Top red Bordeaux blends of Margaret River 2011 vintage

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CH'NG Poh Tiong's column: Zuo Wang

In the previous column, I wrote about the top white Bordeaux blends of the 2013 and 2012 Margaret River vintages.

This week, it’s the turn of the red Bordeaux blends of the 2011 vintage.

Vintage Report
There was some rainfall in early January, up to 25 mm of rain over two days, but overall, the 2011 vintage was warmer and drier than average.

Red varieties including Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot were harvested earlier by two to three weeks. Indeed, the vintage was completed by the third week of March, some four weeks earlier than normal.

The wines have good colour, intensity and persistence of fruit and delicious freshness. The vast majority of the 58 wines tasted are balanced and will improve with age up to 2020 and for the very best ones, 2030 and beyond.

Here are my top 33 wines.

The a 5-star rating system:
Outstanding
Excellent
Good
Average
Acceptable
Half Star

Xanadu Cabernet Sauvignon 2011

Whiff of violets, delicate blue fruits and blackcurrants. Silky tannins. Very balanced. Stylish. Class. Sublime.

Cullen Wines Diana Madeline 2011

A bit restrained and tight on the nose. Fresh, delicate, elegant fruit with intensity and persistence. Long lingering finish. Very vivacious. Medium-bodied.

Evoi Reserve ‘The Satyr’ 2011

Very ripe blueberry fruit. Ripe, slightly edgy tannins. Intensity, persistence and length. All the components not entirely melded at the moment but very well made. Long freshness.

Hamelin Bay Five Ashes Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon 2011

Camphor and capsicums. Smoky too. Bright and lively. Fresh. Balanced. Very attractive. Very Pessac-Leognan like. Complex, persistent and long.

McHenry Hohnen Rolling Stone 2011

Blueberries, dark cherries and liquorice. Ripe fruit wonderfully balanced by succulent rich tannins. Impressive intensity. Freshness. Very good indeed.

Thompson Estate Cabernet Sauvignon 2011

Ripe capsicum, cassis-ish fruit. Intense and complex. Ripe rich tannins and lots of freshness. Vibrant. Energetic. Balanced. About full-bodied.

Devil's Lair Margaret River Cabernet Sauvignon 2011

Lively floral, red and blue fruits. Fine tannins. Vivacious. Elegant. Polished. Balanced. Medium-plus-ish bodied.

Knee Deep Cabernet Merlot 2011

Lifted raspberry, capsicum, minty, slightly eucalypt fruit. Very bright. Lots of freshness. Medium-plus-ish. Expertly balanced. Very attractive and elegant.

Leeuwin Estate Art Series Cabernet Sauvignon 2011

Liquorice, blue/black fruit, smoky/toasty oak. Rich ripe fruit and equally ripe rich satiny tannins. Balancing freshness on the finish. Full-bodied.

Vasse Felix Heytesbury 2011

Blueberries with a whiff of pink guavas. Ripe fruit and ripe tannins. Freshness on the finish. Balanced.

Woodlands ‘Alex’ Cabernet Sauvignon 2011

Vanilla, oak, blue/blackberry/ripe raspberry fruit. Rich ripe tannins. Intensity. Balanced. Full- bodied.

Butler Crest Cabernet Sauvignon 2011 -

Ripe blue fruits, raspberries and violets. Smooth succulent tannins. Full-bodied.

Cowaramup Wines Clownfish Cabernet Merlot 2011

Blue/blackberry fruit and capsicum notes. Ripe, fresh tannins. Balanced. Very well made. Medium-plus bodied.

Fraser Gallop Estate Parterre Cabernet Sauvignon 2011

Blueberry, raspberry, blackcurrant fruit with cedary oak. Ripe, fresh, elegant tannins. Balanced. Medium-plus-ish.

Laurance of Margaret River Merlot 2011 -

Blueberries, whiff of violets, lightly smoky, liquorice fruit. The tannins are soft and elegant. Good freshness on the finish. Balanced. Medium-bodied.

