One of the great skills of an accomplished wine taster is to assess blind a set of international cabernets placing each one’s country of origin.
So that was the task for a group of Brisbane sommeliers on the training trail yesterday.
Master of Wine Andrew Corrigan led the instruction on seven cabernets.
Cullen Diana Madeline Cabernet Merlot 2004 Margaret River (14%) 94 is the only screw-capped player. Very vivid purple colour for a six-year-old; plush and plump nose, no burnt characters, palate fruity, black fruits, powdery, grainy tannin, drying but fresh, lengthy flavours. USD 62
Chateau Clos de Latour 2002 Graves Bordeaux Superior (14%) 92 is a little faded in colour, tale telling oyster shell nose of maturing Bordeaux, herbal, fresh, medium bodied, very fine, firm, fresh tannin, lots of after palate richness. Both the tannin level and aromas point to Bordeaux merlot, cabernet, franc, petit verdot. USD 15
Chateau St Jean 2005 Sonoma (14.2%) 91 had a very tight cork, great colour though showing age, lots of New World jam, sweet and sour ripeness, cedary oak, palate of big richness, more full bodied than medium, sweet fruit, intense powdery tannins of the powerful kind. USD 27
Te Mata Estate Awatea 2007 NZ Hawkes Bay (14%) 90 is inky purple, very young, though light colour intensity, plush nose, minty, shows earthiness and oak, chocolate-rich palate, very soft and round, therefore non-Bordeaux, cabernet, franc, merlot, petit verdot. USD 31
Zema Estate 2005 Coonawarra (15.5%) 90, closed with Procork has deep red, purples, sweet and sour fruits, mulberry, low oak, a juicy palate, complex, round and fruity, alcohol hot. USD 19
Kanonkop 2006 Stellenbosch South Africa (14%) 89 has light colour, purples, leafy green, quite smelly, cedary oak, then quite a tight tannin palate, lush but drying, good finish. USD 22
Chateau Pichon-Longueville 2003 Pauillac 2nd growth (13.5%) 86 has dense brick red, smells old and tired, bretty also, dried out palate, very tannic and bitter/astringent, fallen fruit no doubt. Where the cork has failed then that is the fault of the producer for selecting a poor closure; cabernet, merlot, petit verdot. USD 200
To learn this identification skill it’s just a matter of having the good instructor and representative cabernets.
Curiously one of the freshest wines was under screw cap.
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