Majella Coonawarra 2012

Majella Wines, Cabernet Sauvignon, Coonawarra, South Australia, Wine of Australia, 2012

On Coonawarra
Coonawarra is on the Limestone Coast at the south-eastern extremity of South Australia, and so one of the coolest of this state’s vineyard areas. It is famous for its fertile oxidised iron-infused terra rossa (red loam) soils, of 10-50cm depth, over a limestone base. The latter forms a ridge above the surrounding relatively flat landscape, which can be quite damp, owing to a relatively high water table. The cold Southern Ocean, about 60km distant, is the major climatic determinant, giving a mild maritime climate, with cold, wet and windy winters, risk of spring frost, though there is still the risk of the grape equivalent of sunburn in summer, and low night-time temperatures, and so a significant diurnal range, helping to preserve acidity (1).

The success of Coonawarra in producing top quality cabernet sauvignon has resulted in more jumping on the bandwagon and pressure on available land, so that the extent of the original Coonawarra GI, a narrow strip 15km long by 200-2000m wide, has now been massaged and stretched to encompass less typical soils (2).

Mint seems to be the marker for Coonawarra cabernet, with blackcurrant, eucalyptus and cedar, along with moderate tannins.

Riesling and chardonnay, shiraz and merlot, are also grown in this GI, but it is plantings of cabernet sauvignon which dominate.

This wine: lot no. L4044, varietal cabernet sauvignon, aged in French hogshead (~500 l) for 22 months, screw-cap closure, 14.5% abv, Ann et Vin, £19.50 (03/18)

Consumer tasting note: deeply ruby hued, with rich aromas of stewed strawberry and red plum jam, then a deeply floral touch of tea rose, morphing into blackberry, blackcurrant, an edge of cumin, mint, dark chocolate and black liquorice; full-bodied, with flavours of black berry, black cherry, blackcurrant liqueur, black boiled sweets, a touch savoury, with hints of residual sweet oak adding complexity. Finishes long. Decant for an hour.

WSET style tasting note
Appearance: clear and bright, deep intensity ruby, showing tears [tba sediment].

Nose: clean, medium (+) intensity, developing, with aromas as they come, of rich red plum jam, stewed strawberry, hint of tea rose, squashed blackberry, hint of blackcurrant, hints of toast and cumin, touches of bees-wax and steak fat, whiff of cedar, mint, touch of dark chocolate, dried herbs, black liquorice.

Palate: dry, medium (+) acidity, ripe medium tannins, high alcohol, full body, pronounced intensity, a velvety texture, with flavours blackberry, blackcurrant, black boiled sweets, black cherry, a touch savoury, hint of underpinning sweet oak, hint of black liquorice. A long length with a clean black boiled sweet infused finish, with a pleasant supportive grip. [On day 2 a note of blackcurrant liqueur emerges].

Quality: very good, well-balanced acidity and ripe tannins with alcohol, altogether harmonious with the rich ripe intensity of red and black fruit; quite strong intensity throughout, with similar concentration; showing a sound, better than moderate, but not quite into highly complex territory, with evidence of perfectly integrated oak, adding spicy and lightly toasty notes, and time in bottle, with notes of chocolate, cooked fruit and bees-wax; a sound long length.

Drinking readiness/ageing potential: can drink now, but has potential for ageing, over say 4-6 years – a sound structure, balance and length, showing some tertiary evolution, with lots of fruit to work with.


  1. Halliday, J. (2008). Wine Atlas of Australia. hardie grant books.
  2. Clarke, O. (2004). Australian Wine Companion. Websters International Publishers.

About citbp

I am interested in everything about wine, from site selection to tasting.
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