Saturday, May 26, 2007

1991 St Huberts Cabernet

Occasionally I think we all forget how good aged Australian cabernet can be. Shiraz is so often promoted as the Australian red wine with cellaring potential. Most of the red wine in my cellar is shiraz.

The exceptions are the wonderful Wynns cabernets, the Penfolds Bin 707s, which often disappoint me, and a collection of odds and sods I have put together over the past 20 years without ever being at all systematic. Since the late 1980s I have cellared a few of the Yarra Valley cabernets – it is not a variety that has much prestige in that part of the world. I sampled the St Huberts 1991 cabernet today. St Huberts vineyard was first established 120 years ago and is one of the oldest vineyards in Victoria – its a very pretty place.

I was expected something pretty good but this was wine was really something.

After decantering I allowed the wine to breathe for 90 minutes. The wine evolved into an explosive mix of taste and aroma in the glass – an explosion that left a residue of greatness in the unhappy empty glass an hour after the last drop had regrettably been drained.

While drinking: Gentle fruit flavors with a bright acid finish, brilliantly intense color and super-intense bouquet of sweet violets and spices. Good strong fruit coming through – my recollection is that on purchase the wine was tannic, ‘oaky’ and essentially designed to clean the tartar from your teeth. Now a gorgeous fruit-driven and highly perfumed beauty. It is one of those surprise cellaring outcomes that makes the economically irrational pursuit of maintaining a cellar less irrational. Jackpot! Bingo!

This was wine-buff DavidLOle’s more-expert view of this great St Huberts. He graded it 94/100 comparable to a top French Second Growth.

If you could get it at auction my guess would sell for between $40-$50. But if I see it first you would find it sold out.


drwoood said...

One of the reasons that there is alot of good Australian Shiraz is that there are quite a few old Shiraz vines in Australia. There are also quite a few old Grenache vines in Australia. I would like to know where the old Cabernet vines are :)

hc said...

drwood, Vineyards like Chateau Tahbilk have cabernet vines dating back to 1949 - they have shiraz vines back to 1860.

Quite frankly while these wines age well they disappoint because of the poor quality of the fruit and poor oak tratment.

I am not sure age is the only issue.