Friday, August 21, 2009

Noon Winery McLaren Vale Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon 2002

They say ‘big is better’ and ‘nothing is bigger than Texas’ and then there is this one from the late US president Gerald Ford, ‘if the government is big enough to give you what you want, then it is big enough to take it away as well’. These all may be true, but the one thing I know that is big is the Noon McLaren Vale Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon 2002. BIG BIG BIG BIG BIG!!!

You got that. Good!

Quite possibly the biggest alcohol I have ever seen for a table wine, this bad boy weighs in at a hefty 16.1% a/v. I could have easily have introduced this wine like some heavy weight prize fighting boxer about to step in to the ring, but that would just be too theatrical for cyberspace I reckon.

This wine has been sitting in my cellar for about 5 years now, so with a curious mind and thirsty gob, Erin and I got stuck in to this one like any other bottle of plonk – casually. What we got was a lesson about being cautious. Yes I know, too theatrical.

After sitting in the decanter for about 30 minutes, the wine had this appearance of being almost black, something I saw while at Charles Sturt Uni in Wagga; it was a class on pH (the measure of acidity or alkalinity of a solution) in red wine with lower pH of 3.2 – 3.8 being normal red wine colour, to the extreme of pH 6.1 being total black. Now the thing with pH is that the lower it is the more acid you will have and less alcohol with the opposite for those wines with high pH. Anyway, it is a fair bet that this wine had a high pH, not 8, but definitely somewhere around 3.9 - 4.0.

On the nose there is heavy eucalypt similar to that of ‘Martha Gardner’s’ wool wash. After this there is just a real big hit of ethanol, which is no surprise really. In the mouth liquorice in the way of sweet all sorts is overwhelming and seems to just go on for quite a while without much else happening.

This is a wine for all those wine drinkers who love that big smack of oak and alcohol, and with a couple bottles left in the cellar, it seems that this one will have to wait a little longer before it see’s the light of day, or the bottom of my glass.

To quote Bobo from ‘Pizza’, ‘It’s big and it’s cheesy’.

There is balance, there is length, but the wine just lacks complexity and elegance.

Drink till 2020
Drink with leg of lamb and mint sauce


  1. Don't know why but your references to JABS and how big this particular wine is remind me of something George Bush Jr. is credited with saying - (Not the exact quote):

    "Some folk think I Texas we just call it walking"

    ie. Some folk think this is "Big", in the Barossa we just call it wine (JABS)

  2. I like the last line on the bottle - 'Always drink wine in moderation' - especially apparent in 16.1% abv bottles.

    Last weekend I was asked to manage a bar at a large function where they sold only light and mid strength beer, for intent of consumers not getting too drunk - yet would only sell wine by the bottle, not by the glass.

    Now that's what I called a contrast of ideas!