Tag Archives: Red Wine

New Release Cabernet

25 July 2009

A short sharp line up of wine here. The highlight was the bracket of cabernets from Xanadu. I believe that 2007 was the first vintage that was completely in control of the new owners, and what a difference it has made. The premium wines are very good, and the entry level Next Of Kin is very smart and excellent value.

Xanadu is now in the hands of the Rathbone family, who also own Yerring Station, Mt Langi Giran and Parker (Coonawara). Each of these wines represent the pinnacle of their respective regions, so I am not surprised that Xanadu showed so well. Their chardonnays are also good too. This is a winery to watch!


ParkerFirst Growth – Cabernet– 2004 (18.4). Wow, this has lifted ripe fruit on the nose, and is dense, ripe and textured. Lovely mouth feel here and the fruit builds. There is black current and spice and the finish is very fine and long. This is a powerful wine with well integrated oak and a seamless finish

XanaduLimited release – Cabernet – 2007 (18+). Very closed right now. There is ripe cabernet fruit, with a touch of regional mintiness that is in balance. The palate is long and lean at the moment but there is plenty of fine ripe fruit underneath. Good acid to close. We drank this two nights later, and it was quire superb.

Plantaganet – Cabernet – 2007 (18). Dense and powerful fruit. Opens with sweet ripe fruit, cassis and spice. Vanillin oak well integrated The palate has a touch of herbs and a long drying finish. Excellent fruit and quality wine making. This was a delight two days later.

ParkerTerra Rossa – Cabernet – 2004 (17.9). Classic cabernet nose with cassis and a touch of brioche on the nose. The palate has ripe fruit that is quite succulent. There is very good line and length, and the very fine tannins add to the finish. Fine oak grip to close. This is a dense and powerful wine that will age for many years.

Xanadu – Cabernet – 2007 (17.8). Complex but closed to start. The palate has dense ripe fruit that is complex. There is some tobacco leaf to close. Cedary oak is apparent on the long, fine finish. Velvety tannins to close. Well Made.

XanaduNext of Kin – Cabernet – 2007 (17.5). Seductive, ripe and succulent nose. The palate has blackcurrant fruit and is fleshy. Good fruit, fine acid and enough oak and tannin grip to add balance. Fruit builds and chalky tannins to close. Tarry and brambly fruit. This is good stuff and should be great value.

Cape MentelleTrinders – Cabernet Merlot– 2007 (17). Dense, ripe and full. Some blackcurrant fruit with touch of herbs. The palate has good quality fruit that builds. Lacks mid palate density and weight right now. Gritty tannins and solid oak to close. Will be better in a couple of years.

Forest HillCabernet – 2007 (17). Closed right now and hard to assess. Quality fruit and wine making.

Capel ValeMargaret River – Cabernet – 2007 (16.8). Seductive nose. There is ripe, quality fruit that is quite long and plummy. Opens. Not my style as there is a touch of green and bay leaf to close.

WindanceReserve – Cabernet – 2007 (16.7). Sweet fruit with a touch of candy. Candied fruit continues on the palate. Atypical. The wine is actually long and textured. I should look at this again.

ReynellaBasket Press – Cabernet – 2005 (?16.5). I struggled with this wine as it was so closed. It starts quite austere, but has ripe cooler fruit. The finish is tight and lean. I would like to see this wine again .

Scalawag – Cabernet Merlot – 2007 (15.7)


© 2009 – 2013 Fine Wine Club

Bordeaux versus Margaret River

28th June 2009

The aim of this tasting was to compare wines from Bordeaux and Margaret River. It is my view that Margaret River region produces the best new world cabernets and in quality terms, the wines can match the best of Bordeaux. All wines were served blind and in pairs. The wines were matched for vintage, and with the odd exception (sorry guys), there was one from each region.

Style wise, the wines from Bordeaux wines were characterised by their firmer (but fine) tannins. The New World wines tended to have slightly riper fruit characters, but this was not uniform. The tasting highlighted the quality of wines from both regions, but also serves to highlight the much better value that the Australian wines offer. With the best Margaret River wines nudging $100, they represent better buying than the best bordeaux’s (the 2008 indents are charging $400 – $500 for 1st Growths).

