Robert Parker of erobertparker.com and The Wine Advocate has become something of pantomime villain in the world of wine on account of his supposed predilection for wines that are weighty and powerful over those that are subtle and elegant.
Things is I’ve tasted some wines highly rated by Parker where I’ve completely concurred with him and others which I felt were indeed overdone. This does not make the him unreliable as a critic but rather goes towards the subjectivity of taste and the impossibility of coming up with absolute judgements of wine quality.
Last night a bottle of Idiom 900 Series Cabernet Sauvignon 2005. Despite local Cab generally being of a high overall standard, I tend not to drink it very much and I think this is because it doesn’t lend itself to the lighter, healthier meals that make up our everyday menu. However, on this occasion we were eating pan-fried free-range sirloin for dinner, so Cab was appropriate.
Idiom wines are from grapes grown on the Helderberg property, Da Capo Vineyards, owned by Alberto Bottega and family. Those in the top-end 900 Series are a three-barrel selection, which is equivalent to 900 bottles and hence the name.
The house style is, in a word, flamboyant and 900 Series Cabernet Sauvignon 2005 is very much in that vein. Rich and full with super-concentrated dark fruit, smooth textured but not completely facile (20 months in French oak, 100% new). I suspect that some might describe the wine as “Parkerised” but I found it decadent and rather enjoyable. I’ve subsequently learnt the wine sells for R360 a bottle from the farm and at that price, it really can’t afford to be too shy and retiring…