An organic wine from Mudgee, this comes complete with a few years’ bottle age and a cork seal (!). It forms the latest chapter in my search for great Australian Merlot, a search that has provided flashes of aesthetic satisfaction in amongst large swathes of disappointing mediocrity. This wine is promising in terms of the manner of its creation: fruit from a single block, hand picked and passed through a largely “non-interventionist” (don’t get me started) winemaking regime. So far so good.
There was an odd sediment in the neck of the bottle that I had to dislodge before pouring. I was momentarily fearful of spoilage, but the bottle is sound. Aromas of clean red fruit, not plums so much as raspberries and brandied cherries, with a distinctive edge of undergrowth mixed with damp earth This isn’t the red earthiness of Hunter wines, but rather something more decaying, autumnal. There’s a twiggy sharpness at the back of the nose, perhaps related to oak. Good depth of aroma profile.
The palate possesses a thick, textured mouthfeel that, oddly, feels related to the earthy aromas on the nose. Immediate flavour and texture on entry, with quite bright acidity ushering complex red and black fruit flavours onto the middle palate, where they are joined by black olives and brown earth. The wine is full and rich-feeling, not plush so much as charismatic. I wish for slightly greater definition to the flavours; I enjoy Merlot that embodies the paradox of soft fruit flavours, cleanly articulated. But there’s no lack of flavour, and this continues well through the after palate, where oak and brandied fruit take over. The tannins are full and velvety, very much present even at this stage of the wine’s life. A dry, raspy finish that shoots up into higher toned fruit flavours and which persists well.
There’s a lot to like here, though the overall impression is of rough-hewn wood rather than polished sculpture. Potential plus, and a label to watch.