I have it in my mind that I’m not very fond of Cabernet Sauvignon from places like the Barossa Valley and the McLaren Vale, a notion that seems of late to be in regular friction with the truth. Indeed, I keep coming across rather tasty examples of these styles.
It’s rather a pleasant task to change one’s mind when faced with a wine like this. I’ve been loving many 2010 McLaren Vale reds that have crossed my path, and this is no exception. Yet this is more surprising than most, because it sits at a price point that is one step above an inexpensive quaffer, a position that can yield disappointingly populist styles.
There’s a striking degree of elegance to the aroma: bright fruit, angular red capsicum, varietal dust. Not at all the simple drinker I thought it might be, but never losing the ease that is a hallmark of this maker’s wines. There’s not a lick of industrial winemaking in the way this smells. I feel a direct connection to the vineyard that’s rare at any price point, let alone in a red costing $25.
The palate is beautifully weighted – not too heavy, not insubstantial, acid-driven yet with a smattering of drying tannins. The flavour profile is clear and fresh, vibrant red fruit winding around more savoury varietal notes and light touch oak. Intensity is moderate, as is density of fruit. It’s not often Cabernet tastes casual, but this does. Its trick, though, is in being all these things — drinkable, approachable, inviting — without ever being dumb. Everything in moderation seems here to add up to a most attractive wine, and I sense straightforwardness and honesty in every drop.
This isn’t a $60 wine masquerading as something cheaper, but it never uses its affordability as an excuse either. Very much a Dowie Doole wine.