Retropective Wynns Black Label tasting

The annual release of Wynns Coonawarra wines known as Wynnsday is officially Wednesday 5th June, 2024. However I was privileged to a preview of three of their icon wines with Wynns Senior Winemaker, Sue Hodder (left) as part of a retrospective Black Label tasting arranged by Melbourne’s Wine Table at the Danish Club recently.

Sue said that, “the 2022 vintage was a high-quality year without any obvious climate change impacts, so this presented a fabulous opportunity for my team to truly bring our creative winemaking style to the fore”.

She explained that the 2024 Wynnsday Collection is one of the best range of wines that have been released in her time at Wynns. “In over three decades at Wynns, I have seen some very fine wines produced, but this year’s release are well and truly amongst the best” she said in presenting three of the new release wines.

Wynns Messenger Single Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon 2021  A classically styled single vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon, refined and brooding, with beautifully loaded  blackcurrant, mint and perfumed aromas with a firm backbone of French oak. The palate is long with   fine tannins underpinning the fruit which shows superb length through the palate. 97/100. $80

Wynns Black Label ‘Old Vines’ Shiraz 2022

Calm, elegant, restrained and assured nose. Black and green olive nuances edge to spiced licorice. Thick swathes of dark berry and plum fruit. Creamy oak and a little dried peel. Full, yet structured and elegant. Cool climate dark fruit with savoury etching. Acid is refreshing and cleansing while the tannins exquisitely knit. Oak spice like a deft touch of seasoning. Superb now, with a fine track record of ageing so well. 91/100. $45

Wynns Black Label Cabernet Sauvignon 

Wynns Black Label Cabernet is a true icon of Australian wine. First produced in 1954, it has a reputation for ageing gracefully and displaying excellent varietal and regional characteristics. Sue said that the wine is produced from only the top quality 20 to 25% of Cabernet Sauvignon fruit grown in their terra rossa vineyards. It is a favourite in auction circles and is one of Australia’s most collectable wines.

The tasting retrospectively then started. Please bear in mind these wines with the exception of the 2022 came from private cellars. The to be released 2022 was deep purple, clean, loaded with fruit dominated with plum and blackberry aromas and a hint of mint and chocolate. Frankly don’t bother drinking this now as it will need 6 – 8 yers to integrate. 10 years plus. 95/100. $45.

 1990  Black Label. Developed complex nose of dried fruit, blood red in colour, dry finish, soft through the palate, still drinking well but finished short as you would expect. Drink now. 90/100.  1998 Black Label. Nice deep dark purple colour. Still going strong with slightly closed nose, good length, rich complex palate of cassis, vanilla, and hints of dark berries and savoury. Retains good length too. Outstanding. 98/100. The 1999 Black label vintage was touted to be better than 98 but this bottle disappointed. The nose was volatile.

It may have benefited with a couple of hours in a decanter but initially it lacked palate depth and the tell tale signs of blackberry and eucalyptus were missing. There are better examples of the 99 out there. 88/100.

2006 Black label. Sue explained this was the beginning of a new era of Wynns winemaking. A cooler year, the nose was slightly closed but fruit was well structured in the classic Wynns style. Concentrated dark fruits and mint, it was smooth, long and well balanced. A ripper. Plus 3 years.  97/100. 2010 Black label. Sue said this was a bad year.but was a lovely deep colour. Plum and red berries on the nose. Good weight through the middle although this drifted away. Great drinking now.95/100. 2012 Black label. Full complex nose of blackberries and liquorice which descended through the palate. Big bold and robust red, drinking well now but will continue over the next 5 years. A wonderful example of this consistently great linage of Black Labels. 95/100. 2013 Black label. “This was wine that disappeared under the radar’, Sue explained. “It was a late bloomer and needs plenty of time to open out”, she said. This bottle was rich with dark fruits and a hint of toffee, well balanced and nice acidity up front. Loved it. 95/100.

2015 Black label. Perfumed nose with deep blood red colour. Full flavour black current, plum and liquorice. Nice long finish. Plus 6. 94/100. 2016 Black Label. From a dry drought year. Has plenty of work to peak in front of it Big, bold and complex ripe fruit with obvious tannin and a hint of aniseed. Chewy. Loved it plus 10. 97/100. 2019 Black label. Dense colour of vivid purple hue. Bursting with rich. chewy fruit. Complex and full and developing beautifully. Outstanding. 98/100.

In Conclusion.

There is no doubt Wynns flagship ‘peoples’ Cabernet rightly deserves its place as the most popular and consistent in its stable. The messenger was absolutely delightful and the best in this line up were the 1998, 2006, 2016 and 2019 Black label. Enjoy.

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