Coonawarra Cabs - Printable Version

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- n144mann - 03-17-1999 03:08 PM

Have any of you tried the cabs from this region? Any info about the Robertson's Well wines?? The '95 was recommended by a liquor store employee,(usually has good taste) but the number people give the wine mediocre ratings. (have not seen ratings for the '95, just the '94) I would be interested in any observations you have made about these aussie reds.

[This message has been edited by n144mann (edited 03-17-99).]

- Randy Caparoso - 03-24-1999 11:41 PM

Gosh, Nancy, the wines from the famed Coonawarra have been strangely hard to come by in the U.S. Nor am I familiar with Robertson's Well.

The one I know, and which is seen in most parts of the country, is Wynn's Coonawara Cabernet Sauvignon. The current release, the '95, is medium in weight, a little weedy/bellpeppery, a touch of shriveled blackberry, and otherwise very, very fine -- moderate, balanced flavors with a sense of elegance. Not intense, but very enjoyable! Great for summer barbecues (soy marinated beef, whole mushrooms and bellpeppers), I'm sure.

There's also a fairly intense, and again medium-weight, Wynn's Cabernet-Shiraz out; but it doesn't thrill me as much.

The best Coonawarra reds, in my humble opinion, are those of Bowen. Seen in small pockets of the U.S. Big, thick, lusty, minty, smoky oaked Cabernet Sauvignon, and trencherman's style of Cabernet-Shiraz. Full throttled, full tannin which veer towards roughness; and because of that, often underrated, in my opinion. Bowen's Cabernet-Shiraz, if memory serves, tends to be a little more supple than the pure Cab. You can't go wrong if you see them.

Hardy's exports a medium intense Coonawarra Cab to the U.S.; but I'm not a big fan of their stuff (I find them lacking in a little "soul" -- and I associate breathy, earthy qualities with Coonawarra). Obviously a personal prediliction; so you may like it.

- n144mann - 03-24-1999 11:51 PM

Thanks Randy, I did end up buying a bottle to try after talking to another employee who had actually been over there tasting (and buying?) I have not tried it yet, so don't know what it is like. I appreciate your info!!

[This message has been edited by n144mann (edited 03-25-99).]

- Jason - 03-25-1999 05:09 AM

Another option is a brother winery of Wynn's, which is Lindeman's. They do have a Coonawarra range of three wines. They make a cab ,shiraz and a Bordeaux blend. All are great but limited production. All are $25 range.They also make a whole line of wines from the Padthaway region which is next to Coonawarra. These are more readily available and are much less expensive ($14).The problem right now is '95 (the current vintage)was way down on production and these guys just opened up the Japanese market, who only drink reds. Padthaway is still not a problem though.

- n144mann - 03-25-1999 08:25 AM

Thanks Jason. 95 is limited huh?? If I like it guess I better get more while they have it. I know I have see the Lindemans, will look for the others you and Randy mentioned.

[This message has been edited by n144mann (edited 03-25-99).]

- Randy Caparoso - 03-26-1999 01:16 AM

One caveat, though: It's up to you (you may prefer it), but Lindeman's does go for some extra extraction of color and tannin. So I personally find their wines a little hard almost across the board. Bowen's is extracted, yet fleshier; and while related by ownership, the Wynn's retains an easier, more drinkable style than Lindeman's.

- n144mann - 03-29-1999 04:48 PM

Well, couldn't find either the Bowen's or the Wynne's at my shop. Did have the Lindemans.

But FYI, I did finally find one review on the Robertson's Well 95 coonawarra cab by RP. Basically said it was sweet black currant and berry on the nose with subtle toast and oak. Rich, medium to full body. Said if an aussie wine could be mistaken for a bordeaux, this is close! Thought it was accessible now, but would last for another 10-15 years. And just to make it complete....he gave it an 88. [img][/img]

Couldn't resist adding the number!

[This message has been edited by n144mann (edited 03-29-99).]

- Jason - 03-29-1999 08:03 PM

You're right Randy. I just tasted through the 96 Padthaways and these are HUGE since just being bottled. Wynn's make a softer style especially the Cab/Shiraz/Merlot which is great and cheaper than the rest of the line. By the way please pass me the address of Bonita Springs location of Roy's.

- Randy Caparoso - 03-30-1999 01:52 AM

Golly, gee, Nancy -- you really got me on the Robertson's brand. Now I'm curious (are they new, or part of a larger house?).

Good luck on the Lindemans. I suggest roast beef, substantial or peppery vegetables (eggplant, field mushrooms, arugula, cress, etc.) or soft ripened cheese to aid absorption.

