Two wines that aptly demonstrate how hard it can be to get Cabernet right in the Canberra district. Regardless of the heat of a Canberra summer, Cabernet is still a marginal variety for the region, with the challenges of ripeness not helped by the juxtaposition of cool weather and heat waves witnessed in 2008.
Special note: Lukewarm reviews to follow. I’m publishing them anyway as the style here so clearly illustrates the aforementioned challenges of vintage and grape. I don’t mean to vilify Shaw in anyway, but I do believe that their best wines come from Shiraz and (particularly) Riesling.
Shaw Premium Cabernet Merlot 2008 (Canberra)
$25, Screwcap, 14.5%
Bright mauve colour. Minty. Spearminty to be precise, with a healthy dose of Eucalpyt. It’s a fresh and clear nose, but there has to be a tolerance to mint. With further air time the odd whiff of stewed blackberry fruit also pokes through, further suggesting mixed fruit ripeness.
Palate starts minty, before fleshing out with meaty mid palate chunkiness, more stewed blackberry/plum and minty fruit, sitcky acid and dry tannin. It’s not an unattractive wine, but the mixed ripeness is distracting.16/87
Shaw Premium Cabernet Sauvignon 2008 (Canberra)
$25. Screwcap, 14.3%
Lovely purple and mauve colour. Again the nose of spearmint & Eucalpyt, with some tight grained (quality) chocolate oak and some slightly reductive fruit. Again the stewed fruit sits underneath disturbing the minty flow of fruit, before freshening up with more mint through the back. Slight resonant bitterness on the finish.
It’s actual a refreshing wine in a way, with no shortage of acid and a sense of lightness. The absence of Merlot too works in this wines favour, making the lines cleaner and straighter. Still, the angularity meets stewed fruit makes for a finally disjointed experience. 16.2/87