Key Review of Wine October 2015 – 4 x 4

This Key Review of Wine includes the following wines:



Cabernet Sauvignon


Tony Keys - The Key Report


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17 October 2015

The square root of √ 16  = 4

4 X 4 reviews of beautiful wines:

All have very high points. I feel the need to once again define my view of using the 100 scale. The wines are judged, as I believe all wines should be, on their merits including faults and not my opinion. So the numbers are for the wine and the words are my opinion of the wine. It’s amazing how many people in and outside of the wine industry/trade cannot grasp this simple fact. I believe this is because they think their taste and opinion is really what others need to hear.

To be clear:

  • Each and every wine has the right to be judged as if it is already a 100 point wine
  • Points are not given, they are deducted
  • The taster’s opinion of the wine is separate from the pointing of the wine.

Grasped the concept? Fantastic, let’s take the tour of high-pointed wines and my opinion of them.


Delamere Vineyards Tasmania Chardonnay 2013: Classic chardonnay nose, a bite on entry but it smooths as the wine stretches across the palate. Plenty of flavours but they are grown up and not in the rich/ripe spectrum. It will appeal to those into their chardonnay. A serious wine, 94 points, top price range at $45 but worth it.

Howard Park ‘Cellar Collection’ Margaret River Chardonnay 2014: Beautifully crafted, finely honed wine, still on the youthful side but that is minor. It will come good soon, certainly by the summer of 2015. 94 points and well worth $32.

Oakvale ‘Ablington Vineyard’ Hunter Valley Chardonnay 2014: The boom that was chardonnay, especially New World chardonnay, did great disservice to the noble grape. It also did disservice to Australia, labeling us as producers of fat in style and over oaked chardonnays. There are all sorts and styles and the Hunter Valley is one. This wine represents the Hunter style very well. It is richer than say Tasmania or parts of WA or Victoria but not overblown. At this young age it filled the mouth with sensual pleasure and that is worth experiencing. It’s well-made and warrants 94 points and just worth its $33 although $29 would be more attractive.

Fox Creek McLaren Vale Chardonnay 2014: Many wineries in the Vale have turned to the Adelaide Hills for Chardonnay. It’s understandable as the hills are cooler and the fruit produces a lean style of wine. I still admire the richer style that comes from the Vale providing it’s not flat in flavour and obese in style. I thoroughly enjoyed this wine and urge you to do the same, sink into its plumpish folds and take what is on offer. 93 points and value at $23.


Schild Estate Barossa Valley Shiraz 2013: A big wine at 14.7 per cent alcohol but it carries it very well. It’s rich and earthy, I tasted then drank it with great pleasure. A couple of glasses were enough as the richness becomes overpowering but a bottle shared will go a long way. 94 points and well worth its $22.

Parker Estate Coonawarra Shiraz 2013: I think this is one of the best Coonawarra shirazes I have tasted in a long time and at the price of just $24. Spice and bite and soft and rounded, it challenges and entices as it travels. 94 and a great price.

Domaine Chandon Yarra Valley Shiraz 2013: Earthy nose, interestingly enough closer to a Hunter style. Its not heavy and has wonderful flavours that come through in gentle but firm waves. A beautiful wine, 94 points and worth $32.

Star Lane Beechworth Shiraz 2013: It could be smelt in the glass from a distance, beautiful nose, part herb part wild flower part something else I couldn’t pin. Very cool on entry and stays restrained on its journey but it fills on the return journey. Far from full maturity so a mean 93 now with a couple more down the track and $45 is about the right price for individuality.

Cabernet Sauvignon:

Berton Vineyard High Eden Cabernet Sauvignon 2012: I loved the coolness of this wine, not menthol but still cool in taste. It grew in the mouth but never became fat or flabby. 94 points and well worth $30.

Huntington Estate ‘Block Three’ Mudgee Cabernet Sauvignon 2011: It’s an older style of Australian cabernet but still a good wine. 94 points and I think on the pricey side at $65.

St Hugo Coonawarra Cabernet Sauvignon 2012: Sleek, dark and elegant, fantastic wine. 95 points at a fantastic price $39.

Houghton ‘Jack Mann’ Western Australia Cabernet Sauvignon 2012: This is a wine that is at the top of the game so starting with 100 points I have to ask the question, why doesn’t it get that mark? Well one or two points off for youth, it’s not matured into full beauty, another point off for balance. Youth makes it awkward so it needs to gain some elegance, what else? Nothing I can find so 97 and in a global context $110 is a very fair price.


Parker Estate ‘Terra Rossa’ Coonawarra Merlot 2013: As a glass of red wine it’s fine and good quality, what it lacks is individuality, the extra kick that makes one sit up and take notice. I accept that is a personal view and being fair the wine still warrants 93 points, although I think it pricy at $34 others won’t.

Majella Coonawarra Merlot 2013: It’s good, and has that hint of character which gives it an extra point over the Parker Estate, meaning 94, but heck I am nit-picking. It’s worth the $30 asked.

Star Lane Beechworth Merlot 2012: Intense wine from the depth of colour through nose and to palate. It is its own style and will please those that like power in flavour. A little too strong for me but it’s a broad church when it comes to likes and dislikes so 93 and for those into strength it will be worth $45.

Richard Hamilton ‘Lot 148’ McLaren Vale Merlot 2013: Slightly feral on the nose, which I like, sound across the palate a good edge which helps when taken to the table, otherwise it’s a straightforward glass of red wine. 92 points OK price at $21 but Dan’s has the 2012 at $18.

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