Am I wrong to have firmer expectations of Cabernet’s flavour profile compared to, say, Shiraz? Where one tends to celebrate the regional differences between many wines, I find myself occasionally knocking a Cabernet for tasting un-Cabernetish. Perhaps one of my resolutions this year should be to keep an open mind when it comes to this particular variety. Who knows, I might even start enjoying the Barossa version.
But let’s not get ahead of ourselves. First up, this wine from the Pyrenees in Victoria. It’s regional, moderate of body, cleanly made, and offers a clear alternative to Coonawarra and Margaret River styles. So far so good.
Except of course if you have an aversion to those typically Pyrenean gum tree influences. Personally, I’ve never had an issue with a balanced intrusion of these aromas, so for me the nose is attractively supple, with crisp black berries and slightly raw oak forming the balance of notes. The aroma is prickly and young; elegant is perhaps the wrong descriptor. Light oughtn’t automatically be equated with elegance, and here the impression is more one of youthful enthusiasm, of an underdeveloped frame showing some muscularity but lacking the bulk one might expect of a fully grown specimen.
This carries through to the palate, though I am very much enjoying what seems to me an adolescent work in progress. Very clean and correct in its progress down the line, this wine starts with savoury red and black berries, progresses through some leaf and cedar to end up with a slightly aggressive astringency that should calm with time and air. Perhaps it’s a little dilute in absolute terms, but its style is such that this seems an asset rather than a fault. It’s terribly easy to drink, goes well with food (in my case a robust pasta bake) and isn’t so expensive that one would feel guilty for polishing off a bottle rather too quickly. There’s something to be said for such a lack of pretension.