W.A. Wine tasting

Many thanks to Kim Horton for organising this tasting.  Kim was brought over from Margaret River to judge at the Rutherglen wine show, so we nabbed him for a couple of days to show us his selection if notable Western Australian wines.
Kim's selection included a both the small, less well known producers and a few of the biggest and more famous ones.   Here's my notes on a couple of the stand outs.
Riesling: the only one I feel needs a note was the Castle Rock Porongorup riesling 2010. At 600 metres altitude, the vineyard has provided a load of intense lime and spicy fruit.  The flavour at first seems a little obvious/foreward, but it ends up with nicely mild phenolics whch really help provide a bit of serious structure.  This wine win a few votes for being both the best and most interesting, the only riesling of the night to do so.
Three 2009 MargaretRiver chardonnays in different styles were good. That includes:
Vasse Felix 'Heytesbury': reserved style, not at all obvious.  It's all buttered toast but with a delicate palate, a lot like a decent Burgundy.  Complexity takes a second row seat to elegance, and I presume this wine will age well and open up over 5 or more years.  At $50 - $60 retail, it's not cheap, but that represents its value, and you're buying a reputable label.
Woodlands Reserve (I think this might be called 'Chloe', the label was damaged) 2009 chardonnay.
Oaky but complex.  Powerful, riper flavours: figs, butter and rum; yes it remonds me of a Meursault.  It's hard to find a Meursault for $50 retail, so that makes it a fair price.
Undoutedly the best chardonnay was the one that provided the most discussion and opened up the most over the course of the evening: Cullen 'Kevin John' chardonnay.  It's a powerfully structured wine with a fatness on the palate from fruit concentration.  This wine really opens up, from initially worrying aromas, a pleasant oakiness and complexity emerge as extra textures and flavours.
This received quite a few votes as the best wine in the tasting.  $80 retail is a fair price for a top class wine with decades of family experience and dedication to quality as a guarantee.
Two Margaret River cabernets were the wines which took the most votes for best and most intetesting wine.
Woodlands 'Shelley Anne' 2008 cabernet is a small producer that Kim was keen for us to look at.  The wine had a gorgeous leafy chocolatey aroma; the palate had good clear cabernet flavours, definition and lively structure. Our group commented that it was the wine that represented cabernet in the most classical manner (does this make it better?).  For me, it could have done with a bit more tannin and grunt.  (unsure of the price, but assume $60 would be fair.)
For me, the wine in the whole tasting that stood out as being at a level of quality far above anything else was the Cape Mentelle cabernet sauvignon 2008.  This wine goes beyond being defined as a good example of cabernet. It has complexity and balance and many elements of structure: tannin, concentration, elegance. A lovely, medium bodied, classy wine for $120 that will keep for many years.


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