2012 d'Arenberg "High Trellis" Cabernet Sauvignon McLaren Vale South Australia (Elsewhere $20)

SKU #1275267 93 points James Halliday

 Well, well. This is unadorned Cabernet Sauvignon, with as much olive, bay leaf, earth and firm tannins as black fruits. A standout for purists interested in fruit, not oak, flavours; moreover a cellaring special for those so inclined.  (8/2016)

91 points Wine & Spirits

 Scents of graphite, gunflint and fresh tobacco all contribute to this wine's varietal integrity, a Cabernet with lasting cassis and darker currant flavors. It's refreshing, with fruit-skin tannins that feel chewy, giving the wine shape. Youthful and approachable, this will only gain from several years in the cellar.  (10/2015)

90 points Vinous

 Opaque ruby. Deeply pitched blackcurrant, cherry and pipe tobacco scents show a spicy overtone. Rich yet light on its feet, offering faintly medicinal flavors of bitter cherry and dark berries. Finishes clean, spicy and penetrating with dusty tannins and a persistent dark berry note. (JR)  (3/2016)

K&L Notes

This Cabernet is picked from vines planted in the 1890s! At this time most vines were trained around knee high...however this vineyard was placed on a revolutionary "high trellis" around waist high. In the century that has passed the posts and wires have long since rotted and rusted away, leaving the gnarled old vines to fend for themselves. This bottle shows stunning varietal qualities plus the deep, earthy, mineral tones one expects from vineyards with this type of maturity! The fact we can deliver this wine at this ridiculous price point astounds me. (Ryan Woodhouse K&L Aussie Wine Buyer) Winemaker's Notes: "The nose is fresh and lifted, full of violets and blackcurrants mixing with leafy aromatics and violets. The oak supplies a touch of cedar adding complexity with the typical soulful earthiness of d'Arenberg reds. The palate is textured and lithe, coated by lacy tannins with a core of cassis, licorice and plum fruit mixed with earth, graphite and a mineral tail. It's well weighted, fresh and balanced, inviting now or will reward the patient." 90+ Wine Front: "Blackcurrant and blackberry, some aniseed licorice all sorts stuff happening, floral perfume with toasty vanilla and coconut oak. Medium to full bodied, some truffle flavours in the mix to taste, firm backed grainy Cabernet tannin keeps it trim, acidity is clean and well managed, and the finish is pretty dry and long, with some succulence of pastille fruit in the aftertaste. Pretty serious wine for under $20."

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Varietal:

Cabernet Sauvignon and Blends

- Cabernet Sauvignon has come a long way from its role as a blending varietal, however dominant, in the wines of Bordeaux. Today it is the most planted red varietal in the world. Identified as a descendent of Cabernet Franc and Sauvignon Blanc, the late-ripening Cabernet Sauvignon needs to be planted in warmer climates to fully ripen. Its small berries can easily be identified for their distinctive blue color, thick skins and high tannins. And while the varietal has its own definitive characteristics: green pepper-like aromas and black currant flavors among them, it is perhaps most prized for its ability to convey terroir, vintage and winemaking. A relatively new varietal, Cabernet Sauvignon started making inroads into the wines of the Médoc and Graves in the late-18th century. Today it is also dominant in the up-and-coming Entre-Deux-Mers region of Bordeaux and can also be found in Southwest France. It is the companion varietal to Sangiovese in Italy's Super Tuscans and is planted all over Europe, stretching to lesser-known winegrowing regions like Russia and Lebanon. In the Americas Cabernet Sauvignon has found champions in every nook and cranny of California and among winemakers in Washington, where it complements plantings of Merlot. In South America, Cab thrives in Chile, but can also be found in smaller amounts in Argentina and even in Mexico.
Country:

Australia

- While it is true that the greatest strides in Australian winemaking have come in the last 30 years or so, commercial viticulture began as early as the 1820s and has developed uninterrupted ever since. The majority of the great wine regions are in the southeastern area of the continent, including Barossa Valley, Clare Valley, McLaren Vale, and Coonawarra in South Australia; Yarra Yarra Valley and Pyrenees in Victoria; and the Upper and Lower Hunter Valleys in New South Wales. Many of the wines from Southeastern Australia are based on Shiraz or Cabernet Sauvignon and various blends including Grenache and Mourvedre. In Western Australia, along the Margaret River, great strides are being made with Pinot Noir as well as Bordeaux-styled reds. There are also many world-class releases of Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc from the land Down Under, where Riesling also enjoys international acclaim. While many equate Aussie wines with “value,” there are more than a few extremely rare and pricey options, which never fail to earn the highest ratings from wine publications and critics throughout the world. View a list of bestselling items from Australia.
Sub-Region:

South Australia

Specific Appellation:

McLaren Vale