(2023) Unusually this is a blend of Coonawarra and Margaret River fruit, from South and Western Australia respectively. A big, bold cassis nose, touches of eucalyptus and sweet plummy depths. In the mouth the oak adds a mocha underpinning, but sweet and juicy black fruit drives this. Tannins dry the side of the mouth, the acidiy has a certain sparkiness that freshens the finish, in a lovely Cabernet for drinking now or laying down. No UK retail stockists listed at time of review.
(2023) The 2019 vintage in Margaret River was similarly cool and dry. This shows a certain luminosity to the colour suggesting a lighter style, and indeed the nose has graphite and chalky freshness, a touch of olive adding an edge to the black fruit. In the mouth the ripeness is not in doubt, lots of fleshy black fruit sweet and succulent, the tannins dry but fine and the acidity does give this a freshening edge into the finish. No UK retail listing at time of review.
(2022) Biodynamically farmed on tiny, gravelly block planted in 1999. It is 100% Cabernet Sauvignon pressed to French oak barriques, 40% of which were new, for 16 months before bottling. A little development of colour here, and tapenade aromas, earthy and deep with black fruit, but cedary and savoury rather than brightly fruity. Creamy textured, the fruit does come through with mid-palate sweetness, then that restrained, coffee and sweet leathery spice dominates. Balanced and has real gastronomic appeal.
(2022) The blend includes Petit Verdot 8% and Malbec 2%, 20 - 40 years old grown on well-drained gravel loam soils. A small proportion saw carbonic maceration, and the wine was aged in French oak barriques (44% new) for 18 months. A year since I last tasted this, and the impression is much the same: lifted and fragrent, the olive/tapenade hint of the herbal adds a smoky savouriness to the sweet and solid black fruit. On the palate a tongue-coating raft of thick black fruit and creamy tannin, smokier barrel components combining with brighter cherry acid for a long, fruit and acid-driven finish.
(2022) Vines here were planted in 1978 amd 1995, 94% Cabernet and the balance Merlot, planted on free-draining gravel over clay. The wine was in French oak barrels for 17 months, 50% new. A year older than the Xanadu Black label also tasted, and visible softer and lighter on the rim. Lovely nose, a hint of briar and herbs over ripe and succulent black fruit. Tiny lift of menthol. Sweet and plush fruit on the palate, a thick blackcurrant ripeness, but the creamy and toasty oak underpinning is offset by firm, fine tannin and juicy acidity for a very satisfying and balanced wine.
(2022) This Shiraz was harvested in the last week of February, at the same time as 2019's Riesling. Fermentation included 20% whole bunches, and the wine was matured in second and third use barrels for a total of 18 months. Vivid crimson in colour, there's a fabulously peppery aromatic, with loads of violet too, and charming blueberry and plum depth of fruit. A really attractive cooler climate style. In the mouth there's abundant sweet black fruit, quite glossy and ripe, but with a cherry skin grip of more tart fruit that gives an edge. The cedary barrel component adds more grip, as does a firm tannin quality and plenty of acid grip. The finishing impression is of freshness in among the more succulent fruit characters.
(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.