The hit list.

Jane Faulkner’s cur­rent top10 Aus­tralian caber­nets.

Halliday - - Cabernet Sauvignon -

2015 Cullen Wines Vanya, Mar­garet River, $500

Bio­dy­nam­i­cally grown fruit, 100% caber­net sau­vi­gnon, sourced from vines planted in 1971. It spends 10 weeks on skins in ter­ra­cotta ves­sels then bas­ket pressed to French oak bar­rels for 5 months – 66% new; apart from SO2, nothing else added other than love and re­spect. This is el­e­gance, craft and beauty rolled into one. All the heady, va­ri­etal charm at play tem­pered by its de­tail and su­perb tan­nin struc­ture.

2016 Yarra Yer­ing Car­ro­dus Caber­net Sau­vi­gnon,

Yarra Val­ley, $275

Fruit off the south-west cor­ner of the 1969 plant­ings, destemmed, crushed, plunged twice daily and on skins for 12 days. Two French oak bar­rels made, one new and one aged 18 months. Sim­ple, re­ally. Yet how on earth does Sarah Crowe man­age to get this to be so ul­tra-fine and el­e­gant? It’s earthy with a hint of boot pol­ish, cas­sis and flo­rals, just medium-bod­ied with the most ex­quis­ite tan­nins. A beau­ti­ful wine.

2015 Houghton Jack Mann

Sin­gle Vine­yard Caber­net Sau­vi­gnon, Fran­k­land River, $137

At last a la­bel change stat­ing the fruit comes from Fran­k­land River, off the famed Justin vine­yard, and one of the finest Jack Mann wines ever re­leased. Youth­ful and vi­brant with blue fruits aplenty, cas­sis and cur­rants, plus Mediter­ranean herbs flecked with cedary spice. A tex­tu­ral, savoury wine, fuller bod­ied with such de­tailed tan­nins, lithe and long and the oak su­perbly in­te­grated. A classy caber­net.

2014 Vasse Felix Tom Cul­lity Caber­net Sau­vi­gnon Mal­bec, Mar­garet River, $180

The sec­ond re­lease of Vasse Felix’s flag­ship wine and while the caber­net is dis­tinct, it’s lifted with 16% mal­bec and 4% petit ver­dot. Aged 18 months in French oak bar­riques with 62% new and you wouldn’t know it, ev­ery­thing is so in­te­grated and bal­anced. Medium-bod­ied, tan­nins are re­fined, sup­ple, ripe and savoury. There’s a com­plete­ness and pre­ci­sion to this.

2013 Wynns Coon­awarra Es­tate

John Rid­doch Caber­net Sau­vi­gnon, $150

First pro­duced in 1982, Wynns’ flag­ship wine is made only in great years, from the best parcels of fruit, this aged 16 months in French oak,

21% new. It has great pres­ence and poise with com­plex flavours of black­ber­ries along­side black olives, cured meats, some leafy fresh­ness and the earth­i­ness of a just-packed to­bacco pipe. Full-bod­ied, won­der­ful tan­nin struc­ture and as­sured two decades ahead of it.

2014 Wood­lands

Matthew Caber­net Sau­vi­gnon, Mar­garet River, $150

Mostly caber­net sau­vi­gnon, there’s

4% mal­bec and 2% caber­net franc in the midst with Wilyabrup re­gional char­ac­ters shin­ing through. Heady aro­mas of cas­sis, mul­ber­ries, to­bacco, eu­ca­lypt and oak spices, quite flo­ral too. Full-bod­ied with fine-grained tan­nins, rich and deep, lovely to drink now, bet­ter in years to come.

2013 Bell­wether Coon­awarra Caber­net Sau­vi­gnon, $60

The Coon­awarra stamp is dis­tinct with its leafy fresh­ness, dabs of men­thol and eu­ca­lypt, and aro­mas of mul­ber­ries and black­ber­ries. There’s oak spices, ripe tan­nins and bright acid­ity mov­ing across the more medium- to fuller-bod­ied palate with a prom­ise of a de­li­cious drink now or into the fu­ture. 2016 Hick­in­botham

Claren­don Vine­yard

True­man Caber­net Sau­vi­gnon, McLaren Vale, $75 McLaren Vale is not my go-to re­gion for caber­net, yet this of­ten charms with its va­ri­etal com­plex­ity. A core of ex­cel­lent fruit and sup­ple, ripe tan­nins, it's fuller-bod­ied and the oak re­strained – a mix of new and sea­soned Bordeaux bar­rels, aged 15 months.

Ter­rific bal­ance.

2015 Deep Woods Es­tate Re­serve Caber­net Sau­vi­gnon, Mar­garet River, $65

One smell of this gor­geous wine and there’s no mis­tak­ing its prove­nance – it’s Mar­garet River through and through. An in­tense mix of mul­ber­ries, cas­sis, crushed herbs with a hint of boot pol­ish and lots of oak spice. Ex­u­ber­ant and full-bod­ied with shapely tan­nins.

2015 Xanadu Stevens Road Caber­net Sau­vi­gnon, Mar­garet River, $75

A sin­gle vine­yard, 100% caber­net, it’s earthy-toned with men­thol, ju­niper berries, cas­sis and leafy fresh­ness, some new leather and oak spices too. Full-bod­ied, firmly struc­tured with youth­ful, for­mi­da­ble tan­nins and needs more time to set­tle.

It has power, drive and long-term age­ing on its side.

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