Ballast Stone RMS Cabernet Sauvignon 2004 (Mclaren Vale, SA)
Apparently this picked up a silver (Best in class) at the IWSC. Produced off 60yr old+ vines in Mclaren Vale. Spent a rather lengthy 32 months in oak: Arguably, if it has the fruit weight to support, that's more than appropriate, but the jury is still out.
An impenetrable, dark red, almost black red colour. The nose is coffee beans, bourbon and coconut oak. There is dark fruit in there somewhere, but it really needs a good decant to open up the nose. On the palate it is large, blocky and chewy - almost monolithic in its deep, dark, rich fruit and oak flavours, finishing with integrated, yet oak dominated tannins and a slice of vanilla. It is big, but not harsh, with almost limitless flavours of coffeed oak & dark berry fruits. Except for a note of mint on the nose, this is largely unrecognisable as Cabernet - it is a Mclaren Vale dry red.
Stylistically this looks towards a late 90's Bin 707 with its huge extract, domineering oak and tannins. Its actually quite hedonistic in its richness, but the challenge will continue to be the excessive oak - it dominates every facet of this wine. In the short to medium term it will soften, become more integrated, more chocolatey and should be rather attractive indeed - but that oak will always be dominant. 16.5+ (subtract 2 points if you don't like oak)
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