1968 was not exactly a dull year. Martin Luther King and Robert Kennedy were both assassinated. The Tet offensive shattered the perceptions of many about the conflict in Vietnam. Massive student protests rolled through Western Europe. The Soviets invaded Czechoslovakia. Things in Australia were a little less drama-filled, though apparently the Postmaster-General decreased the number of mail deliveries per day from two to one.
At the same time, in a remote pocket of South Australia, Wynns were making their 15th vintage of their cabernet sauvignon. Fast forward to today and Wynns have released 55 vintages of the Black Label, and it has become in that time one of Australia’s great wines.
This bottle was a random purchase from my offsite cellar provider. A punt on a piece of tree bark having kept a wine that almost always cellars well beyond initial expectations.
The ullage levels were mid-high shoulder which is pretty good for a 45 year old wine. Still at that age it is very much a lottery, and I thought it’s opening would reveal either a ruined offering or something quite exceptional. As it turned out it took a kind of middle road, in that what evolved in the glass was simply a lovely aged Cabernet. It smelt and tasted aged, but I would have never have picked it for a 45 year old wine. There was still plenty of fruit, and cork permitting, there’s no reason it wouldn’t continue to live for a while yet.Beautiful blackcurrant, old furniture mustiness, mint, and a lovely earthiness. Soft and supple, the flavours are carried by some tannin that’s still holding in there and some nice acidity as well. The finish actually lengthened as it opened up in the glass, giving that extra dimension of enjoyment. Four of us finished the bottle in good time with slow cooked lamb-shanks as the match. Remarkable that such a humble wine has aged so well and it bodes well for recent vintages of this wine that are now under screwcap. Love my Wynns.