Ringbolt 21 Barriques Cabernet Sauvignon 2011

Red/dark cherries. Fine, ripe, silky tannins. Round freshness. Very balanced. Medium-plus bodied.

Rivendell Estate 'The Dark Knight' 2011 -

Floral-ish, raspberries and blue fruits. Ripe fruit and equally ripe, rich tannins that have a firmness on the finish. Good freshness. Medium-plus bodied.

Rosily Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon 2011

Vanilla oak, blueberries and blackcurrants. Ripe elegant tannins. Wonderful freshness. Balanced. Medium-plus-ish.

Snake & Herring ‘Cannonball’ Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot + Petit Verdot 2011 -

Blueberries and ripe capsicums on the nose and palate. And with persistence. Fresh. Medium-plus-ish bodied.

Aravina Cabernet Sauvignon 2011

Blackcurrant/blackberry fruit and toasty oak. Crisp firm tannins finishing fresh. Nicely balanced. Medium-plus bodied.

Deep Woods Estate Cabernet Sauvignon Merlot 2011

Blueberries and ripe bell peppers on the nose and palate. Fresh, ripe tannins. Balanced. Classic. Medium-plus-ish bodied.

Evans & Tate Redbrook Cabernet Sauvignon 2011

Bright, lively blueberry/capsicum fruit. Fresh ripe tannins and lots of freshness on the finish. Balanced. Medium-plus-ish.

Flametree S.R.S. Wilyabrup Cabernet Sauvignon 2011

Smoky, toasty, blackberry fruit. Firm tannins. Masculine and structured. Medium-plus bodied.

Higher Plane Cabernet Sauvignon 2011

Blueberry, lightly toasty fruit with ripe tannins and round freshness. Balanced. Medium-plus-ish. Well-made.

Juniper Estate Cabernet Sauvignon 2011

Blue fruits and whiff of vanilla. Ripe tannins. Structure in front at the moment. Medium-plus bodied.

Knotting Hill Estate Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon 2011

Smoky, toasty, blackberry fruit. Rich masculine tannins. Very Medoc/Pauillac-like.

Lenton Brae Wilyabrup Cabernet Sauvignon 2011

Ripe blue fruit, tobacco leaf and sunshine on the nose. Ripe tannins to boot. Nicely balanced by roundness of freshness.

Rosabrook Single Vineyard Estate Cabernet Sauvignon 2011

Sawdust and light blueberries on the nose. On the palate fresh and lively fruit and tannins. Balanced. Medium-plus–ish.

Tassell Park Wines Cabernet Merlot 2011

Fresh ripe-ish blueberry fruit. Ripe lifted tannins. Balanced. Medium-plus-ish bodied. Elegant.

Happs Three Hills Charles Andreas 2011

Floral including violets and raspberries. Ripe, velvety tannins. Fruity, a touch sweet on the finish. Lacks greater structure and freshness but will be enjoyable with food.

Peccavi Cabernet Sauvignon 2011

Ripe blue/blackberry fruit. Ripe, crisp tannins with freshness on the finish. Medium-plus-ish.

Stella Bella Serie Luminosa Cabernet Sauvignon 2011

Ripe-ish capsicums and blue fruits. Ripe tannins that have starting evolving. Round freshness on the finish. Balanced. Medium-bodied. Would have scored higher if more intense and complex.

Umamu Estate Cabernet Sauvignon 2011

Ripe capsicums and blueberries. The tannins are soft. Round freshness. Medium-plus bodied.

Columnist Introduction

A lawyer by training, CH’NG Poh Tiong also holds a Postgraduate Certificate with Distinction in Chinese Art from the School of Oriental & African Studies, University of London. He is an Honorary Ambassador of TEFAF – The European Fine Art Fair – Maastricht. CH'NG works principally as a wine journalist and is publisher of The Wine Review, the oldest wine publication in Southeast Asia, Hong Kong and China since 1991.

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