2015 Majella, The Musician Cabernet/Shiraz, Coonawarra, South Australia
I have recently returned from a trip to Australia, bookended with two lengthy stopovers in China.
I hosted a large number of masterclasses and tastings on this journey, but the main thrust of my visit was to oversee and, of course, taste, in my annual The Great Australian Red competition.
Every year Brisbane-based wine scribe Tyson Stelzer (look out for his awesome new book on Champagne) gathers together 11 elite judges to determine which are the finest cabernet/shiraz blends in the country. This is the blend that defines Australia and I think it is one of the finest of all styles of red wine.
You can see the full results on my website, but Majella did well this year. The Musician 2017 picked up the trophy for best red wine under A$25, and the top red blend from this estate, Malleea, also grabbed three medals for the 2015, 2016 and 2017 vintages. In the UK, we are usually a few years behind the Aussie releases and this allows the wines time to soften and mature.
Try the epic 2015 The Musician for less than £15; the beautiful 2012 Majella Malleea Cabernet Sauvignon/Shiraz (£34.50, thefinewinecompany.co.uk) is drinking superbly well now and it is a snip, too. Coonawarra is justly famous for its straight cabernets: 2013 Majella (£24.29, flagship wines.co.uk; £23.50, noblegreenwines.co.uk) is another steal and it is also sublime right now. Spoilt for choice!
Matthew Jukes is a winner of the International Wine & Spirit Competition’s Communicator of the Year (matthewjukes.com)