97 - 97+ - Stuart McCloskey “This unfurls beautifully delivering scents of cedar, sage, bay leaf, olive, clove, minerals, blackcurrant, and blackberry. Graphite too which, and if you bring the aromatic symphony together, reminds me of a Pauillac. That said, and with a little more aeration, I sense more of a Burgundian personality. The palate unfolds gracefully to a wonderful medley of cranberry, raspberry and a little blackcurrant, which flow seamlessly into cedar, bay leaf and more graphite. The textural smoothness and harmony draws me back to my Burgundian comparison – the tannins are whispery and super-fine. Everything here is so precise, so pure and unforced – it reminds me of a graceful heron taking off and slowly gaining altitude before disappearing out of sight. A perfect trajectory is perhaps the point I am trying to make. There is a lot to love about this Aussie Cabernet. Fans of our previous offering (the 2013) will be delighted with this. Drinks fabulously now (decant for 1-2 hours) and will live on for another 5+ years however, I personally believe it has reached it apogee… Served using Zalto Bordeaux glassware.”
Sampled 21 July 2021. Stuart McCloskey “The ’19 Cabernet Sauvignon shone from the get-go and resampling is merely a gratifying experience rather than a necessity. Little has changed (as one would expect) – the perfume is utterly beguiling with an intoxicating mix of ripe, black and blue fruits juxtaposed, and perhaps now the more dominant flow of coal, graphite, steel, liquorice, camphor and the most wondrous marine lift. Although very young, everything about this wine gets the heart racing – the perfume, the balance, the freshness, the gossamer sheen of silk which glides across the palate with amazing grace. The tannins and acidity provide the faintest touch of crispness and merely provide a gentle arm of support rather than towering structure. Utterly spellbinding and comfortably one of my favourite Aussie Cabernet Sauvignons and my favoured ‘19 Utopos wine. Masterful, in a word. Decant for 4 hours. Served using Zalto Bordeaux glassware. Drinking window – there is no harm is awakening this beauty today however, a decade will provide a heavenly vinous experience.”
Sampled 21 July 2021. Stuart McCloskey “I am not persuaded by my opening sentence, “And now to the most structured of the trio” - this is particularly evident when you dive straight in. The bouquet is intense with a Smörgåsbord of ripe, black fruits – blackberry, blueberry, violet and potpourri come rushing from the glass whilst minerals, Indian ink, liquorice and traces of brine and kelp provide unfathomable layers of complexity. I like how the wine builds in intensity – every swirl of the glass provides a new facet to consider. The fruit radiates but with a degree of restraint – the wine feels tighter and perhaps more classical compared to the single varietals. I detect more mineralité and tension – lovely freshness too. Perhaps less flamboyant than the other two. Regal and beautiful - a wine which provides precision and has no need to show off. For many, this will be irresistible in its youth, but a decade in bottle will provide exquisite drinking. I certainly prefer this to my original sample. 70% Cabernet Sauvignon 30% Shiraz. Served using Zalto Bordeaux glassware.”
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17+ Points - Julia Harding (JancisRobinson.com) "Deep cherry red. Elegant after so much sweet fruit throughout this Australia tasting, more stony than leafy. Richer fruit on the palate but there’s freshness to balance. Tannins compact but smooth. A wine with a long future. Tangy long finish. "
96+ - 97 Points - Stuart McCloskey “The bouquet fills the room with layers of sweet spice, violets, liquorice, raspberry, bay leaf – there’s a cool mineral feel and a resemblance to a maturing Pinot Noir which intrigues. The palate is supple, succulent, and layered with spiced, sweet red and black fruits roll gently into the arms of supple, ripe tannin. The flavours keep coming with currant, bay leaf and a smidgin of dried herbs – liquorice too. Bitter coffee and dried mint creep in after a few minutes. The density is admirable – I enjoy the chew. There’s a touch of salinity rather than obvious acidity which provides relief from the richness. This is certainly a suave, seductive number and provides immediate pleasure, but does have the quality to carry on for another 5-7 years. I would suggest a few hours in a decanter before dipping your toes in. Served using Zalto Bordeaux glassware.”
96+ Points - Stuart McCloskey “Adorable and sampled without decanting. The bouquet is veracious and provides layers of creamy raspberry, dark plum and mulberry compote. Warming spices (white pepper) develop with more aeration and a touch of toasty French oak and cedar. The palate is vivid, fun and provides a Smörgåsbord of red and black fruits with a soupçon of dried mint. I appreciate the cooling feel / acidity. Dark chocolate / cocoa interplay with a little tart cranberry. Flavours build and change the more you taste (at the five minute mark, I pick up woodsmoke). This is a wine full of honest, good intentions which is admirable. Serve now or cellar to 2028. Decant for 2-3 hours. Served using Zalto Bordeaux glassware.”
96++ Points - Stuart McCloskey “Another wine which I sampled over two days with day two showing a blossoming beauty. Unmistakably from the Margaret River with screaming aromatics of blackcurrant, leather, black olive, cedar, mint, dark chocolate. The palate is ripe and packed with flavour. As you would expect, it lacks some of the depth of Ace of Spades, but it is a stellar effort nonetheless, and one which richly deserves to be enjoyed by us all. There’s a lovely freshness which underlines the wine’s character. Tannins are svelte with the merest smidgeon of dust / dried herb, which adds character. Wait a few minutes and a tang from orange peel emerges along with savoury, earthy notes. Lots of bright acidity which lifts the wine. A belter and one that can be enjoyed now through to 2028. Decant for 2-3 hours. Served using Zalto Bordeaux glassware.”
96 Points - James Halliday
This hits the bullseye, a great example of the synergy between place and variety. Its colour is good, as is the bouquet, and that arrow arrives the moment the wine enters the mouth. It has waves of luscious, juicy red and black fruits that fill every corner of the palate, tannins and oak doing the job expected of them.
Winemaker "Vibrant, unmistakably Coonawarra to smell and taste, bursting with flavours of blackcurrant, mulberry and herbs, and fine, elegant and juicy in the mouth. The wine is quite low in oak, with just a smidge of vanillin showing faintly on the mid palate, but otherwise the brambly, blackcurrant flavours demand all the attention. Fine silky tannins integrate with the fruit and minimal oak treatment to produce an approachable well rounded wine with an extended length."
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.”