Unison Vineyard Marie's Vineyard Reserve Merlot 2006

If you’re in the Hawkes Bay area, I strongly recommend a visit to Unison Vineyard. We dropped in and were greeted by the effusive and extremely passionate viticulturalist, who gave us a sensational tasting and lots of information about each wine, the vineyard, and the region generally. Oh, also they make a lovely olive oil (from Estate fruit) and a delicious Balsamic vinegar. This wine is their straight Merlot, priced reasonably and intended to be consumed sooner rather than later. Garnet colour, looking a bit older, perhaps, than one might expect from a 2006 vintage wine. Attractive, though. The nose is fabulous — a lifted, multifaceted flavour profile that passes through herbal, medicinal notes, dark fruits and some oak quite seamlessly. Overall, quite savoury and tight. The entry is subtle, and the wine builds intensity as the palate progresses. The middle palate is again quite savoury, with lots of dark fruit and more herbal flavours, and a sweet edge to keep things relatively easygoing. Medium weight palate with a nicely textured, rustic mouthfeel (somewhat Italianate, perhaps). Oak is reasonably prominent, and perhaps a little coarse in its sappiness, but never overwhelms the wine. The after palate starts to drop slightly in intensity before drying, slightly rustic tannins kick in to carry the wine off with good length. This is a very drinkable wine that will, I imagine, go very well with Italian food. A nice expression of Merlot that will please lovers of the more savoury side of this variety. Good value too.Unison VineyardPrice: $NZ24Closure: StelvinDate tasted: December 2007

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