Tuesday, August 25, 2009


The tripled gabled winery of Wynns Coonawarra Estate; one of the most recognisable buildings in Australian wine.

It was only just over a week ago that I posted tasting notes on the Wynns range, but to make this tasting complete I'll re-post them here. I essentially felt my original notes were fairly spot on. Wynns is certainly in top form, with all cabernets, especially the flagship John Riddoch, performing very well. No Michael Shiraz will be released from 2006 and still no sign of that 2009 Riesling....

Wynns Riesling 2008 Lightly spiced aromas of white pear and lemon. The palate is clean and schisty, with the length and crisp acidity few in Coonawarra achieve with riesling. 89

Wynns Chardonnay 2008 A rather simple fragrance of soft peach, melon and lemon fruits, lead into a smooth and clean palate framed by cleansing, brisk, grapefruit-like acids. Good quaffer. 88

Wynns Shiraz 2008 Very distinct Coonawarra shiraz nose. It presents a lightly floral fragrance of redcurrant fruits and black pepper with a hint of leather/tar. Vibrant and medium-bodied, its palate is evenly fruited and particularly appealing, with more refinement and interest than most in its price range. Bargain. 91

Wynns Cabernet Sauvignon 2007 Opens to a sinister fragrance of ripe blackcurrants, dark plum, licorice and olive with dusty cedar/mocha oak. Thickly textured, with great drive and concentration, it powers its ripe black fruit/cherry flavours into a long finish of considerable length and impact. A keeper. 93

Wynns Alex 88 Cabernet Sauvignon 2006 Single vineyard. Perfumed, fragrant nose, with touches of choc-mint over classic cassis and violet aromas. Wonderfully dense and concentrated yet elegant palate, shows pronounced dark fruit flavours wrapped in grippy, powdery tannins. Finishes long and strong. 94

Wynns John Riddoch Cabernet Sauvignon 2006 Very even, elegant nose shows the skill of Sue Hodder's winemaking. With great depth, poise and balance, it displays red plum, mulberry and currant aromas with polished cedar/vanilla oak in a slightly restrained yet plush fashion. Palate announces itself with beautiful elegance, smoothness and concentration, before revealing a pleasing undercarriage of savoury quality. Contains true mouthfilling flavour and exceptional structure, as its powerful, drying tannins lead into a finish of almost never ending length. Needs time. Highlight of the show. 96

Other than the well known Menzies, Yalumba brought to this tasting a couple of 'cheaper' Coonawarra reds, such as the intriguingly named 'The Cigar'. There was also a barrel sample of the 2008 Menzies available, which has already spent 18 months in oak. I was informed the jury was still out on the 2007 Menzies, which may never see the light of day. If it doesn't, the fruit will be passed onto the previously mentioned reds. Given the top quality of Yalumba's 2007 The Scribbler, which has a similar story behind it, the 2007 Cigar could be one to keep an eye out for.

Yalumba The Menzies Cabernet Sauvignon 2006 Presents minty accents to plush red and dark berry aromas with vanilla oak. Smooth texture offset by firm, pliant tannins. A very nice medium-bodied style. 92

Yalumba The Menzies Cabernet Sauvignon 2008 Barrel sample. Looking quite good and settled but the oak currently sits on top of its fruit, requiring further integration. N/A

Company winemaker Karen did a good job pouring Zema Estate's wines, representing the much desired down to earth, family owned winery approach which Zema demonstrates so well. I highly appreciate how Zema Estate is willing to give their wines more time in the cellar than others, as Coonawarra reds can be a very confronting experience when young. The value packed 2004 Cluny blend of cabernet varieties and 2004 Merlot reinforce what a great year that was for Zema.

Zema Estate Cluny 2004 Fresh, vibrant nose, shows notes of cassis, mint and cedar vanilla oak. Medium weighted body finishes fine and tight, with great structure and shape. Bargain. 92

Zema Estate Merlot 2004 Well fruited nose with pastille blackcurrants, red cherry, leafy herbs and fine cedar/mocha oak evident. Smooth, settled and rich palate, presents good depth of varietal fruit with pleasing olive undertones and long, fine finish. A top Coonawarra merlot, probably best of the night. 91

Zema Estate Cabernet Sauvignon 2006 Nice, savoury aromatic expression of red fruit and vanilla/cedar oak. Faintly plush, ripe palate, medium-full in body with good length. 89

Zema Estate Family Selection Shiraz 2004 Richly fruited fragrance of currant fruits, creamy vanilla oak and subtle white pepper apparent. Richness transfers over to palate and although smooth drinking, it just lacks the finesse and tightness of the season's best. 90

Zema Estate Family Selection Cabernet Sauvignon 2005 Rich, plummy, cherry fruit nose with cedar/mocha oak and touch of vanilla spice. Surprisingly elegant, reasonably balanced palate with a clean finish and powdery tannins. Needs more length. 90

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