Sunday, July 31, 2011

2002 Wendouree Cabernet Malbec (Clare Valley)

Wendouree is a winery whose wines I've always wanted to drink. Producing wine from an historic vineyard, planted in 1892, Wendouree have positively eschewed all modern forms of communication and marketing. They still don't have a website. All their wine is sold through a mailing list, that is far from obvious or easy to get on, and yet they don't seem to have any issue selling all their wine. Moreover, it seems that almost as long as I have been reading about things vinous, I've been reading James Halliday's "iron-fist in a velvet glove" description of these age worthy wines. The other point of interest is that are plenty of Wendouree knockers out there, or at least people who think Wendouree wines are not all they are cracked up to be, so to some extent it's a polarising winery.

I've tasted Wendouree a couple of times at tastings, but this 2002 Cabernet Malbec was the first bottle I've consumed. A tasting I had of the 2008 Cabernet Malbec at the Langton's tasting last year put me firmly in the pro-Wendouree camp. It was one of the standouts in amongst an amazing line-up of wines.

The 2002 was one of those wines that upon initial tasting was arguably a touch disappointing (bearing in mind how much anticipation is built into opening a Wendouree), but improved with air, and then by that final few mouthfuls a couple of hours later, it had begun to show the potential that is part of the Wendouree promise. It's a wine that definitely needs many more years in the cellar before it shows its best. It presents as a powerful Cabernet with blackcurrant, mint, oak, and some aged polished leather notes. To drink it has lovely ripe and rich fruit, balanced by some nice spice and earthiness. The signature tannins are still prominent and the wine finishes long and strong. The complexity of the wine is still largely latent, but time will be a friend to this wine. Very good now, potentially great with time.



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