Let breathe in the glass for an hour before consumption. Lovely nose and still a pleasant taste, but very thin on the mid palate. Some tanins but very little acidity. This had faded right away by day 2 (despite careful resealing). I have a strong preference for aged wines and Tahbilk have an excellent reputation for longevity, but this is now in decline and needs to be drunk straight away (and in one sitting).
Cork was stained all the way to the top but managed to get it out with an Ah-So. Expecting the worse but was pleasantly surprised. A good mature cabernet. Passed its peak but showing a graceful decline. Drink up now.
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Every so often, we come across a treasure-trove of sorts, a vinous gift from above that is so well priced for what it is, almost everyone on the email list can stretch a bit to take a stab at the experience.
Tahbilk is one of Australia’s most important traditional wineries - “a precious inheritance” as it is known to the current generation. First in production circa 1860, their understanding of Victoria’s most eccentric terroirs is unparalleled. Their wines are distinctive, unique and unlike any other source – exactly their aim. Along with Best’s, Yarra Yering, Mt Mary and a handful of others, Tahbilk has set a standard of magical whimsy for nearly 150 years.
Their Cabernet Sauvignon is a special wine – with nothing to prove and few to please except their continued dedication to the soil and history of the estate, this grande dame of the New World puts forth an elegant, contemplative and aromatically nuanced wine that can age for decades. A recent example from 1967 of the same wine we offer below was still young despite the tell-tale light-medium weight palate (it was only 10.5% alcohol as well – tell that to most of the South Australian wines out there).
The 1991 Cabernet, cellared at Tahbilk for nearly 20 years and released to us for the winery’s 150th anniversary, is from a classic year. Tobacco, resin, dried pine and a dash of mint wrap this feminine but quite powerful wine with a sense of intrigue at every step of the way. It opens with oxygen contact over many hours to reveal a stunning bargain of aged Cabernet Sauvignon, cut from a very specific piece of land in rural Victoria. A classic representation of the Tahbilk style.
If you’ve never experienced the majesty of aged Cabernet from the traditional web of Victoria, you are about to venture down a path that few turn back from. Quite different than something like modern day Napa, the profile is more akin to Napa circa 1969 – those of you that have experienced something like 1969 Heitz Cabernet will certainly have no problem with that.
The problem with an offer such as this is obvious – if you get used to the nuance and complexity of aged wine for , it makes your future high-end Cabernet purchases appear like you are being flogged for fun and games...wholly at your expense.
The wine is in pristine condition – it has the type of clarity that only comes from laying in the original cellar rack for decades. It is fresh and aged all at once – an ideal combination and a wonderful example that is educational as well as immensely satisfying. This is another wine that would be an ideal gift for a studious oenophile as few have ever had the chance to experience its grace.
VERY HIGHLY RECOMMENDED for classic expression of Cabernet with provenance that is second to none:
1991 Tahbilk Estate Cabernet Sauvignon (Victoria/Museum Release) - (compare at $40-60+ in Australia)
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This parcel is set to arrive (please check OARS for local pick up after August 1st). It will ship during the Fall shipping season.
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Jon Rimmerman Garagiste Seattle, WA
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