The Margaret River's oldest winery; Vasse Felix, produces 3 variations of the region's red specialty. For my money, Vasse's middle-tiered Cabernet Sauvignon typically over delivers, the reserve-level Heytesbury delivers as it should, while the cheapest wine; the Cabernet Merlot, can be something of a let down. Clearly I'm hoping the excellent 2008 vintage has produced a Cabernet Merlot wholly deserving of the Vasse Felix name.
Much more in the house style than previous releases, the 2008 Cabernet Merlot happily sprays a potently herbal, leafy perfume over its evenly set, dusted blackberry and redcurrant aromas. Backed by additional notes of toasty cedar/chocolate oak and a surprising whiff of spice, it's piercingly aromatic in a fashion bound to be recognised by Vasse followers. Thankfully, the palate mirrors the nose with a flawless display of 'bang for your buck' Vasse quality. Its medium-bodied, deliciously sour-edged black/redcurrant flavours wash down the palate with toasty cedar/coffee oak and herbal side plates, before its long extension builds with impressive dryness, laid out by an ever present, lively acid grip and ultra-fine, intensifying tannins. It is intense and perhaps edgy in its youthful state, but there's also a richness, elegance and completeness that was lacking from the label's recent outings.
ü+ You gotta love it when a label turns things around on you, in a good way. The 2008 is the best Cabernet Merlot I've had from Vasse Felix, and the first one I'll be buying more than one of. It's pure Vasse at a paltry price. Drink to 2018.