Tuesday, May 23, 2017

International Cabernet Tasting

Top Australian Cabernets were put against some pretty smart Bordeaux from excellent vintages and a few Napa wines. Two French wines came out on top (not just in my opinion) against Australian wines, which many 'independent' wine critics have given 98 points plus. Does this mean the French were 102 points? It goes to show how ridiculous the rating system has become in Australia. It seems only the www.winefront.com.au keeps to a sensible scoring system.

The best wines were the 2000 Chateau Palmer, Margaux and the 2005 Chateau Prieuré-Lichine, Margaux. Both wines had plenty of rich and lush blackberry fruit and cassis. The fruit is concentrated, yet elegant on the palate. These wines had silky tannins and a long finish. The Palmer was a bit more reserved, with the Prieuré-Lichine offering a full-bodied mouthfeel.

My favorite Australians were the 2015 Cullen Diana Madeline, which I reviewed in a recent post below, and the 2014 Lake's Folly Cabernets, from a 100 year vintage in the Hunter Valley. This is the first time I tasted this wine. The palate is complex, with dark fruits, cedar, and a hint of Christmas cake. Impressive is the stylish long finish.

In the next category would be the 2015 Te Mata Coleraine with its soft, feminine features: an elegant wine with good length. The 2005 Chateau Montrose is elegant, but with a strong tannic backbone. I also liked the 2012 Matthiasson Oak Knoll District Napa Cabernet Sauvignon. It is very aromatic with beautiful fruit on the palate, and a slightly uneven finish. The 2014 Yeringberg Cabernet is impressive. This is an elegant wine, with good depth and some grip. I preferred it to the Mount Mary.

The next group was still very good, but my choices would obviously be the wines above. It included the 2014 Mount Mary Quintet, the 2010 Chateau Latour le Pauillac de Latour (3rd level wine), 2012 Mount Eden Cabernet (Santa Cruz Mountains), 2013 Stonestreet Cabernet Sauvignon (Alexander Valley).

I was less impressed with the ??SC Pannell Cabernet/Shiraz (too fruity), the 2011 Man O War Ironclad Bordeaux Blend (a bit simple), the 2008 Puriri Hills Reserve (fruity and alcoholic), the 2014 Rockford 'Rifle Range' Cabernet Sauvignon (sweet), and the 2012 Mount Brave Cabernet (alcoholic).


Anonymous said...

Hello Thomas,
I am a little curious as to the wide spread years of vintage in this.............competition?
The French enter wines with significant years of development yet the rest enter near current vintages?
Did the French set the rules?

Alontin said...

Hi Colin,

Nice to hear from you again. This is a good observation and made it perhaps a little unfair. The line-up was organized by a retailer. The French had nothing to do with it, I think.