First Drop Mother's Ruin Cabernet Sauvignon 2009 (McLaren Vale, SA)
14%, Screwcap, $25
I'm a massive fan of the First Drop branding/naming/labelling, with the clever, detailed and fun themes all suggesting a creative mind or two, and wholly supported by wines that are typically smart to say the least. This Mother's Ruin is a great example, with a cheeky nipple or two sneaking on to the front label Where's Wally style just for good measure.
Whilst the packaging is bang on, the wine itself isn't quite as complete. It smells and tastes of the heat wave season (though it's not strictly cooked) carrying an edge of dullness that is hard to ignore. Stick that aside for a moment though and the winemaking looks entirely sound, with judicious, creamy oak just adding some palate weight and everything else in the right place.
It's a wine that is challenged then by the season, not the stylin', with that strained, minty desiccation and astringent drying tannins dominating the careful craftsmanship. Fair. 16.3/88