Balgownie turned 50 in 2019 and to celebrate, there was this special bottling of Balgownie Estate Old Vine Cabernet Sauvignon 2015, drawn off the original 1969 plantings. Most winemakers might make a big deal about this sort of thing, but Tony Winspear mainly talks to me about football, which I’m ok with. Any other winemakers, for reference, I’m a diehard Swans fan and I hate your team (if your team is Collingwood). Thankfully Tony is a Bulldogs supporter…
Anyway, this Cabernet is excellent. It epitomises everything that the best Balgownie Cabernet releases show – restrained power without being warm. Just savoury. Actually, the only thing working against this red is that it’s achingly young. it looked better on day two, and will live for decades.
Sourced from the best 18 rows of the original 1969 plantings. 28 days on skins 20 months in 60% new French oak. Oak is the first flavour – mocha oak. Ripe, mocha dark berry fruit is the core too. It all threatens to be too big, with thick grained tannins to boss things around. But it’s not a heavy wine when you look closely. 13.8% alcohol and it’s not warm. Oaky, a fraction, but there’s a sense that the oak is part of the foundations too, laid down for the future. As are the tannins. A wine that feels much younger than six, with a sort of timelessness that marks Balgownie’s best. High quality, with multiple decades of enjoyment ahead.
Balgownie Estate Old Vine Cabernet Sauvignon 2015. 18.7/20, 95/100. 13.8%, $120. Balgownie website (although you don’t seem to be able to buy it online – maybe contact direct). Would I buy it? It’s expensive for my meagre wage. But if an extra bottle or three ended up in the cellar I’d be very happy. This will be a lovely twenty-year-old wine.