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Monday, 26 July 2010

Warburn Estate Premium Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon, Barossa 2008 - Laithwaites

The New World generally, and Australia in particular, doesn't traditionally do terroir - wines there are considered to be expressions of their varietal characteristics, rather than of the soil types, aspect and climatic conditions where the grapes are grown. This is certainly true at the lower end of the price spectrum where most wines are labelled simply "South Eastern Australia" and can come from pretty much anywhere in the country.

Further up the quality scale, there are distinct areas of Australia which are better for grape growing than others - and Barossa is just about the best of these. So when you see the words Estate (with its connotations of specific, and therefore superior, growing areas), Barossa and Premium Reserve, you are expecting something a little more sophisticated. Throw in some oak-aging and it should be quite special.

This wine from Warburn Estate has a rich nose of cassis, vanilla and eucalyptus, the palate is full, rich and complex, well-rounded from aging in oak with lots of juicy, slightly jammy, blackcurrant up-front, but with more eucalyptus and spice, well-balanced with smooth tannins and good, long finish.

This wine is rather like a super-model who happens to be a member of Mensa - lots of up-front appeal, but actually rather sophisticated behind it. Certainly an enjoyable bottle, but for me, I would rather lose some of the alcohol level and gain a bit more subtlety. Pairing with food is a little tricky, however - the texture and complexity make this a food wine, but the jamminess risks overpowering most obvious matches, like plain roasted red meat - maybe a slow-roasted joint with a fruit sauce would do the trick, such as shoulder of lamb with redcurrant jelly.

£7.99 per bottle (plus delivery), available from Laithwaites.

Links

Warburn Estate - http://www.warburnestate.com.au/

Laithwaites - http://www.laithwaites.co.uk/

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