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19 Crimes Cabernet Sauvignon 2016
Story behind the label: A British conscript turned infamous convict, Michael Harrington is perhaps best known for orchestrating one of the most daring escapes from Australia. In 1876, Harrington, along with six others, braved a massive typhoon in nothing more than a tiny rowboat to board an American whaling ship in what is now remembered as The Catalpa Escape.
Upon conviction, British rogues, guilty of at least one of the 19 Crimes, were sentenced to live in Australia, rather than death. This punishment by ‘transportation’ began in 1788, and many of the lawless died at sea. For the rough-hewn prisoners who made it to shore, a new world awaited. As pioneers in a frontier penal colony, they forged a new country and new lives, brick by brick. This wine celebrates the rules they broke and they culture they built.
The Barossa Zone encompasses the Barossa Valley and Eden Valley. Some of the oldest vines in Australia can be found here.
Barossa Valley of course is the most important and famous wine growing region in all of Australia where 140+ year-old, dry-farmed Shiraz vines still produce inky, purple and dense juice for some of Australia's best wines.
In the cooler, wetter Eden Valley sub-region, the Hill of Grace vineyard is home to famous Shiraz vines from the 1800s but the region produces also some of Australia’s very best and age-worthy Rieslings.
A noble variety bestowed with both power and concentration, Cabernet Sauvignon is now the world's most planted grape variety. Inherently high in tannins and acidity, the best bottlings of Cabernet can age beautifully, with the ability to last fifty years or more. Cabernet Sauvignon flourishes in temperate climates like Bordeaux's Medoc region and forms the base of the Medoc reds, which are typically mostly Cabernet with Merlot and smaller amounts of some combination of Cabernet Franc, Malbec and Petit Verdot. (Enjoying a great deal of success in various regions around the world, this blend is now globally referred to as a Bordeaux Blend.) Cabernet Sauvignon has enjoyed great success throughout the world, particularly in the Napa Valley, and is responsible for some of the world’s most prestigious and sought-after “cult” wines.
In the Glass
High in color, tannin and extract, Cabernet Sauvignon expresses notes of blackberry, cassis, plum, currant, spice and tobacco. In Bordeaux and elsewhere in the Old World you'll find the more earthy, tannic side of Cabernet, where it is typically blended to soften tannins and add complexity. In warmer regions like California Washington, Argentina, Chile and Australia, you can typically expect more ripe fruit flavors upfront.
Cabernet Sauvignon is right at home with rich, intense meat dishes—beef, lamb and venison, in particular—where its opulent fruit and decisive tannins make an equal match to the dense protein of the meat. With a mature Cabernet, opt for tender, slow-cooked meat dishes.
Despite the modern importance and ubiquity of Cabernet Sauvignon, it is actually a relatively young variety. In 1997, DNA profiling revealed the grape to be a spontaneous crossing of Cabernet Franc and Sauvignon Blanc which took place in 17th century southwestern France.