The last of Dodgy Brothers’ three new releases to grace my tasting bench and one that, in some ways, I’ve been slightly apprehensive about tasting. You see, I’m a fairly recent convert to McLaren Vale Cabernet. I used to feel the Vale’s warmer climate did strange things to Cabernet and its siblings, smoothing out some of the edges that I enjoy with this variety and substituting a certain Shiraz-like roundness. It’s true this region doesn’t produce the sort of spiky, angular wines one associates with “classical” Cabernet style. Working in the region last year, though, I saw quite a few parcels of Cabernet, Merlot and Petit Verdot. Yes, these wines can be structurally quite cuddly, but at their best they are astonishingly fragranced, showing recognisably varietal aroma profiles with a rich, regional twist.
And that sums up this wine quite well. It is unquestionably expressive aromatically, and the dominant Cabernet Franc component contributes a lovely red capsicum note alongside a range of florals, spices and purple fruit. There’s a relaxation and composure to the way this wine smells that is very accessible and should be quite crowd-pleasing.
In the mouth, quite a rounded presence that seduces at first with its volume before ushering in the sort of tannin structure Cabernet lovers demand. Tannins are abundant and slightly rambunctious, giving the wine some texture and helping the wine’s darker flavour notes to persist through the after palate and finish. Flavours are full and ripe, with berries tending towards purple and black, and oak making a toasty, spiced contribution. This is very much the hedonist’s Cabernet blend, one that is unashamedly voluptuous without sacrificing the fragrance and tannin structure that makes these varieties so wonderful.
Dodgy Brothers Wines