Wynns Coonawarra Black Label Cabernet Sauvignon 50th birthday tasting

Winemaker Sue Hodder was over for the Australia Day tastings and presented a cross section of great vintages of Wynns Black Label Cabernet Sauvignon from 1958, 1966, 1982, 1993, 1996 and 2000.

I met Sue during my Australia trip last October when the winemakers of Coonawarra presented a memorable series of tastings.  We kicked off with its most famous variety, Cabernet Sauvignon, with vintages from different producers going back to 1976.  Wynns’ wesbite has a good low down on the history of the region, climate etc.

I came away with a real sense of Coonawarra Cabernet Sauvignon.  Its famous terra rossa soil and relatively cool, temperate climate produce wines which have an earthy undertow and a pronounced savoury character (roast pan meat juices).  The style is less fruit-led than other regions and all the more interesting for it.

Here are my notes on the highlights of February’s Wynns Black Label Cabernet Sauvignon tasting:

1958: pencil shavings, violets and meat juices on the nose remind me of claret and combine with cassis on the palate to reinforce the impression.  The acidity is a little angular, so one to drink up.

1966 (magnum): intense cassis and violets on the nose and rich and savoury palate which has an underlying earthiness – giving lots of drinking pleasure now.

1982: perfumed nose of cedar and cassis with more developed savoury roast pan juices’ notes; very well balanced fruit, tannins and acidity with a tight seam of cassis giving a long finish – excellent and will keep going several years yet.  My pick of the bunch.

1996: very tight and closed on nose and palate with firm (but ripe) tannins, I reckon this will turn out like the 82, so it will easily go another 10 years plus and needs a couple of years to open out.

2000: surprisingly open-knit after the 96 with velvety tannins,  blackberry and plum fruit and charry, chocolatey notes from the oak.  More aerobic winemaking accounts for the supple tannins.

Both the tasting in Coonawarra and the Wynns tasting demonstrate  that Coonawarra Cab Sav is eminently ageworthy.  Wynns Black Label Cab Sav retails for £9.99 in Oddbins, which makes it a bit of a bargain.

Sarah Ahmed
The Wine Detective
February 2005

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