2018 Wakefield “Jaraman” Cabernet Sauvignon, Clare Valley/Coonawarra, Australia (Alcohol 14.5%, Residual Sugar 4 g/l) LCBO Vintages $24.95 (750ml bottle)

I reviewed this wine way back in September of last year, but just noticed that there has been another release of the same vintage, and I have to say that with another six months in bottle the wine has evolved and improved substantially, garnering another half apple to it’s already terrific score. The oak/fruit integration is now bang on the money, the tannins just a little more teasingly supple.

I’ve had a soft spot for the wines of Wakefield ever since I carried their now discontinued Crouchen/Chardonnay blend “White Clare” as a by-the-glass pour on my very first wine list at the Atrium restaurant in Edinburgh back in the early 90s.

Doing some research this week, I discovered that my old pal Malcolm Jolley reviewed this wine two years back, but as I was so impressed with this release I felt it was only right to give you my take on it.

Despite my predilection for lighter red wines, I can certainly still appreciate a bottling with a little more meat on its bones, and coming in at 14.5% alcohol this is a gloriously full-bodied example of a style that Australia consistently do extremely well. Priced at a reasonably modest $24.95, this is a hell of a lot of wine for your pennies, exhibiting a value in quality Cabernet that is rarely seen elsewhere in the world.

It’s a crafted wine, for sure, with the pure blackcurrant opulence of the Clare Valley fruit being masterfully blended with the more austere and structured fruit of the famed Coonawarra; just when you think the glorious fruit is getting a little bit too much, that pleasingly chocolatey, leafy,  supple tannic grip pulls you back in. The mid-palate to finish is polished and really quite magnificent with earthy, chocolate, and classic Coonawarra eucalyptus/mint notes rounding out each mouthful.

Even with all this fruit, the French oak treatment isn’t heavy handed in the slightest, and it subtly adds to the complexities that will only increase if you have the patience to sit on this for 5 – 10 years. It’s a most enjoyable vinous rollercoaster of a wine, and it really charmed me this weekend past.

Grab some of this most pleasant Cab while you can; I eagerly look forward to seeing what the next vintage of this wine has in store for us..

(Four and a half apples out of a possible five)


Wakefield are represented in Ontario by Profile Wine Group.

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