Wednesday Wines – Episode 211 – A preview of three phenomenal Wynns Classics & bonus trio from Torbreck

I am very fortunate to receive super-early preview bottles of fine wine from all over the planet.  The privilege for this ‘pre-screening’ of epic wines is not lost on me.  While I tend to wait to publish notes until the embargo arrives or the wines reach the UK’s shores, sometimes I throw caution to the wind and post my thoughts on wines that will one day sit on the dinner tables of people with the most excellent taste on our planet.  Today is just such a day.

And do not stop after you have read this tasty appetiser because after the Wynns trio comes two incredible half bottles that are in the UK, drinking now, and utterly spectacular. Who said you can’t enjoy spectacular wine in moderation? This pair is laser-sighted on discerning palates who require mid-week Netflix (insert your favourite media-binge platform) lubrication. I can’t think of better red wines for this purpose!

Wynns Black Label 2022 

2022 Wynns Coonawarra Estate, Black Label Cabernet Sauvignon, South Australia 13.4% alc

This is the 67th vintage of Black Label, and it must be noted that this is a very strong one in the history of this incredibly important wine.  With gorgeous blackcurrant and blackberry fruit on the nose, this is an expressive vintage and one of the more structured and bolder of late.  It possesses strident tannins and a formal stance on the palate that takes me back to my early introductions to this wine some four decades ago.  But of course, this wine could never have been made back then because the know-how in the vineyard and winery had not evolved to the skills Wynns deploys today, and this means the fruit is so much purer and more defined.  With stunning breeding, thrilling traction and spice and an immoveable sense of place, this is a genuinely great Black Label, and I am confident it will pop up in my 100 Best Australian Wines Report when this vintage makes it to the UK.  18.5+/20

Wynns Michael 2021

2021 Wynns Coonawarra Estate, Michael Shiraz, South Australia 13.2% alc

I know the Shiraz wines are less famous than the Wynns family of Cabernets and Michael must be resigned to standing behind John Riddoch in various photocalls and catwalk events.  But this is a mistake because Michael Shiraz is an incredibly important Aussie Shiraz. It is a slimmer model than most South Australian wines, leading with intense red fruit, not black.  It doesn’t pack in meaty notes or tar, and there is no liquorice or dark chocolate.  What it has, in spades, is Coonawarra earth – glorious red dirt with its wistful aura, perfume, flavour and finish.  This is a slim-hipped Shiraz with unique resonance and a luxurious air.  Roses, cracked pepper, tobacco leaves and potpourri haunt the palate while the deep red limo cruises across your palate. Medium-weight and pervasive, not massive and bludgeoning, this is a modern wine with an ancient story, and I love it.  Give it four or five years and have a go.  It will let you in because the tannins are genial, civilised, and well-drilled. You can meet and greet and decide when to introduce this distinguished wine to your closest friends.  One thing is sure – you need Michael in your collection.  19+/20

Wynns John Riddoch 2021

2021 Wynns Coonawarra Estate, John Riddoch Cabernet Sauvignon, South Australia 13.5% alc

In one word – ‘epic’.  Having just returned from ten days in Bordeaux tasting a vast number of youthful Cabernets, among other styles of wine, if this beauty had been slipped into the mix, it would have lounged somewhere near the top of the pile.  John Riddoch is a pristine Cabernet with relatively low alcohol (top Bordeaux typically ranges from 13 – 14.5%), firm acidity and a reasonable percentage of new French oak (approximately 25%). This recipe sounds like one read straight from the fiche technique of a great Left Bank wine, albeit with a lower percentage of new oak(!). In reality, John Riddoch is more akin to an elite Saint-Estèphe than a typical New World Cabernet: don’t even contemplate Argentina, Chile, Tuscany, South Africa or California because the bulk of these wines are not even in the same ballpark!  ’21 JR is pure, stunningly plush, deeply fruited but seemingly weightless and incredibly detailed. It is a superb thoroughbred with impeccable balance, and it is as relevant for an old-world geek as it is for a new-world disciple. It is time that Wynns John Riddoch sat alongside the acknowledged world Cabernet greats, and this vintage will undoubtedly help make this dream a reality.  19.5+/20

And a couple of very rare halves!

Screenshot

2018 Torbreck The Struie, Barossa, South Australia (£27.95, half bottle, www.thelittlefinewinecompany.co.uk).

Cool Eden Valley Shiraz married to lusty Barossa Shiraz results in the most civilised and open-armed of all Torbreck high-flyers.  This is a genuinely world-class wine, and so few are bottled in halves these days that you must take note.  This is a bargain, too, so hurry!  18.5/20

2018 Torbreck The Steading, Barossa Valley, South Australia (£21.95, half bottle, www.thelittlefinewinecompany.co.uk).

Torbreck’s Grenache / Shiraz / Mourvèdre blend makes grumpy, agricultural, unshaven Southern Rhône reds look like they have just fallen out of bed after a weekend on the razz.   The Steading is a debonair fellow with all of the style and deportment of a Jermyn Street gent, and this 2018 is velvety smooth and is drinking perfectly right now!  18/20