Thursday, August 11, 2011


- Yarra Valley, VIC
- $45-$65
- Cork
- 14.0%alc

Judging by the labels on Coldstream Hills bottles, James Halliday isn't just something of a Richie Benaud-like figure in Australian wine, he's also a very talented photographer. Halliday's image of an airborne kangaroo on the 2001 Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon is an absolute beauty in my eyes. [click image for larger picture]

Still holding a faint crimson tinge to its hue, Coldstream Hills' 10 year old Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon is initially pongy, mature, feral and animal-like on the nose, but a bit of decanting transforms its aroma agreeably, revealing a more stable, multi-faceted fragrance of bold plums, dates, roast meats/smoky bacon, fennel, mushroom and menthol, which admittedly, continuously blows off a fair whiff of barnyard pong. Blessed by the benefits of bottle age, its well controlled mouthfeel contradicts its rather dark, untamed scent. It's somewhat silky in a thin manner and elegantly compact at first, but then it literally blows open as it moves expansively into the mouth, unleashing a smooth and savoury array of juicy meats and dark fruits washed over by leathery tones. With its width, volume, lingering notes of choc-licorice/menthol and an ultra-fine sprinkling of the most minute, yet essential tannin, the back palate really steals the show here. It's like a 6 font exclamation mark with a 16 font dot.

O Quite meaty, pongy and showing the signs of a hot year, Coldstream Hills' 2001 Reserve doesn't exactly display the elegant characters typical of Yarra Valley cabernet, but its feel and shapely finish help refresh the palate with a synergistic groove. It's a fine example of how wines 'open up' with age. Drink to 2013.
91 points

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