Impenetrable black juice, with the slightest ruddy rim. Nasal-clogging in bouquet, heady stuff so concentrated and dark, a dense stench of perfume and soil, figgy pudding, cherry so black, chocolate sweet and dark, sarsaparilla root beer peeking through a little barnyard. Wet stone and dry hot dust offer tiny mineralific goodies to savor as well.
Australian cabs are so different. The land of Shiraz doesn’t sent too many straight-cabs stateside and it’s always interesting to experience them. Could you blind this as cab? Would you be able to tell it from Paso Robles? They have a lot of similarities in their ripeness and concentration, but fortunately they come standard with a bit more complexity and–believe it or not–often lower alcohols. Also, I think the oak programme on most are considerably lighter-handed. This one for sure. A fresh pull on this one shows a charming chunk of dried saliva and white pepper–two other things most versions of this variety rarely show from California. Definitely a Rhone-y cab.
Chunky and full in the mouth–maybe even a bit clunky–places where the density of the fruit cross paths with the acid are rife with heat, and tannin swells up near-middle to contest everything. Straight-forward match-head mineral and sullen blackberry play games with each other for dominance in the mouth. Saltine-tight while black as night, complexities abound but elegance evades.
I know many will read “elegance evades” and assume the worst. That is not the point. It’s just a chunky, full-blown cab, not rustic–full and modern–but a version someone raised on Napa and Sonoma finds shy of the nuances we take for granted in Cabernet. It is kinda like drinking CF from NY; or PN from OR; or Chard from NZ. It merely presents a new dynamic. It’s lovely wine–well made and rather glowing in the glass–it just feels like it is about 50% SY. Which is how I feel about most of the cabs I taste from down under.
2014 TWO HANDS ‘Sexy Beast’ Cabernet Sauvignon McLaren Vale South Australia 13.8