It’s just under a month ago that my computer’s hard drive failed in a not-catastrophic (I back up, of course) but certainly inconvenient fashion. It’s taken me this long to get the thing fixed, and in the meantime there’s been no blogging, and very little drinking, to speak of. This is not a bad thing; for starters, I’ve been able to amply prove to myself that drinking isn’t entirely responsible for my state of overweightedness. Anyway, such a long absence begs the question what to drink upon my return. I’ve decided to try this sample, sent in by Capital Wines in response, I think, to my ongoing quest for decent Australian Merlot. At $A46, this is certainly priced in a premium bracket for a local example of the varietal.
Interestingly, it’s not styled aggressively in the manner of (too) many reserve-level wines. The nose is savoury and well-fruited, staying well away from the sort of facile plushness that can plague this varietal. It’s actually a very interesting aroma profile, lean and almost edgy, with good complexity along roast meat and herb lines. I’m not a fan of the notes deriving from what I presume is the oak treatment; too obviously nougat-caramel for the sophistication of the fruit. The palate is equally fine-boned, throwing in a decent amount of fresh acid that, for me, brings the fruit to life, if somewhat aggressively. Entry is direct, flowing to a bright middle palate full of red fruit and brown herbs. Medium bodied at most, this wine’s styling is fundamentally unforced, communicating an attractive earthiness and ease. The after palate lifts with some astringency and slightly raw tannins, which add rusticity even as they detract slightly from the sophistication of the flavour profile. The finish is light and long.
This isn’t a perfect wine by any means, but it’s one of the most compelling expressions of Merlot I’ve tried from a local producer. It offers a strikingly alternative view of the grape, daring to head down a stylistic path that will confound some drinkers just as it charms others.