Cape Mentelle is one of the pioneers and great names of the Margaret River region. The vines were planted in 1970 by skilled winemaker and astute businessman David Hohnen and it has now grown to 145ha of estate vineyards. This gives the winemaker total viticultural control, with non-estate fruit not required to meet its needs.

Instrumental in putting Cape Mentelle and Margaret River on the Australian wine map was the winning of consecutive Jimmy Watson Memorial Trophies.

Dr Craig Drummond
Master of Wine

This award is seen as one of Australia’s most important and is awarded annually to the best Australian one or two-year-old dry red wine. They won it with the 1982 Cabernet in ’83 and the 1983 Cabernet in ’84, rocketing this then little-known winery to national prominence.

Famous for its distinctively Margaret River Cabernet style, which is internationally sought after, its other wines also show consistently high quality that reflect their regionality. The four wines in this tasting were all excellent.

The Wines

Cape Mentelle 2018 Shiraz (RRP $49)

This is great Margaret River Shiraz – it displays an attractive purple/brick red colour, a spicy nose with mulberry, cinnamon and cardamon. Palate is full-bodied showing plush flavours of sweet berry fruits, blueberry, black olive, black pepper. Plenty of oak (17 months in a combination of French and American – 18% new) which is integrating. The high 15% alcohol is disguised by concentrated fruit. This is a 10-year wine. Interesting is the inclusion of Viognier (3%) for brighter colour and lifted aromatics, traces of Grenache for complexity and Alicante Bouschet for juiciness.

Cape Mentelle 2017 Wallcliffe Merlot Petit Verdot Malbec (RRP $49)

An interesting blend of these three Bordeaux varieties (Merlot 54%, Petit Verdot 26% and Malbec 20%). Vibrant brick red in colour. Austere and savory aromas initially, then evolving dark cherry, violets, and anise. Savory and herbal flavours. Mulberry, cranberry, beetroot. Cedar from oak. Dominant, tight, fine-grained tannins – no surprise with Petit Verdot and Malbec in the blend. Compact, balanced with good length. Has the structure, acidity and tannins to age 10 to 12 years.

Cape Mentelle 2017 Cabernet Sauvignon (RRP $110)

A blockbuster of a wine and the Cape Mentelle’s flagship. This wine is big, complex, powerful and wonderful. At five years of age it still displays a youthful purple/dark plum colour. The nose captivates with loads of cassis, leafy characters and cashew from oak. The palate is powerful, with depth and intensity. Flavours of blackcurrant, forest floor, satsuma plum. There is plenty of oak here which is integrating. Fine persistent tannins from skins and oak. Complex and long. As much as I enjoyed this wine now, it will integrate and improve. A 20-year wine.

Cape Mentelle 2018 Chardonnay (RRP $49)

This is my wine of the tasting based on incredible quality for price and that it is drinking optimally now. Shows a luminescent mid-gold colour. The nose is rich, opulent and ripe. Shows ripe melon, honey and hazelnut. A full-bodied style, palate is textural and unctuous, with pineapple and rockmelon flavours. Added creaminess from malolactic ferment. Great length and a clean finish. Although wonderful current drinking, it will go for a further seven years. A truly great Margaret River expression of the Chardonnay grape.


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