Yalumba The Menzies 2005
Hall of Fame - "I fell out of love with Menzies some time ago and wondered if I was ever going to get back on speaking terms with this famous Aussie stalwart. Thank goodness that the 2005 now shows some delightful civility and complexity because, at seven years old, it has mellowed sufficiently to allow the true Coonawarra
Cabernet essence to emerge without being occluded by the more forceful and raw edges which I have been used to of late. It turns out that time not only heals all things, but it positively gives them a makeover, too. Well done Yalumba for bringing Menzies back to life."
Matthew Jukes 100 Best Australian Wines 2012
"...divided the panel. (Huon) Hooke and (Peter) Forrestal were strong supporters, the former noting "blackberry cabernet fruit and well-judged oak. Fusty, earthy development and persuasive tannins. Needs time." Forrestal added, "I liked the cassis pastille flavours." I thought the wine had very dense fruit which was still to open up and was too solid in structure. This is one to cellar and re-evaluate in at least five years. It will live much longer."
Nick Bulleid MW & Wine Panel, Gourmet Traveller WINE (Aus/NZ), June/July 2010
"... But man cannot live by desserts alone, even in this weather. (It's snowing again, wetly, as I look out of the window.) Australia's big reds suggest themselves. A bottle of The Menzies, Yalumba's Coonawarra Cabernet, stepped up and volunteered one evening when duck was on the table. 2005 is very young by my standards - as you may have guessed. But balance can be achieved (indeed, must be achieved) early in life, and this was in perfect equilibrium between keen fruit, showing the peppery side of Cabernet, by no means overripe, and nutty warmth. The tannin was palpable (and appreciated by the duck), and the fruit was sweet and long. If The Menzies had time on its side, I feared my next Australian bottle might not."
Hugh Johnson, World of Fine Wine (UK), 2010
4 stars - "Now in its 18th vintage, a luxurious wine with creamy, liqueur-ish, spicy Cabernet fruit backed by alluring whiffs of dark chocolate, truffles and spice. The dense, concentrated flavours retain a pleasing freshness and plenty of New World sheen. Now-2014+."
Decanter (UK), April 2009
4 stars - "Almost jammy cassis nose; rich wine with a brisk acidity and fine, firm tannins; abundant, juicy, ripe blackberry fruit, a long, succulent core. Powerful, classy wine, with the added acid clear. 2018 - 2030."
Michael Schuster, Decanter (UK), March 2009
" You, quite simply, won't find much better value Coonawarra than this in 2009"
"Yalumba has always produced Coonawarra reds that tend towards the herbal/dusty end of the spectrum. But in 2005, an excellent Coonawarra vintage, they have changed tack opting for a more classical cassis, fruit-dominant style, which is, in my book, a real move for the better. In fact, this is an absolute belter made in a dense and compact style that immediately impresses with its layers of power-packed aromas that are lifted by some cedary/ dusty complexity. In the mouth the fruit is generous, almost explosive, yet retains a measured character. All of this sits on marked chewy tannins that mingle beautifully with the fruit, which suggest that the wine will drink well for 15 years or more. You, quite simply, won't find much better value Coonawarra than this in 2009. Jeremy Oliver writes, "94 Points - Very elegant, firm and fine-grained, this charmingly sweet-fruited cabernet reveals pristine small red and black berry flavours tightly knit! with cedary chocolate/mint oak and framed by dusty, almost chalky tannins. Showing a hint of sappiness, it's already quite complex and seamless. Tremendous value. Drink - 2025." And from James Halliday, "94 Points - Perfectly presented cassis and blackcurrant fruit; tannins and oak in the back seat; supple mouthfeel.". Campbell Mattinson chimes in with "95 Points - The 2005 marks a new era for this vineyard and label. Yalumba see this wine as the future of Menzies, and boy I hope they're right. It's curranty, mulberried, straight and long - archetypal line-and-length red wine - with minty tannins and real length. Huge cellaring potential. Great varietal purity, and yet greatly elegant. Drink - 2022"
Angus Hughson, www.wine-ark.com (Aus), 17th March 2009
90+ points - "The 2005 The Menzies Cabernet Sauvignon was sourced from a single vineyard in the Victoria Gl of Coonawarra, the older blocks planted in 1975, the younger in 1994. The wine was aged in 46% new French hogsheads and barriques, the balance in seasoned French and American oak, Opaque purple-colored, the wine reveals notes of toasty oak, spice box, pencil lead, black currant, and blackberry. This is followed by a full-bodied wine with layered, ripe fruit, savory flavors, well-integrated oak, and enough structure to evolve for 2-3 years. Drink this full-flavored Cabernet from 2011 to 2020."
Jay Miller, The Wine Advocate (USA) #181, February 2009
94 points - "An assertive, broad-shouldered cabernet whose plump and sumputously ripened plum, blackberry and cassis flavours are backed by sweet, lightly roasted vanilla/chocolate oak and light greenish undertones. Supported by fine, powdery tannins and polished oak characters, it's long, smooth and complete, finishing with lingering dark fruit and nuances of graphite. It just stays the right side of being overcooked."
Jeremy Oliver, The Australian Wine Annual 2009
"A single vineyard Cabernet from the golden mile of Coonawarra, fully ripe in 2005, and sporting a sweetly fruited palate with dense dark fruits and chocolate below. Fine sheets of tannin work away below bringing sturdy balance; defined, elegant and downright stylish."
Nick Stock, WBM100 (Aus), October 2008
94 points - "You could have some discussion about the merits of the 2004 v 2005 Coonawarra vintage, and more pertinently the Menzies from these years. My opening gambit is that generally, largely based on stylistic preference, I prefer 2004. There are always exceptions of course, and with this particular wine I fractionally prefer the 2004 because it had a bit of X-Factor that tweaked my bits, whereas technically you'd probably have to tip your hat (and your glass) towards the 2005 - it's most likely the better wine. So there you have it. Funny old business wine.
Seductive smelling wine with blackcurrant, sweet red fruits, creamy vanilla oak, earth and bay leaf with just a little menthol and a slight rum and raisin edge. Complex then you'd have to say and then maybe add violets too. Full bodied with ultra-fine palate saturating tannin, it feels fluid, smooth and long through the mouth. It has rich sweet fruit, dark chocolate and some more earthy flavours and is amazingly approachable right now. Full and ripe it's an excellent wine." Drink : 2008 - 2020
Gary Walsh, www.winorama.com.au (Aus), 5 July 2008
"The Menzies Coonawarra vineyard has been in Yalumba hands since 1993, and it's always produced wines full of herbal, dusty flavours. The 2005 marks a new era for this vineyard and label.
Yalumba see this wine as the future of Menzies, and boy I hope they're right. It's curranty, mulberried, straight and long - archetypal line-and-length red wine - with minty tannins and real length. Huge cellaring potential. Great varietal purity, and yet greatly elegant." 95/100. Drink 2014-2022.
Campbell Mattinson, The Big Red Wine Book (Aus), 2008
"The Menzies cabernet sauvignon 2005 is a wonderful example of Coonawarra cabernet showing the typical powerful black currant aromas and flavours of this variety. It's a very intense wine showing perfect balance with concentrated and powerful fruit that's been picked fully ripe and expertly handled with French oak. 94/100"
Ray Jordan, West Weekend Magazine (Aus), 26 April 2008