Myles emphasized that our palates get used to certain styles of wines. This is very true, and people who only drink big Australian Reds would find some of these wines challenging. Preferences were spread across the group, with no real tendency towards one style or the other.

Thanks to Norbert and Kerry Fandry for hosting this tasting and dinner.


Vasse Felix – Cabernet – 1982. (17.5) Colour still bright with an orange rim. The nose is soft, fragrant and perfumed. There is a touch on mint and menthol, but the wine is balanced and smooth. The palate is fine, long and silky. The fruit is fading, and the tannins are soft but present.

Chateau Branaire Duluc-Ducru – Bordeaux – 1982 (18.5). Colour still bright with an orange rim. Leads with earthy characters. This is a complex wine. Opens up with air to reveal some lovely perfumed fruit. The complex palate still has bright fresh fruit characters. It is very long and fine, with some cedar/cigar box to close. Lovely

Phelan Segur – Bordeaux – 1994. (Corked)

Penfolds – Bin 407 – Cabernet – 1994 (18). Mint and menthol to open, but rich fruit develops with air. The palate is long, bright and earthy. Serious complexity. The finish is round soft and succulent. Very good

Chateau Soutard – St Emillion – 2001 (18.5). Complex nose with typical cool fruit characters. The palate is complex, deep, long and fine. The tannins shut down the fruit still. Chocolate to close (5yrs)

Arboleda – Merlot – 2001 (17). Unusual nose of dried herbs. Continues on the palate, but is swamped by sweet fruit with chocolate overtones. textured and long. The palate is better than the nose.

Vasse FelixHeytsbury – Cabernet – 1997 (18+). Wow, powerful fruit. Dense, ripe with a touch of menthol.The powerful palate is full of chocolate fruit that is long and layered. There is some licorice to close. There was a question over whether the tannins would outlast the fruit. Drink up and lets not find out.

Chateau Lagrange – Pomerol – 2005 (17). Mint and cassis on the nose. The palate is lean right now with pronounced drying tannins. May evolve.

Leeuwin EstateArt Series – Cabernet – 2002 (18.7). Complex, earthy with a touch of classic Margaret River Mortem. This wine is all about the superb structure and texture on the palate. There is minty fruit, but this wine will need 10 years to show its best.

Chateau Branaire Duluc-Ducru – Bordeaux – 2002 (18.5). Tight and long with a touch of cassis. The palate is fine and tight, though the tannins shut down the finish. Will be very good. (10 years)

Voyager Estate – Cabernet Merlot – 2004 (18.3). Powerful. Ripe and succulent fruit with a touch of mint, tobacco and complex earthiness. Lots of ripe cassis on the palate with a silky textured finish. A bit of a fruit bomb, so will appeal to many.

Chateau du Pez – St Estephe – 2004 (18). A complex wine with a touch of herbal/menthol fruit. A touch of mocha and meaty characters too. The palate is complex and surprisingly ripe. The finish is fine and silky. An elegant wine that needs a few years to open up.

Leoville Poyferre – St Julien – 1995. (18). Earthy fruit with chocolate and coffee notes. The palate is long and silky, with complex earthy fruit. Tannins remain firm.

Devils Lair – Cabernet – 1995 (17.5). Cooler style with minty fruit. Develops chocolate fruit as it opens. The palate is a touch lean and drying.

Rauzan Segla – Bordeaux – 1994. (17.5). Complex, ripe and earthy. The palate shows cassis, lanolin and earthy notes. The mid palate fruit is flattened by drying, dusty tannins.

Pierro – Cabernet Blend – 1994 (18). Both Chocolate and mocha on the nose. The palate displays cassis fruit, with a touch of mint and menthol. Ripe fruit, good texture and viscous. Drinking well

Stony RidgeWaiheke Island – Cabernet – 1996 (17.9). Gorgeous nose. This displays ripe powerful fruit with a touch of herbal complexity. The palate is complex, and powerful with tobacco and menthol.

