Huon Hooke comments on the 2005 Stella Bella Cabernet Sauvignon Merlot in today’s SMH Good Living…

“With its stylish, colourful labelling and modest pricing, winemaker Janice McDonald’s Stella Bella range is excellent and arguably undersung.

This is a pristine Margaret River cabernet merlot in the tight, fine-grained, elegant, vibrant-fruit style that is the trademark of the maker. The colour is brilliant red-purple, with the intense and very clean aromas of blackcurrant, mulberry and blackberry with subtle oak. The palate is very intense and taut, with unobtrusive but definite fine-grained tannins giving good structure and a nice grip to finish. Youthfully vital, not yet showing great complexity but its future seems assured. Best in a couple of years but it can be drunk from now until, say, 2025.”

Suggested food pairings include cooked cheeses such as beaufort and gruyere; red meats from veal to rare beef and pink lamb roasts.