1998 Wendouree Cabernet Sauvignon


If there is one Australian producer that sends a tingle down my spine more than any other, it is surely Wendouree. There…I just shuddered typing the name. Regrettably, my encounters are infrequent, yet bottles seem to have that ineffable je ne sais quoi whenever they do appear.

The 1998 Cabernet Sauvignon was an outlier that a guest brought to a Bordeaux dinner to celebrate the launch of my book. It was an inspired choice because, though derived from the same grape variety, what it seems to do in the Clare Valley is totally different from the Médoc. Showing little signs of aging, it has a captivating bouquet with kirsch, aniseed and loamy scents associated more with the Rhône than Bordeaux. In fact, it curiously brought to mind a couple of bottles of Rayas tasted a few days earlier. The palate continues in the same style with copious red fruit, orange rind, allspice, clove and smoke hints. Smooth-edged and quite sumptuous with a melted quality on the finish, this delicious Cabernet is peaking right now, but it will surely continue to mature for another 15-20 years. 94/Drink 2023-2045.

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