39 dollars: Stoney Vineyard Cabernet 2013 by Domaine A, Coal Valley, Tasmania
With my background in Bordeaux I was keen to learn more about the best makers of Cabernet in Australia so in January 2006 I went to work as the winery hand at Domaine A in Tasmania. Established in 1973 and owned and run by H.Peter and Ruth Althaus, Domaine A is a globally acclaimed vineyard. For my money, Domaine A is one of Australia's three greatest makers of Cabernet, the other two being Cullen and Mount Mary, but you would never confuse their styles. While Mount Mary is all grace and old school claret-like poise, and Cullen offers profoundly deep fleshy fruit, Domaine A gets closest to the vigorous, wild and animal soul of Cabernet. The tasmanian climate allows Cabernet at Domaine A to hang onto all of it's blackcurrant crunch, which can in turn contrast quite spectacularly with the savoury, fresh, herbal perfume that is the hallmark also of the very best Chateaux in the Médoc. You could call it a cool climate style if you like but the real beauty of a true cool climate like southern Tasmania is that it allows the vine to ripen its fruit to the ultimate degree, unhurried by the heatwaves that torment growers in warmer regions. And the tannin is so fine here! Strong but gentle these are wines that dominate the palate in such a civilised style and marry so well with the most enjoyable meat dishes. The wines here feel fresh, real and healthy and the drinkability rating is unmatched. H.Petern Althaus is a man I have worked for and seeing someone so determined to achieve the best was a great part of my education and one for which I am genuinely grateful.
The Stoney Cabernet - compared to the vineyard's flagship releases - is matured in older oak barrels for a full two years which is an extraordinarily patient investment to make in your entry level wine. This is a wine that will blow you away. It has intensity and complexity in spades. This is a wine that is at the pinnacle of the world's Bordeaux-style wines and is one of those wines that defines a genre as much as it defines itself. We had a bottle with dinner last night and we loved it down to the last drop. Enjoy!