(2021) From ungrafted vines planted in 1990 on terra rossa over limestone, this matured for 18 months in Sylvain and Taransaud oak, "very fine tight grain Château Barriques," 66% of which were new. Wonderfully opulent mint chocolate nose, a humbug ripeness and creaminess, relatively straightforward but such a deep and lush aroma. Creamy, mouth-filling, supple black fruit and the mocha-chocolate density of the wine floods the palate, full-bodied and ripe. Quintessential Coonawarra Cab, the strong but creamy tannins and ripe acidity barely interrupting the flow. Price and stockist quoted are for a different vintage at time of review.
(2021) From the Eden Valley in Barossa, made following biodynamic principles, the vineyard here was planted in 1989 on sandy loam over sandstone bedrock, and the wine spent 18 month in French oak barriques, 20% of which were new. A touch of tapendade on the nose, plenty of black fruit, a gentle earthiness. It really does blossom - positively bursts through - on the palate, with such a welterweight of creamy and supple minty black fruits, very sweet and ripe, not heavy but quite large-scaled, against the fat of the fruit is cedar and spices, chocolaty smooth tannins and pert cherry pit acidity to balance. Lovely, and a slightly different expression again from the other regional examples here.
(2021) A long, mild season, with slower ripening of the fruit. Dense and deep, a touch of lighter orange on the rim. Just a gorgeous and clasic nose, pencil-shaving and graphite, a deep, mulled plum and blackcurrant fruit, that fatness of mulberry, but so much spice from the Shiraz and barrel. The cooler vintage comes through with very good acidity and intensity, dry and savoury fruit, but such sweet ripeness at the core. Very juicy, very gastronomic, with saltiness and spice into a long finish. A lovely cooler-climate style this.
(2021) Darker, more opaque and less developed in colour, this is much more driven by the ripe, taut, creamy black fruit than by the cedar and spice aromatically, a great creaminess and deep pool of aromas that are much more Shiraz (in fact, this did have an unusually high percentage of Shiraz for this wine, at 45%). Very intense on the palate - different from the 2012 too - with dry, intense plum and plum skins, great concentration and purity, and again that saltiness in the finsh melding with the vanillin from French oak. Intense, delicious.
(2021) More youthful colour, but much more deep ruby/black than purple, the nose an amalgam of bright glossy fruit and spice, a slick of vanilla and some background game or meaty, curry-leaf notes. Lovely palate - there is that meaty and meat-stock balsamic edge to this, very dense fruit, concentrated and intense, if relatively straightforward at this stage. Tannins are firm, powerful, but fine, the overall feel still quite smooth, sleek and powerful, with good juicy and, again, salty acidity. One to watch as it develops, with further in-bottle improvement is very likely. Available in-bond as a three-pack at time of review, approximate single bottle price quoted.
(2021) Colour-wise, back to that slightly softer red like the 2012. Aromatically this is quite fruit and fragrance-driven, with cherry and blackcurrant, a hint of brighter raspberry and leafy/floral spices, the verdant touch of the Cabernet evident. In the mouth a real welterweight of fruit and substance, loads of fat textured fruit, but then dusty, fine tannins sweep through, tangy fruit-skin acidity and savoury dryness, and masses of spice into the finish. Available in-bond as a three-pack at time of review, approximate single bottle price quoted.
(2021) High Sands is a very old vine vineyard, at the highest point of sandy and clay dunes, planted in 1946. Certified biodynamic, 50% whole bunches used, and no press wines included. Eleven months in older French oak. A more intense colour than many here, but not opaque, a vinous, silky perfume, very pure, the oak very much in the background. On the palate such full and luscious fruit, heady and perfumed as you drink, but sweet and mouth-filling, with a lovely juiciness to the acids and fine-grained, sandy tannins.
(2017) A third of this matured in new French oak, and from three of the preferred five clones 777, D5V12, MV6. Again a nicely pale colour, a distinct minerality here, chestnut and tight cherry fruit, hints of meatiness, of oregano perhaps, The sweetness on the palate of the fruit is striking, delicious hint of peachiness and again cherry, the spices and the briar, the touch of graphite into the finish. Delicious.
(2017) Aged 14 months in new oak, 80% French and 20% American. Big, super-ripe, even slightly raisiny, pruney aromas, but Amarone-like rather than being stewed or baked: cloves and spices too. Terrific energy and real freshness on the palate, an electrical charge of power, all the time the solid fruit at the core and a grippy finish. Very good - big, but fleet of foot. Should cellar well for a decade.
(2017) Creamy, dense, blue/black fruit, intense blueberry and damson plum spectrum. Tight and polished on the palate, there’s a liquoricy core, which gives this lots of grip, lots of length, and given the alcohol remarkably fresh – though not so fresh as the 2010, the 17 months in French and American oak also a little more evident.