First up was a Coonawarra 2017 from M&S. There was a strong herbal/medicinal note for me that overpowered the fruit a lot. It was somewhere in the eucalyptus note but not one I was familiar with outside of wine. The finish was short, but overall it was a reasonably quaffable wine.
Second up was the Penley Estate Phoenix.
Wine Advocate just named this one of the top 100 wines in the world, which is strong praise. Here, we had aged aromas: vanilla from the wood, charred cedar, and other slightly leathery notes that you might associate with older wines. This was starting to come to life but the fruit didn’t quite gel with these other aromas.
Finally, was the stomper. Arlewood’s 2012 Cabernet (also from Amathus, but couldn’t find a link online) had a far greater fruit dominance than the Penley Estate. It felt far better to drink right now, with perhaps the Penley still needing a bit of time. It was a big, in your face wine, but for me the Phoenix was the one I wanted to drink today.
Interestingly, the M&S wine didn’t noticeably have any residual sugar on it. That was until you went back to taste it after the Penley & Arlewood. Going back to it, sugar sat on the tongue like you’d snatched a lump from your granny’s sugar jar.