Unexpectedly, despite more or less regular tastings of new releases of Leconfield’s cabernet, I have not previously posted a review of one. That I now seem to have wine notes stored in at least nineteen different places – a product in part of this being the 800th post on this website – perhaps provides a clue as to why this might be the case.
In my experience, Leconfield tend to produce good to very good rather than perhaps excellent cabernet sauvignon wines in Coonawarra, and have the advantage of being widely available. It was therefore of some interest to be given the opportunity to try three aged examples of their wine together, with the added complexity that the wines were presented masked. Looking back at the vintage reports for 1997, 1996 and 1995, it seems that 1996 was the pick of the years, with 1997 pretty good and 1995 a very poor year. On this tasting, the latter was affirmed, but the 1997 proved easily to be the better of the three wines.
Leconfield Cabernet Sauvignon 1997
Leconfield Cabernets 1997
The 1997 is between a ruby and garnet in colour. It opens to a light to medium intensity expression of herbs, eucalyptus, thin blackcurrants, licorice, varnish and plums. Based on the aroma I did not expect anything too exciting to emerge on the palate. This proved to be wrong, as the palate showed quite long length, with spices, plums and clove filling out a very satisfying wine. This wine is in its drinking prime, or perhaps just a little past it, and is really very good. 90 points (extremely good)
Leconfield Cabernet Sauvignon 1996
Leconfield Cabernets 1996
The 1996 is a medium intensity garnet in colour. Its aroma has been beaten comprehensively by the oak stick. Coconuts, vanilla, burnt wood, wood and char dominate, with sweet short bread biscuits and caramel emerging with time in the glass. Charred plums, black cherries and medium length feature on the palate. While clearly still a Coonawarra cabernet sauvignon, it bears little resemblance to the 1997 vintage. Nonetheless, albeit long on oak (at least for my palate), this is a perfectly pleasant and easy to drink wine. 86 points (very good)
Leconfield Cabernet Sauvignon 1995
Leconfield Cabernet 1995
The 1995 vintage, described as the poorest since 1983 in Coonawarra, sort of explains why I didn’t particularly enjoy this wine – although since I tasted it blind, this information was not available to me. Still retaining good colour, the wine is a medium to pronounced intensity ruby in colour in the glass. The aroma is between a light and medium intensity and closed expression of herbs, socks, redcurrants, licorice, varnish and rubber. The palate shows characters of mint, eucalyptus, dried wood, some blackcurrants and is set to medium length. I felt that this wine wasn’t particularly enjoyable, and is a modest vintage for Leconfield. 80-81 points (good)