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What our expert thought of Berton Vineyard, High Eden Cabernet Sauvignon




the tasting

The Tasting


This wine is almost black, but angling the glass reveals a deep and lovely garnet colour, showing its age.  There’s no hint of youthful purple at the rim: rather the warm brick of maturity.  Strong legs on the side of the glass after swirling hint at the high alcohol.
 
Clearly hot climate Cabernet, the pronounced nose is loaded with cassis and blackberry jam, supported by well-integrated spicy, toasty oak.  There are lots of dried herbs: mint, thyme and eucalyptus, along with clove and liquorice spice, all backed by the cedarwood and graphite of fresh pencil shavings.
 
Age has lent the nose a leathery complexity with little hints of resin and polish.  The scent is dry but opulent: rich, deep and expensive.  It smells like an open cigar box on the Chairman’s polished, leather-topped desk.
 
On entry this is fully dry and unexpectedly fresh, but then it expands in the mouth to reveal its power and weight.  The fine acidity here is complemented by lots of herbs, but even so is only just sufficient to balance the rich dark fruits: blackcurrant, blueberry and sticky blackberry.
 
Though alcohol shows on the warm, very sweet-fruited finish, it’s offset nicely by a touch of bitterness from velvety-smooth, well-integrated tannins.  Very long, it develops a Marmite savouriness before ending on more of those dried herbs.


Assessment


This has so much of everything that it bizarrely manages to be balanced, with acidity and tannin countering the concentration of fruit and alcohol.  I would not have guessed it at 15%.  Bottle-age has softened the rough edges of youth, melded the components together and provided those fascinating tertiary scents and flavours.
 
This is a great example of mature Cabernet in the full-throttle Australian style.  It isn’t subtle and it certainly isn’t cheap, but it is deeply satisfying and, for a wine of this quality and maturity, well worth the money.  I know I’ll be buying some!



Tasting notes

Appearance
clear v. deep garnet, brick rim, prominent legs
Nose

Intensity pronounced

Aromas clearly Cabernet, v. ripe black fruit (cassis, blackberry jam), dried herbs (mint, thyme, eucalyptus), oak (toast, charred wood), pencil shavings, maturity (leather, game, furniture polish), spice (clove, liquorice)

Development fully developed
Palate

Sweetness fully dry

Acidity medium+

Body full, backloaded

Tannins medium+, velvety, integrated

Intensity pronounced

Flavours ripe black fruits (blackcurrant, blueberry, sticky blackberry), lots of herbs
Finish

Length long

Flavours warm, v. sweet-fruited, touch of bitterness, savoury (Marmite), ends on dried herbs
Other notes
Lots of everything, yet balanced. Oak v. well integrated, showing affinity of Cabernet & barrels, esp. with bottle-age. Opulent and awesome!


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