(2021) Fermentation with wild yeast for this wine, with a higher portion of Petit Verdot (compared to previous vintages) and a small portion of Malbec in the blend. 18 months in French oak barriques (44% new). Very intense in colour, there's lift and fragrance here for sure, some smokiness and roasted chestnut, a touch of blood and savoury tapenade and a substantial base of black fruit. In the mouth immense sweet fruit forms a solid core, with lots of energy from the juicy acidity, tannins roughening like plum skins, and the barrel component enhancing the dark espresso roast of the finish.
(2021) Vines for this wine are aged between 15 and 47 years, crushed to both open and closed fermenters, with a small percentage of whole bunches. 4% is co-fermented with Viognier and it spends 17 months in French (65%) and American (35%) oak barriques (18% new). Some Alicante Bouschet with a touch of Cabernet and Grenache are added too. Dramatically dark in colour and less floral/lifted than the two previous wines, more on the meaty and Rhone-ish end of the spectrum. The palate has a weight of black fruit, a little more savoury and earthy in style, grippier tannins too, though there is a hint of vanilla and even mint that rounds things out towards a long, very nicely-pitched finish.
(2021) There's also 3% Malbec in the blend here, fermented in both open and closed fermenters with 20% whole bunches. The wine was run to new, one, and two-year-old barrels and after six months the various components were blended and matured in barrels for a further twelve months. Bold crimson/violet in colour. Very pure, gently lifted aromatics, cool blue-black fruit, the violet and crushed black berries and almost pot-pourri fragrance is deliciously inviting. The palate follows through precisely, staying dense and compact in terms of its sweet black fruit, medium-bodied and a racing, very refined axis of acid and taut tannin, but its a generous, smooth and ultimately very satisfying Shiraz.
(2021) Just 1% Malbec in the blend here, and again nine months of barrel maturation before blending and further maturation in Bordelais barrels, 50% new, for a total time in barrel of 22 months. From a dry-grown vineyard, the gravelly Block 8, which is the original 1975 planting. More luscious aromatically, a deeper, more plush black fruit character, some tobacco spice and curry spice notes, a touch of herbaceous character way in the background just to add an edge. In the mouth it is supple and luscious again, but there's a tart, firm and grippy plum-skin grip to this too, very tight tannins, and a lovely cherry acidity that adds tang and juiciness. Lots of substance here, great balance, and should be a wine for extended cellaring. A beautiful wine.
(2019) Just 6% merlot and 4% Petit Verdot qualify this as a Bordeaux blend, the 90% Cabernet Sauvignon hand harvested from the best vineyard plots and matured in fine grained French oak barrels for 20 months, 50% of the barrels new. A particularly dry and fine ripening season for the fruit, from 1978- and 1995-planted blocks. The colour is a deep crimson, and the nose is fragrant with a plush black berry fruitiness, intense cassis and lift of violet, and just a sheen of chocolaty oak. In the mouth the wine is concentrated, refined and juicy, there is a big backbone here, tight, fine tannins and crisp-edged acidity, as well as the tobacco and exotic spice of the barrel, but pure black fruit drives through the mid-palate. A wine that drinks beautifully now, but which will cellar for a decade and more. Note, stockist quoted at time of review is on a previous vintage.
(2017) What an absolute treat to open this 11-year-old Cabernet from Margaret River, and the family estate of Leeuwin. Under screwcap it is in perfect condition, showing a plum and sweet gamey character, notes of tobacco and herbal, gentle leafiness along with graphite adding complexity and precision. Clearly the product of a cool year, that leafy character is overpowered on the palate by the concentration of blackcurrant fruit, very pure and again precise, with really firm, tart, plum and cherry skin biting tannin and acid to tension the whole picture. Drinking beautifully. Note the price and stockist given is for the current vintage at time of writing.
(2014) One of Margaret River's original and best estates, it's great that The Wine Society can afford release this with a little maturity, as they have done with French wines for many years. Big and bold, there is mint and there is intense cassis, but in the background still a hint of the greener aspect of Cabernet Sauvignon, that tiny herbal nuance that is complex and delicious. The palate has loads of fruit, loads of ripe sweetness, with a juiciness at the core that stops it from being at all OTT: this is model Margaret River, with elegance and abundant ripeness in perfect harmony.