What’s in a glass?

Well, wine preferably. Great wine actually, the kind that commands you to savour every drop. There is nothing worse than choosing a wine that simply doesn’t deliver. Especially after a long week at work, or at a time when you really need an enjoyable, easy-drinking glass.

A recent recommendation led me down-under. Australian wines are very much under valued and deserve more credit. Admittedly, out of the vast majority of Australian wines, that I have tried, few had impressed. Those less than palatable experiences had led me to believe that wines from down under were a let down. That was until I discovered the Coonawarra wine region which is named after the small town, Coonawarra, in the south of Australia.

Like many I started off relatively easy- thoroughly enjoying a light and fruity, easy-breezy Pinot Noir. The lighter in body, the better. This prissy Pinot grape is anything but easy in itself . One of the hardest grapes to grow – she is very temperamental. I describe Pinot Noir as a lady simply due to the fact that under the right circumstances, she produces a wine of grace and elegance, so light and yet subtly complex.  Anyway, that’s enough of a meander, but let your first sip of Pinot Noir be from it’s birthplace, Burgandy. Okay, back to the wonderful, new world of OZ…

After starting with light and fruity, I quickly developed a taste for heavier wines, the deeper, fuller bodied, the better. You know, the ones that make the hand fall off you because the tasting notes go on and on. The more it breathes, the more you get: tobacco, chocolate, dark fruits, leather ,liquorice…


Well, this particular area in Australia is known for growing a lot of Eucalyptus trees which seems to have a magnificent affect on the vines in the area, adding strong  notes and flavours of eucalyptus  to the wine produced.  Cabernet Sauvignon,  Kaknook Estate in Coonawarra- vintage 2002 is one such wine I tried and absolutely loved from its  clear, deep purple hue to its ever gifting nose. This wine has a lovely set of legs too, thanks to its 14.5% alcohol content. This is a wine to decant and allow breathe for about 45 minutes to truly experience in detail all it has to express. Upon first pour it can be identified as pronounced on the schnozzle, wafting dark fruit, some spice and prominent black current scents. Once it hits the palate, the true depth of this magnificent vintage is reveled: medium acidity, medium to high alcohol, fine but defined tannin and full bodied. A perfect arrangement; well balanced and structured. Then comes the fruit, as on the nose, so too in the mouth- dark berries, lead by black current as if they were baked with plum in a chocolate cake with mint leaf, vanilla sprinkles and eucalyptus drops throughout, then consumed in a tobacco filled room with coffee. Then the second glass introduced a hint a liquorice , the presence of oak and a touch of spice. unsurprisingly the finish went on, and on, and on…


This smooth and textured wine is excellent, one of the best wines I have had this year. This particular vintage is exceptional as the vine experienced unusually dry weather and the same wine from 2001 is very good but unfortunately lighter. I had this  100% Cabernet at age 14 and I expect that it had more than another few years left to age, if you could manage not to open it. I know, that I couldn’t and unfortunately bought the last few bottles from The Corkscrew off Grafton street in Dublin and have yet to find another supplier.


There is nothing worse than working hard all week, or opening a bottle of wine to celebrate an occasion and it not delivering. For this reason, I recommend taking note of a bottle that you loved, preferably one that isn’t noted for having too much bottle variation. Then, in those times when you simply can’t afford for a wine not to deliver , you won’t be disappointed, as you will know what’s in a glass.





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