Anthony from Confessions of a Wine Geek and Mike from Please Bring Me My Wine kicked off a fun new wine drinking initiative called New Wine This Week. Each week they pick a new wine or wine style to try, drink that wine over the week, then report back and rate it. All wine drinkers are encouraged to have a go and tell the story of their experience of the new wine/s. It’s as good an excuse as any to drink wine, and we love a good wine drinking excuse!
The boys have asked me a few times to join in but it’s quite difficult to find the time (I’ve got Twitter to thank for being time poor) and difficult to source a lot of the wines on their list, here down under. I’ve written before on how wines from outside of Australia are hard to come by because of our own strong local wine market, although this is slowly changing thankfully for the wine drinker but maybe not so much for the local wine producers.
Anyway, last week Anthony pinged us on Twitter saying that The Wine Wankers may be up for the latest new wine… Coonawarra Cabernet Sauvignon. Now this is a wine I can source easily! So easily that it’s just a trip down into my cellar. I grabbed a couple of wines that had been screaming at me to be drunk ever since I had won them at auction.
I’m guessing that I’m not really sticking to the whole “new wine” theme but I thought it was a great opportunity to dig out these old wines and enjoy them anyway. Again, back to excuses, I couldn’t pass up on the right opportunity to down some aged Coonawarra Cabernet.
First up was the 1993 Wynns Coonawarra Cabernet Shiraz Merlot. Here I go again not strictly sticking to the brief but I really wanted to drink this one to highlight a few things about this particular wine. In my mind it is one of the best value wines out of Coonawarra and is an Aussie classic that is widely available around the world. I don’t know anyone who doesn’t like this wine, it’s a real showcase of how consistently good Coonawarra reds can be, and how long they can cellar, without breaking the budget. Although it has gone up in price a fair bit over the last few years you can still get this one for around $20.
On opening this wine I immediately got hit with strong spicy fruit aromas and an earthy and woody background. On taking a sip I immediately sensed the smooth balanced structure that this wine is known for and why it is so generally popular. Although age had meant that the enjoyable fruit aspects had dropped away in favour of more woody, vanilla, spicy and complex earthy flavours it was still an enjoyable wine that could be savoured in the mouth some time after sipping. Probably at its best a couple of years ago it was still a delicious experience I wouldn’t have been able to have without its 21 years of age.
Next up was the straight varietal 1993 Wynns Coonawarra Cabernet. After enjoying the blend I wanted to see how the equivalent 100% Cabernet fared. Another widely available wine this is actually more expensive, several times over, and is bottled with potential cellaring in mind. I was more on the brief with this one!
It was a slightly darker and more dense looking wine than the blend, almost black even. As soon as I opened the bottle my nose told me to expect something enjoyable. The anticipation built as I got much more complex fruit aromas than the previous blend. Along with a bit of mint I’m sure I could smell the famed leafy Eucalyptus that these wines are known for! Surely this was going to be good?
And it was! A full-bodied power machine with complex flavours that just lasted on my tongue long after I’d finished each sip. Even though the tannins had settled, as you can see from the sediment in the bottle, it still packed loads of acid structure that enhanced the remaining fruit flavours and boosted the more complex savoury aspects. A thoroughly enjoyable old wine.
These are both good wines with the blend being made to be very approachable and fun from the outset and the straight varietal Cabernet being a rough and tough beast that will mellow-out with time as it matures and calms down.