|Capel Vale Cabernets|
Capel Vale Wines - verticals ahoy!Looking back through my notes on this site I find that there is a rather curious omission - there are no decent Capel Vale reviews. Considering how often I try the wines, this is a glaring omission. Boo me.
Thankfully, I was recently gifted the opportunity to try a swathe of Capel Vale wines in a bid to rectify such a situation. After working through said swathe I can again say with confidence that Capel Vale make solid to superb Cab Sauv, Rieslings and Chardonnays, with some of the more recent Shiraz also looking very handy indeed.
The following wines then were tasted non-blind over several brackets as part of a big Capel Vale session. Former boy band member - and Winefront's resident Claret lover - Gary Walsh was also in attendance and we kept agreeing on the wines we liked. It was unsettling...
My notes are largely as written on the day (I've added the odd comma in this version though. Tasting on the run = minimal punctuation).
Capel Vale Whispering Hill Riesling 2007-2011Drawn from the Whispering Hill vineyard in Mount Barker, a renowned plot for great Riesling fruit. The 2011 Riesling looked particularly strong, the odd vintages again performing well.
Capel Vale Whispering Hill Mount Barker Riesling 2007 - 12% alc.
Toast and golden fruit. Biscuity edge to that ripeness with some tangerine citrus. Slightly chubby palate gets much tighter through the finish. Blossoms and slightly sour lime and mandarin juice. Good flow, if abrupt acidity. 18.3/93
Capel Vale Whispering Hill Mount Barker Riesling 2008 - 12.5%
Much more lanolin over grapefruit with this one, it looks rather more linear but perhaps lacking the penetration and depth through the back palate. 17.7/92
Capel Vale Whispering Hill Mount Barker Riesling 2009 - 12%
Pineapple juice and much more primary fruit here. I like the length to match the riper form, that fruit sweetness giving more texture and capped off by great length. Superior vintage this one. 18.3/93+
Capel Vale Whispering Hill Mount Barker Riesling 2010 - 12%
Almost candied nose, the grapefruit driven palate looking decidedly leaner and drier compared to the other wines in the lineup. Slightly abrupt acidity doesn't quite carry the flow through the palate. Less linear, though pleasant regardless. 17.6/91+
Capel Vale Whispering Hill Mount Barker Riesling 2011 - 12%
Beautiful lifted talc florals. Really jumps out of the glass. Tropical fruit richness of the palate matches very nicely with those florals. Lovely sweet/sour lime pineapple palate. Top shelf acid balance. Lovely wine. 18.5/94
|Capel Vale Whispering Hill Rieslings|
The fruit source for this Chardonnay has changed a bit over the years, moving from Margaret River, to Pemberton and then back again. Must say I rather preferred the leaner, nuttier, Pemberton sourced wines.
Capel Vale Regional Series Chardonnay 2007-11
Capel Vale Regional Series Margaret River Chardonnay 2007 - 13.5%
Quite evolved now with a sort of Sao biscuits rolled in honey nose. Open and biscuity palate too, maybe just a little sweet and fat through the finish which ends warmish. Bulky but not without charm. 17.5/91
Capel Vale Regional Series Pemberton Chardonnay 2009 - 14%
Much leaner, more mealy style that looks tighter and very crisp. Love the linear palate profile here with almost milky fine oak. Extra finesse. Lean and sprightly with very attractive vanilla bean oak. Super stylish, lovely wine. 18.5/94
Capel Vale Regional Series Pemberton Chardonnay 2010 - 13.5%
Clear lineage from 09 though perhaps a little more candied. Certainly bright and overt but cant quite escape the candied fruit. Still, nutty fine Chardonnay fruit at the core. May well improve with time. 17.9/92+
Capel Vale Regional Series Margaret River Chardonnay 2011 - 13.5%
Back to fleshy, richer Margs style. Lots of creamy nutty and caramelised sort of burnt butter flavours and more peach. Lots of upfront joy here, for immediate drinking methinks as it might get chubbier. 17.8/92
Capel Vale Regional Series Mount Barker Shiraz 2007-10Sourced from the Capel Vale vineyards in Mount Barker, the viticulture apparently wasn't quite up to scratch for the earlier vintages and it certainly shows. Again I must confess that Mount Barker Shiraz isn't exactly my most favoured region/variety combo.
Capel Vale Regional Series Mount Barker Shiraz 2007 - 15%
Raisined and slightly soupy, the fruit deep and tarry but showing its treacle like desiccation, under clumys formic oak. Awkward and just bit hot and heavy, it looks over cropped and hung out too long. Thick and soupy. Not terrible but not for me. 15.3/85
Capel Vale Regional Series Mount Barker Shiraz 2008 - 14%
Lots dense licoricey fruit here, though again looking overripe. Hot finish again, raspy tannins. Starts well and lots of jammy richness but just needs to be fresher. 15.7/86
Capel Vale Regional Series Mount Barker Shiraz 2009 - 14%
Much brighter musky overtones to match that trademark black licorice strap fruit. Violets and some blueberry notes give prettiness. Considerably more vibrant and composed than the wines before it. Slightly sweet oak a minor distraction but otherwise quality, well made wine. 17.7/92
Capel Vale Regional Series Mount Barker Shiraz 2010 - 14%
An entirely different wine this one. Has a bit of old school Aramis aftershave fragrance to match the black jube fruit, but cast much lighter. A candied vein through the palate is distracting for the backbone is much more composed. A bit barrel sample-esque. May get there. 16.8/89+
Capel Vale Whispering Hill Mount Barker Shiraz 2007-2009A barrel selection from the Regional Series wines, with this line also given more time in barrel.
