Classy 2015 wines from the Gimblett Gravels district earn five stars.
Every year, Australian wine auctioneer Andrew Caillard independently selects a dozen reds from the famously arid Gimblett Gravels, on the western fringe of Hastings, as “representative” of the vintage currently on sale – in this case, the 2015s. From a cooler growing season than 2014, but warmer than 2013, the wines are very classy, especially the blends of the two classic Bordeaux varieties, merlot and cabernet sauvignon.
Babich The Patriarch 2015
Each vintage, this is Babich’s greatest red, regardless of the variety or region. Grown in the Irongate Vineyard, in Gimblett Rd, this is a boldly coloured, youthful blend of cabernet sauvignon, merlot and malbec. Invitingly fragrant, it is sturdy (13.5% alc/vol), with deep, deliciously ripe blackcurrant, plum, spice and nut flavours, very complex and savoury. A highly refined red, it’s well worth cellaring. $80
Craggy Range Le Sol 2015
This famous syrah impresses with its lovely fragrance and finesse. Dark and densely packed, with a floral, peppery bouquet, it is mouthfilling (13.5% alc/vol) but not heavy, with youthful, arrestingly concentrated blackcurrant, plum, spice and black-pepper flavours and a finely textured, lasting finish. $135
Sacred Hill Brokenstone 2015
Merlot-based, this highly attractive red was blended with minor portions of malbec, syrah, cabernet sauvignon and cabernet franc. Dark, full-bodied (13.5% alc/vol) and vibrantly fruity, it has concentrated, ripe, plummy, spicy flavours, with savoury, nutty notes adding complexity, and a seductively smooth finish. Already delicious. $50
Stonecroft Gimblett Gravels Cabernet Sauvignon 2015
Just starting to unfold, this classy red is an unblended cabernet sauvignon. Dark and sturdy (13.5% alc/vol), it is concentrated, with deep blackcurrant, plum and spice flavours, seasoned with nutty oak, has a good tannin backbone and obvious potential for long-term cellaring. $47
Villa Maria Reserve Gimblett Gravels Cabernet Sauvignon/Merlot 2015
This dark, dense, 2:1 blend of cabernet sauvignon and merlot is still very youthful. It has substantial body (14% alc/vol), intense, ripe blackcurrant, plum and spice flavours seasoned with quality oak, impressive complexity and a finely textured, lasting finish. An elegant, seamless wine, it’s best cellared to 2020-plus. $50