Cabernets far from middling
AUSTRALIAN cabernet sauvignons have never been better, no matter what the price range.
There are now eight or 10 South Australian and West Australian wineries consistently releasing cabernet sauvignons that are beyond anything except those one or two that our greatest winemakers occasionally achieved in the past.
These wines get the publicity but the cabernets in the reasonably priced ranges are also better drinking and cellaring propositions than before.
It is becoming very clear that while the winemakers and press loved and praised WA’s 2007 to 2010 cabernets, the 2011 offerings were superior.
Then came 2012 and this was certainly Margaret River’s greatest cabernet vintage ever.
Our State’s early drinking 2013 reds are being released and these too will provide exciting current drinking and midterm cellaring
The Woodlands reasonably priced Margaret River Cabernet Merlot 2013 is just one example.
As with the Xanadu DJL Cabernet Sauvignon ($26), this is a serious wine. It is full, dense and long, with light savoury nuances that add complexity. The lingering fruit characters indicate fruit quality well beyond expectations of this price range.
The winemaking has then added the texture, finish and aftertaste that are at a serious wine quality level and this will improve until 2025 if cellared: 18.3 points and RRP $26.50.
Jeff Burch’s Howard Park are also releasing some marvellous and value 2013 reds.
His 2013 Margaret River Leston Cabernet Sauvignon is an exceptional and delicious result of modern winemaking.
While having young, full, dense and long cabernet fruit characters, it is modern, fragrant and pretty, with vibrancy.
It shows classy oak handling that leaves enough gentle and persistent fine tannin to add character to the classically styled finish and aftertaste.
The fruit quality is exceptional for a wine in this price range and the tasting notes, from a significant masked cabernet line-up, included the terms marvellous, delicious, lovely, classy and classic: 18.5 points, RRP $46 and very close to the finest Leston Cabernet yet.