cherubino labels madeira day 1 and justinos a 006

First taste: Larry Cherubino latest Great Southern releases

cherubino labels madeira day 1 and justinos a 006

During my visit to Great Southern, Western Australia this summer I didn’t catch up with one of its leading lights, Larry Cherubino.  However, I did catch up with his wines recently for my Decanter Regional Review of Great Southern (slated for publication in the April edition).

Really I shouldn’t be surprised that Cherubino is producing such fabulous Cabernet Sauvignons in Frankland River.  This sub-region is, after all, the home of Houghton Jack Mann Cabernet Sauvignon which Cherubino once crafted.  Moreover, it’s where Cherubino (by reputation a human heat-seeking missile when it comes to top sites/ grapes) and his wife Edwina have themselves established a vineyard, the Riversdale vineyard.

With Shiraz, he told me Cabernet excites him most in Great Southern, both being “so expressive, fine and flavoursome and well suited.”  If I was to single out a couple of varieties from those samples I received, it would be the Cabernet and Cherubino’s Rieslings.  Here are my highlights from the tasting:

Larry Cherubino Ad Hoc Wallflower Riesling 2014 (Great Southern)

This entry level Riesling consistently charms.  In 2014, it has a pretty floral, lime blossom nose and talcy riff to its crisp green apple and grapefruit.  Bone dry.  11.5%

Larry Cherubino Laissez Faire Riesling 2014 (Porongurup)

A richer nose and more concentrated, silkily textured palate.  Tremendous intensity and length of citrus and lip-smacking golden delicious and lime fruit.  A long finish has a slatey minerality and incipient honeyed apple blossom. Fabulous.  11.5%

Larry Cherubino Great Southern Riesling 2013 (Great Southern)

This Riesling is sourced in equal parts from Mount Barker, Porongurup and Frankland River. It has a very pronounced, slatey/ironstone minerality to nose and softer, yielding, textured palate.  Perhaps reflecting its three sources, it’s deliciously multi-layered with lime blossom, kaffir lime, bay leaf, ripe golden delicious, juicy grapefruit and lime.  That incipient honey to the finish too.  12%

Larry Cherubino Porongurup Riesling 2014 (Porongurup)

cherubino labels madeira day 1 and justinos a 002

Wow, this super-taut, atheletic, intense, bone dry Riesling takes your breath away with its icewine-like purity and coolness.  A lively grapefruit and lime-driven palate shimmers with bath salts minerality.  Terrific (ripe) acid line and length carries an exceptionally long finish.  Outstanding.  11.5%

Larry Cherubino Porongurup Sauvignon Blanc 2013 (Porongurup)

Going for an oaked Bordeaux-style (but with no Semillon) this is a ripe, shapely but complex Sauvignon with sweet vanillin, lemon oil, talcum powder, fresh basil and spicier bay leaf to its intensely concentrated, applely fruit. Very long, lingering (ripe) acidity and a stony mineral undertow confirm its class. Very good indeed.  13.2%

Larry Cherubino Ad Hoc Cruel Mistress Pinot Noir 2013 (Great Southern)

A blend of clones (777, MV6, 114, 115) and sub-regions (Porongurup/Denmark) brings attractive complexity to this mid-weight, soft, juicy, very drinkable Pinot Noir.  I can understand why The Good Wine Shop told me it was such a hit.  It shows fresh dug beetroot on nose and supple milk-chocolate-laced black currant, cherry and fleshier plum palate. Fine tannins and lingering, mineral acidity carry a long, stone-washed fruit finish with hints of pine needle, mushroom and forest floor. Very well done.  13.5%

Larry Cherubino The Yard Cabernet Sauvignon Riversdale Vineyard Frankland River 2012 (Frankland River)

I tasted this sophisticated, inky Cabernet over three days and it just got better and better.  Initially very tight on the nose with powdery cassis, it opens up  to reveal a lovely generosity of black currant and berry fruit with savoury hints of black olive and balsamic, even tar.  And yet its Great Southern origins shine through in the ever so supple, almost under-stated delivery of said fruit which is gradually teased out of its shell and extended by rolling, mineral acidity.  Broad, ripe tannins similarly provide room for manoeuvre and, together with seamlessly integrated oak, aid the flow.  A gravelly, dry finish echoes around the back palate for ages afterwards.  Terrific gravitas.  14.5%

Larry Cherubino Great Southern Cabernet Sauvignon 2012 (Great Southern)

cherubino labels madeira day 1 and justinos a 004

Sourced from two Great Southern sub-regions – Frankland River and Porongurup – this is quite different fron the Riversdale with earthier, spicier (liquorice, cedar), herbal (dried herb) notes and savoury leather and black olive to its expansive but very juicy palate of fresh blackcurrants. The finish is long and involving and, like the Riversdale, has a wonderful gravelly mineral resonance to the back palate.  13%



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