Monday, June 28, 2010


- Adelaide Hills, SA
- $26
- Screwcap
- 14.0%alc

In addition to his achievements with the Adelaide Hills 'standards' of sauvignon blanc, chardonnay and pinot noir, Leabrook Estate's very focused Colin Best also produces some rather fascinating takes on red Bordeaux varieties. Lately my pick of Leabrook's lot has been the cabernet franc, which in years like 2005 (92pts) successfully captures the style's distinctive fragrance and lean, dry, dusty qualities.

Leabrook's 2006 Cabernet Franc shows valid green notes of capsicum and dried herbs laid across aromas of blackcurrants, tobacco and ripe cherry in a fruit focused style, although there remains a clean whiff of toasty cedar/vanilla oak residing in the background. Much fuller and more sumptuous than the 2005 release, its generous palate announces a juicy core of vibrant berry flavours which extend with nuances of fresh green capsicum, toasty oak and tobacco. It finishes clean and soft in a charmingly drinkable manner, with a surprisingly creamy extract of ripe tannins balanced by well judged acids and underlined by lingering fruit.

ü This juicy and generously fruited, perhaps typically Australian cabernet franc presents quite a contrast to my recollections of Leabrook's leaner, dry and structured 2005, but having said that it's a success in its own right and only adds to the pleasure I've experienced from this emerging label. Drink to 2013.
90 points


  1. Think you've nailed this one Chris. I've had it a few times & the note recalls the wine very well indeed.


  2. Good note. I've been looking for some good examples of Australian cab franc, and this looks like one to give a go.


  3. JP,

    Thanks mate. I find it interesting that this wine is well stocked in Brisbane, because it takes a bit of effort to find one in Adelaide outside of a couple of boutique wine bars who have matching boutique prices (I picked this one up from Leabrook's gorgeous cellar door). From what I understand the label is doing quite well in the sophisticated eastern state markets ;) and much deserved I must say ;-)

    Chris P

  4. Thanks Sean,

    I too am on always the lookout for good Aussie cab franc, and from a conversation I had with Leabrook's Colin Best about 3 years ago, I understand there's no more than 10 makers of it in single varietal form in Australia.

    From my note you can probably see I preferred Leabrook's 2005 over their 2006, but I still consider the 2006 to be a very good, gluggable South Aussie red with some genuine cab franc character.

    Probably the only other straight Australian cabernet francs I've had worth mention were from Woodlands in the Margaret River (superb but rather expensive and tiny in production) and closer to home for you is Best's of Great Western. I've nestled through my notes and found a score of 90 for a 2004 from Best's ($25), so obviously it's been a while since I've had one of theirs :(

    Hey it's good to hear of someone out there with a similar fondness for cabernet franc. I hope you like petit verdot and malbec too Sean! ;)

    Chris P