1998 Kay Brothers Amery Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon

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1998 Kay Brothers Amery Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon

McLaren Vale, South Australia, AUSTRALIA
$34.99 Bottle
  • Cellar 8 - 10 years (2008-2010)
  • Closure: Cork

After every vintage there is a winemaker in one district or another declaring it to be the "Vintage of the Century" and not surprisingly, once the wines are sold out there's that inevitable re-assessment and the so called "great vintage" is down graded in favour of the next, (yet to be released) vintage.The time to declare the vintage of the Century has now run out, and we can confidently reflect back over the last forty years (though we can not, with any authority, go back much further than that.) The graph has its usual ups and downs caused by vintage conditions, but in general, all districts in Australia could report a steady upwards increase in wine quality.

If we consider both viticulture and winemaking over the four decades, we note some interesting trends. The late fifties and sixties were decades of ignorance and bliss. Winemaking was a fairly hit and miss affair - there was little understanding of pH, fermentation temperatures or even the effect of new oak. The decade of the late sixties through to the seventies saw a large increase in knowledge of winemaking and the technical advances did much to catapult the Australian wine industry into international prominence. The late seventies and eighties saw a generation of young Turks hit the straps. The like of Brian Croser, Tim Knappstein, Geoff Merril & John Wade all began to innovate and in some cases became wholly engrossed in technical perfection. The wines were squeaky clean and sometimes far too lean, as everyone tried to re-invent themselves. Then appeared a controversial New Zealand viticulturist, Richard Smart, who wrought havoc upon everyone's vineyards. "Scott Henry", "Geneva double Curtain", "Vertical Shoot Positioning" all became "buzz-words".This was a time when major winemaking improvements were born. The complete understanding of viticulture evolved and the improvements made in the vineyards of the late eighties would manifest themselves in the great wines of the nineties.Given the magnitude of those viticultural changes it is thus highly unlikely that the vintage of the century would have been in the first eighty years of this century. Some might argue that it was 1990 - others will say 1994, or 1996, but across the country the red wines from 1998 seem impossible to surpass. The succession of droughts in the late nineties meant low yields, but very high quality wines.


The front cover wine in this extraordinary edition of Vintage Direct could have been any number of wines from the 1998 vintage. In the final analysis, we've chosen a wine that displays exceptional vintage character and value from a district where Shiraz is usually the star, but as it happens, stars can be outdone! There are going to be some very special Cabernets produced in 1998 and the Kay Brothers is destined to be one of the stars.. The wine has spent 20 months in oak which was a combination of new American oak, a 2600 litre American oak vat and wait for it - 3 Memel oak puncheons! The wine was fermented in traditional open fermenters and then basket pressed. Opaque crimson purple colour. Generous nose with intense aromas of vanilla, spice, liquorice, violets - a sniffing pleasure! Mouthfilling palate flavour. Strong flavours of blackcurrant, liquorice and spice. The tannins reflect the Cabernet variety and are quite dry and firm yet in balance to the very ripe full bodied palate flavour. A wine to cellar for 8-10 years. Very long aftertaste of spice, liquorice, plum and blackpepper. An outstanding wine and exceptional value for money. Stocks of this wine are limited.