Capel Vale Whispering Hill Mount Barker Shiraz 2007 - 15.5%
A little hot and jubey on the nose. Short and hot palate with some sticky tannins. Blocky tannins and decent fruit weight but can't hide the desiccation. Better tannins than the Regional Series equivalent though. 16/87
Capel Vale Whispering Hill Mount Barker Shiraz 2008 - 14%
Bolder and juicier than the standard Shiraz. Black fruit richness and some nice purple fruit. Slightly hammy wildness on the nose, which carries nicey through the palate. All of it can't quite compete with the warm finish though. Almost great. 17/90
Capel Vale Whispering Hill Mount Barker Shiraz 2009 - 14%
Rather attractive, musky black fruit and fennel on the nose. This looks the most charismatic and has the most swagger of any Shiraz in the line. Fresher too, dry but with life. Quality cool climate Shiraz, needing just a bit more complexity to propel to superstardom. 18/93+
|Much Capel Vale. Many screwcaps too.|
Capel Vale Regional Series Margaret River Cabernet Merlot 2007-2010It's quite curious why this Cabernet Merlot is so far behind the straight Cabernet. Dud Merlot fruit?
Capel Vale Regional Series Margaret River Cabernet Merlot 2007 - 15%
Mixed ripeness on the nose. Nose suggests impact but skinny palate doesn't back it up with the flavour concentration, finishing with very light tannins. It doesn't show the alcohol on the finish which is a positive. 15.8/86
Capel Vale Regional Series Margaret River Cabernet Merlot 2008 - 13.5%
Just a fraction overripe, the nose here carries a little lollied fruit, the slightly warm, dusty palate has richness but generally lacks the definition to propel it forward. Nice tannins and even finish work wonders though. Not bad. 16.8/89
Capel Vale Regional Series Margaret River Cabernet Merlot 2010 - 14%
Soft and juicy nose looks very soft and jubey. Lighter, smoother and much sweeter, it lacks the grunt and structure of the previous wines but should be commercially attractive. 16.5/88
Capel Vale Regional Series Margaret River Cabernet Sauvignon 2005-2010Nice to see a whole 5 years worth of wines here. All looked good actually, though the 2010 - like the '10 Cab Merlot - looks decidedly sweeter and less well structured. Let's hope that stylistic change is just an anomaly.
Capel Vale Regional Series Margaret River Cabernet Sauvignon 2005 - 14.5%
Very dark red. Blackberry nose. Looks ripe and chunky in a sweeter but entirely composed style. Big and bright and juicy yet with sufficient tannins. Very likeable, nutty development with proper structure. Nice medium-bodied, bottle-aged style. I liked it. 17.7/92
Capel Vale Regional Series Margaret River Cabernet Sauvignon 2007 - 15%
A bit ripe and volatile whilst also showing greenness (viti problems there). Mixed berries, dusty varietal aromatics and excellent varietal tannins all bode well, all it needs is just a little more power. Holds its alcohol well too. Solid. 17.5/91
Capel Vale Regional Series Margaret River Cabernet Sauvignon 2008 - 13.5%
Much softer and prettier. Light, bitter tannins drive the palate but again I want more fruit power to drive it all forward. Almost great, just needing more of everything. 17.6/91+
Capel Vale Regional Series Margaret River Cabernet Sauvignon 2009 - 14%
Classic cedar nose. Proper Margaret River Cabernet nose. The best tannins of the line with a certain freshness and linearity. Lovely power and weight. Just a fraction warm perhaps. Very nice! 18.5/94
Capel Vale Regional Series Margaret River Cabernet Sauvignon 2010 - 14%
Very youthful, squished berry fruit. Barrel sample-esque. Looks juicy and just a tad simple through the finish. I'm just waiting for it to fill out a bit more. Much looser structure in this lineup. 17.5/91+
Capel Vale Scholar Margaret River Cabernet Sauvignon 2007-2009Drawn from a vineyard located on Metricup road in the heart of the Margaret River dress circle. Again a barrel selection from the Regional Series. Usually a tiny production (100 dozen).
Capel Vale Scholar Margaret River Cabernet Sauvignon 2007 - 15%
No hiding the under/over ripeness. Eucalyptus and smoked capsicum. Bitter edge to the tannins too. Underripe in contrast. Richness is struggling to keep up but still there is great length here. Surprised to see it looked lesser than the base wine. Will have to revisit this...16.5/88+
Capel Vale Scholar Margaret River Cabernet Sauvignon 2008 - 14.5%
Big and berried with a softness and luxury too it. Plump but minty with a lovely mid-palate weight. Silken and delicious. Nice wine, if gentler. 18.2/93
Capel Vale Scholar Margaret River Cabernet Sauvignon 2009 - 14.5%
Lovely nose. Spearmint and juicy blackberries. Super fresh, kirsch and blackberry liqueur with a veneer of pepper and plushness. Perfectly ripe and super long. Exceptionally good. Just a hint of herbs through the finish. Excellent wine! 18.7/95