The Margaret River and Coonawarra are Australia’s two leading cabernet sauvignon regions, of that I have little doubt. The Yarra Valley can be good, but my impression is that the lesser years seem to outnumber the greater, and of the red grapes, pinot noir and syrah have captured local vigneron’s imagination to a greater extent. With a couple of exceptions (Hoddles Creek and Punt Road come to mind), and of course the “grand names” of the region (think Mount Mary, Yarra Yering, Yeringberg and Wantirna Estate), there appear to be few producers producing a cabernet blend year-in, year-out. Whether pinot noir and syrah (and cabernet for that matter) are the right call for that region, remains to be seen. My guess is that a white grape – chardonnay – is what the region does best.
The Margaret River on the other hand, a far flung region incidentally that I am yet to visit and must remedy (New Zealand is geographically closer), produced in 2010 another stunning cabernet sauvignon vintage and seems to have less trouble with its identity. This is after the stunning vintages of 2007, 2008 and 2009, a feat that makes Bordeaux’s great 2009-2010 vintages seem unexceptional. I’ve had stand out cabernet from 2006 too from the Margaret River (from Moss Wood). The region just seems to work for the grape.
Xanadu’s cabernet sauvignon from 2010 saw 14 months maturation in 40% new French oak and proved over a couple of days to be a very good wine indeed. Chocolate, dark chocolate, garrigue, pepper, blackberry, anise, hot earth and tar present themselves in a complex aroma. The palate has medium-long length and flavours of chocolate, sweet and sour blackberries, fine grained but noticeable tannins, toasty oak and some acid edginess. This is a very good cabernet, that should drink well over the next five to eight years. Good to Very Good
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