Wherever your wine journey takes you, inevitably you will return to Cabernet, again and again. The grape itself is resilient and requires only marginal, well-drained soils to thrive and produce that most noble, the most aristocratic of wines. In this collection, we’ve selected three elite Cabernet-based blends from exemplary producers. All three are on top form, raising their banners to hitherto unexplored heights with their enviable flagship wines of Ornellaia, Beychevelle, and Diana Madeline.
We’ve selected the flagship wines from Tenuta Dell’Ornellaia, Château Beychevelle, and Cullen, three producers that are pushing boundaries and raising in their respective regions.
In this three-bottle selection you’ll receive one bottle each of the following; Château Beychevelle 4me cru classé St-Julien 2016 Tenuta Dell'Ornellaia Ornellaia, Bolgheri Superiore Rosso D.O.C 2017 Cullen Wines Diana Madeline Cabernet Merlot Margaret River 2019
In 2017 the production of Ornellaia (a blend of 56% Cabernet Sauvignon, 25% Merlot, 10% Petit Verdot and 9% Cabernet Franc) was reduced by 15% due to the heat. Known as one of the most powerful and long-lived wines from Bolgheri, it doesn’t deceive its style. The estate was one of the few able to wait out the rain of mid-September to harvest the late-ripening varieties such as Cabernet Sauvignon. Vinous first due to an extremely youthful cassis fruit character, it's crunchy and extracted on the palate with a cedar wood flavour, crisp acidity and plenty of tannins. It flows to a ripe finish, warming yet balanced. It’s not properly ready to drink yet but it will develop complexity with ageing. From 1-9 September 2020, Sotheby’s will be hosting the online auction of the large formats of Ornellaia Vendemmia d’Artista 2017, whose proceeds will be donated to the 'Mind’s Eye' program created by the educational department of the Guggenheim Foundation.
96 points, Aldo Fiordelli, Decanter
Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot. 160,000 bottles produced. 18–20 months in two-thirds new French barriques. To be released April 2020. Atypical vintage for Bolgheri. It was clear that it would be a small crop but they green harvested because of the drought to ensure ripening. pH 3.6. They picked the Merlot in August.
Still a touch of oak on the nose. A note of menthol. Really much denser than the Serre Nuove. Still quite sinewy tannins. Just a little note of green. Definitely needs time. Not nearly ready. And I suspect this will never be a really great vintage for Ornellaia.
16.5 ++ points, Jancis Robinson MW
A stunning wine, the 2017 Ornellaia offers a captivating interplay of richness and energy. Picking early was the key. Young vine Cabernet Sauvignon and Franc were harvested in August for the first time ever. In the glass, the 2017 offers up an enticing mélange of mocha, cedar, tobacco and licorice, with soft curves that add to its sensuality and allure. The 2017 is sumptuous and racy, as Ornellaias from warmer years tend to be, but it is not at all heavy or overdone. In a word: superb!
97 points, Antonio Galloni, Vinous
From a hot vintage in Bolgheri, the 2017 Ornellaia is a blend of 56% Cabernet Sauvignon, 25% Merlot, and the rest close to an even split of Petit Verdot and Cabernet Franc that spent 18 months in French oak. It doesn't match the 2016, but it’s a beautiful wine offering complex notes of red and black fruits, chocolate, roasted herbs, licorice, and dried earth. This carries to a full-bodied Ornellaia with a rich, concentrated mid-palate, ripe, mouthcoating tannins, and a great finish. It shows the dry, hot vintage yet stays lively and holds onto a sense of elegance. I followed this bottle for multiple days and it only improved with air. This is a beautiful, elegant Ornellaia that will evolve for 30-40 years or more.
96 points, Jeb Dunnuck
Tasted blind. Purple fruits and lots of come-hither opulence followed by some green leafiness. One of the more immediately charming St-Julien 2018s.
17 points, Jancis Robinson MW
The 2016 Beychevelle has a stunning bouquet of vibrant, shimmering blackberry and wild strawberry fruit laced with crushed stone and rose petals. The well-balanced palate is medium-bodied with supple tannin and a slightly savory/dried blood finish that lingers in the mouth. Tasting both in London and in Bordeaux, I found the latter bottle to have a little more precision and race on the finish. This will surely be a benchmark for this Saint Julien estate.
96 points, Neal Martin, Vinous
I was able to taste the 2016 Château Beychevelle on two occasions, and it showed beautifully both times. This is also the first vintage made in the new cellar. Medium to full-bodied, incredibly seamless and elegant on the palate, yet beautifully concentrated, it offers a heavenly perfume of spring flowers, violets, saddle leather, and blueberry and cassis fruit. A blend of 47% Cabernet Sauvignon, 47% Merlot, 5% Petit Verdot and the rest Cabernet Franc, brought up in 50% new oak, it’s still tight, taunt, and reserved on the palate, yet has the hallmark purity of fruit and balance of the vintage front and center. Hide bottles for 4-6 years, and it will keep for 25+ years or more.
96 points, Jeb Dunnuck
Deep red colour with strong purple reflections. The bouquet is fresh and youthful but surprisingly complex in its youth, revealing violet, blueberry, raspberry and any number of other berry fruit aromas, cherry and dark plum, too, with oak influences evident but discreetly tucked into the wine. It's full-bodied and firm, the tannins perhaps a little more grippy and assertive than usual in this wine, the structure formidable and undoubtedly will endow it with long ageing prospects. Great intensity, power and drive through the palate, the finish long and super-satisfying. A very concentrated DM. It can be enjoyed now but should be cellared for best results. (87% cabernet sauvignon, 7% merlot, 3% cabernet franc, 2% malbec, 1% petit verdot. Matured in 45% new French oak for 15 months) 12 FEB 2021
98 points, Huon Hooke, The Real Review.
87% Cabernet Sauvignon, 7% Merlot, 3% Cabernet Franc and 2% Malbec with 45% new oak. 2,350 dozen made. Incredible power and concentration here, and yet, still lithe and so finely wrought. It’s ultra-mineral in feel with iron and dense graphite tannin, but perfumed and spice-laden too. The quality and feel of tannin here is something quite extraordinary. Plum and dark cherry, dark tobacco, whiff of empty chocolate box, superb length of flavour. Essence of Cabernet. Essential Cabernet. We’ve never had it so good.
98 points, Gary Walsh, The Wine Front