Wine review — Petaluma, Brands of Coonawarra & Moss Wood

Petaluma Coonawarra 2005 $65 (cork sealed)
The warm season produced a comparatively big, ripe Petaluma, albeit in the elegant Coonawarra mould. It’s a blend of 60 per cent cabernet sauvignon and 30 per cent Merlot with, for the first time, five per cent each of petit verdot and malbec – all from the Evans and Sharefarmers vineyards, northern Coonawarra. It’s a wine of considerable substance – one that reveals layers of flavour and texture. Twenty-two months in new French oak seems to have given the wine lift, life, mellow tannins and flavours that harmonise completely with the fruit. With a pedigree going back to 1979 and two top vineyards behind it this is a reliable buy.

Brands of Coonawarra Patron’s Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon 2004 $76 (screw cap sealed)
Don’t confuse this with the old ‘Patron’s Blend’ as that’s now called ‘Eric’s Blend’. The new Patron’s is a straight cabernet sauvignon  (the old one combined four varieties) and it’s extraordinary. It’s a beautifully fragrant combination of cedary oak and perfectly ripe cabernet sauvignon. In its fragrance, fleshiness and ripeness it reminds me of Chateau Margaux, although not in its exact aromas and flavours. The palate’s luxurious and vibrant but still pure cabernet in its expression, including the firm but silk-coated tannins.  I wouldn’t quibble about the price. This is a sensational wine with long-term cellaring potential. You wouldn’t find a Bordeaux to match this quality anywhere near price.

Moss Wood Margaret River
Moss Wood Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon 2005 $85.50 (screw cap)

This is another Australian blue chip and it’s in glorious form. Like the Coonawarra wines above, it’s a perfectly ripe expression of cabernet without any of the leafy green notes that sometimes take the edge off otherwise top wines. But it’s more than cabernet. The combination of great fruit, skilled winemaking and maturation in high-quality oak produced a wine that’s vibrant and fruity at the core but with another flavour and aroma dimension as well. It’s less fleshy and fragrant than the Brand’s wine and less solid than the Petaluma. It has a teasing core of pure cabernet in a beautifully elegant structure.

Copyright © Chris Shanahan 2008