2007 Margaret River reds: A rushed look at the icons
Had the opportunity to look at a collection of 2007 Margaret River reds (plus a few interlopers) today, including most of the absolute top wines from the region. It was a very rushed affair, so I'm not going to include scores, but an interesting benchmarking exercise nonetheless.
My favourites? 07 Vass Felix Heytesbury and the value pick of the Cape Mentelle Trinders
The wines (prices in brackets were prices on the day):
Vass Felix Heytesbury Cabernet 2007 ($70)
Big, thick and lavishly oaked, but also so very regional, so very Vasse Felix and very very attractive. A delicious and seamless Cabernet. I'm going to buy some...
Cullen Cabernet Sauvignon Merlot 2007 ($35)
Well priced. Much more fleshy and open than it's sibling, but still recognisably a Cullen Cabernet (structured and fine boned). Medium bodied and tasty, lacking only a little stuffing to be truly convincing.
Cullen Diana Madeline Cabernet Sauvignon Merlot 2007 ($85)
Looking a bit sullen in this context, I think this is retreating into itself. Leave it in the cellar. Was a top wine 12 months ago, so I'm not worried.
Frankland Estate Isolation Ridge Cabernet Sauvignon 2007 ($22)
At first I couldn't believe this was a straight Cabernet given it's quite meaty fruit expression. Regardless, it's a dry and utterly cool climate style that is nothing if not distinctive. I quite liked it.
Frankland Estate Olmo's Reward Merlot Cab Franc 2007 ($35)
Ah, a right bank blend! Much to like here, with a quite fleshy, long and dry palate driven by plush Merlot and the red fruit of Cabernet Franc. It's again a cool climate wine, lighter and just a tad herbal around the edges, but again much to like.
Howard Park Abercrombie Cabernet Merlot 2007 ($79)
I only had the briefest of looks at this, but it did seem to be much bigger and riper this vintage, which is not surprising given that it is skewed towards Margaret River fruit this year. A revisit is in order.
Moss Wood Cabernet Sauvignon 2007 ($84)
It's been whispered that this might be a smidgen OTT this year and I would tend to agree. Overoaked. So oaky that it tends to paper over all the good bits, like regional characters. I'm not going to write it off (there is excellent fruit underneath) but no question that it looked oak heavy and clunky in this lineup.
Cape Mentelle Trinders Cabernet Merlot 2007 ($24)
Delicious. Typically varietal and even a smidgen leafy, this is all blackcurrant and cassis in a dry and quite sophisticated style. Much drier and more serious than the base 07 Cullen Cab Merlot. Excellent value. Highly recommended.
Cape Mentelle Shiraz 2007 ($30)
I can't call myself a fan of Margaret River Shiraz, but I can certainly see the appeal here. There is a cocoa butter meets dark spicy fruit character that is certainly appealing, especially when matched to a suitably long palate. It's just not my favoured style of wine per se.