Yalumba ‘The Scribbler’ Cabernet Suavignon-Shiraz 2009, or, What’s in a name?

Now, I know what you’re doing right now. You’ve already seen the picture of the bottle, you’re scrunching your eyes up, scratching your chin, and saying to yourself in a quietly suspicious manner: “I know why he bought this wine”. Here’s a lad who likes his wine, he likes writing, and what a fine looking faux-notepad styled label on the front. “Oh yes,” you’re saying, pointing a finger now because you’re so sure of yourself, “I know why this one got the old ‘thumbs up’!”

Ok ok. You got me. No need to keep smiling in that dastardly manner. I know I’ve been rumbled. How could I resist? Isn’t that just the most geeky/cool thing you’ve ever seen adorn green-tinted glass? Never before has a moth to flame analogy been more appropriate. It borders on the unfair even…

It’s like getting a bunch of Star Wars geeks in a cocktail bar and, as they go to order, informing them that one of the drinks is called “The Yoda”. Do you think any of them would be able to say “no” to that? Do you think they would even ask what was in it? I seriously doubt it. The conclusion is so foregone it’s almost cruel.

But was I confident that this wine would actually taste any good? Well, no. To be quite honest, I’d tried a couple of Yalumba’s before and found them a little disappointing. So, when I cracked this one open and let it decant for a bit I approached with caution.

First I took a tentative sniff. That was the first clue that the Cabernet was leading this one. You know what it reminded me of? A Bordeaux. Definitely not something I was expecting, but definitely a good thing.

But wait, let’s not get carried away here. How many times have you had a wine that smelt fantastic, only to be disappointed when the liquid actually made its way down your throat? Too many, too many…

So I swirled, and I slurped. I probably looked a little concerned for a time, maybe even a little confused. I swirled and slurped again. And then, what’s that? Did a little smirk appear in the corner of my mouth. Well, probably. And did that smirk lead up to a full-on smile. Absolutely.

This was mostly Cabernet, all right, but smooth. It didn’t have the same acid as the reds from France, but it did have something else: it was refined. I’m loathe to use the pretentious phrase “finely structured”, but I can’t help it with this one. All the flavours were in their right places, it had good length, and it left me with that ineffable warm glow inside that comes from tasting a wine that seems inexplicably right.

I can see why they called this one “The Scribbler”. For an Australian red with two big grapes in it, this one is nicely restrained, but there’s still plenty going on in there to provide some inspiration. And, yes, if you’d have called this “The Yoda” (or anything else for that matter) I would have said the same thing. After all, what’s in a name?

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