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Q U I N T E S S E N T I A L L Y   W I N E

Tasting Notes from Matthew Jukes

2009 Cabernet Sauvignon

I and the Q Wine team were lucky enough to taste an early sample of the 2009 vintage of Xurus Cabernet last week. We were all struck dumb by its pure class. I know that one shouldn’t compare Cabernets to the wines of Bordeaux but the global benchmark for this grape is unavoidable, so forgive me for doing so again. 2009 is a great vintage in Bordeaux and it is clearly a cracker for Xurus. Still very young, with bright, savoury tannins and a mouth-watering finish this is an extremely posh wine with every single element in check and yet it has none of the over-exuberance, over extraction and heavy-handed oak so often associated with Californian Cabernet. This wine is aromatically exact – the cassis notes, cigar-box and fresh leather notes are sublime. Following on the palate is compact, crisp, focussed and packed with energy. The power is well-judged and tightly under control and the finish is very long indeed. I have a feeling that we shouldn’t be drinking this wine for a minimum of five years and it should run on well for another decade. What’s remarkable about this wine is that it completes a perfect trio of vintages for Xurus and this means that you ought to seek out a vertical collection to amaze your friends in years to come. I have said before that Xurus is one of my top ten Californian Cabernet producers – I am convinced that it is now one of the finest proponents of this variety on the planet.

 

Q U I N T E S S E N T I A L L Y   W I N E

Tasting Notes from Matthew Jukes

2008 Cabernet Sauvignon

After last year’s terrific, silky smooth, honed 2007, which we all raved about at Q Wine here is the very tidy follow up vintage. With ‘fit’ tannins, really crisp, clean, focussed fruit and a superb texture, Xurus continues to establish itself outside of the usual Californian Cabernet paradigm. This means that Xurus is a more chiselled and European-shaped wine with incredible poise and charm. The fruit is fully ripe, layered and intricately complex and the oak is subtle and well-judged. It reminds me of very youthful Léoville-Poyferré in its compact build and yet extraordinary array of nuances. It is still a little on the youthful side, as you would expect, but it will soften enough to have a real crack at it in a decanter and this signals to me that the optimum drinking window will be from 2012-2020. I am a massive fan of the skill and dedication at Xurus - this winery has fast become one of my top ten estates from North America!

 

Q U I N T E S S E N T I A L L Y   W I N E

Tasting Notes from Matthew Jukes

2007 Cabernet Sauvignon

The high point of our recent Q Wine Worldwide Conference (a fascinating melting pot of our colleagues from Hong Kong, USA, Switzerland, Mexico and London) was a tasting which we all put on to showcase some possible new inclusions in our wine list. Ed Gerard was championing this wine and within a second of us all dipping our noses into the glass we were mass-hypnotised by the extraordinary aroma which Xurus possesses. Was this a brand new cult wine for us to launch to our members or was it going to promise everything and then fall flat on the palate? If you had filmed us all there would have been no need for sound. The beaming grins said it all. Xurus is a rare wine indeed and I don’t just mean that it is made in tiny quantities, which it is. I mean that it is phenomenally well-balanced. It is sultry and sensual, but bright and titillating, too. It is clearly the proud possessor of oodles of fantastic French carpentry, but at no stage is the oak out of place, dominant or too dry. It is succulent, enigmatic and perfectly judged. The fruit is proud and sonorous without being showy or too concentrated. Taking all of this into perspective this is a very rare Californian Cabernet indeed. It is also not too nose-bleedingly dear! Wow – it has it all. Should you invest in Xurus Cabernet? We, perhaps rather unfairly, compared it to a few very highly rated clarets from top vintages (at truly nose-bleed prices) and Xurus looked awesome.

Ed may just have shown us the best new wine of the season! Yes, as much as I hate to be trumped, I am also delighted to recognise a perfect piece of winemaking. Thanks Ed. Spread the word – you may get your biggest haul of Christmas cards ever this year from QWine members grinning from ear to ear like we did. Yes, and one will be from me, too."