Other (albeit secondary, for me) choices that you might want to take a shot at if you learn to like that green peppery/tobacco-like/ firmly constructed Coonawarra style of Cabernet (not for nothing that it's often compared to Bordeaux) include that of Orlando (both their "Jacaranda Ridge" and "St. Hilary" Cabernets are dense, substantial, focused) and the Lindemans "St. George" (rarely seen, but a cut above the Padthaway bottlings, with richly concentrated minty blackcurrant qualities).

Also consider Coonawarra style Shiraz, which is as distinctively different as Cabernets from this region The Penfolds "Bin 128," for instance, is almost always intense, compact, with a slap of black leather on top of black pepper).

Jason, I hope you can make it to our Bonita Springs store to check out our food as well as modest (but quite varied and fun) wine selection. Would appreciate a report! The address is 26831 South Bay Drive (off 41 just as you get to Bonita Springs going south), in the newly erected "Promenade at Bonita Bay). Phone is (941) 498-7697. Ask for the managers Gary Buell or Valerie Rice, or proprietor Ron Patak.

- n144mann - 03-30-1999 08:09 AM

Well,Randy,I don't know anything that the label doesn't tell me. The label says it is produced by Mildara Wines in Coonawarra. Imported by Mildara Blass Wines Inc. NC. Its called Robertson's Well because of an old well sunk on the the story on the label goes. [img][/img] Have a web site on the label

Thanks for your time Randy,

[This message has been edited by n144mann (edited 03-30-99).]

- Randy Caparoso - 03-31-1999 09:25 PM

How 'bout that, Nancy. When I was at Mildara Blass in '95 they had me taste a '91 Jameson's Reserve Coonawarra Shiraz and '91 Mildara Coonawarra "Alexander's" (a 4 varietal Bordeaux style blend), but not the "Robertson's Well" Cabernet Sauvignon! What I tried, however, was quite decent, although not very intense; and typical of all Wolf Blass and Mildara wines, very strongly oaked (they're especially fond of American oak, giving their wines toasty as well as creamy/vanillin/sometimes dillweedy or even buttery aromas).

- n144mann - 04-01-1999 08:10 AM

Well Randy, I still have not tried it.....I know..."what are you saving it for??" Actually what I am saving it for is time to actually sit down and hopefully enjoy it. Hmmmm, the strongly oaked is interesting, wouldn't have guessed that by RP's description. I think his word was subtle toast/oak on the aroma. I usually like his choices.......getting curiouser and curiouser. [img][/img] Guess I need to find the time to try it. Thanks again for all the info, I really enjoy your input and your ideas are almost always fun.


[This message has been edited by n144mann (edited 04-01-99).]

- Randy Caparoso - 04-01-1999 12:14 PM

Well, one man's "strong" is another man's "subtle." It's the same thing all over the wine world.

- n144mann - 04-01-1999 12:50 PM

Yep, that is why I need to taste it myself, and add my own notes! Gonna make the effort and take time for tasting it tonight, am having a heck of a day, think I may need the relaxation time. The daughter has been having dizzy spells so had her at the doc. Had to do blood glucose testing, 2 thyroid tests, an EKG and CT scan. Blah!!!

You have been very generous with your time and info! Thank you!


[This message has been edited by n144mann (edited 04-01-99).]

- Randy Caparoso - 04-01-1999 06:30 PM

Fingers crossed, Nancy!

- n144mann - 04-01-1999 09:01 PM

Hi Randy, thanks for the well wishes for our daughter. We are of course hoping that it is something easily treated. At this point they are just trying to rule things out.

I tried the Robertson's Well cab. It is quite a nice wine. I liked it. It is full of dark fruit, black current? maybe blackberry and I got some coffee. By my buds, and my hubbies, not too much oak. It is quite drinkable, tho I think it will get better. The tannins were a bit hard yet. I do think some age will take care of that. I only have one more bottle, and had to empty the whole bin at the shop to find that one,(most were '94s) but I am glad to have it. Will tag it to lay down for a while. (have to tag them so my wine gremiln doesn't open them when I am gone [img][/img] )

All in all I found it to be an enjoyable wine.
Have a nice holiday weekend!!

[This message has been edited by n144mann (edited 04-01-99).]

- Donna Singletary - 08-21-1999 12:59 AM

Both Wine Spectator and Wine Busn Monthly/
Smart Wine are predicting a huge (read large
in the mouth)year for Coonawarra Cabs from
the 1999 vintage.