Wednesday, September 15, 2010


- Coonawarra, SA
- $28-$42
- Screwcap
- 15.0%alc

After two straight stunners from 2004 (95pts) and 2005 (93pts), Majella's much-loved cabernet sauvignon felt the effects of the difficult 2006 (90pts) and 2007 (88pts) seasons, but now it's back with a ripe, powerful, gutsy offering from 2008 that does stray towards high alcohol territory (well, according to the back label at least).

I usually expect the Majella to be among Coonawarra's most gloriously fragrant cabernets, and the 2008 doesn't disappoint. Its intense fragrance leaps from the glass with strong cedar/pencil and minty/herbal notes providing the lift, supported by vividly ripened blackberry, dark plum and violet tones with a confident measure of creamy vanilla/cedar oak. Maybe showing a hint of menthol, its aroma is fractionally warm without being spirity, but it certainly shows some legs in the glass. On the palate it's a big, dark bruiser of a cabernet, which forcefully throws down a rich, ripe announcement of strongly varietal black and purple fruit flavours built up by a dry coverage of cedar that accentuates itself as it penetrates. Initially it moves with a surprisingly creamy flow and texture, but that creaminess is offset when it dances to a very long, physical finish with a left-foot/right-foot combination of dusty, powdery tannins and bright acids. At no point does alcohol obscure its overall balance.

ü+ Majella's 2008 Cabernet Sauvignon is right back in the house style in an even bigger than usual, generous fashion that leaves the mouth knowing exactly what hit it. Drink to 2023.
94 points


  1. Chris, thanks for the review - I was trying to think which wineries in Coonawarra were worth a look in a fledgling visit planned for later in the year, and I'd forgotten about this very good producer. That said, 15% for a cab, which I've seen on a few Coonawarras now, is getting a bit on the uncomfortable side for a fan of Bordeaux ...


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  3. FWIW Sean (and I say this as CP has never had a problem with slightly divergent opinion), I actually rated the 07 a fair bit higher. Very little was made - careful selection of fruit was key - so it's unlikely they will have any on tastng.

    I'm a bit taken aback by the ABV on this 08 but I'm yet to look at it properly. From this review, it looks like it isn't a major issue. Which is good news. Majella are one of my favourite Coonawarra producers & when they get it right, they are a monty for the cellar.

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  5. Wait till you taste all those 14.5 and 15% 2009 Bordeaux then Sean Mitchell :) 09 Angelus is about 15% (need to check notes, but big)...tastes great mind you.

  6. Sean,

    Majella's always worth a look when in Coonawarra mate! Their cellar door perfectly captures the peaceful tranquility of the region I so love, not to mention the tasty treats within....


    You know I love a good difference of opinion - it's what makes us human! And yes, 07 Majella very hard to find....Interestingly, Majella's website has the 08 stated at 14.5%alc, whereas I posted 15% based on what the bottle said. Still, tasted great regardless of its ABV, but as GW says, big.