Possibly the “wine of the vintage,” the 2008 boasts an inky/blue/purple color as well as a glorious perfume of spring flowers, blueberry and blackberry liqueur, camphor, truffles and crushed rocks. With great fruit on the attack and mid-palate, a medium to full-bodied, multidimensional mouthfeel and a skyscraper-like finish, this prodigious effort over-delivers, even for this phenomenal terroir. Give it 5-8 years of cellaring and drink it over the following 40-50 years.
98 Points - Stuart McCloskey “The 2019 blend is comprised of 50% Mataro, 35% Shiraz and 15% Grenache. The bouquet is a colossal, brooding skyscraper which needs coaxing with aeration (I suggest decanting for 6-8 hours). Sweet spices, blue and blackberry liqueur, asphalt, baked earth, bitter chocolate, liquorice, lavender and a heavenly twists of blood orange on the finish. The palate could not be any different; lithe, agile, elegant and full of freshness – the spine of acidity is a masterstroke and keeps the palate salivating. The fruit is juicy and the flavours open up like a peacock’s tail. Mineral-laced blueberry compote, floral pastille, lavender, some warmth and depth from black liquorice. Perhaps some sweet cherry on the finish too – white pepper after minutes. The tannins are supple and add the faintest of grip. This is such a fascinating wine, one which plays a hedonistic bouquet off against a palate which is in the hands of an angel. Drinking now (decant for 6+ hours) and will age gracefully over the coming ten or more years. Served using Zalto Bordeaux glassware.” Sampled 26.02.21.
Stuart McCloskey “By far one of my favourite annual releases, as I am fascinated by the wacky blend (Old Vine Chenin Blanc and Crouchen, Angaston; Sauvignon Blanc, Adelaide Hills; Chardonnay, Krondorf; Pinot Gris, Adelaide Hills) and the textural feel too, the wine provides glass after glass of uncompromised satisfaction. The grapes are lovingly hand harvested, foot treaded and left on stalks and skins for 24 hours. JC ages the wine on the lees for 11 months and bottles unfined and unfiltered, hence a little cloudiness. Bring everything together and you are presented with a textural beauty which will gain complexity over the coming 3-5 years, but there is no harm in drinking this wine now as it’s so irresistible. I adore texture and I love wines that do not conform – The caveat being that I am not a fan of daft / wacky wines which are created to disrupt. More often than not, they are produced for social media and rarely succeed. For me, JC is a brilliant winemaker with his natural skill for white wines being his ultimate gift. This man can produce bloody amazing wines which are thrilling, sensuous and just outright delicious. The nose is a riot – I actually find myself unable to put the glass down. There’s a touch of oxidation (perfectly acceptable) along with a savoury mélange of hay, wild grass, a milky chalkiness, perhaps a little bruised apple and sweet spice. The palate feel gets my juices flowing – waxy and grippy - my cheeks puckering a little. Savoury, with that fresh grassy character. This is stunningly explosive on the palate. A riot of… Actually, I am struggling to be succinct as there is so much going on. In short, and following a very long tasting note, this is simply a must have. It’s a joy and will be the only wine to serve in the garden this year. Drink now to 2025. Served using Zalto Universal glassware.”
Winemakers Note: I grew up across the road from a famous old school winemaker who was known to be one of the best blenders of his generation. So, for years I followed this ideal in the wines I was making. For a hands-off winemaker, you actually feel like you are doing something!
One day pondering life, the universe and everything I thought about why I hadn’t challenged this notion. Grenache and friends work well together - I’ll just pick them within a few days of each other, chuck it all in one fermenter and let the ferment rock it in its own way.
So, my theory is that the different varieties bring something complimentary, but they also bring something individual - so equal but opposite reactions in the ferment. I then remembered my high school physics and worked out it’s actually the same way a rocket works. Go figure.
Dave Phinney – “Dark violet with a ruby crown, the wine exhibits classic Napa Cabernet aromatics with our style: black fruits—plum and cherry—dark chocolate, leather and Rutherford Dust coalesce from the glass. The entry is elegant and begins to flood the palate with notes of cassis, blackberry, blueberry, caramel and a touch of brown sugar and cinnamon: rich and bold. Seamless and focused, the wine closes with lingering dusty tannins and a touch of baking chocolate.”
Lisa Perrotti-Brown - "Medium to deep garnet-purple in color, the 2018 Cabernet Sauvignon Palermo gives up gregarious scents of kirsch, Black Forest cake and warm cassis with hints of dried mint, dark chocolate and rose hip tea plus a waft of unsmoked cigars. Medium to full-bodied, the palate is packed with ripe black berry layers, framed by velvety tannins and a lively line, finishing long and fragrant."
Erin Larkin, Wine Companion "Cabernet sauvignon, with 27/8/8/2% merlot/cabernet franc/malbec/petit verdot. 12 months in older oak (small component new). This is creamy, fine-boned cabernet with a cavalcade of spicy forest berries and herbs. The cabernet franc has a crunchy edge to its mulberry expression, the other varieties come together to leave a slightly warm impression in the mouth of spicy red creaming soda and salted licorice."
Erin Larkin, Wine Companion "Hand picked and destemmed. Up to 40 days on skins and matured in French oak for 18 months (60% new). For all the work in the winery, the fruit was clearly very gently handled, with judicious tannin extraction. Medium-bodied, supple, and texturally constructed of fine silk. Densely packed with berry flavour, and corseted by exotic spice, this is a supremely elegant wine."
94 Points - Neal Martin
Tasted blind at the Southwold Bordeaux 2010 tasting. The Chapelle d'Ausone 2010 has a tightly coiled bouquet that is very linear and controlled, not as expressive as its peers but with fine mineralite. The palate is tight on the entry with crisp tannins, bright tart cherry fruit and plenty of energy. It builds in the mouth to quite a structured, linear finish that does not forsake breeding and class. If only all second wines were as good as this. Tasted January 2014.
The Chapelle d’Ausone has an intense bouquet with vibrant, slightly dusty black fruit that are very well defined and develop intriguing earthy, almost graphite aromas with aeration. Leaving it in my glass over five minute it offers some gorgeous, yet subtle floral notes. The palate is medium-bodied with fine tannins and a degree of composure and refinement. One feels that they could have easily tried to extract more from this wine but resisted temptation and consequently produced a better wine. Everything in its right place.