Articles and Reviews

Robert Oatley: Semaphore Cabernet Sauvignon 2018

Posted by: Andy Kelly

Date: 16-04-2023

It's been a good while since I've posted anything under the "Ned Said" banner but that's not to say that I haven't been keeping up with the yearly tradition of buying The Best Wines in the Supermarkets series. Over the past couple of years, there just hasn't been anything noteworthy that I've enjoyed...until now...

What Ned Said:

"Blood-red (in a nice way), concentrated, spicily savoury blackcurrant pure cabernet - endearingly wholesome and balanced with 14% alcohol. It's from a much-admired producer and feels very confidently made. Upfront in its flavours in the right Aussie tradition but really quite elegant. Good Price".

A very understated review for something that Ned awards his highest mark for, and for the insane price of £8.35 at our local Co-op I knew it was too good an opportunity to pass up.

I've not come across anything by Robert Oatley before but the family business in its current form was set up in 2006 and is currently run by his eldest son, Sandy. They have a trio of labels that focus on wines from both Margaret River and McLaren Vale though I struggled to find anything regarding his Semaphore Series on the website. 

This is a shame because the Semaphore Cabernet Sauvignon I tried was an absolute barn burner of a wine.

The Semaphore Series itself is the backbone of a strong showing for the Co-op this year and this review will be the first of a few from their selection. 

Okay, I'll confess that the conditions for this tasting were not the best. It was opened at approximately midday on a Saturday when a good friend of mine came over to stay. We were supposed to take his dog for a walk (sorry Vlad) to a local nature reserve but we were both in the mood for a cheeky glass and before we knew it, the Semaphore had been cracked open. 

It was definitely blood-red with an excellent nose of blackcurrant, a touch of vanilla and a hint of eucalyptus. It was very well balanced with silky smooth tannins and a good, long finish. The smells transferred well in to the first glass but it was when we drank the second glass that this wine really came into its own. From the second glass, the strong blackcurrant notes were offset nicely with notes of vanilla and tobacco and there was  a touch of spice that came through on the finish. From the second glass onwards, there was also prominent notes of blackberry and blueberry too. 

It was an excellent bottle of wine and my only regret was that I had to share it! Once I had recovered from my hangover (the day went downhill after the Semaphore...), I was straight back up to the "Coey" to grab myself another.

Ned gave this a 10/10 and on this one, there is no argument from me. An outstanding wine at an amazing price point and one that will become a staple on my rack. I might even Join the Oatley Wine Club too.......