There’s something to be said for a well-executed commercial style. These are wines that I often tend to gloss over, but it’s wrong of me to do so, at least in terms of my own philosophy of enjoyment. As tempting as it is to indulge in singular, ultra high quality wines whenever possible, I’m not sure they are always an appropriate choice, especially when in mixed (wine freak and normal people) company.
For example, I was having a very fun afternoon with some work colleagues during the week, and we ended up at a typical inner city eatery that surprised me with its thoughful, diverse wine list. Of course, I immediately geeked out and suggested a bottle of Seppelt’s 2008 Drumborg Riesling which, while full of interest, is a difficult wine to approach due to its austerity. Once we had made our way through that one, the group’s next selection was a much friendlier Pepperjack Shiraz, a plush Barossa style with plenty of oak and very low stylistic barriers to entry. And it was a much more enjoyable wine, with company, on the day.
Which brings me to this wine. I feel a train wreck attraction to Australian Merlot, which isn’t renowned for stylistic coherence nor, indeeed, for elevated quality. And, to be sure, this wine won’t change any of that. What it can do, though, is provide a well made burst of enjoyment.
The hue is ruby-like, of moderate density, and in general looks slightly older than it ought. The nose immediately signals this wine’s intent: assertively cuddly, peanut brittle oak over fresh plum fruit. Digging slightly deeper, there are hints of olives in brine, but this isn’t a wine of overt complexity. The palate is fresh and flowing, with good clarity of fruit. On entry, flavour slowly accelerates towards the middle palate. Medium bodied, there’s better integration of oak and fruit in the mouth than on the nose, which creates an easygoing, smoothed out flavour profile. The addition of some lightly spiced notes add interest. Structurally, things are very much in line with the curvy flavour profile, with enough acid and pleasingly fine tannin to add shape and a drying, very slightly raspy mouthfeel towards the back palate. Decent enough finish.
If I scored wines (which, of course, I don’t), this would sit in the mid to high eighties, as a wine of straightforward, well-made charms. It has no pretensions other than to offer accessible, cost-effective pleasure to as many tired office workers as possible as they share a bowl of deep fried something-or-other after work. As one such office worker, I’m very cool with that.