As the Bordeaux-inspired name suggests, First Growth sits on the highest branch of the Parker Coonawarra Estate wine tree. It is 100% cabernet sauvignon off the Abbey Vineyard matured in 100% new barriques from four major French coopers including Seguin Moreau and Francois Freres. The 2016 vintage is its 28th. Everything so far, including the price tag, indicates a most serious wine. Aroma and taste confirm it.
Boysenberry, bramble, black cherry, blackberry, wild herbs, a dab of sweet baking spice and red earth offer up the complex essence of Coonawarra cabernet. Parker Coonawarra Estate has a history of sensitive red winemaking. No sharp edges, no aggressive oak or tannin. It’s sometimes easy to overlook these little one percenters. Wines like First Growth come into the world fully formed and drinkable, you can sometimes wonder how they will age. I would suggest that they age particularly well because they start life in balance.
Weather-wise the warm, dry 2016 vintage conditions in Coonawarra were likened to 1998. Both are considered very good to excellent vintages. At 14.5% alcohol, First Growth is bold, juicy and fresh across the palate replete in bramble, briar, dark plum sweet fruits and well managed graphite oak.
Enjoy now or later. It’s your call.