Hesketh G.A.R. Great Australian Red Coonawarra Cabernet/McLaren Vale Shiraz 2019

What a great wine title: G.A.R. It’s reason enough to get almost teary-eyed about Australia’s truly indigenous red blend of cabernet and shiraz and why it is so darn good. These two grapes were made for each other: the stiff, upper-lipped cabernet provides the structure and classic shape while relaxed, generously fruited shiraz provides the warmth and approachability.

And the two regions involved – Coonawarra and McLaren Vale – and the two families – Hardy and Hesketh – are South Australian, which is fitting because that’s where the great Aussie blend has its home and biggest fan base.

G.A.R. (they have to trademark those initials!) arrives in youthful, purple-garnet shades. Coonawarra cabernet takes the lead in aroma with bush mint, dark plum, leafy blackberry, anise, while Vale shiraz contributes a deep earthiness.

Cabernet steps up on the palate with trademark firmness of tannin and structure with both grape varieties unfolding a bevy of black fruits, mint, earth, spice and a light touch of herbal leafiness. Oak is nicely integrated. Tannins are firm but not intrusive. It spreads itself long across a supple, almost sinewy, palate. And so ageworthy, too.

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