An article in the World of Fine Wine and some mail from Mount Mary had me thinking about Australian cabernet this week. In the latest edition of the WOFW, Andrew Jefford, Stephen Brook and Alex Hunt MW undertook a blind tasting of top cabernet sauvignons from Australia and California. It made me read on because I have been very impressed with the textural quality of the Napa Valley cabernets I have tasted abroad, as my reviews will attest. The supply in Australia of Napa cab is however but a trickle, which is a pity. What did the crew find? Rather depressingly (for Australia) and kind of comforting (for my fledgling impressions of Napa cabernet), 11 Californian wines were in the top 17 for Brook, an extraordinary 12 Californian wines were in the top 13 for Jefford and Alex Hunt was more equable at 50/50 for his top 12. I think a wider sample would have been in order as the Australian selection looked a bit limited, but certainly the impressions made interesting reading. Interestingly, the ’11 Cullen Diana Madeline saw much faint praise, a position I find myself in with my review of the ’12 a couple of weeks ago.
Which brings me to Mount Mary’s annual newsletter. Like Moss Wood, Domaine A (corked), the Katnook’s Odyssey, Yarra Yering’s Dry Red No 1, the Wynns John Riddoch and others, Mount Mary’s Quintet cabernet did not appear in the California versus Australia lineup. Long time readers will be aware that I have had a bit of a mixed run with this wine, with hits from the ’94 and ’97 vintage, a miss from the ’00 vintage and some new release “at the shop” type tastings leaving so-so impressions. I have decided though to give the wine a further chance, and buy a couple of the ’13s just released (at $115 per bottle, this is not a case purchase!) Report to follow after due cellaring.