jamie goode's wine blog: Cold medicine: Clare Valley Cabernet

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Cold medicine: Clare Valley Cabernet

I hate colds. They're a severe problem when you are supposed to be assessing wines profesionally, because they mess with your sense of smell. They don't eliminate it altogether, but you end up grasping at smells that would otherwise come more easily. A bit like looking through a dirty window.

Or trying to see through the windscreen when it's raining and your windscreen wipers are broken, as once happened to Fiona and I just after we were married. My faithful old sky blue (C'mon City) Vauxhall Astra with 130 000 miles on the clock had a windscreen wiper motor failure. Before it was fixed, we carried on driving it when the forecast was clear - until one drive from Wallington (where we lived) to Cheam (where Fiona's folks lived), when we were caught out. It's only a short drive, but it started raining, and so we had to keep stopping to clean the windscreen manually. Not recommended.

I have about 60% normal olfactory function today, I'm guessing. So I turn to a wine I have a few bottles of, which I've tasted before. It's the Wakefield Cabernet Sauvignon 2005 Clare Valley (known as 'Taylors' in Australia). I bought quite a few bottles at the ludicrously cheap price of 5.99 at Majestic when it was on offer after having tasted it in Australia in April 2007, and it's a serious ageworthy red with lovely dense blackcurranty fruit and savoury spicy structure. Despite its 14.5% alcohol it's really well balanced, and I think that the origin of the fruit is the key. I really rate the Clare Valley as a source of serious red wines. Unlike many South Australian wine regions, Cabernet does as well in the Clare as Shiraz does (Coonawarra is similar in this regard - well, actually, there Cabernet is better than Shiraz).
Even with a cold, this Clare Cabernet is utterly delicious. I have four bottles left, and I'm going to cellar them for a few more years. They're sealed with screwcaps (tin/saran liner) so it will be interesting to see how they do.

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