A Very Solid Performer – The Sydney Reserve

Many (far too many) years ago, I stumbled on a few bottles of the 1978 Leconfield Coonawarra Cabernet in a dusty corner of a bottleshop. It was quite a famous wine back then and offered for silly money (silly in the sense of being criminally cheap), so needless to say, I grabbed them. They are all long drunk now but I do remember them very fondly. Cracking Coonawarra Cabernet.

Sydney Hamilton started the vineyard and winery in 1974, when he was a sprightly 76 himself. I vaguely remember being rather surprised by that, way back when. I mean, why would a bloke who presumably needed a wheelchair to get around be starting a winery? 76 seemed older than Methuselah. Of course these days, while 76 is still a very long way off, the thought is more along the lines of, well why wouldn’t he?’. Whatever your perspective, it was a great achievement and has left a lasting legacy.

The other day, the latest vintage of the Leconfield ‘The Sydney Reserve’ Coonawarra Cabernet Sauvignon, from 2015 ($80 – probably could have bought an entire case of ’78, if they had that many bottles, back in the day), arrived.

In the interim, fair to say that Leconfield has been a very solid performer. Many excellent wines, and wines which usually represent terrific value, but perhaps not seen as the absolute pinnacle of the district. Mind you, I don’t think I have ever had a poor wine from them. And I have not had many better than this one.

Full of absolutely delicious black cherry, cassis, chocolate and dark fruit notes. Good oak integration, a supple and plush texture with excellent length. Fine cashmere-like tannins and some choc-mint notes on the finish. Loved it. 96.

May we all contribute something as worthwhile in our 70s, as Sydney Hamilton did when he established Leconfield.

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