On the count of three . . . deep, deep inhale. That scent of sage, the karri forest and black pepper, is so essentially, immediately Margaret River. It’s joined by cassis, plums, cloves, coffee grounds. Despite the obvious generosity and warmth, this wine remains steadfastly of the place where it is grown, a reflection of age of vines – Cape Mentelle founder, David Hohnen, believed in the grape from the beginning in the 70s – and of the winemaking regime, which I suspect is not written in stone. Indeed, winemaker Ben Cane speaks of the grape lending itself to experimentation each year, such is the depth of its character and “exotic spice.”
Said spice comes to the fore on the palate with a red licorice, clove, dark spice display unwinding amid the dense, black fruits.
Love the balance of fruit, oak and tannin in this wine. Pitch perfect. Tannins are solid, a firm foundation for the future, but I would also suggest that they are so smooth and comfy across the gums that drinking pleasure is also right now.
The maker has a long association with shiraz; Cape Mentelle founder David Hohnen believed in it so, too, current owners, the LVMH group. Good for them because there are many in Margs who don’t necessarily share the enthusiasm. If it’s a matter of shiraz over cabernet sauvignon, the latter tends to win the debate every time. This wine states a firm argument in the grape’s continuing role in the region.