The majority of Clare's flag bearing reds may come from shiraz, but for my money the region's best cabernet loses nothing by comparison (particularly at the lower price points). Kirin's Knappstein recently showed what good, affordable Clare cabernet's capable of, with their charmingly balanced, dry and rustic Cabernet Merlot from the handy 2006 vintage (91pts).
Combining 70% cabernet sauvignon with 30% merlot, Knappstein's 2008 announces a clear, regional whiff of eucalyptus overlying meaty, slightly porty aromas of redcurrants, dark plum and menthol with an older influence of chocolate oak adding polish. Youthfully bright, its medium-bodied palate reveals a surprisingly composed yet ripe, syrup-like expression of sweet, small black and red berry fruit flavours. A drying extract of approachable, fine-grained tannins balances the finish, as it leaves the mouth in a pleasingly focused, long manner with contrasting notes of sweet fruit and dried gumleaf lingering into the aftertaste.
O A sweetly fruited yet dry Clare cabernet blend, which possesses much more structure and composure than one might expect from a 2008. It's another good result from this improving label. Drink to 2011-2016.