Coonawarra hasn’t been producing a hell of a lot of wines that have done much for me recently. I grew up listening to people talk about the region’s reds possessing finesse and the definitive stamp of the famous terra rossa soil but all I could often taste was alcohol, awkward acidity and oak. Brand’s Laira have been a repeat offender in the past. This effort doesn’t revive the region for me but it’s not guilty of these issues which have plagued more expensive releases over the past few years. Perhaps things are moving in the right direction.
The fruit is sweet, fleshy and cuddly, and even if the alcohol reading still looks high the perception of it within the overall framework isn’t really a factor. Far from angular, this offers itself up to you without much ceremony but with a surprising sense of balance. Supple and soft black and purple berries over plums and mint. High cocoa chocolate oak adds a dimension of rich, malty pleasure. Chewed pencil tannin with an olive tapenade aftertaste. Full-bodied. A bit washy and languid on entry but at the price point (usually discounted I might add) I don’t see that as a drawback. Ready to decant and drink now. 88
Tasted: June 2014