Yalumba The Menzies Coonawarra Cabernet Sauvignon 1998

After accidentally reorganizing the JK Carriere and Cayuse racks in my wine cellar, I finally found what I’d gone in there to look for earlier this evening: a bottle of wine that would hopefully be so good that I could forget about the corked Penfolds I ran into before. This is why I’m looking at this bottle now: it seemed like the best thing I could find to remind myself that not all cork-finished wines are bad. Thankfully, this one isn’t.Like India ink cut with cherry juice, the wine’s beautiful in the glass with virtually no signs of aging. It’s only when you peer carefully at the rim that you notice that aha! yes, this wine is getting on in years, with very fine particulate matter silhouetted against a slightly darker brown, now tending towards watery rim.The nose is absolutely massive, monolithic: it brings to mind fresh pumpernickel, dark brown sugar, good Cuban cigars, and ripe blackberries trod into freshly tilled soil. In short, it’s ravishing. Drinking it’s quite another matter; it quickly asserts a rather more European personality, savory yet with tell-tale Coonawarra sweetness, eucalyptus, and (most of all) mint. Most surprising of all is the nervy acid perched atop a thickly tannic spine, deftly holding it in balance – or, rather, tension – between the simple pleasures of the overly ripe New World and the more challenging, introspective beauty of the Old. The more you drink, the less focused and resolved it all becomes, with plum tart, dusty cocoa, bramble, and sweet malt pastilles all jostling for attention. In fact, my only criticism at all would be that I have absolutely no idea what this wine wants to be – but honestly? That’s just fine by me. It is what it is, it tastes delicious, and it could easily go another five or ten years before fading.My only real complaint is that I don’t have any more of this wine. Delicious.Yalumba
Price: $33
Closure: Cork
Source: Retail

1 thought on “Yalumba The Menzies Coonawarra Cabernet Sauvignon 1998

  1. I was given this bottle from a colleague at work who left, about 10 years ago. I note the drinking window on the bottle was 2005 to 2015, but it could do another 10 years – its so concentrated it may well improve. I loved it – cant compete with the descriptions above, but I recognise the taut acid over the tannic (but now soft) spine.

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