January 18th, 2021

Over the decades your scribe has developed a real admiration for Wynns Cabernet from their Coonawarra Estate on Terra Rossa “red earth” soils in Australia. Their Black Label (first appeared as such on the 1965 vintage) wine is an amazing story of consistency from the first one produced in 1954 to the current release of 2018 being the 63rd one. Started to follow them in the seventies and first visited some 40 years ago in 1980 during our trip to the IWFS Australian Festival. Collected many vintages since then and so impressed with the complexity and longevity of cellared bottles like their 1976 Jimmy Watson Trophy winner at 12 alcohol & outstanding 1986 at 12.9. All this came rushing back to me last week while enjoying a bottle of their 58th vintage of 2013 in screw-cap (introduced first from the 2006 vintage) over a dinner of wild widgeon with rice & peas. Hope followers of this Blog took my recommendation here on January 4, 2016 to buy this wine as it is just starting to show development on a wonderful long plateau of graceful aging. Marvel at how winemaker Sue Hodder and her talented team are able to present such intense fruit showing that distinctive Coonawarra minty terroir always at such an easy drinkable elegant balanced 13.5 alcohol so complementary to food. Amazing concentration at lower alcohol levels. How do they do it?

Sue Hodder presented a brilliant Wynn’s wine seminar on February 26, 2015 during the Vancouver International Wine Festival. She spoke about the history of the winery with first plantings back in 1891 and completing their first building in 1896 with this unique strip of land there only 21 kilometres long & 2 km wide. Her focus was mainly on the 2010 vintage using only 20-25% top fruit for Black Label from vineyards over 35 years old showing that typical  “blackberry dark cherry black olive licorice violets tobacco oak and cigar box”. Sue also showed us differences between Coonawarra single vineyards with best aromatics coming from a southern section “Messenger” (4C cooler than Western Australia & Tasmania) compared to the bigger more tannic muscular but only 7 km away “Alex 88” (Alexanders Block planted in 1988) – often used in their iconic “John Riddoch” label. Treat yourself to a bottle of Wynns Black Label to get this memorable value wine experience.

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January 18th, 2021

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