What is it that defines a modern cabernet sauvignon? Through the prism of one of Australia’s most revered producers, Wynns, celebrating the 60th vintage of the famed Coonawarra Black Label Cabernet Sauvignon, we can get close to an answer.
Chief winemaker Sue Hodder, who is celebrating her 25th vintage, says Wynns wines stretching to 1954 form an “interesting part” of Australia’s wine story – and, more specifically, the Australian cabernet story. After an excerpted tasting of 17 vintages, this is clearly a great understatement.
The “journey” is punctuated with revelations from specific vintage conditions to key winemaking improvements such as the way oak is used – though much of the Wynns way with its wines has remained in place.
What has developed is a Wynns house style, which Hodder describes as “mediumbodied with fine tannins and bright fruit … suited for either drinking now or cellaring”. From as far back as 1954 there is an acidity that is key to longevity. We see it in the 1965 and again in the 1975, through warm years, cooler years, wetter years and drier years.