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Ian Sutton


Spanna in the works




Sun Apr 09, 2006 3:10 pm


Norwich, UK

WTN: Arlewood Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve 2000 (Sale bottles)

by Ian Sutton » Wed Apr 01, 2009 7:41 pm

Picking up on the QPR theme, here's a wine that I picked up a few bottles of (original and repeat order) through a UK Independant merchant.

Luck would have it, that the merchant was putting some serious reductions on wines that I'd been thinking about buying anyway (this wasn't one, but thought I'd take a punt on it to help fill out the case). There are 3 notes, most recent (tonight) first. Overall comments though:

1) Quite significant bottle variation across the 3 bottles, but I'm also a firm believer in setting / food / mood etc. influencing an opinion of the wine, so I expect some variation in the notes is down to me 8)

2) You may notice a couple of numbers at the end of two of the notes. I've been toying with the simplest of rating systems in recent times, if only to test out my bigotry in disliking scoring wines. The first number is what I think a reasonable price might be (in £), the second is what I paid (again in £ and including delivery and any other costs). This gives a decent view of QPR, but don't take the 1st number too literally. If it's £2 cheaper I won't back the truck up, I might not even buy any more as I may already have plenty, or plenty of that style. It is perhaps a measure of if I'd paid that much, I would have been ambivalent about it's value for money.

3) Whilst we're on the subject, and this is the focus for the month... yes, you'll gather that I'm happy with the wine. It's mature, perhaps a bit risky for further cellaring, has a question-mark over possible minor brett influence, but most of all it's a decent bottle of wine with some interest, at a price (under £7) that typically gets you something fairly dull here. FWIW it was originally listed at ~ £11 which I think was a good price - I've seen a later vintage (02) in Cambridge in the last month for a little more.

4) So why don't I back the truck up for more? Well I do value balance in the cellar and having had 3, gifted one and with two more remaining, maybe that is enough of one wine that I'd seek to drink in the next year or so. This wine and others bought in that sale helped me keep my mitts off some wine that really need to sleep more, or from racing through some fancier mature bottles that will hold for a while. It's done it's job well, and some. No need to over-egg it.

2000 Arlewood Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve - Australia, Western Australia, South West Australia, Margaret River (4/1/2009)
This one a little stinky on opening, but it quickly settled down to just pleasant funky complexity on the nose. The brett police would have it locked up and on a charge though. There is also some rich plummy / black fruit there as well as a touch of smokiness.

On the palate this tastes just a little more mature than previous bottles, perhaps starting a slow journey back down the hill from peak. The funkiness and move towards red fruits on the palate gives it more than a hint of Rhone. Surprisingly strong tannins and acidity is firm enough without sticking out. I suspect a slightly sub-standard bottle, but still interesting despite (even because) of the minor fault.

14 / 6.8

2000 Arlewood Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve - Australia, Western Australia, South West Australia, Margaret River (1/23/2009)
In colour terms very similar to the previous bottle, holding a strong purple, but just a whisper of age at the rim.

On the nose, whilst similar I also get mint which I didn't see in the other bottle.

Palatewise, the same refreshing acidity is there, but perhaps with a bit more structure. I'm wondering whether the wine was just a degree or two cooler when drunk, which might be an influence. The blackcurrant fruit core feels pure and tight and the finish is drying. On the strength of this bottle, perhaps a few years improvement may be in store.

Footnote: Indeed as it warmed up, it more resembled the previous bottle, though the mintiness is still there.

16 / 6.8

2000 Arlewood Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve - Australia, Western Australia, South West Australia, Margaret River (1/10/2009)
Note taken the day after opening.

Still quite rich, relatively deep purple colour, albeit with the 1st suggestion of browning at the rim.

The nose is quite classical blackcurrant/leafy with a light overlay of cigar box, though perhaps overall a touch "rounded". Swirling reveals a little "Italianate" lift (presumably light VA?) and a hint of barnyard.

On the palate, the tannins feel mostly resolved, the fruit is still quite juicy (from refreshing acidity). Overall it's nicely balanced and should be very useful with food. That said, it perhaps lacks a little complexity (the nose promised more) and finishes relatively short. Minor quibbles though for a good wine at a more than fair price.


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