Cabernet Sauvignon from Paarl, South Africa and Coonawarra, Australia

A year apart, a continent apart, a league apart?

Plaisir de Merle Cabernet Sauvignon 2009, Paarl, South Africa (£14.99 SA Wines Online)
I like the restrained plum, berry and blackcurrant flavours, and I don’t mind the slight hint of tomato-like volatility and dark chocolate character. However, there’s a slightly dank old cellar feel here, and the combination of a slightly hot alcoholic note with a baked/shrivelled edge speaks of grapes picked a touch late. But I’d still drink a fair bit of it. B+

Wynns Cabernet Sauvignon 2008, Coonawarra, Australia (£15.99 Waitrose)
Still fresh and lively after six years, showing rich, juicy cassis and berry flavours livened up by hint of mint and fresh earth, and with oak adding a light vanilla sheen. Packed with flavour, but with ripe tannin to hold it all together, this has a very promising future. S(+)

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