Tuesday, February 22, 2011


- Margaret River, WA
- $17-$26
- Screwcap
- 14.5%alc

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.
92 points


  1. Great to hear. I definitely agree that this wine is often something of a disappointment (especially when compared to their more premium Cabernets). Each 08 Margaret River Cabernet that comes out seems to confirm the greatness of the vintage.

  2. Red and Sean,

    I think the 3 of us have some very similar cabernet-istic tendencies. :)

    I'm a big, big fan of Vasse's style, probably to the point of bias even, and was greatly relieved to sense it all over the 2008 Cabernet Merlot. The 2008 Cabernet Sauvignon definitely has its work cut out for it now(I haven't had it yet but I've seen it and it might not be long now.....), because I'm damn close to chucking a Vasse Felix Cabernet Merlot into my cellar for the first time ever!

    Chris P

  3. A bit too green for me.

  4. Well, that sums it up GW; maybe I am biased towards Vasse Felix cabernet! :)

    Seriously though, I just felt very relieved to have enjoyed this wine for once

  5. Hey,

    I have heard good things about the 2009 vintage.


    Cheers, Jim

  6. Thanks for the tip and the link Jim. (link doesn't seem to work for me at the moment though :(..... )

    I recall reading a good review from WD recently on the 09 as well, so at the price, and considering my love of the maker's style, it's well high on my purchase on sight list!

    Chris P

  7. The 2008 SMASHES the 2010. I tipped out my 2010 and bought out my local bottle shop of their last 11 2008s.