Wendouree Cabernet Malbec 2006 (Clare Valley, SA)
$80, Cork, 13.7%
Exclusive wine, slightly exclusive pricetag (though not from the mailing list) and even the labelling take minimalism to the extreme. But the argument is – with a reputation like this, do you need to do any more?
On night one, with an hour or so in the decanter, this was quite awkward, with a surprising uneven ripeness to it. So I stuck back in the fridge, eschewing the bottle and leaving it in a big Riedel (which looked ridiculous) and now, on day two, it seems much more composed.
In the glass it’s a deep, dark, boysenberried, right to the rim, mega old vine colour, looking dense and serious. I really like that boysenberry ripple purple colour, it looks excellent in the glass and seems to promise much. Nose does too: It’s tight, compacted, yet fresh and distinctively Clare Valley-ish. Eucalypt, mint, crushed up dried leaves, fruit cake and ripe red fruit. Needs lots of time, judging by the nose alone.
At first sip, however, I thought this was a dud. Surprising to say, but this initially seemed too ripe, too plush and even a bit stewed in its flavour profile. But something had me coming back. Something grainy about the tannins, the sour, licoricey back end, or the sense of lightness & freshness to the deep red fruit.
This Wendouree then is a quite surprising wine. It’s softer, sweeter, less minty and nowhere near as astringent as past Wendouree Cab Malbec’s (though I’ve not had any of the past three vintages, when apparently the style changed), and I’m really not convinced that its a particularly good vintage for this wine, but its still got that beguiling, mystique ridden, uniqueness of the finest terroir driven wines, even if it requires some coaxing. If I had this in my cellar, I would treat it like any other Wendouree and forget it exists until its 10th birthday, but I don’t, and my dollars would go to the 06 Shiraz over this. 17.7+