On my first trip to Australia, I remember driving through the Adelaide Hills looking for cellar doors and in particular, somewhere to eat lunch. My girlfriend at the time and I became increasingly hungry and discouraged by our failure to find anywhere at all that was serving food. Finally we arrived at Maximilian’s Vineyard, remarkable at the time for the emu fenced in a nearby field. They took pity on our plight, and though their kitchen was closing, managed to provide us with a better lunch than we could have hoped to find. Flash forward half a decade, and I pass their vineyard whenever I am on my way to the winery where I now work, and I was last at their cellar door with the woman who had been my girlfriend (now wife) on our first lunch outing after the birth of our daughter, who very obligingly slept through the whole meal. Needless to say, I’m favourably inclined toward any wine from Maximilian’s Vineyards purely out of fond sentiment. However, sentiment aside, I’m pleased to be drinking this wine right now. And with that wordy introduction, I give you the Maximilian’s Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon 2004.
I am, however, slightly embarrassed that this will be one of my shortest proper posts, as I’ve covered the Adelaide Hills to death and I don’t have much more to say about Cabernet Sauvignon at the moment. That leaves me just to talk about Maximilian’s Vineyard, though really the discussion needs to start with Maximilian’s as a whole.
Maximilian’s is an establishment in the Adelaide Hills next to a town named Verdun. It consists of a homestead that was established in 1851, and is surrounded by blocks of vines and paddocks. The current owner, Maximilian Hruska, purchase all 36 acres of the property in 1974 and opened a restaurant in 1976. It wasn’t until 1997 that the property produced their first wine, and they have a very limited production of estate wine, which is largely sold directly through their cellar door, located at the same property.
Winemaking is done by Max’s son Paul, who spent six years abroad making wine, in both the New World and the Old, before returning to the Adelaide Hills, where in addition to the family wine, also has a hand in projects with Grant Burge, Scarpantoni and Torbreck. In addition to their estate Cabernet Sauvignon, they have a line of wines that goes under the label Madhills Wines which includes a Sauvignon Blanc, a Pinot Noir, a Shiraz, and a Pinot Noir Chardonnay sparkler.
In the glass this wine was clear and bright, with a medium plus brick red colour and thick slow legs. There was certainly some sediment – I should have decanted but it was a last minute choice and it hadn’t been stood up. The nose was clean, with medium intensity, and a developing character. It had aromas of red currant, menthol, tobacco, leather, and sweet spice. The palate was dry, with more red currant, little iodine, cranberry, and some pork/bacon. It had medium plus acidity, medium minus body, medium alcohol, medium fine tannins, medium plus intensity, medium plus length, with a plum finish.
This is a very good wine, especially given that it is essentially an estate wine for a restaurant. That’s not to say it’s the house wine – it’s certainly not. I picked it up last year, and I do love it when you can buy wine that’s been cellared for more than just a year or two, particularly by the producer. This wine still has fresh fruit, sharp acidity, and some fine tannins, so while I think it’s fully integrated, I expect that it still have room for improvement with more time in bottle.