Tahbilk Old Block Vines BDX 2019


This is an important wine for a number of reasons.

Reason 1: it is a wine to commemorate Tahbilk’s 160th birthday and is a limited, one-off release.

Reason 2: it is a wine that celebrates one of the great under dogs of the Nagambie Lakes wine region – cabernet sauvignon. Is this a statement wine? I suspect it is.

Reason 3: it is a mighty good wine. My notes actually say, “bloody ripper.”

My score – admittedly high – comes from the heart. From the first taste I was hooked, it made an immediate impact with its level of concentration and seamless flavour. And joy. Wine brings an emotional response and too often we put that aside in a bid to be analytical. Both can have a place in a wine tasting.

I know there is “older vine plantings” of cabernet sauvignon, merlot and cabernet franc involved here, but I was taken by the beauty of the cabernet fruit. Always have been from this part of the world. Nagambie Lakes is rightly seen as primarily shiraz country and, as such, cabernet has often failed to be noticed, even in some years when it is clearly the better wine over shiraz. 

Balanced leafy-earth aromas join aromatic violet and florals, intense black berries, dark spices and a touch of wildness.

This is old school Australian winemaking at its best, where the fruit speaks with oak in the background; it’s honest and real and in this case, boasts a lovely elegance. Did I mention the length? Love the light tannic buzz to close, too. There is a lasting structure here.

I opened this wine on a Friday. On Monday, it was still tasting fresh. That’s a very good sign. The energy levels are high with this one.

And finally, that price is a steal. Just don’t tell the marketing department. 

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