Last Thursday involved a major lunch and a tasting of a couple of aged Coonawarra reds. Over Christmas I drank quite a number of 10 year old Cabernets from Coonawarra and I rediscovered the beauty and longevity of these wines. I think many wine drinkers have been sucked in by the US ratings for our Shiraz and have therefore focussed on these wines - and no doubt there are some outstanding Shirazes.
However, the Coonawarra reds can be better companions to food, and the famous 'terra rossa' provides unique expression of redcurrant and blackcurrant fruit.
We first had the 2000 Penley Reserve Cabernet. The year 2000 was largely forgettable, so I was surprised how well this wine showed. It had weight, depth and an elegant finish. Then followed the 1994 Wynns John Riddoch. This 'King of the Coonawarra' was a beautiful wine from a good vintage, probably drinking at its peak. The bouquet was still lively. The blackcurrent fruit moved through the palate very smoothly and the wine had a long finish with mellowed and soft tannins. The wine accompanied our duck beautifully and was proof you don't have to drink Pinot Noir with duck.