Les Forts de La Tour – Bordeaux – 1996 (18+). Leathery, complex and earthy. The palate is big, rich and ripe. Very long with leathery edges to the black fruit.

20 Great Australian Cabernets

28th May 2009

This tasting was put together to highlight the quality of Australian cabernet based wines. The overall consistency of the wines was a feature. Whilst most of these wines retail for between $50 and $150 per bottle, in world terms, they represent outstanding value when compared to their peers from Bordeaux and California.

Vintage variation appears to translate into the wine styles, with the less years producing wines with more primary red fruit and lighter palates. These wines will make excellent drinking in the short to medium term. The best wines showed depth of flavour characterised by ripe blackberry/blackcurrant fruit combined with very sensible use of high quality oak

Houghton’s has been producing some outstanding wines over the last 5 years, and the wines here reinforce the quality of their wines. Importantly, besides the Gladstone and the Jack Mann, Houghton’s was also responsible for producing the Thomas Hardy, which was in 2004 (and some other recent vintages) 100% Margaret River. The current Wisdom range is outstanding in both absolute quality terms and for value.

Houghton’sGladstone – Cabernet Sauvignon – 2003

Still closed. Beautiful wine with a blend of both red and black fruit. A wine of great power that still retains great balance and fine structure. The palate is seamless and possesses outstanding length. A great wine (18.8)

Majella – The Malleea – Cabernet Sauvignon – 2005

A very serious wine. Intense fruit with cigar box, leather and a touch of herbs on the nose. The palate is powerful and intense. The fruit has soaked up the oak beautifully. A magical wine (18.6+)

Cape Mentelle – Cabernet Sauvignon – 2005

A star of the tasting. A profound wine showing dense ripe fruit. Cedary oak was apparent on the nose. On the palate, the fruit really opened up. Blackcurrant and red fruits that are both dense and ripe. very long, with very fine chalky tannins. Beautifully balanced, the finish is silky and oh so long. Very Fine. Tasted twice with consistent notes (18.6)

Thomas Hardy – Cabernet Sauvignon – 2004

Ripe fruit on the nose. quite a feminine style of wine. red fruits to the fore. Very refined palate with great length. Refined tannins and oak. Seamless (18.6)

PenfoldsBin 707 – Cabernet Sauvignon – 2005

Solid dark fruits on the nose. Great fruit on the palate. This is a big wine with lots of cassis Very high quality oak, and very fine finish. Obviously different in style to the WA wines. Needs 15 years to show its best (18.5)

PierroReserve – Cabernet Sauvignon – 2004

Another lovely wine showing red and black currant fruit in a lighter style. There is a touch of menthol, plum and cinnamon to close. quite seamless, this fine tightly knit wine will improve for several years. (18.4)

Houghton’sJack Mann – Cabernet Sauvignon – 2002

Closed and shy at present. lovely fruit and palate feel. acid still fresh. A very good wine from a lighter year. Cork (18.2)

Vasse FelixHeytesbury – Cabernet Sauvignon – 2005

Very closed. A riper style with some cool fruit characters. Very well made, and builds in the mouth. May get better. (18)

Woodside Valley Estate Baudin – Cabernet Sauvignon – 2007

Minty fruition a leaner more elegant style. Comes to life on the palate with powerful ripe fruit. Long and silky with drying tannins. Lacks the ultimate fruit density of the best. (18)

BalnavesThe Tally – 2006

Two bottles tried with some variation. Has underlying cool fruit with some eucalypt and black currant fruit. A rich wine with plenty of grip, but tannins are fine. Oak evident at present. Should settle down. Pro Cork (17 – 18pts)

Evans and TateThe Reserve– Cabernet Sauvignon – 2005

Very Closed at the moment. The wine is quite lean at present, but has some lovely red fruits. Builds with time and has a long finish. Will receive higher points in time (17.7/18.3)

Moss Wood – Cabernet Sauvignon -2006

A lighter style with primary red fruits. Tasted twice with inconsistent notes (18 and 17)

Cullen Diana Madeline – 2007

Elegant, ripe and seductive. Red fruits to the for with a silky finish (17.5)