McHenry Hohnen, Rolling Stone, Margaret River, Western Australia, 2012
This wine: a blend of cabernet sauvignon, malbec, merlot, petit verdot; unfined and unfiltered, screw cap closure, 14.7% abv, Ann et Vin, £42 (2016)
Consumer tasting note: a strident nose of ripe black berries, toast and cedar, alcohol a little warming, full-bodied with ripe unassertive fine-grained tannins, on a palate dominated by blackcurrant underpinned with oak, liquorice and toast. A long length. Benefits from an hour’s decanting.
WSET style tasting note
Appearance: clear and bright, deep intensity ruby, showing tears and on decanting, a tiny amount of fine sediment.
Nose: clean, pronounced intensity, developing, with aromas as they come, of slightly high-toned sweet ripe black berries – blackcurrant, black berry and a touch of black cherry, with a spicy edge, cedar, smoke, spicy stewed red plums, vanilla, toasty, delicate undertone of oak, a floral peony-like whiff, soft warm liquorice, sweet tarry tobacco.
Palate: dry, medium (+) acidity, ripe medium tannins, high alcohol and a full body, medium (+) intensity, a smooth texture with a sensation of sweetness (aka sucrosity), with flavours of ripe blackcurrant and black berry, undertone of oak, liquorice, toast. A long length with a clean blackcurrant finish supported by an oak undertone.
Quality: very good quality, with a fine balance of acids and tannin with alcohol, which I feel is slightly high for the flavour intensity; quite complex on the nose, much less so on the palate; decent flavour concentration, showing ripe black berries, secondary oak influence with notes of cedar, smoke, vanilla, and toast – which becomes more dominant with time, and a tertiary bottle-age dimension of tarry-tobacco and stewed fruit notes, with a good long length.
Drinking readiness/ageing potential: can drink now, and has potential for further ageing – the structure is sound, albeit for slightly high alcohol, with decent but not outstanding concentration, but a long length, suggesting improvement over say 2-5 years during which time the balance of oak with fruit should reverse as the toastiness integrates.