Villa Maria Private Bin Merlot Cabernet Sauvignon 2005

I’m in New Zealand at the moment for a bit of a camping holiday, but roughing it doesn’t quite extend to doing without wine. In fact, I’m hoping to fit in some winery visits while I’m here, as well as taste lots of Kiwi wines of course. Tasting notes may be somewhat briefer than usual during my trip.
We got in yesterday and weren’t up for anything especially challenging, so chose this Hawkes Bay regional blend to have with dinner. A curious, unfamiliar aroma of dusty vanilla custard was initially dominant on the nose, fading to a supporting element with some time in glass. Alongside this (presumably) oak-derived note sits lovely, somewhat savoury red fruit, very easygoing without falling into a confected, industrial flavour spectrum. The wine’s entry is lively, ushering in a medium bodied palate that echoes the sweet/savoury fruit seen on the nose. On the palate, the fruit edges a little further towards facile sweetness, but there’s still a delicious savouriness to the flavour profile. There’s lively acidity all through the palate, which is well integrated and creates a feeling of sophistication in the mouth. The finish is practically tannin-free but of satisfactory length.
There’s no notable complexity of flavour, but for a quaffing wine, this is a really tasty drop that doesn’t confuse  “easy drinking” with simple fruit sweetness.
Villa MariaPrice: $NZ15Closure: StelvinDate tasted: December 2007

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