The 1996 Show Reserve Coonawarra Cabernet Sauvignon has a deep, brick red colour, with an almost opaque centre. The nose displays black ink and red berry characters, with eucalypt, black olive and bramble-leaf hints. There is a highly attractive cedary, almost smoky note of oak maturation underneath. The palate is solidly 'square-shouldered', reflecting the classic Cabernet Sauvignon tannin structure. Wrapped within this is a body of fresh, bright, classic-like fruit, softened by the savoury edge of oak. The finish is beginning to soften and complex notes of black olives and peat smoke are beginning to show in the wine, suggesting high potential for bottle maturation.
Rosemount Estate Winery
Established in 1969 by Robert Oatley and family in Upper Hunter Valley, Rosemount Estate has grown to include vineyards in the Mudgee, Orange, Coonawarra, McLaren Vale, Langhorne Creek and Adelaide Hills regions, as well as the Upper Hunter Valley. Winemaker Philip Shaw works with the Oatleys. The company's best-known wines are the Roxburgh Chardonnay, Balmoral Syrah and Mountain Blue Shiraz-Cabernet Sauvignon.
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Located on the Limestone Coast of South Australia, Coonawarra is quite flat, except for the vineyards, which are slightly elevated. That, along with the proximity to the ocean and frequent cloud cover, Coonawarra never gets too hot. There is a small strip of soil, about nine miles long and two miles wide, called Terra Rossa, or red earth. It is the coveted place to plant Shiraz & Cabernet Sauvignon in this small region.
Cabernet Sauvignon is the grape of choice here. There is a good amount of Shiraz planted as well, and blends of the two are popular. Cabernet grown in the Terra Rossa shows a sense of place, and the wines are in high demand. The wine is elegant in structure, with prominent acidity and firm tannins, while being full of ripe fruit flavors typical of Australia's style.
Like the United States, which is about the same size, Australia's winemaking regions are huddled into one or two pockets of the country. The state of South Australia, which produces about 60% of the country's wine, also has the most wineries and sub-regions, including McLaren Vale, Clare Valley, Coonawarra and Barossa Valley. New South Wales is home to the Hunter Valley, while the smaller, southern state of
Victoria is best known for theYarra Valley. Head way west to the very large state of Western Australia and you'll find the tiny region of Margaret River at the southern tip.
Most wine ranges from 10-16% alcohol by volume. Some varietals tend to have higher (for example Zinfandel and Cabernet Sauvignon) or lower alcohol levels (Pinot Noir and many white varietals), but there is always some variation from producer to producer. Some wine falls outside of this range, for instance Port weighs in closer to 20%, while Muscat and Riesling are usually a bit below 10%.
Wine Style Guide
Light & Crisp
Light to medium bodied wines that are high in acid and light to medium fruit. Typically no oak.
Fruity & Smooth
Light to medium bodied wines with lots of juicy fruit, typically medium acid and medium oak.
Rich & Creamy
Full bodied wines that have typically undergone malo-lactic fermentation and/or spent time in oak.