|Cabernet + Neb|
A club of Cabernets?
It’s cold here in Sydney at the moment, far too cold really considering that it’s the almost the 2nd week of a Sydney summer. Still, when one door closes, another one opens, right? So I’ve instead just channeled a little winter vibes tonight instead, with a whole swathe of roasted things on the menu and some suitably (deliberately) warming wines to match.
Unsurprisingly perhaps (given a lamb leaning for the meat course) the choice of warming wines tonight has ended up as a lineup of Cabernet based reds (bar a Nebbiolo interloper), a situation which led me to ponder what exactly the collective noun for a group of Cabernets would be. Now I know that I could probably just be pulling out the usuals – a flight, a bracket, a group etc etc. But I want a little more alliteration than that, so I’m going to run with a club of Cabernets. Hopefully it will start some sort of trend….
Regardless, there was one standout amongst these wines, one Cabernet that won me over purely by it’s varietal glory, and it’s Coonawarra winning again.
Brothers in Arms Cabernet Sauvignon 2007 (Langhorne Creek, SA) 15.5% $50
Is it just me or has Langhorne Creek completely fallen off the cool radar? I’ve only heard gloomy stories about the 2011 vintage in Langhorne too, which doesn’t help things. Here’s hoping that the region gets its mojo back soon.
Not sure if this is the wine to do it though. ’07 was a hot and dry drought year and this is a hot, dry and dessicated wine. There’s regional mint chocolate on the nose, but it’s struggling behind the cedar and cardboard and mothballs of dead fruit. There’s more generosity on the palate however which is showing the concentration and tannins of what must have been little buckshot sized berries. if you can get past the nose for that matter (which I really struggled with) and stick to just the dry tannins alone you might well enjoy this wine. Still, that’s a whole lot of pain for a tannic hit. 15/85
Raidis Estate Billy Cabernet Sauvignon 2009 (Coonawarra, SA) 13.5% $23
Ah Coonawarra. Sticking my nose in this is like coming home again (of sorts) such is the familiarity. There’s blackcurrant, dusty red dirt and some chocolate oak. It’s a little raw and volatile, no doubt an effect of the warm vintage, though the fruit underneath is solid and fresh. The dry palate is firm and serious, again raw and a little angular through the finish perhaps but it packs plenty of structure, heart and flavour in too. This needs time in the bottle but the genetics are all rather solid. Good wine, good price. 17.4/90+
Shina’s Estate ‘The Verdict’ Cabernet Sauvignon 2007 (Murray Darling, Vic) 15.5% $18
Love the label on this wine. Spooky and cool. Sourced from a single vineyard near Mildura in Victoria.
Super concentrated nose. Fruit cake, dried figs, cinnamon and cedar. Again, like the Brothers in Arms, it looks overripe and slightly raisined on the nose, but the sweeter, condensed milk oak and increased generosity on the palate makes for a more palatable wine. Unlike the Brothers in Arms though the tannins here are light and feel less natural.
Ultimately a fair quaffer, I would really like to have seen this picked earlier as there is definitely potential here. 15/85
Longview Nebbiolo 2007 (Adelaide Hills, SA) 14.5% $69
Another sexily packaged wine, with the high shouldered, Piedmont inspired bottle and excellent glass-pressed label looking a treat. This smells fittingly serious too, with a figgy, concentrated, dusty ferrous nose that’s just a smidgen ripe and dried-fruit-leaning but nicely varietal. The palate is quite sweet and generous, perhaps too much in a way, a smidgen round and simple to really compete with similar priced Langhe offerings (like this Ceretto) but I still like the nutty, proper tannic, pass-the-parmesan finish. Length is rather satisfactory too.
Overall lots to like and quite a result given the (generally ordinary) vintage. Would love to see how the more followup vintages look…. 16.8/89