People seem to have very strong reactions to Tahbilk’s red wines; not like or dislike so much as love or hate. I wonder both why this is and what it means; in any case I’m tempted, from an aesthetic perspective, to value Tahbilk’s wines all the more highly because of it. Increasingly, I am impatient with wines that don’t display intent beyond correctness and technical perfection. Especially at a price point such as this, I feel we ought as drinkers to demand personality, a provocation, a point of view.
So, for lovers of Tahbilk reds, here’s one for you. It’s the companion wine to the Cabernet Sauvignon
tasted a while back and, while I don’t like it quite as much as that wine, it’s unmistakably of this maker. The nose is expressive and grainy, with red earth, gum leaf, rustic fruits, nuts, some vanilla. The trick it pulls off is to be both distinctive and multi-dimensional, which is rarer than one might think.
The palate is pure elegance and moderation. Not to suggest intensity of flavour is the casualty; in fact, this is quite a piercing wine in its way. Entry is fruit-driven and soft, with berry juice flavours and a sense of warm sunlight pushing the wine towards an earthy, detailed middle palate. As with the Cabernet, and most Tahbilk red wines it seems, the tannins are especially remarkable, here being both smotheringly textural (like a woolen blanket) and somehow unobtrusive too. It’s medium bodied, with bright-enough acidity and a clean, brisk flow through the mouth. The after palate sings cleanly with savoury dark fruits, and the finish is gentle and elegant, not to mention bloody long. A slight excess of sweet oak towards the end of the line is almost forgivable.
Regional, complex and authentic.