Wirra Wirra The Angelus Cabernet Sauvignon 2014
If you want an example of a well-run winery, then Wirra would be a first stop.
From the evergreen success of The Church Block, to how sensitively the purchase of Ashton Hills was handled, right through to the new Harry’s Deli (which looks great). All of it is a reflection of a wine business that gets it right more often than wrong.
That polish is also on show with this new vintage of The Angelus.
I’ve found there to be a real variability to the ’14 vintage in McLaren Vale, with wines that can tend towards mixed ripeness (particularly in Cabernet), which is a reflection of a stop-start, hot then wet season that is described as challenging (don’t believe the hype).
On that point – and despite the Vale’s history as the home of South Australian Cabernet – Cab is the most variable variety in the region (especially in 2014). Why that is remains an unresolved point of interest (poor canopy management? Second-best picking windows?) but it remains a constant theme.
But there is nothing uneven about this vintage of Angelus.
Of particular note is the alcohol here – in a warm and dry vintage, it is perfectly ripe at 13.5% alcohol. Alcohol is less of an issue in Cabernet compared to Shiraz IMO, but to see perfectly even, clearly varietal wine, with well-integrated acidity in a tough year is a sign of clever management (and great fruit).
Fruit-wise we’re in black fruit territory, with chocolate bullets oak and a whisper of cassis. Underneath it’s blackberried, full, even and just a little oak plumped, the finish fine but with punch and concentration. Linear Coonawarra Cab it’s not, with more rounded flavours than that. It still finishes tight, though, and importantly it’s fresh and vibrant.
While this will never be the classical, cedar and tannins varietal Cab, it shows everything good about McLaren Vale Cabernet, all with a sense of polish. Best drinking: 2019-2030. 18.5/20, 94/100. 13.5%, $70. Would I buy it? I’d like some of this in the cellar thanks.