Wynns Coonawarra Estate John Riddoch Cabernet Sauvignon 1998

The Wynns (part of the Treasury Wine Estate’s stable of brands) Coonawarra Estate John Riddoch cabernet sauvignon is Wynns’ premium cabernet sauvignon offering.  “The Riddoch” is made only in stronger years, and according to the winemaker’s note (written by Sue Hodder), only one per cent of the estate’s top cabernet sauvignon grapes go into the wine.

To let expectations build a little further, 1998 has been hailed as an extremely good year in Coonawarra.  Langtons gave it a 10 out 10, describing it thus:

“A great vintage that will rival or better the outstanding 1990 and 1991 pair. Coonawarra winemakers themselves place 1998 somewhere between “the best of the 1990s” and “the best for 20 years”. The harvest was a few weeks early after a dry summer. Expect some great Cabernet Sauvignon.”

The greatness of this vintage is now reflected in the auction prices of this wine, fetching just shy of $100 at the date of writing.  The wine was matured in new and one year old French oak.

I tasted this vintage blind, and was unburdened by these expectations.  Dark in colour, the wine has a restrained and brooding aroma of plums, iodine, anise, dried crushed up herbs and chocolate that self-evidently calls itself out as a Coonawarra cabernet sauvignon from a ripe year.  The palate has medium tannins, medium length (a second bottle tasted in April had long length), dark plum, blackberry, iodine and chocolate characters, interwoven with dry wood flavours.  This is a powerful and complex wine that will continue to age for many years.  Yet, I find the dry wood character to be more predominant and obvious than I would like on the palate, and the iodine aroma and flavour to be a little too pronounced for my personal preference.  Mostly certainly this is a typical and very good example of a Coonawarra cabernet sauvignon wine, although for the price, I would suggest that there are better available.  87-89 points (very good)

Abv: 13.5%
Price: $90s
Vendors: try auction
Website: http://www.wynns.com.au
Tasted: March 2012, April 2012

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