Balnaves Cabernet Merlot 2007

Mostly Cabernet Sauvignon with a dash (6.6%, or thereabouts) of Merlot. 

A cool, clean, currant-like nose of moderate expressiveness. Some varietal, leafy notes too, and a fair amount of spicy cedar oak. I can’t quite put my finger on it, but there’s also an undercooked aspect to the aroma profile – as if a banana cake hadn’t quite finished baking in the oven. Not unpleasant so much as curious.
The palate is notable for a good amount of grainy tannin. This isn’t a wine for those who seek “smooth, fruity” experiences. Being a tannin enthusiast, however, I’m just fine with that. Quite sweet, clean red and black fruits flow through the entry and middle palates, along with an assertive level of vanilla custard oak, all of which ends up tasting rather Christmassy, if astringent. This is a lean wine, verging on underdone in terms of fruit intensity, and I wonder at the level of oak present given the relatively subtle fruit contribution. I understand 2007 was quite a challenging vintage, so perhaps the fruit character is to be expected. For all that, a pretty impressive, long finish that is squeaky clean.
There’s no question this is a drinkable, generously oaked wine whose tannin structure in particular is quite daring given the lean fruit. 

Balnaves of Coonawarra
Price: $A24
Closure: Stelvin
Source: Sample

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