This is without question a great Cape Mentelle Cabernet showing superb sub-regional character and all the elements for medium to long term aging potential. It has freshness, intensity and density with perfumed ginger/ cassis/ blueberry/ liquorice aromas and touches of mocha. The palate is concentrated with plenty of fruit volume, pure cassis/mocha flavours, dense slinky dry chocolaty tannins and underlying perfectly integrated new oak. The wine finishes chalky firm with tremendous flavour length. The wine is still elemental but in complete balance. When it is released in 2010 – after further oak and bottle maturation – it will have developed more weight, richness and complexity. This is destined to become a Margaret River classic.
Cape Mentelle Cabernet Sauvignon – a single vineyard wine – enjoyed impressive beginnings, with the highly prized Melbourne Wine Show Jimmy Watson Trophies for both the 1982 and 1983 vintages. The estate’s Walcliffe Vineyard, planted by founder David Hohnen between 1970 and 1973, is located in the cooler southern sub-region of Margaret River. The vines – essentially dry grown – are anchored in gravel laterite soils derived from decomposed ironstone over gravel/clay subsoils. The fruit is hand-picked at optimum ripeness around March/April. The 2007 Cabernet is aged in 100% French oak (50% new) from selected forests in the centre of France. This is down from 70% new oak in the past with the aim being to provide a brighter more fruit forward wine with a more approachable yet well structured palate. This marvellously concentrated but muscular Margaret River Cabernet is a benchmark style with cedar/mocha/blackcurrant fruit characters and chocolaty/sinewy tannin structure. The wine ages beautifully in the bottle; roasted coffee/cigar box nuances develop and the tannins soften out. Andrew Caillard MW
The Cape Mentelle winery and original vineyard lie between the town of Margaret River and the Cape from which it takes its name. The original Mentelles were Frenchmen, geographer Edmunde and his cartographer brother Francois-Simon, who lived in Paris in the early 1700s. Founding winemaker David Hohnen once said, “I want to make one of the defining styles of Margaret River Cabernet; a great Australian Cabernet; a wine that outlasts me and helps consolidate the region as a premium wine producer for future generations”.
Senior winemaker Robert Mann – grandson of pioneer WA winemaker Jack Mann – has continued that tradition. The Cape Mentelle Cabernet Sauvignons – under his bailiwick – have a compelling perfume, purity of fruit, energy and vitality. Here is an example where genuine craftsmanship, highly intuitive technical skill and superb vineyard site make for something special and different. This is a classic and important Margaret River style with all the hallmarks for long term ageing potential. The winery is now owned by the French luxury brand group LMVH – owners of Domaine Chandon and Cloudy Bay in New Zealand. Andrew Caillard MW
The Margaret River vintage fitted the mould of ‘early to start and early to finish’, with great potential across all varietals. Although we had a moderately reduced yield as a combined effect of a dry season and a cool spring (reducing bunch numbers in the bud wood affecting the 2007 crop) the quality of wines produced was excellent. The 2007 Margaret River vintage will produce superb examples of Cabernet and Cabernet Merlot blends, much like the very good 1999 vintage in opulence, varietal typicity and concentration. Vintage was completed by the first week in April, nearly five weeks earlier than 2006 and amongst the earliest ever recorded. Robert Mann – Winemaker
Located three hours south of Perth, Margaret River is Western Australia’s most prestigious wine-growing region. Serious vineyard development began only in the late 1960’s following the publication of a report by John Gladstones in 1965 stating that the area had a similar climate to Pomerol or St Emilion, with low frost risk, plenty of sunshine and equable temperatures within the growing season promoting even ripening. Margaret River’s climate is warm and maritime, with some cooling influence provided by southeast trade winds. The soils derive from granitic and a gneissic rock over which laterite has formed. The region can be divided in three sub-regions: the cooler south between Yallingup and Karridale with predominantly lateritic gravelly loamy sands and sandy loams; the warm and sunnier Willyabrup in the centre with predominantly gravelly loams, but some gritty sandy loams and granitic gravels; and Margaret River in the north with similar soils, but slightly cooler temperatures. This is entirely consistent with style; the wines from Willyabrup being more generous than the highly structured wines of the north and the elegant styles of the south. Margaret River is best known for high quality Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc Semillon blends and top notch Cabernet Sauvignon and Bordeaux blends. Over the years, the region has established an astonishing reputation illustrating a consistency in quality and a strongly focused winemaking culture.