Part One – 31 May 2010
Wow, what a tasting! There was not a bad wine to be seen anywhere.
Ten years ago, a tasting like this would have been unheard of. To have fifteen wines in a tasting and have every one of them score a bronze medal or better would have been quite remarkable. There are several reasons for this increase in quality across the spectrum.
Most importantly, the wholesale adoption of screw caps has removed the problems associated with cork. I estimate that, traditionally, up to 15% of all wines bottled under cork had obvious signs of cork taint. There has also been a dramatic improvement in the quality of corks too, as producers introduce measures to reduce bad quality corks.
There has also been changes in vineyard management and fruit selection, as well as improvements in wine-making techniques. Hygiene is also an important factor too. Finally, the grape glut over recent years has seen quality fruit from premium regions being used in inexpensive wines.
Ultimately though, the consumer is the winner. Wines like the Angoves – Vineyard Select, Long Flat, Ferngrove – Symbols and Xanadu – Next of Kin are very good wines in their own right, and represent superb value.
Voyager – Cabernet Sauvignon/Merlot. – 2005 (18.2). Herbal edges with cedar and concentrated fruit. The palate is powerful and ripe with mint, mortein, cassis and dark fruits. The texture is dominated by mouth-coating tannins. Needs years to show its best. Drink with a veal chop.
Angove – Cabernet Sauvignon – Vineyard Select – 2008 (18). Wow. A crowd pleaser. Forward and ripe, this has black fruits, cedar, cigar box/tobacco leaf, blackcurrant and a touch of ribena. There is even a touch of peppermint and fly spray (A good thing). There is plenty of grip from the oak, but the fruit handles this with ease. Tremendous value.
Xanadu – Cabernet Sauvignon – Next of Kin – 2008 (17.8). Savoury notes to the dense, quality fruit. Ripe, textured, long, powerful and quite seamless. A complex wine, though the oak is a touch assertive now, (this should settle in a year or two). Bordeaux-like in style. Great value here.
Galafrey– Cabernet Sauvignon – Reserve – 2001 (17.6). Lovely developed fruit here. Dense, with mint and a touch of eucalypt. The palate is textured, dense and leathery. The ripe fruit is in the black fruits spectrum with mulberry and plum. Good length and mouth-feel. A nicely aging wine that is currently available from the winery.
McHenry Hohnen – Malbec/Cabernet Sauvignon/Merlot/Petit Verdot – Rolling Stone – 2008 (17.6). Balanced and enticing nose. This has ripe fruit in the red berry spectrum, and a silky mouth feel. Fine tannins are apparent on the finish, but a lovely wine that will improve with age.
Balnaves – Cabernet Sauvignon – 2007 (17.5). Leads off with mortein, mint, redcurrants and cedary oak accents. The palate continues the theme nicely. The fine tannins are a little assertive right now, but these should integrate. Typically Coonawara and an excellent result for the year.
Goundrey – Cabernet Sauvignon/Merlot – Homestead – 2008 (17.3). Silky, supple and enticing. This is an elegant and refined wine with lovely fruit. Violets, redcurrant, camphor and spice all appear on the palate with quite seamless oak. A leaner style, and good value again.
Mount Avoca – Cabernet Sauvignon – 2008 (17.2). Bright ripe fruit on the nose and palate. This is not the densest wine here, but it is pretty and focused with fine tannins. Easy drinking over the next 5 years.
Ferngrove – Cabernet Sauvignon/Merlot. – Symbols – 2008 (17). Sweet fruit on the nose with camphor. The palate is dense and showing a touch of extract with licorice, spice and leather. Really slips down easily and hard to resist. A solid wine that is a bargain.
MadFish – Cabernet Sauvignon – Gold Turtle – 2008 (17). Savoury, yes, but complimented by fine ripe fruit. Dense, ripe and closed, with herbal characters to close. Very youthful. An interesting wine that will improve with a few years in the bottle.
Galafrey – Cabernet – 2005 (16.9). An interesting wine that is a bit old fashioned in style with dusty, earthy fruit. Opens nicely, and drinks well.
Long Flat – Cabernet Sauvignon/Merlot – 2008 (16.6). Fruit is in the cooler spectrum, with herbs and eucalypt fruit characters on the nose. Continues on the palate with some cedar and tobacco. Ripe tannins are a touch firm on the finish. Great value at less than $10.
Windrush – Cabernet Sauvignon – 2008 (16.4). A good quaff this. Fresh and juicy fruit to start, with ribena, plum and herbal notes. This is a fruit-forward style with minimal oak apparent.