Somerton Shiraz Cabernet Merlot 2006

Surely, at $4.25, I’m tempting fate. The bargain dozen has gone quite well so far, with some unexpectedly unusual wines and a bit more character than I dared to hope for. Here, then, is a red blend from that vaguest of “regions”, South Eastern Australia. Having barely escaped a critter wine encounter with my sense of wine still intact, I’m interested, if a little apprehensive, regarding this equally inexpensive label.

A hint of black pepper and spice on the nose, backed up by smooth, rather flat berry fruit and a bit of toasty oak. Bland to be sure, but it smells more or less vinous. The palate reveals the extent to which this wine emphasises round, easy fruit. Relatively sweet, slightly confected berry fruit hits the tongue early and travels easily down the line. Some vanilla jumps on board as the wine chugs steadily towards the finish, and it all sort of disappears before you’ve had an opportunity to think about how you really feel. There’s not much in the way of structure, but neither are there off flavours or anything that makes you stop and think. In other words, it drinks like a good soft drink.
We’ve definitely jumped into “extreme value” territory with this wine, and style has shifted gears accordingly. At $10, it’s possible to get some sense of individuality. At $5 or under, I’ve yet to see it.

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