Anyone not familiar with Max Lake’s writings on food and wine is well advised to acquaint themselves with his rather extensive bibliography. He is a gourmand of the finest sort; an unashamed sensualist who is not afraid to deeply question the sources of his pleasure. It’s been a while now since Mr Lake sold the Lake’s Folly winery to Peter Fogarty, and the wines have been made for some time not by the Lakes but by Rodney Kempe. No matter — the grapes are the same and the general approach remains constant.
The 2005 Cabernets is a blend of 68% Cabernet Sauvignon, 13% Petit Verdot, 11% Merlot and 8% Shiraz.A dense, dark colour, with bright flashes of purple and red. The nose presents a delightfully inscrutable aroma profile. Inscrutable because it is deep beyond immediate perception, yet offers tantalising glimpses of ripe fruit, dried flowers, meatiness and high quality oak. As with the best wines, it knows more than you do.
From entry onwards, fruit of the highest quality coats the tongue, spreading flavour that is both intense and of satisfying density. It unfolds in a focused line, widening steadily towards the mid-palate. Acid provides most of the structure through the entry and mid-palate, but it’s a subtle acidity, fine and subservient to the density of the fruit. Medium bodied, this wine is as much Hunter Valley as it is Cabernet, and its character will feel like coming home to enthusiasts of this region. Others, though, may lament its tendency towards regionality, perhaps at the expense of overt varietal character. Personally, I love it. The after palate remains focused, while lightening a little in tone. Impressively long finish, as velvet tannins coat the mouth with intensely sweet berry flavour.
Wine is an intersection of region, producer and consumer, at its best when these elements are positively aligned. I could drink this every day, so well does it match my idea of good wine.
Date tasted: April 2008