Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Chateau Tahbilk Goulburn Valley Cabernet Sauvignon, 1986

Whenever I read or hear anything about Tahbilk (formerly Chateau Tahbilk), my mind always goes back to the old war stories I heard from my late father-in-law.  During World War II, Ted served in the Northern Territory under a commanding office named Purbrick. Purbrick was old school in its purest form--a stickler for rules but with an overriding sense of integrity and fairness. In the Outback, with no outsiders within hundreds of miles, he would have his men parade in full uniform. If there were only two men available at that moment, he would give his orders to them, and they would march. When limited quantities of liquor would arrive with rations, he would never consider drinking it himself or giving it to fellow officers; he would carefully measure out equal portions to every single soldier.

The Purbrick family still runs the Tahbilk winery, and everything I have heard about the estate fits with the portrait given me by my father-in-law. With Tahbilk, you get honest wine at a price that is sometimes too reasonable. Capable of living 30 years in the bottle, this Cabernet sold for $8 when lesser Australian Cabs were selling for double that price.

Celebrating out 42nd anniversary, Donna and I thoroughly enjoyed the wine and our second-hand memories of Purbrick. Moderate bricking and huge amounts of crusty sediment. A great deal of tannin has been left on the sides of this bottle, but there is still enough to give the wine grip and power. Red berries and currants. On the palate, the wine is incredibly smooth with a kiss of sweetness. Many of the qualities that you might expect from a Bordeaux of comparable age, but the Australian stamp is apparent. While it may lack a bit of elegance, the fruit presence is pure and powerful. The wine still has plenty of acid and tannin, but I'm not sure how long it will be able to hold this precarious balance. I'll drink my remaining bottles fairly soon.


  1. Not bad for a 29 year old wine! Tahbilk's cabernet continues to impress.

  2. An excellent bottle. I still have a few bottles of the 1990 Tahbilk Cabernet but reviews on it have suggested that it may not have aged as well as the 1986.