This is one of Margaret River’s flagship wines (not just that of maker, Cape Mentelle) and has been for decades, ever since it alerted the world to the region when under the stewardship of David Hohnen, it won the Jimmy Watson Trophy with both its 1982 and 1983 Cabernets. Not bad for an unheard-of winery in a region that was known only for cows, surfers and hippies.
Destemmed; individual berry sorting; fermentation on skins for an average of 55 days, though some batches went for 98 days; basket pressed to barrel to complete malo; maturation on lees for 18 months in French oak barriques (a tiny number of Hungarian barrels) of which 58% were new.
The immediate impression is of a wine with serious complexity. Blackberry notes, animal skins, coffee beans, cigar box notes, black cherries. Powerful, but balanced, and even a little bit elegant. There really is power, effortless power, on the palate. Notes of chocolate emerge here. Abundant tannins but they are soft and furry with good length. This cracking Margaret River Cabernet will improve for the next decade and then drink well for the two after that.