Region: Coonawarra, SA
Grape: Cabernet Sauvignon
First Glance: mature and iconic Australian Cabernet
Acclaim: 94 points
Wynns Coonawarra Estate has long been one of the iconic wineries of this country, and has done more than anyone to build up the reputation of the Coonawarra region. The winery and its first plantings were established in the late 1800's by Scotsman John Riddoch, who foresaw a great future for viticulture in the area. The property was later bought up by namesake Samuel Wynn & Co in 1951.
Although a handful of grapes are grown with success in these parts, it is the Cabernet that steals the show here. The porous and well-draining limestone bedrock of the aptly named Limestone Coast, coupled with the iconic terra rossa top-soils of the Coonawarra, give Cabernet the perfect warm and dry conditions that it needs to flourish. This is coupled with a moderating influence from the nearby ocean, to keep the all important balance in the wines, and contributes to the trade-mark herbal complexity often found in these wines.
Reaction from Coonawarra winemakers to the 1998 vintage range from ‘best of the 1990s’ to ‘the best for 20 years.’ Brendan Provis, president of the Coonawarra Grape Growers Association, said the 1998 reds were excellent in colour and flavour. Vintage began on 16 February, 1-2 weeks earlier than usual, and there was a 20% increase in yield, due to increased vineyard area and the fact that 1997 yields were below average. Weather during vintage was warm early, then cooler with some rain. This slowed ripening after an early start. Most fruit was harvested before any detrimental effect from rain. - Winetitles Vintage Report
Unquestionably a great vintage, the reputation of 1998 seems to be enhanced with the release of each major wine. [...] It appears to have married the sheer concentration of another top warm-to-hot year in 1990 with the fineness and purity of fruit flavour of 1994. Essentially a vintage that constantly bordered on drought but just managed to receive sufficient rainfall to enable the vines to bring their fruit safely to near-perfect ripening, it was a season which began and finished early and whose wines show great potential for bottle development. - Decanter, vintage guide for Australian Reds
94 points, James Halliday's Wine Companion
Medium to full red-purple; sweet and ripe cassis/blackberry/raspberry fruit aromas are followed by a full-bodied, fruit-driven style, with oak and tannins playing a nicely-judged support role; smooth and supple; every bit as good as the vintage reputation would suggest.