Fine wine merchant Phil Hude is big on education.

The 2019 vintage is a good one for Wendouree and certainly a strong follow-up to the outstanding 2018 vintage wines. Whilst not quite reaching that same dizzying height of quality, these are indeed quite close.

2019 is a smaller crop and so the overall quantity was down by around one-third on 2018 and the wines are all attuned to the established stylistic characters through the range. Where the 2018’s are bathed in fleshy, perfectly ripe fruit, the 2019’s are more condensed and have less volume. The tannins therefore read more legibly and more assertively.

There’s a notable omission, being that of varietal cabernet sauvignon. The cabernet is wholly deployed into the cabernet malbec blend, one of the stand-out wines of this release. The shiraz malbec is always the easygoing, early-drinking option and it certainly fits the bill here. As does the varietal malbec which is certainly the most abundantly primary fruited of the set. Shiraz Mataro is in career-best form!

2019 Shiraz Malbec is a fifty-fifty blend with tarry dried plum and spice aromas, violet and a herbal, leafy edge.  The palate has a smooth-honed feel, gently creamy and open knit with good concentration of red plum fruit and fresh, even-paced tannin that is quite open-knit. Acidity sits in nicely in the finish with little chocolate to close. Drinkable now. Screw cap. 94 points

2019 Malbec has a savoury overlay of beef stock and pepper, some fresh-baked pie crust too. There’s ripe plum, mulberry and boysenberry fruit in abundance with leafy elements and coal dust. Such round and fleshy style in the mouth with red plum and mulberry fruits delivered on glossy tannins. Open-knit and smooth-honed with succulent red and dark plum building out the finish. Very pure and primary. Drink or hold. Screw cap. 94 points

2019 Cabernet Malbec is a seventy-thirty split in which neither variety stands out from the other. Rich and ripe dark plum, black currant, blueberry and red berry fruits here, leafy tobacco notes and forest wood too. The complexity is impressive. The palate offers vividly fresh and intense black currant, dark plum, mulberry and cassis as well as liquorice and cocoa. Bold and full-bodied, this has a very intense, powerful drive of tannin on the finish. Needs time, try from 2026. Screw cap. 98 points

2019 Shiraz Mataro is a near even split with shiraz just ahead at 55% of the blend. There’s so much spice, tar, graphite and coal dust here with blueberry and rose like florals as well as earthy characters, mulberry and dark roasting herbs like sage and thyme. Really complex. The palate has smooth chocolate-like texture and plum, dark cherry, blueberry and blackberry fruits. Smoothly emulsified tannins build in a silky and open but deceptively long and powerful mode. So impressive. Drink over the next decade. Screw cap. 99 points

2019 Shiraz has very attractive spice from both fruit and oak and is showing some early complexity on the nose with plum and blackberry as well as blueberry and a strong tarry edge, a signature of this site. The palate has such density and depth, real detail and power. Very layered with flavours of dark chocolate, orange peel and ripe sweet blackberry and plum fruit. Fleshy and polished, this has a lot to offer. So impressive now, best from 2027. 98 points