Bowen Estate's fabulous 2019 reds
95 point Cabernet
"95 points. This is on the riper spectrum, but it doesn't stray into OTT territory. There's a lot of flavour, sure, but it comes out complete and balanced. Awash with currants and blackberries, mint chocolates and freshly rolled tobacco. Textural tannins have some poise and the finish is fresh and long." James Halliday's Australian Wine Companion
Bowen Estate was established by Doug and Joy Bowen in 1972. Doug was a talented viticulturist and planted the vines on Coonawarra’s prime terra rossa soil, which had produced great red wines since grapes were first planted there by John Riddoch in 1891.
Bowen Estate have a reputation for producing powerful yet elegant red wines. Wines that drink well on release yet have the fruit and structure to reward cellaring for a decade or more. The focus is very much on Cabernet Sauvignon and Shiraz, two well proven varieties for this cool climate region.
Doug is a hands-on viticulturist who insists that hand-pruning brings out the best in his vines, It restricts the crop size to about 2 tonnes per acre, which results in full bodied wines with greater depth of colour and longevity. His daughter Emma reckons that 90% of the Cabernet’s character is “preset in the vineyard”.
They took a hard look at what they were doing and where they wanted the winery to be in 30 years time. They had a general feeling that they could make even better wine from their 33 hectares of vineyards .
Over the years they had always picked the various blocks separately and kept the wines apart during maturation. On the tasting bench, over all those years, the quality difference from block to block remained consistent.
Every year there was a clear difference from best to not as good and it was always the same. They had also identified their best Cabernet clone, based on wine quality, so this was used to in their replanting program.
They ripped out two blocks of wines that were under-performing. Over the following two years they took cuttings of the best Cabernet to replace these two blocks. Then, in 2006, a savage frost wiped out the vintage on an adjoining 5.4 hectare vineyard, which they had intending to replant “some time”. After the frost and ground-softening rain, Doug decided to rip it out there and then. He replanted it with more Cabernet cuttings in the following November.
The 2019 vintage was a cracker. An excellent fruit set was followed by great weather conditions from January through to picking, the fruits of this replanting have come to fruition.
“95 points. Deep crimson-purple, it is full of rich fruit, yet not extractive or alcoholic, simply full-bodied, with a perfect marriage of fruit, oak and tannins.” James Halliday
An opulent and stylish wine that leaps out of the glass. It has a classic cassis nose with peppermint undertones. The core of this wine is the appealing blackcurrant fruit and violet notes. The generosity of these characters belies the medium bodied wine structure on the palate. The finely intertwined tannins are a hallmark not only of classic coonawarra but Bowen Estate's winemaking philosophy. The 2019 is a very polished wine opening with immediate appeal as well as excellent cellaring potential from an outstanding vintage.
A brilliant, harmonious wine from a classic Coonawarra vintage. An amazing example of the value possible out of Coonawarra.