A real find: Sue Bell’s Bellwether Coonawarra Cabernet Sauvignons
During my visit to the Limestone Coast in September I made lots of new discoveries. I reckon Sue Bell’s Bellwether Cabernets from Coonawarra (pictured), especially the 2009, were among the most exciting.
Sadly they’re not available over here yet but Bell, with whom I shared a couple of car journeys during my stay, is putting down serious roots in the region at the Glen Roy shearing shed, so watch this space. Built in 1857 by Chinese immigrants who’d come to make their fortune during the gold rush, Bellwether is converting it into a winery which befits her vinous alchemy.
Here are my notes:
Bellwether Cabernet Sauvignon 2008 (Coonawarra)
This wine was made at the Stonehaven winery in Padthaway where Bell was Chief Winemaker during its ownership by Accolade Wines. It’s a very classic, perfumed and polished Coonawarra style, with lifted cedar and mint and hints of dark chocolate to its bright blackberry, mulberry and cassis fruit. The finish is long and supple, with fine, long-grained tannins. Lovely. 13%
Bellwether Cabernet Sauvignon 2009 (Coonawarra)
Fruit for the 2009 vintage comes from a different (ongoing) source, with which Bell is clearly very happy. And you can see why. The wine is extremely elegant, with great violet and pencil shaving lift to nose and palate. While concentrated, its vivid, (red and black) berry, cherry and cassis palate is super-succulent, very juicy and fluid. Very finely drawn tannins emphasise purity and line. Lovely purity, precision, perfume and finesse. Consummate winemaking. 13%