McGuigan Philosophy Cabernet Shiraz 2012
I touched recently on the scepticism that comes with a ‘volume’ winery launching an icon level red, and my sceptometer was in high gear when tasting this wine…
Still, you can see what the end goal here is – and that is for The Philosophy to be McGuigan’s answer to Penfolds Grange. Indeed you can see at every step how much of a Cabernet-focused Grange emulation this is (although Neil McGuigan sights it more as a claret style).
A blend of Cabernet Sauvignon and Shiraz, this is sourced – in Grange style – from Langhorne Creek, the Clare and Barossa Valleys, with the Cabernet from Langhorne & Clare, Shiraz from Barossa and Clare.
There’s Penfolds DNA in the maturation as well, with this spending two years in French and American oak for two years prior to bottling (one less than Grange).
It even smells like a Cabernet Grange. There is that trademark VA that Max Schubert famously encouraged (by leaving the bungs out of barrels), with a hearty, fudgey, American and French oak richness at every turn – choc mint, more mint, and lashings and lashings of oak.
Underneath all that wood this is impressively concentrated wine, the slightly raw, extractive and tannic palate every bit the traditional path of a super premium red attempt. I’m being cynical perhaps, as the the thickness and length here are of a top tier, but nothing modern about the format…
Stylistically, however, this is built for the long haul – and both the price and the style reflects that. For now it seems something of a caricature, if with a clear goal in mind, but once it settles down this should make handy, old Aussie red wine bones. Important plus signs… Best drinking: 2020-2040. 17.7/20, 92/100+. 14%, $150. Buy online: McGuigan website.