and oak add grip to close. An excellent wine.

Brookland Valley – Cabernet Sauvignon – Reserve – 2012 (18.5pts $70). The approachability defies expectations here. Blackcurrant, eucalypt, mint and just a hint of cassis. The palate is rich and round, with the pristine fruit slowly giving way to fine tannins and very supple oak. The length is a feature.

Winery in Focus – Houghton – Part One

Winery in Focus – Houghton

Part One: Cabernet

Barry Weinman: 18th May 2016

Houghton must surely be the most important winery in the history of Western Australia. Established in 1836, Houghton set the standard for Western Australian wines. Much of Houghton’s reputation can be credited to the skill and passion of Jack Mann, a brilliant winemaker who has made numerous remarkable wines over a number of decades.

Fast-forward several decades and winemaking is now safely in the hands of Ross Pamment. Ross is one of the unsung heroes of the Australian wine industry. Despite Houghton being absorbed into what is now the Accolade portfolio; the wines are now as good, if not better, than ever.

The challenge for Houghton now, is to build consumer recognition for their premium wines (and their senior winemaker). A great example of the impact that this tactic can have is Penfold. Under Peter Gago’s stewardship, Penfold’s reputation has continued to climb, along with their sales.

This tasting highlighted that the comparison to Penfold is warranted in another very important way; the tremendous depth of the range. Whilst I focussed on the premium wines for this tasting, all wines over-deliver on quality, when compared to the price.

The Jack Mann is a magical wine, the equal of any Cabernet in the world. The Gladstones also deserves to be considered at the very top of the Cabernet tree. The fruit for these wines come from different regions, but the quality is equally impressive.

Ross Pamment should be a name that all wine-lovers recognise and respect. Here’s hoping that the marketing team can generate the publicity to make this happen.

N.B. This was not a blind tasting, so my points are best used as an indication only.


Cabernet Sauvignon

Houghton – Cabernet Sauvignon – Wisdom – 2011 (18pts – $32). From Margaret River, there is a step up in terms of fruit quality and density compared to the likes of Crofters. The suppleness of the fruit on the palate is a feature, but with air, the textural components really start to build. The tannins are very fine, yet add firmness to the finish, getting quite chewy to close. Whilst age-worthy, this is more approachable than some of the higher priced offerings.

Houghton – Cabernet Sauvignon/Malbec – C.W. Ferguson – 2008 (18.5pts $65 from the winery). Almost peppery fruit, with blueberry and peppermint notes. The fruit on the palate is superb, though the structure is still firm. Whilst youthful, the extra time in bottle has allowed the fruit to start to open up and express. Very good now, but will live for many years. From the Great Southern.

Houghton – Cabernet Sauvignon/Malbec – C.W. Ferguson – 2012 (18.5pts $65). Blackcurrant fruit to the fore, with chocolate and hints of coffee on the nose. Dense, ripe and textured, the palate is very long. On the finish, the oak adds texture rather than overt flavours. Needs years to reach its peak, but the fruit builds nicely with air. A lovely wine.

Houghton – Cabernet Sauvignon – Gladstones – 2012 (18.7pts $70). Closed, taut and structured, there is a touch of mint and eucalypt over fragrant blackberry fruit on the nose. The palate is firm yet balanced, the fine tannins and supple oak keeping the fruit in check. The dusty tannins add texture. A superb wine that needs 10 years before drinking, and will live for many more. From Margaret River.

Houghton – Cabernet Sauvignon – Gladstones – 2013 (18.7pts NA). Superb nose with blackberry and hints of vanillin oak. This is more accessible than the 2012. The supple and fragrant berry fruit is set against silky oak and refined tannins. With air, this gets grippy and dense, the fruit needing time to blossom. As good as it is now, this will be better in 10 – 15 years.

Houghton – Cabernet Sauvignon – Jack Mann – 2011 (19pts – NA). From the Justin vineyard in Frankland River. Dense, powerful and unyielding nose, that only hints at what is to come. There are hints of mint and eucalypt over dark red berries. The palate is outstanding, with great depth of fruit and excellent mouth-feel. The fruit is superb! The finish is somewhat closed, with the supple oak and very fine tannins holding the fruit quite tight at the moment. The length and depth of the fruit is breathtaking. Majestic!

Houghton – Cabernet Sauvignon – Jack Mann – 2012 (19pts, $100). Superb fruit quality. More approachable initially than the 11, yet of equally high quality. The supple mulberry and blackcurrant fruit really shines. The palate gets all spicy, with pepper, cloves and a touch of minerality. The fruit carries the length of the palate, with the fine tannins and oak providing a counterpoint. A powerful wine that will reward patience. One of the world’s great wines.

Winery in Focus – Xanadu (Part Two)

Winery in Focus – Xanadu (Part Two) – Cabernet Sauvignon

Barry Weinman: 7th May 2016

It is the Cabernets of Xanadu that have really made people pay attention, winning multiple trophies at capital city and national wine shows. The 2013 Xanadu Cabernet, for example, was awarded the best Cabernet Sauvignon trophy at the 2015 National Wine Show in Canberra.

Winemaking tends to be as hands-off as possible. The aim is to get it right in the vineyards, and allow the fruit to shine. The southern fruit tends to have higher natural acidity, meaning that no acid (or tannin) adjustment is required. Where possible, finning is also avoided.

There is a move away from Merlot as a blending partner, with Malbec and Petit Verdot increasing in importance. Interestingly, this is also happening at some other wineries in the region, with the likes of Vasse Felix and Juniper Estate also moving to increase use of Malbec.


Xanadu – Cabernet Sauvignon – DJL – 2014. (17.5pts – $24). Ripe berry fruit the focus here. Cherry, raspberry, cedary oak, plum and spice. The whole package is approachable and food friendly, with the acid providing cut through on the finish.Xanadu_CabSauvignon_NV

Xanadu – Cabernet Sauvignon – 2013. (18.5pts – $37). The fruit on the nose is pristine and ripe, with blueberry, blackcurrant and hints of eucalypt and peppermint. The length is noteworthy, with spice, aniseed, supple texture and mineral characters. The tannins build on the close, but remain fine and savoury. The oak sits nicely in the background, allowing the fruit to shine.2013_SR_CAB_SAUV_XAN_PNG

Xanadu – Cabernet Sauvignon – Stevens Road – 2012. (18.5pts – N/A). A different style, with cedar and spice over fine red fruits. The palate is full of minerals, giving a graphite-like character. The length is excellent and the mouth-feel is a textural treat. The chewy tannins subdue the fruit a little, yet this is a big, powerful wine that is full of personality. Drinks well now, but will be better in 10 years+. 2013_RESV_CAB_SAUV__XAN_

Xanadu – Cabernet Sauvignon – Reserve – 2013. (18.8pts – $85). Pristine fruit that is fragrant and perfumed, with a savoury edge. Spectacular, silky fruit on the palate, with texturing tannins and oak (50% new) that polishes the fruit nicely. The fruit fans out like a peacock’s tail on the finish. Immense length. A very fine wine that can be drunk any time over the next 20 years. (Available 1st June 2016).

Xanadu –Malbec– Stevens Road – 2013. (NR – $60). More textured and savoury, though the fruit is quite fine. Again, the length is noteworthy. Plump and supple, the fine tannins are prodigious, yet harmonious. Graphite-like minerality is a feature of the finish.

Xanadu –Petit Verdot – Stevens Road – 2011. (NR – $60). Lovely ripe plum-like fruit on both the nose and palate. Silky and finely textured, the perfumed, floral notes become more apparent with air. The tannins have softened enough to make for great drinking. (50% new oak).