Serafino Shiraz 2008 & Cabernet Sauvignon 2007 & 2008 (McLaren Vale, SA)
$25, Screwcap, 14.5%
It took me a while, but I am really warming to these Stelvin Luxe screwcaps. They seem to open with a reassuring thunk-click that feels rather good. Works well with this packaging too.
As to the wines, these three reds are sourced from the sprawling Mclarens on the Lake facility, which apparently now numbers over 300 acres under vine (making it one of the biggest in the Vale?). The two 08's in particular are well priced examples of solid McLaren Vale reds, with only the 07 Cab falling off.
First up is the 2008 Shiraz and it's a purple looking beast, the nose thick with tarry, lifted, boysenberry fruit and dominant coconut oak. The palate has some excellent mid palate sweetness, in a grape juice concentrate fashion, before finishing nice and dry.
It's a tad too obvious right now & in need of several more months in the bottle, but no doubting the thick, rich, solid character behind it. With no over-ripeness to be seen and loads of flavour without excess, there is much to like here. Great stuff & good value. Recommended. 17.5/92+
Onto the Cabernet(s) then, and what a contrast between the two - both tasting of their respective vintages, particularly with the 07 which is quite a challenge.
Lighter, redder, faded even when compared to the very purple 08, the 2007 has a rather withdrawn, cedary and leafy nose, smelling lean and just ripe. With air time a herbal, mildly confected red fruit character arises, showing both under and overripeness and reminding how hard it was to get Cabernet fully ripe in 2007.
It's the same on the palate too, with green tannins and a hollow mid palate, edged with the caramel flavours of the odd berry that had become too ripe. The end result is simply hard work, indicative of the perils of mixed ripeness in Cabernet. 14.5/82
The 2008, in contrast, is an entirely different wine. 'Just bottled' purple in colour, the nose here is all about sweet, upfront oak and purple berries, the sweetness of the fruit mingling with the sweet spicy oak in a quite appealing, juicy upfront style.
It's perhaps a bit too sweet on the palate, with blackberry flavours and plenty of oak making for a rather sticky wine that finishes light and rounded. It perhaps lacks the solid class of the 08 Shiraz, but should be quite a pleasant wine with bottle age, though it won't be long lived. Good. 17/90
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