Clarendon Hills Sandown Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon 1998
from McLaren Vale, Australia
The color is foreboding, with deep purple red turning into black. The depth of the color is amazing with the description of "inky" almost being inadequate.
The fruit flavors are all there, trademark Cabernet Sauvignon with black currant, blueberry and plums. The oak is evident with toasty cedar aromas. There are some other characters lurking in the background, like bitter chocolate and earthy, briary notes. All of these flavors add to the sheer presence of the wine. It is very powerful.
Tasting the wine at the moment is sheer joy mixed with a tinge of sadness. The joy is the sheer wealth of fruit flavor mixed with the vast array of complexing flavors. The sadness is the fact that you are trying the wine now and not in another 15 to 20 years. This wine surely has the power and intensity to develop and improve over this extended time period. The structure is incredibly powerful with very firm gripping tannins. Still evident as well as the fruit flavors are the bitter chocolate and cedar notes. It's a tough choice to make, when to drink the wine as it is very attractive even as a big angular youngster it is at the moment.
If you can't wait, select a dish with big intense flavors to try and match the wine. The sauce or cooking juice should be slightly sweet to soften the firm and drying effect of the tannin. It is definitely a red meat wine. As an alternative a creamy cheese like a ripe white mould or an aged Reggiano with some fruity accompaniments would be ideal.
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