#1 - Antipodean 1985 The Antipodean, Cabernet Merlot Mabec, Matakana 1500ml
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Matakana lies roughly halfway between Northland proper and Auckland, and technically is part of the Auckland province. But a flurry of much-hyped arrivals in the late 1980s and early 1990s demonstrate a similar capacity to that of Northland to make rich, full-bodied reds if - and it is a big if - there is not too much rain in the latter part of summer and early autumn. The biggest bang was that of The Antipodean, which in 1988 released its 1985 Cabernet Merlot Malbec, asserting its superiority to First Growth Bordeauxs and demanding the then undreamed price of over $90 a bottle. An equally public dispute between the owners - and brothers - James and Peter Vuletic led to a dissolution of the partnership and a hiatus in production a mere two years later, but - as Hollywood has long realised - there is no such thing as bad publicity. Peter Vuletic ended up with the brand name and the 1.8 hectare vineyard, while Auckland lawyer James Vuletic promptly planted Providence Vineyard, and repeated history by demanding $62 a bottle for its first vintage (1993) when it was released in 1995 - a price only exceeded by The Antipodean. Www.winepros.com.au
1985 is the Antipodean's first vintage. Into neck. Cellared. Rare.