This wine is a marvel and in my experience has always been underpriced by its owners, whether David Wynn, Castlemaine Tooheys, Allied, Southcorp, Foster's and now, in a renaming exercise, Treasury Wine Estates. I can't vouch for what John Riddoch asked for the wine when he first planted the vines over a century ago but I offer it this week as the perfect antidote to Bordeaux pricing madness.
Unlike some of the grassier, leaner Coonawarra Cabernets, this bottling consistently reminds us that this combination of place and grape can be truly magical, and that Coonawarra can produce red wines that are worthy of very serious ageing - as demonstrated to me eloquently the other day by a magical bottle of Petaluma 1979 and as Julia's vertical tasting of Wynns Coonawarra Cabernet back to 1954 revealed.
Wynns Coonawarra Estate Cabernet Sauvignon 2006 Coonawarra, to give it its full name, is an extremely serious wine and yet is priced as though it were almost frivolous.
The 2006 is already a great pleasure to drink with lovely ripe fruit and already some gentle cedarwood nuances, but it finishes completely dry and clearly has a fine skein of tannins in there that will keep it in fine fettle for the rest of the decade.
Sue Hodder is the current custodian of this Australian wine classic and is hugely respected, as you can see here. She has blended this wine from the top quarter of their 2006 Cabernet production. The wine spent 16 months in French with American oak (French oak: 35% new, 29% one-year-old and 15% two years and older; American oak: 8% new, 2% one-year-old and 11% two years and older). Total acidity is 6.55 g/l, pH a very respectable 3.49 and the alcohol on the label is 14% (although see the American Association of Wine Economists' study that maintains that wine producers 'systematically' understate alcohol content on their labels).
There is nothing oversized, overripe or 'hot-tasting' about this wine - and nor is it plagued by the excessive mintiness that can sometimes detract from some Australian Cabernets. I was reminded of how great South Australian Cabernet can be by a stunning tasting last weekend of Penfolds Grange and associated Special Bins in the same vintages back to 1953. I will of course be reporting on this, and will also publish a couple of videos of the host Peter Gago and his comments on some especially ancient Cabernet vines.
As you can see from the long list of prices, this is an exceptionally well distributed wine (though it is not, ridiculously, available in the US according to wine-searcher.com). The lowest UK prices (well below prices in Australia) seem to be from two online merchants, Formula Wine (a rather unfortunate name) and Hailsham Cellars. But three branches of Waitrose have it in stock at £14.99 and Waitrose expect a new delivery on Monday so, providing there are no delays with the shipment, it should once more be available from www.waitrosewine.com in about a week.