2009 Hill of Content Cabernet Sauvignon Adelaide $6.99

Produced & Bottled by the World Wine Headquarters
ABV 14.0%
Purchased: Salem OR 11-7-2014 (during the wine sale)

FullSizeRenderIt appears that I have several of the WWH wines including (one that I haven’t mentioned because I hadn’t realized also came from them) an Argentinian Altivo Barrel Selection 2010 Chardonnay/Viognier Finca Eugenio Bustos that will be next on my review list. Normally I don’t focus on producers/bottlers, unless I’m trying to avoid a specific one per se; however, being favorably impressed by the Alexandre Sirech Les Deaux Terroirs Blanc and the more recently tasted Domaine de la Chique du Roussillon, I decided to try the other two wines that I have in my collection.

After loving the Colonial Estate Emigre, I decided to be more proactive in searching out Australian wines that I might like. Knowing nothing about their vintages, regions or favorable brands, it’s taking more research than I expected. According to one harvest report I read, the 2009 vintage was apparently greeted with mixed feelings. AU had a “record-breaking heat wave” that favorably affected South Australia’s late ripening varietals (Shiraz and Cabernet Sauvignon) but MacLaren Vale and Adelaide had to hurry to pick their early ripening grapes before sugar levels spiked. To me, this meant that this Cabernet was more likely to be a fruit forward, high alcohol wine…yet my newfound attraction to AU (as well as the sale price of $5.60) caused me to purchase it, regardless.

Again, because I’m unfamiliar with AU’s wine labeling regulations (i.e. in Oregon, for a wine to be labeled Pinot Noir, it has to be 90% Pinot Noir…although “new” wines to Oregon, such as Garnacha, only have to be 75% of that varietal to be labeled as such) and there is no other varietal listed on this label, I actually have no idea if it is 100% Cabernet Sauvignon or not. No information is available from the producer on this subject. Perhaps someone with more knowledge of AU wines might be able to elucidate further.

Unlike the other bottles I’ve reviewed, this one opens with a screw-top.

Color: Dark garnet.
Nose: Stewed prunes. Very unpleasant at first whiff. Bing Cherry.
Taste: Medium body. It’s not fruit forward and it’s completely unlike what I expected. It’s nicely dry but that is it’s best quality. It’s tart bordering on sour and there are no layers to balance the tartness. Just tart, dry, stewed fruit with a bit of vegetal aftertaste.

I think this wine (at least my bottle) has been badly handled…”cooked”. Just my opinion. I really hate it when the expectation is there and it’s so foiled.

Note: Sorry if that seemed like a build up, only to fall flat. I do the pre-research the same for all my wines (I just find it incredibly interesting…how passionate each winemaker is, the steps they go through, regional differences and hardships). I was going to leave it out and just hit the bare bones of the review since the wine had gone off, but I thought someone else might be interested in the information in general. If that’s not the case, then in future I absolutely can do “short and just the facts” when a wine has gone off.


9 thoughts on “2009 Hill of Content Cabernet Sauvignon Adelaide $6.99

  1. Thomas Le, CS.

    For Australia, an indication of origin (appellation) requires that 85% of such wine must come from that region. Same for indication of varietal, 85% minimum. If both grapes together made up 100%, but either aline is less than 85%. Both must be listed in the order of importance.
    Cabernet Sauvignon-Merlot means differently than Merlot-Cabernet Sauvignon.
    hope that’d help.

    1. permiesworld Post author

      Hello & welcome, Thomas. Yes, that was very helpful. Thank you also for the link (not only for the regulations page but also the rest of the site…I bookmarked both but am still perusing).

  2. lim13

    A couple of things worth mentioning here. First, from Wikipedia: As you stated, PW, “Oregon law requires that wines produced in the state must be identified by the grape variety from which it was made, and for most varietals it must contain at least 90% of that variety.” And just for further clarification, ” The exceptions to the 90% law are the following varietals: Red and White Bordeaux varietals, Red and White Rhône varietals, Sangiovese, Tempranillo, Zinfandel and Tannat. For these wines, they follow the Federal guidelines of 75%. Oregon law has long forbidden use of place names, except as appellations of origin.”

    And second: I checked back in my cellar notes on the 1997 and 1999 Hill of Content Old Vine Grenache/Shiraz that are now long gone and found that “six of eight bottles of the 1997 were cloudy; nose and flavors were odd; a rather dirty cooked prune quality; almost a varnish quality there too; because it’s unfiltered, I suspect I’m going to find bottle variation.” The other two bottles were wonderful: “nose is very varietal spicy, blackberry and black pepper; in the mouth it’s “sweet” black fruit; plummy, jammy and medium-bodied; smooth tannins; absolutely no hashness; very well balanced and delicious; this is a great example of Rhone-style red.” So perhaps Hill of Content just has intermittent problems due to production techniques and facilities or barrel cleanliness issues. I paid $11 for the 1997 and $14 for the 1999.

      1. lim13

        No, PW. The prices I quoted were regular retail. I bought them from the stores I used to work for…and I’ll be retired 10 years in April. I had never even heard of Grocery Outlet then. : ~)

    1. permiesworld Post author

      Also, in 2007 Oregon updated the law to include 11 new varietals: “Eleven new grape varieties will be exempted from the 90% minimum requirement for varietal labeling, and allowed to be blended with up to 25% other varieties, largely to satisfy wineries in southern Oregon and in three AVAs that cross over into Washington on the state’s northern border. The 11 new varieties are Carménère, Durif (Petite Sirah), Grenache, Marsanne, Mourvedre, Roussanne, Sangiovese, Syrah, Tannat, Tempranillo and Zinfandel. The remaining 54 varieties known to grow in Oregon, which make up more than 90% of Oregon wine production, will still require a minimum 90%. ”

      Read more at: http://www.winesandvines.com/template.cfm?section=news&content=53554

  3. Kristen Lewis Dunder

    I picked up a bottle of this a few nights ago at the Eugene GO, based on name recognition alone (as my faithful Andy was not working, and there were no reviews from you wonderful folks at this website yet). Very disappointing indeed. I’m not as descriptive, nor able to find words quite as easily, as you are, PW, but when I read your comment aloud about the nose of this wine consisting of “stewed prunes,” my husband and I both responded with a resounding “YES!” Very sour indeed and we wondered if our bottle alone was a bit off. It appears not to be the case, from your review. I should have saved my $6.99 and bought another bottle of Four, or put it towards the purchase of another Mayerdale Pinot!

    1. permiesworld Post author

      Hi Kristen,
      Sorry to hear you had a similar experience. If you didn’t toss your bottle, GO has a really good return policy (even after something has been opened). Glad to hear you are enjoying the Four and the Mayerdale.


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