If I was to encapsulate a Gourmet escape, Cape Mentelle International Cabernet tasting, I would have to say it is an awakening moment.
Where, just for a day, we were nomads journeying through 20 of the world’s best 2016 Cabernets, alongside some of the world’s most renowned wine makers, wine writers and business elite. As, all together, side by side, we blind tasted our way through greatness.
After all the 110+ of us arrived, we were guided into Cape Mentelle’s grand tasting cellar, where at our chosen position, we peered with excited anticipation at the deep red hue of super Tuscans, Napa Valley Cabernet’s, Grand Cru Bordeaux’s, which glistened anonymously in amongst Australia’s ultra-premium made wines. And then, bracket by bracket, one glass, after the next, we blindly nose-dived into each glass, letting the wine sensually take hold, as we began building our own assumptions around aroma, flavour, body, region, sub-region and even, for the aspiring Master’s of Wine in the room, the wine itself...
From Chateau Leoville-Las-Cases (Saint-Julien), to Cullen’s Diana Madeline, through to Italy’s prized Ornellaia, Chateau Lafite, Cape Mentelle’s Cabernet and Napa’s Far Niente (to name a few of the 20). They were youthful delegates, which elegantly represented their regions, with finesse, brilliance and character.
On completion of such a joyous tasting, we, of course, were given “the reveal” and with pride on the line, we would add up, how many regions and wines we were able to notch up on our tally. In my case, 11/20 regions/sub regions were correctly picked and only 1/20 of the Cabernets were identified....I suppose, I should drink some more Cabernet, in preparation for next years’ rematch.
However, it wasn’t just the occasion of the tasting itself that was to be celebrated, but the lunch and frivolities that followed...
To enjoy a glass with James Halliday, Erin Larkin, Christina Pickard, Peter Forrestal, Gary Walsh, Mike Beanie, Matt Skinner, Andrew Bretherton, Vanya Cullen, Matt Kramer, Paul Holmes a Court, Virginia Woolf just to name a few carries with it experience and insight of knowledge and their generous sharing of experience, which creates memories and growth that rarely present themselves.
And at this particular event, we were fortunate to have represented an intersection of GOATs (greatest of all time) across the generations of wine, which may not so regularly occur again (if at all).
Something that on reflection provides real weight to the special opportunity both myself and other attendees had.
With community at the forefront, wine in hand, no conversation had boundaries and if you indulge my philosophical tangent for just a moment, I suppose that’s something we lack in today’s day in age, that space where we intentionally afford ourselves the freedom to build new relationships face to face, to not overthink and for a rare time be present, to share, learn and grow.
The Cabernet Tasting aside, wine does that. In moderation/balance accompanied by beautiful food (in this case, prepared and superbly cooked by Kate Lamont), regardless of background, while flavours of varied red fruits whipsaw around your tongue. There’s an opportunity to be able to share thoughts around your interpretation of a glass of red and let that lead into a rabbit warren of unabashed dialogue. These are rare, yet deeply communal moments, that I personally believe we should be more willing, in amongst the busy-ness Of schedules, to give space to in our lives. As it is through such opportunities, last relationships are made...
But away with the philosophy of life and back to what was a real blessing of disproportionate magnitude.
This is a day that should be part of every “winos” annual pilgrimage.
It is one, which celebrates delicious and mouthwatering Cabernet, meanwhile, over lunch is packed with lively conversation and opportunities to further unfurl the nuances of the wines tasted earlier with the lunch guests (you are seated with).
Unquestionably worth attending and it is with anticipation that I now am heading to the cellar to select a Cabernet for tonight, as with a year until the next one, I intend to build on my tally...
See you next year.
P.S - See below for the photo of the full list of wines: