It was with a great deal of trepidation that I cracked the top of our 2007 Helen’s Hill Cabernets. We took a bit of punt on this wine when we made it as although the vintage was pretty much perfect for growing Cabernet in the Yarra Valley, fires in Gippsland meant that we had some smoke haze drift into the Valley a week or two before picking. Smoke can diffuse into the vines and some of these smoke flavours will make it through to the fruit. The big question is how much and how big of an impact will they display in the end wine.


I’d be lying if I said that there wasn’t a little something going on with the 2007 Cabernets that looked a little like residual smoke taint. Just a little bitterness to the back palate. Made the wine look a touch “hot”. But this could have also been me tasting the wine with a pre-determined mind set. If I hadn’t of known that there was a risk of smoke taint I would have been kicking back enjoying the wonderful attributes of an aged Cabernets. At 8 years old the wine is just starting to get into that ultimate drinking window. The bramble fruits, cedar wood, tannins, acids and oak flavours are all now in balance. The nose is outstanding, fresh, in your face and really does make your mouth water before you even take a drink. Given that time has done it thing, the palate is pretty much unified and integrated from front to back. Powerful but elegant. Layers of fruit and complexity but really easy to drink. There is just a hint of something going on at the very end of the palate. But given how amazing fresh the wine looks this could simply be residual tannin as opposed to smoke.


If you have any of this wine left under the bed. Do yourself a favour, crank up some lamb, decant the wine for a couple of hours before drinking and enjoy the splendour of an 8 year old Cabernet. In my opinion it easily has another 4-5 years left in it.




Allan Nalder