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Mixed dozen #31: top-rated cabernets for the cellar

Publish Date: 04 May 2016

Authored by: Casey Warrener

Cabernet is a cellaring classic with excellent ageing ability. Inspired by our latest issue of Halliday magazine, these 12 cabernets and blends all come with a score of 95 points or more, and will be well worth the wait if you want to put them down (but if you’d rather not be patient, that’s okay too).

2014 Duke's Vineyard Magpie Hill Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon
97 points

Estate-grown, hand-picked, matured in new French oak. The result of a great vineyard managed with maximum care on a great site, a top vintage, and super-skilled contract winemaking by Rob Diletti. Blackcurrant, bay leaf, black olive, cedary oak and finely tuned cabernet tannins are all in perfect balance. 13.5% alc.

RRP $35 | 2049 | Duke's Vineyard

2013 Brand’s Laira Coonawarra One Seven One Cabernet Sauvignon
97 points

Great colour; already so juicy, awash with cassis, it can be enjoyed [now, although], this has been made with the future in mind, aided and abetted by the very good vintage. The tannins have been polished, and already sit elegantly in the armchair of fruit and oak; it is the finish that puts this into a class of its own, insisting that you have another sip, and another... 13.5% alc.

RRP $76 | 2048 | Brand’s Laira Coonawarra

2013 Forester Estate Margaret River Cabernet Sauvignon
96 points

No beg your pardons here. This has raw power, its sultry black fruits, no-sugar black chocolate, and tannins made to measure, all vault into the recesses of the palate before you've had time to think. There's undoubtedly some oak buried in the fruit and tannins, but it is totally hidden. Its clench-fisted balance tells you it's well worth a 20+-year investment. 14% alc.

RRP $38 | 2043 | Forester Estate

2014 West Cape Howe Book Ends Mount Barker Cabernet Sauvignon
96 points

From several vineyards, each portion fermented and matured (18 months) separately in new and used French barriques. Deep, bright crimson-purple; a great example of the vitality and varietal clarity that West Cape Howe brings to its wines, terroir riding high. Its cassis fruit is mouthwatering, not a phrase you would normally use with cabernet, but true here. 14.5% alc.

RRP $28 | 2034 | West Cape Howe Wines

2014 Bleasdale Vineyards Frank Potts
96 points

61% cabernet sauvignon, 18% malbec, 9% merlot, 8% petit verdot, 4% cabernet franc, gold medal National Wine Show ’15. Almost nonchalantly floods the mouth with blackcurrant and plum, the texture mesmeric, focusing on the fruit, yet providing the edge of tannin that is an integral part of the quality of the wine. 14% alc.

RRP $35 | 2034 | Bleasdale Vineyards

2013 Devil's Lair Margaret River Cabernet Sauvignon
96 points

Highly fragrant; a lovely wine, everything precisely proportioned and placed, cassis fruit the standard bearer, closely followed by the supporting soldiers of immaculate oak and tannins. It is only medium-bodied, yet its purity gives the energy and drive unmatched by many full-bodied cabernets. 14% alc.

RRP $50 | 2038 | Devil's Lair

2013 Dominique Portet Yarra Valley Cabernet Sauvignon

96 points

From two Yarra Valley vineyards with very different aspect and terroir, plus 5% merlot from the home block; hand-picked, and berry-by-berry sorted on a cutting-edge machine; 3-day cold soak, 4-week fermentation/maceration, matured for 15 months in French oak (40% new). Trophy Yarra Valley Wine Show ’15. Cool, elegant and intense, its black fruits shimmering with energy, and promising a great future. 14% alc.

RRP $55 | 2038 | Dominique Portet

2013 Haan Wilhelmus
95 points

Cabernet sauvignon, merlot, cabernet franc, malbec and petit verdot. Time and again Haan produces a near-impossible outcome with this Bordeaux blend, one that only a handful of peers in the Barossa Valley seek to emulate, and none succeed. It is luscious and sweet, the conundrum of its alcohol unanswered, most likely unanswerable. 15% alc.

RRP $65 | 2028 | Haan Wines

2014 Punt Road Napoleone Vineyard Block 3 Yarra Valley Cabernet Sauvignon
95 points

Hand-picked, prolonged cold soak, cultured yeast, matured in French barriques (25% new). The yields were low across the Valley, with small berries, but this wine is perfectly balanced and extracted, the mouthfeel supple, the flavours of cassis and briar completing an impressive work of wine. 13.5% alc.

RRP $29 | 2034 | Punt Road

2014 Swings & Roundabouts Backyard Stories Margaret River Cabernet Sauvignon
95 points

Machine-harvested, cultured yeast, 7 days on skins, pressed to French oak (45% new, the balance 1yo) for 12 months. Vivid colour; a classy cabernet, fruit, oak and tannins precisely calibrated; blackcurrant/cassis and dried herb flavours are in the heartland of varietal expression; its balance assures a very long future. The third consecutive vintage to win gold at the Melbourne Wine Awards 14% alc.

RRP $39 | 2034 | Swings & Roundabouts

2014 St Huberts Yarra Valley Cabernet Merlot
95 points

Bright crimson; the low yield of the vintage has underwritten the intensity of the wine without diminishing its elegance and poise; cassis fruit is the white stallion charging through the vinous landscape, supple tannins and subtle French oak in close attendance. A wine that stands out the moment you taste it. 13% alc.

RRP $27 | 2034 | St Huberts

2013 Domaine Naturaliste Margaret River Cabernet Sauvignon
95 points

Incorporates some (less than 15%) malbec for red fruit fragrance and fleshy tannins that has a disproportionate (but very good) influence on the overall flavour and mouthfeel of the wine. It has been so cleverly built that the price seems absurdly low – a gift horse with gold horseshoes, read now or soonish. 14% alc.

RRP $24 | 2023 | Domaine Naturaliste

Next article: try out cabernet's partner in crime with this mixed dozen of merlot

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