RKS Wine: Big n Bold Cabernet Sauvignon from McLaren Vale

So many wine consumers love Australian Shiraz but shouldn’t forget Australian Cabernet Sauvignon which can range in intensity from Western Australia to South Australia. Perhaps the most intense Cabernet Sauvignons are from McLaren Vale. Unfortunately, here in Ontario great Cabernet Sauvignons are rare. So many Canadians are drawn to the allure of Californian Cabernet Sauvignons and the Liquor Control Board of Ontario feeds this allure by importing many a Cabernet Sauvignon from California but be prepared to pay $30 for a bottle if not more. The quality below that price can be spotty. Can Australia deliver in the up to $30 category?

Well let’s give a Shingleback Davey Estate Cab a try. The wine has more purple than red in it. On the nose blueberry rules the roost. There is also a big wallop of blackberry and a bit of creamy vanilla. On the palate the tannins are moderate. There are blackberries, black cherry, and blueberry pie on the palate. The finish is medium length. I just wish the finish had more clarity and precision. It is somewhat diffuse and bland which is a shame as it has such an expressive and high-quality nose. On the other hand shall one be misled by the aroma of a wine? I can be convinced with great concentration that perhaps one might credit the wine with a discrete and circumspect finish. It spent some 13 months in French oak which only really surfaces so very slightly on the nose.

Why not just come out and say this is a good wine and it gets better with aeration. How can a wine be full bodied but delicate? Oh the intricacies of wine! And to confuse matters the wine may simply be too young to drink now. Perhaps if you have a cellar put this wine away and try in 2026.Something tells me don’t give up on this wine just right now. It holds its alcohol very well!

There is no way California is winning the under $30 Cabernet Sauvignon battle against Australia although both kick Ontario Cabernet Sauvignon butt except for a few Cabs from Lake Erie North Shore. I was in Niagara-on-the-Lake a few days ago and had some “high end” Peller Signature Series Cabernet Sauvignon which simply could not stand up to this Aussie Cab. Frankly it was an expensive wimp.

(Shingleback Davey Estate Single Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon, McLaren Vale 2019 South Australia, Shingleback Wine, McLaren Vale, South Australia, $21.95, Liquor Control Board of Ontario # 44455, 750 mL, 14%, Robert K. Stephen A Little Birdie Told Me So Rating 90/100).

Published by Robert K Stephen (CSW)

Robert K Stephen writes about food and drink, travel, and lifestyle issues. He is one of the few non-national writers to be certified as a wine specialist by the Society of Wine Educators, in Washington, DC. Robert was the first associate member of the Wine Writers’ Circle of Canada. He also holds a Mindfulness Certification from the University of Leiden and the University of Toronto. Be it Spanish cured meat, dried fruit, BBQ, or recycled bamboo place mats, Robert endeavours to escape the mundane, which is why he has established this publication. His motto is, "Have Story, Will Write."

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