First Drop Mother’s Ruin Cabernet Sauvignon 2019 is 100% Cabernet Sauvignon from McLaren Vale, south of Adelaide and known for intensely flavoured wines with soft, ripe tannins. The warm 2019 vintage saw rapid ripening and led to what the producer describes as “reds with great intensity and structure” helped also by lower yields and “early tannin maturity.” Described by First Drop as “an ode to the ‘luncheon claret”, this is a juicy, fresh, lighter style of Cabernet with young black fruit flavours and less of the secondary and tertiary aromas and flavours that you would expect from a long-aged claret. That’s not to say that First Drop Mother’s Ruin Cabernet Sauvignon 2019 is pure fruit juice. It also displays complex notes of baking spices, liquorice, dried herbs, cloves and mint with a hint of minerality on the finish. The tannins are dry but there are ripe and not at all harsh. As with previous vintages, I was torn which category to put this into and opted for the soft fruity red category because of the wine’s lighter body though it could easily have slotted into the smooth, elegant red category.
First Drop Mother’s Ruin Cabernet Sauvignon 2019 is one for those who don’t like big, beefy Cabernets.
How to enjoy this wine
This concentrated medium-bodied wine with noticeable yet velvety tannins is a great match for beef, lamb, goose and game; also a good match for mushrooms, hard cheeses and mild blue cheeses.
Serve at: 15 – 17°C
“This well balanced expression of McLaren Vale Cabernet Sauvignon is an ode to the ‘luncheon claret’, but it’s not as green and austere as that favourite lunchtime libation at the gentleman’s club. The fruit is from a vineyard with good breeding in the [Willunga] foothills and the resulting wine has been made in a fruit driven style this vintage. It has classic First Drop drinkability, so bottoms up!”
Colour: Dark plum. Bouquet: Cassis and plum fruit flavours with hints of eucalypt and florals. Palate: Black fruits with a round mid palate, an elegant core of tannins and a textured finish”
92 points – JamesSuckling.com – Oct 2022
“Here’s a ripe, savory and minty McLaren Vale cabernet. Surprising freshness and vitality in spite of the bold and full personality of the wine. Excellent integration of healthy tannins, bright acidity and a touch of minerality at the long finish…”
92 points – Halliday Wine Companion
“Cabernet sauvignon from the Willunga foothills. Shows a deep crimson hue and lifted aromas of bright blackcurrant and blackberry fruits along with hints of baking spices, licorice, blackcurrant jubes, dried herbs, sarsaparilla, cloves, mint and pipe tobacco. Pure black fruit on the palate segues to a savoury palate shape with a nice cadence, tight, fine tannins and a herb-flecked blackcurrant pastille exit.”
92 points – Wine Spectator – Jul 2023
“Presents a lively, complex mix of red licorice, kirsch, oolong tea, oregano and dried cherry aromatics and flavors, with hints of lavender, palo santo and Kalamata olive that are wonderfully plush, juicy and generous. Shows soft, plush tannins.”
90 points – RobertParker.com – Apr 2023
“The wine is juicy and varietal, with cassis and licorice and fennel. Layers of milk chocolate tannins and graphite shape the wine. Smart.”